Last Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Effective resources to support expressive arts – a study by the Consortium of Institutions for Development and Research in Education in Europe (CIDREE)

What is this?

A qualitative study to identify and explore resources that are currently being used to build confidence and support teaching the arts in primary education. The countries contributing to the study were Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, France, Ireland, Scotland and The Netherlands.

Who is this for?

Primarily aimed at primary teachers and primary school senior leaders, but also relevant to secondary teachers and any individual or organisation producing arts resources to support teachers and schools.


The idea for this project arose from a discussion at the CIDREE arts expert group meeting held in Lyon in September 2017. The topic of this meeting was “Art education resources for teachers”. The focus of the meeting was a discussion about the digital resources that are currently available for the professional development of teachers of arts education. During the discussions in Lyon, group members identified an issue of mutual interest, namely that primary teachers may be confident in teaching some of the arts subjects in the primary curriculum in each country but are rarely confident in teaching all the arts subjects.

As a result of these discussions, the group members decided to submit a proposal to the CIDREE Board to undertake a research project that would identify resources that are effective (and effectively used) in building confidence and supporting teaching of the arts in primary education. The arts expert group agreed to design and implement a qualitative study which would incorporate a survey and follow-up interviews. The group agreed to interview a small sample of respondents from each country based on their survey answers. The group’s proposal was accepted and a small amount of funding was granted for translation into English of each country’s summary report contribution.

Improvement questions

Read the findings from the research in this project and the recommendations that were made by the CIDREE arts experts group. Then, with colleagues, discuss the following questions -

  • How effective are the arts resources you use in your school or setting?
  • How do you use them effectively to teach expressive arts subjects?
  • In which expressive arts subjects do you feel you need more effective resources and training?
  • Are the findings and the report recommendations helpful in suggesting ways to improve the effectiveness of the resources you use?


PDF file: CIDREE Arts Expert Group Project - Summary report - November 2019 (181 KB)

PDF file: Effective resources to support arts education - CIDREE Project (748 KB)


There were a number of similar findings from across the surveys from each country. For example, the majority of primary teachers stated they had most confidence in teaching visual arts and least confidence and experience in teaching dance. Respondents identified that, in general, the key features that were useful in any arts-based resource were that: it was easy to use, understand and apply to the individual teacher’s own classroom context, it was clear and consistent in the language used, and that it could be adapted and combined with other resources or across other arts subjects.

The findings also indicated that the more confident a teacher was in the arts-based area they were teaching, then the more likely they would be to develop their own resources. Teachers said that resources need to be interactive and should allow students to be creative. Overwhelmingly, the majority of resources used by teachers were visual. The interviews, conducted with teachers after the online survey closed, provided information that correlated with the survey data. The examples provided gave a more in-depth picture of how the teachers made effective use of a range of arts-based resources.

More about the findings from the study and recommendations by the experts group, as a result of the research, can be found in the attached overview and report. These documents and the summary reports from the other countries involved in the study can be accessed on the CIDREE website.