Working in partnership on the LNF

working in partnership header

How your work connects with the Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) 

Strong arts projects present exciting opportunities to develop a range of literacy and numeracy skills in a real context. When talking to your partner teacher, first and foremost, you’ll want to excite them about the artistic intervention you have in mind but it will be helpful if you can also highlight the literacy and numeracy elements that can be naturally teased out of the project and which support the skills detailed in LNF. 

Artists bring different skills to the classroom, and teachers are aware that artists offer opportunities for pupils to use literacy and numeracy skills in practical and fun ways. You may find it helpful to think in advance about the distinct offer you feel you can make. The teacher you are partnering will also be able to pinpoint which aspects of your work complement and enhance the classroom teachers learning objectives. Discussing this together at the outset can be really beneficial. 

Teachers won’t expect you to know the Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) inside out, but it’s helpful if you can ‘speak LNF’ - or at least reference it - in your initial approach to the school. If you are simply doing a half day workshop, a short exchange in your discussions with the teacher about the LNF will be enough. But if you are working on a longer initiative, for example, supporting a school in meeting their strategic priorities, then a more detailed discussion and sharing of information would be useful. Demonstrating an awareness of the LNF in discussions with teachers will allow you to explore common ground and discuss how your artform and practice (be it music, visual arts, drama, dance or film) can link with wider learning objectives. It will also show that you have done your homework and instill confidence! 

You can refer to the LNF potential of your work in marketing literature or written communication with schools. You might consider describing a typical workshop through an LNF lens or simply list the relevant LNF Skills that your workshop can help support. 

Try not to be too general in your approach. It’s very easy to claim that almost any creative project will develop oracy skills, for example, but teachers are required to be more specific about the age-related skills that they are working on in class. (As an example, a Year 2 expectation is that learners ‘keep in role and support others in role play’, whilst by Year 6 they are expected to ‘explore challenging or contentious issues through sustained role play). Remember teachers have to assess (demonstrate) the progress that pupils have made against the outcomes specified for that year group.

Although most arts projects will have direct links with developing literacy, it is important not to overlook the numerical elements involved in many such ventures. (These may be skills involved in the project done with the school – or in some cases, in the artist’s wider work. For example, estimating and visualising size or measuring the scale of an artwork, calculating profit and loss, timing, timetables and schedules.)

Numeracy as defined by the Framework is NOT the same as Maths. It’s more tightly defined. The emphasis in Numeracy is on using numerical reasoning skills (number, measurement and data) to solve real world problems and on being able to plan, carry out and explain the procedures involved in finding the correct answer.)In the course of your practice it is very likely that you are using at least some numeracy skills, even if you don’t think of yourself as a mathematician! The Land Art activity considers how two artists use numeracy skills in their practice, including, measurement, weight and volume, timing and timetables. Artists and arts organisations need to consider how to price and fund their work and make calculations about profit and costs – and some of these points may naturally link with the teacher’s priorities. 

Teachers will be looking to develop very specific skills so it’s worth exploring how you may be able to help, by providing opportunities through artistic activities for children to apply the skills that they have been learning about in a ‘real world’ context. For example the rich activity, Graffiti Creator activity uses numeracy skills to scale up an art work.

What’s in the Framework?

The Framework describes the skills that children and young people are expected to develop and sets out literacy and numeracy outcomes (in effect, expectations) for each year. For more detailed information on the LNF click here.

Meeting with the School

To help prepare for the initial meeting with the teacher, it may be worth taking a good look at the Quick Reference LNF overview and highlighting any skill areas where you think your work would connect well or provide an engaging context for applying and using those skills. Jot down other points you might want to discuss with the teacher. 

In the meeting itself, you might want to ask questions such as: 

  • What literacy and numeracy skills are you currently focusing on? Are there any specific areas that your class needs help with?
  • How might I be able to support this?
  • Can the artistic work we are planning help support the assessments you have to do?  
  • Could the documentation / appraisal of the work that I do, help with your assessment for learning requirements?
  • Can you show me examples of the pupils’ work and describe the ability range within the class?
  • Can you talk me through any relevant sections of the ‘learner friendly’ statements that you’d particularly like me to address?

Click here to access the Learner Friendly versions of the LNF

To find the relevant outcomes for the particular group of children that you will be working with, you will need to know which Key Stage and year group they are in. The outcomes for literacy and numeracy are in separate documents. In each case you’ll need to scroll down through to the relevant year number, in the top left corner.