Country ProfileEngland



  • Is the largest, most populous, and most densely populated of the 4 countries that make up the United Kingdom
  • Population of 49,000,000
  • Capital city of London

England has not been independent since Great Britain was established in 1707. It has the fourth largest economy in the world and one of the strongest in Europe. Its geography consists of rolling hills and some mountainous regions in the north. It is a country with a long history of many different controllers until it became united and therefore has an extensive culture and accompanying traditions such as afternoon tea.

Culture Integrated Into Arts Education

England's history is filled with strong traditions. These traditions lay a foundation for their culture and customs including their methods for education. In art education, tradition impacts what and how it is taught. Music has has played a large role in the history of the country, specifically rock music in the 1960's illustrated by "The British Invasion" which internationalized rock and roll and gave British musicians an opportunity for global success. This is evident in schools by a separate music class designated by the National Curriculum available to students throughout their primary and secondary education. There is also a strong focus on connecting communication and linguistic skills with participation in art classes. This is representative of England's history of powerful writers such as the Bronte sisters, Jane Austin, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, and J. K. Rowling. Schools use art as a linguistic tool of expression for students to communicate their feelings, ideas, and meanings. England's appreciation of tradition is also reflected in their approach to teaching the arts. England's methodology is primarily Discipline Based Arts Education. There is no evident integration of the arts throughout the curriculum, which emphasizes a focus on tradition versus innovative approaches.

A Glimpse of an English Artist

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born on February 7th, 1812 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. His childhood was traumatizing with the rest of his family in prison for debt alienating him and forcing him to work at a Shoeblacking factory. After his family was released,
he eventually made it out of the factory and began going to school and working at an attorney's office. His path to writing novels was scattered with various jobs including a free-lance reporter, a shorthand reporter for Parliament debates, writing texts for illustrations in a newspaper, and editor. His first taste of success was with The Pickwick Papers, which was featured in monthly installments in the newspaper through 1836-37. Dicken's next project was Oliver Twist, started in 1837. Over the next 10 years he and his family did much traveling through Europe and including a visit to America. He also continued his writing with works such as Nicholas Nickleby, Master Humphrey's Clock, Barnaby Rudge, Martin Chuzzlewit, A Christmas Carol, and The Chimes. Dicken's amateur theatrical company, which he spent a lot of time working with, was opened in 1845. He continued with several pieces including David Copperfield which ran from 1849 through 1850. At this time he also founded and became editor of the weekly Household Words. Over the next years Charles Dicken's continued his travels and began doing public readings of his works. He also wrote a play with Wilkie Collins called The Frozen Deep, which his theatrical company later performed for the Queen. In 1859 he began writing A Tale of Two Cities followed by Great Expectations. From 1861 to 1869 Dicken's readings continued while his health suffered from years of overwork and he eventually collapsed from a mild stroke. In 1870 Dicken's participated in his last reading in London. He suffered from another stroke on June 8th and died the next day. His readings are still much appreciated today and some, such as A Tale of Two Cities, are incorporated into school curriculums today.

Arts Organizations In England


The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts is a charity developed in 2005 dedicated to helping children experience the arts consistently and at a high quality. They introduce opportunities in the arts to children in urban and rural areas who would
The_Great_Art_Quest_Finale_4._Credit_2it_Lennon..jpgnormally not have access to such experiences. Many of the children also have learning disabilities or behavioral problems. It focuses
on encouraging children to have long-term engagement in the arts by giving them access to artistic experiences such as galleries, theater performances, and music concerts. The organization has three programs named Quests, Start, and Catalyst, aimed at giving teachers
training, support and inspiration for incorporating the arts into their curriculum. The programs are run by collaborating schools with various art venues and professional artists. An example is their MusicQuest program that is a three-year project focused on introducing kids to the power of live classical music. Those involved get a chance to meet musicans from the Philharmonia Orchestra and participate in a 'hands on' workshop. They then attend the MusicQuest concert held at a local concert hall and have a chance to try a Yamaha instrument and learn percussion rhythms with a professional musician. The involved teachers also get an opportunity to attend a teacher training day and receive a copy of the MusicQuest Book for Teachers, which includes tips for teachers on how to incorporate music into their classrooms. Past Quests also include ArchitectureQuest, StoryQuest, TheatreQuest, and Create-a-Quest. The Catalyst program is also directed at teachers, specifically for Key Stage 2 (years 3-6 of schooling), and is a series of professional development days that is aimed at providing inspiring art ideas to use in the classroom.

Teacher Training In England

The qualifications to begin training to become a teacher in England include a GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education exam) in English, Mathematics, and Science if you want to teach primary education. The path to gaining qualified teacher status begins with Initial Teacher Training (ITT), which combines theoretical learning with 18 weeks of practicing in the form of school placements. Some Universities offer a specific degree in Arts Education such as Edge Hill University's Creative Art, Design, and Technology degree. This specific program is a Bachelor of Science in Education and provides Qualified Teacher Status. Students can continue their training past the undergraduate level by participating in postgraduate teacher training and gaining either a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) or a school-centered initial teacher training (SCITT). Teach First is another postgraduate program students can apply for that focuses on innovative leadership and management skills and provides high quality teacher and leadership training, internships, coaching and networking. England also has different programs available through organizations that provide tips for teaching the national curriculum. These programs include ways to teach art and design through primary and secondary education. Charity organizations such as the Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts also offer programs to further professional development in the arts as described in the above section.

Funding of the Arts
England has an abundance of ways that schools can get funding for the arts. The most common form of funding is through Charities, trust funds, and lottery funding offer grants to support art in education. Schools can apply for grants and generally need to demonstrate that their current resources are not sufficient with the school's current funding. Wellcome Trust is a charity focused on improving human and animal health and offers art awards to support art projects that investigate biomedical science. Other sources of arts funding include The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England, The National Lottery - Children and Young People, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Ernest Cook Trust, Gulbenkian Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund - East of England, Clore Duffield Foundation, Camelot Foundation, The Baring Foundation, Association of Charitable Foundations, and Awards for All.


England has an abundance of opportunities in the arts, which I expected from a country that is well-developed. It is similar to the United States in the way arts are taught in the curriculum and also with the organizations that are available. Similar to my experiences, they have a separate music class during their primary schooling (equivalent to elementary school in the United States). My art education through my K-12 schooling was largely Discipline Based, as is the teaching methods in England. Overall I would have liked to see more arts integration in the curriculum but that same recommendation goes for the United States as well. I was surprised by the amount of outreach the organization I researched participated in. Especially for such a young organization, The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts has an extensive network in the art community and has already made a difference in many children's lives. I was also surprised at the little information I found on teacher training at universities. I could only find one school with a specialization major for Arts education, and even then it was combined with design and technology.