Examination of Witnesses (Questions 89-99)|
MBE MP AND JIM
10 OCTOBER 2007
Q89 Chairman: Good morning, Ministers.
Can I welcome Margaret Hodge and Jim Knight. Margaret, it is nice
to see you, not only because we have been friends for many years
but you have been in front of this Committee in different guises
many times, so it is nice to have you back again.
Margaret Hodge: Thank you. It
is good to be back.
Q90 Chairman: Jim, as ever, it is
good to see you again.
Jim Knight: Always a pleasure.
Q91 Chairman: As you see, we are
a rather smaller committee because of the wicked Government taking
PPSs away from us and two of our Opposition Members becoming frontbench
spokespersons on different things. We are a little smaller than
normal but quality has been maintained, if not improved. We are
going to get started. The Committee is very interested in this
whole notion of creativity in schools. I hope you have looked
particularly at our Sustainable Schools inquiry report
which got into this territory quite a bit in terms of what was
a sustainable school relevant for the 21st Century. This has been
particularly one of Fiona's passions. We are very keen to get
this finished, along with a short final report on Special Educational
Needs (SEN) before the finish of this Parliament. These are our
two little projects to tidy up the process before this Select
Committee for Education and Skills disappears. We are something
of an anachronism.
Jim Knight: Evolves.
Q92 Chairman: Evolves. Could I open
up by saying when we had the other representatives who actually
run these programmes in front of us on Monday, what seemed to
be a bit of a concern and a worry was how you define creativity
in schools and what is the content. Some of the stuff that was
coming out from the Arts Council particularly was that it was
very arts biased rather than a broader kind of concept of creativity.
Do you think that is a criticism, Minister?
Margaret Hodge: Shall I start
off on that one? I picked up this brief a couple of months ago
and when I looked at the definition that has been used I think
there is an issue about supporting the development of creativity
in the modern world because it is so important right across pupils'
development, their contribution to the economy and all that, and
that is creative thinking, lateral thinking, team working and
those sorts of things. That is really important. I also think
the creative arts play an absolutely crucial part in the curriculum.
They support the development of creative thinking but they have
an intrinsic value on their own, they just uplift us all and I
am certainly finding that as I go round and see things, listen
to things and watch things. They are part of enhancing life's
experience. The other thing I would say is in my bit of the world
now, Chairman, the creative industry is about 8% of the economy,
it employs about two million people, it has grown at double the
rate of other sectors in the economy, so there is an important
area there in terms of education and skills in preparing people
to move into this part of the world. When you talk about creativity,
there is creativity in the broadest sense and you can teach English
creatively, you can teach maths creatively and get those things
going there, but what this specific programme does is support
creativity in the broadest sense, gives people access to the creative
arts, which I think is really important, and because it is based
on creative professionals coming into schools and supporting the
core curriculum, so it is not just the extended school stuff it
is the core curriculum, that has a really important impact on
the quality, on approaches to teaching and CPD
for the whole of the teaching staff. I think there is a broad
plus from what is a pretty small investment.
Q93 Chairman: Minister, we are on-side,
we like this programme in principle. The Arts Council, which I
very much supportI have a daughter who works for it and
it is a very good organisationdoes have a kind of mindset
that is different from, say, the mindset of Professor Stephen
Heppell, of David Puttnam's Futurelab, of John Sorrell's joinedupdesignforschools.
Do you see what I mean about a different kind of mindset? When
we pushed the witnesses on Monday I wondered whether there was
enough of that kind of creativity coming in as well.
Margaret Hodge: You mean that
they are used to funding organisations rather than seeing themselves
as having an impact on the education sector?
Q94 Chairman: Three things. Firstly,
funding arts organisations, secondly of a particular type and,
thirdly, importing people in, professional actors, musicians or
whatever, rather than this job of imbuing the school with the
capacity to do the creativity themselves.
Margaret Hodge: If I am honest,
I think if you had talked to the Arts Council of England 10 years
ago, 15 years ago, your concerns might be right, did they see
their role beyond funding excellence in the arts, but I think
they have completely changed now. They fund, I think it is, 1,500
organisations regularly and they fund the big nationals.
Q95 Chairman: But this is different
because they are doing it themselves. They said, "This is
unusual for us, we are usually commissioning" but here they
are doing it.
Margaret Hodge: Oh, I see, is
that a difference. I think they would see the future of the Creative
Partnerships launching off. They have started them off and when
I have talked to them about where do we go next with this they
see it as a sort of non-statutory organisation. Let me just say
this because it is really important. The Arts Council in all that
it funds encourages interaction between those organisations and
schools. This week I have seen two things: the St Luke's Hall
where the London Symphony Orchestra do a huge amount of work with
children in schools and the London Philharmonic Orchestrait
just happens to be two orchestral thingswho celebrated
their 75th anniversary on Sunday and they are doing fantastic
work there for children in Lambeth schools. Is it new for the
Arts Council? It is new to have a specific programme that is just
about children and teachers in schools, but is education part
of their ethos as they think about funding their organisations?
I think that is well embedded into it now. Over 90% of the regularly
funded organisations that the Arts Council funds now do educational
Q96 Chairman: Jim, are you happy
with the balance? You do not put very much money into this as
a Department, do you? It is a reverse of the norm, the big Department
with the big budget is putting the smaller amount of money in.
If you put some more money in you could probably get the programme
broadened a bit.
Jim Knight: I am happy with the
balance. I can come on to the funding balance in a minute. My
first career was in the arts and at that time there was a lot
of discussion about
Q97 Chairman: We know that well.
We were very disappointed when you could not read a John Clare
poem on Thursday morning at Poet's Corner.
Jim Knight: I was equally disappointed.
When I was working in the industry and in receipt indirectly of
Arts Council money there was a lot of funding of the arts for
arts' sake and John Myerscough was doing a lot of work at the
time about the economic importance of the arts and used the arts
to stimulate great cities like Birmingham and Glasgow. I am confident
that the work that the Arts Council is doing does understand the
broadness of creativity. QCA defined creativity for us in the
right sort of way as about releasing the imagination in a purposeful
way to achieve objectives. Creativity is an absolute strength
of our education system. My colleague, Lord Adonis, when he went
to Singapore, which in hard terms produces excellent education
outputs internationally, found that what they want to learn from
this country is creativity and how to build creativity into the
curriculum for an education system. I think it would be unreasonable
to think that the Arts Council is the sole body responsible for
injecting creativity into our education system, that is something
that culturally we need to bring through as we initially train
teachers, as we continually update their skills, as we create
ethos and leadership in schools. Having creativity in the way
we teach and the way we learn is absolutely fundamental. It is
quite difficult to measure some of the outputs because some of
those outputs are at the softer end rather than the hard end that
Singapore does so well on, but I do think it is fundamental. In
terms of the balance of funding question that you ask, in bold
terms the balance of funding is clearly in favour of the Department
for Culture, Media and Sport but there are various costs attached
to hosting the Creative Partnerships activity which is funded
through the dedicated schools grant, so on top of the couple of
million that we directly fund there is the indirect funding that
comes through. Over six years, I think 7,000 projects have taken
place involving many thousands of schools, each of them funded
through the money we give them via local authorities.
Q98 Mr Chaytor: On the surface there
might seem to be a disconnect between the Arts Council approach
to all this, where every child is going to be renaissance man
or woman, and the Department for Children, Schools and Families'
approach which has a legacy of focusing on literacy, numeracy,
skills and vocation. My question is how do each of you see that
divide being bridged by this programme and more generally? Specifically,
in terms of the secondary phase of education how does this all
link with the development of the 14-19 applied Diplomas?
Jim Knight: First of all,
Q99 Chairman: Jim, would you do rapid
fire and then we will come back as much as we can to Margaret
Hodge. We have an extra half hour with you and we may come back
to some of these things.
Jim Knight: Fine. The very brief
answer is an absolutely fundamental building block for creativity
is literacy and numeracy, so there is a relationship in that direction,
but, equally, creativity is also fundamental to engaging pupils
so that they can then achieve some of those harder skills. Equally,
in terms of what employers are asking us for as confident, team
working, potential leaders, those sorts of skills, those are very
much achieved through creativity across the curriculum. The parallel
is immediately there to what we are trying to achieve with Diplomas.
We see through some of the outputs and what headteachers tell
us about Creative Partnerships, the way that it is engaging young
people in their broader education not just simply in the time
when they are doing the particular activity with the practitioners,
is exactly the same way with Diplomas that we have got three with
strong creative elements in: creative and media, ICT and construction
of the built environment in the first five. We are seeking a new
form of teaching and learning, as we have discussed before, that
is more engaging because it relates to the real world and the
real world of creativity that so many young people do want to
engage with. The link with skills and vocation, therefore, is
very, very strong. That is my succinct answer but I could ramble
on at length.
Margaret Hodge: The first one,
does it matter and how we get it embedded, I think it matters
and there is a growing body of evidence. We have got the British
Market Research Bureau (BMRB) study, the Ofsted study, a couple
of other studies, NFER did a longitudinal study and the Burns
Owen Partnership. We have got four studies, none of which have
set up a causal relationship but they all demonstrate that the
work CPs are doing strengthens self-esteem, helps develop creativity,
and those who participate in these sorts of programmes tend to
perform better in their other subjects. All those things look
good. We had a good settlement so I feel optimistic about the
future from our funding. I know there was a question mark over
us but we had a good settlement yesterday so I feel optimistic
about that. I see that as part of the work that we are doing to
try and develop a much broader cultural offer within schools.
We have now got the sports offer pretty well developed. We have
got a number of initiatives. We have got the Creative Partnerships
programme, we have got the Cultural Hubs going in three areasBournemouth,
Telford and there is a third area where they are goingwhich
is trying to think what would a cultural offer, like a sports
offer, look like. We have got the music initiative going. We have
got a review that we have just had around dance that Tony Hall
from the Royal Opera House did for us. There is a huge amount
of work going on and we have got to bring all that together in
a more coherent way to embed what we are learning from cultural
partnerships, what we are learning from Cultural Hubs, into a
more focused, coherent and universal offer for children in schools,
like sports. One of the first Diplomas is going to be the creative
one and that is a good thing because, again, it allows kids to
do well in that and helps us develop the creative economy. We
have also got the cultural apprenticeship programme which we hope
will be up and running by 2008 when we will have about, I cannot
remember, 600 or 700, a lot of young people involved in apprenticeships.
It is getting all the bits of the jigsaw together. They are all
developing there, we have got to try and make them more coherent.
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