Education through the Arts for Well-Being and Community : The Vision and Legacy of Sir Alec Clegg book cover
1st Edition

Education through the Arts for Well-Being and Community
The Vision and Legacy of Sir Alec Clegg

ISBN 9780367676490
Published August 1, 2022 by Routledge
210 Pages 52 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Education through the Arts for Well-Being and Community examines Sir Alec Clegg’s distinctive contribution to education reform. Revisiting the significance of Clegg’s principles for education in the 21st century, the book investigates the impact of his innovative approach to education and his advocacy of an arts-based curriculum to promote physical and mental health.

The book explores a variety of perspectives on Clegg’s working relationships, career and achievements. Sir David Attenborough’s foreword remembers his uncle Alec as a lively young teacher, and Sir Tim Brighouse considers Clegg as a model for his own leadership in educational reform. Eight authors in all bring a range of academic and professional insights to this study of an exceptional educationalist.

Clegg’s national influence as Chief Education Officer in Yorkshire and his impact on schools, teacher education and wider communities through an integrated approach to the arts are richly illustrated in text and pictures. Two aspects of his work have particular topical relevance: Clegg’s emphatic concern for ‘children in distress’; and his encouragement of creativity through teacher education.

This book will be of great interest for academics, scholars and students in the field of the history of education, educational policy and reform, and all concerned with the role of schools in young people’s development.

Table of Contents

Series Editor Introduction

Foreword by Sir David Attenborough

National Arts Education Archive

Introduction: The vision of Alec Clegg, educational leadership and dissemination

Catherine Burke, Peter Cunningham and Lottie Hoare

Chapter 1

Alec Clegg: a model of educational leadership in practice?

Sir Tim Brighouse

Chapter 2

Creativity and Redemption: the work of Alec Clegg in post-war England

Martin Lawn

Chapter 3

Reporting in images: portraying progress in West Riding education

Peter Cunningham

Chapter 4

Progressivism and art in the West Riding: the role of its Chief Education Officer

Peter Cunningham

Chapter 5

Arts education and oracy with Muriel Pyrah in the West Riding 1967–1972

Lottie Hoare

Interlude: Art in the West Riding classroom

Chapter 6

Movement and dance in schools

Catherine Burke

Chapter 7

Bretton Hall: teacher-training through the arts

Allie Mills

Chapter 8

Global travel and exchange in promoting ‘a change of heart towards children’

Catherine Burke

Chapter 9

Children in distress and their need for creativity: a psychotherapeutic perspective

Alison Roy

Chapter 10

The timeliness of Alec Clegg

Ken Jones

Conclusion: The legacy of Alec Clegg

Catherine Burke, Peter Cunningham and Lottie Hoare

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Catherine Burke is Professor Emerita of the History of Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK.

Peter Cunningham is an Emeritus Fellow of Homerton College, University of Cambridge, UK.

Lottie Hoare is a Teaching Associate at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK.


"During his distinguished career in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Sir Alec Clegg championed the vital role of music, drama, and dance in children’s lives. In this major reassessment of his progressive legacy, Education through the Arts for Well-Being and Community reaffirms the centrality of the arts in any humane system of education."

William J. Reese, Vilas Research Professor, University of Wisconsin–Madison

"This is a very welcome and necessary book that not only draws together and secures the work of Sir Alec Clegg in British history of education in the UK, but also demonstrates its continued international relevance and usefulness at this crucial point in the history of our planet."

Helen Pheby PhD, Head of Curatorial Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

"Alec Clegg was a gifted, charismatic, innovative teacher and public administrator. This collection of reflections on his personal and philosophical legacy ret urns us to a boldness of earlier times that is at risk of being forgotten – or worse, distorted – by current rigid dogmas on teaching and learning. English public education has a long history of arts-rich practice, imaginative teaching in the humanities and honouring children’s broader well-being. Alec Clegg is a vital part of that history. Any student, teacher, leader or parent who wants to learn from, and draw on, such understandings needs to read this book."

Melissa Benn is a writer, journalist and campaigner

"It’s a real jewel of a volume, packed with essays and illustrations about the importance of the arts in education and … I, for one, can’t wait to see all this potential unlocked and the place for this unlocking to begin is in the classroom or, often, in less informal educational settings."

McMillan, Ian. (2022). Why Sir Alec Clegg’s legacy must live on when it comes to education of our children. The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved from