Etta, my part-time assistant and I.
Image:Emma Baldwin photography

Hello! The Primary Art class was founded by me, Emily Gopaul. My pronouns are she/her/hers and I am London born and of Indo-Guyanese decent. I am an artist, and art education consultant, and I was an art teacher for 15 years. I have taught and led on art in both primary and secondary schools, in the private and state sector.

I now take on projects via my company The Primary Art Class, as an art educational consultant & advocate. I work with schools, the educational and cultural sector, galleries and museums and other interesting organisations to create content. I have worked with organisations such as Tate, BBC Teach, The Crafts Council, Freelands Gallery (Artistteacher), NSEAD and The Thackray Museum, to name a few.

As well as this I work directly though consultancy in schools and share CPD events. I am always happy to hear from people interested in art education or any of the issues surrounding my interests and work, for work opportunities, advice, conversation or collaborations – Contact me here.

After years of full-time art teaching and leadership, I took the decision to work part-time and I began by offering consultancy and advocacy alongside my part-time art teaching. Realising the huge lack of quality primary art content, in 2018 I wrote my book Teaching Primary Art and Design to share ideas for good practice and lessons. In Dec 2019 I took the exciting decision to go full-time with The Primary Art Class work and since then I have been fortunate enough to work with a variety of places and people, all around themes of art, culture and education.

As a life-long learner, my consultancy and advocacy practice is always evolving and unfolding. I am fortunate that I work with many different and interesting teachers, leaders, galleries and organisations – there are lots of enriching conversations and moments to learn from and share in. I stay up to date with changes and new thinking in education and art, so that my views and offerings are relevant and contribute to positive and inclusive change. My close to two decades of classroom experience continues to inform my work, making sure my offerings are grounded in real life practice.

I believe that all children are entitled to opportunities to engage with art, culture and creativity, and that this should be supported by the education system, cultural institutions and government initiatives.

I am committed to promoting and facilitating thinking and action around themes of diversity, curriculum reform and reclaiming cultural capital. I work with schools and cultural organisations to address current inequality issues in our art education system and provision.

Positive art experiences can far surpass the boundaries of any one art lesson; including supporting positive wellbeing, which should be at the heart of how we look after ourselves and our communities.

I advocate an art education provision in schools and galleries that is genuinely inspiring and diverse, one which sparks a love of art and experiences of creativity. I also understand the pressures schools and teachers face and I endeavour to support them in the best ways I can. I firmly believe that individuals who are in touch with their own creativity and wellbeing, can best lead and design exciting art opportunities.

As well as working directly with schools, my consultancy and advocacy work has included articles on the Guardian Teacher Network, blogposts for organisations such as Rescue Our Schools, CPD events and work with Tate and BBC Learning. I am available for all  types or primary art education related input and I am an  NSEAD registered Primary Art consultant.

I am the author of Teaching Primary Art and Design, published by Bloomsbury and available to order here.

I believe that through my advocacy and consultancy work I can have the biggest and most positive impact on the art education landscape – and although there is a lot of good practice out there, there is also a lot we can improve on!

I created this video as an extension to my presentation at the June 2020 NSEAD national conference around Cultural Capital and its current relevance. Here I am speaking about how primary school art and design leaders can reclaim the term and meet the needs of their school communities post COVID and in an attempt to address issues of inequality and representation in their provision for art.