Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120-139)|
MBE MP AND JIM
10 OCTOBER 2007
Q120 Stephen Williams: Chairman,
I should just say on the record that the headteachers of both
the nursery school and the primary school that I visited were
huge enthusiasts of this and were convinced it had made a difference
to the children's education. If I can just put one last question
to Jim. How does the Department view this creativity programme
against all your other educational initiatives? Bristol has had
them all: Excellence in Cities, Education Action Zones and so
on. Where does Creative Partnerships fit in the hierarchy of different
initiatives that your Department has put forward?
Jim Knight: Despite what some
people regard as our enthusiasm for league tables, I am not aware
of a league table of different programmes and how much we love
them. It is blipping larger on our radar than it has done, partly
because of this recognition that on the softer skills side there
is more to be done. One of the reasons why we are now on five
hours of PE as something we are moving towards and we want to
do more on creativity is to continue to build that offer to play
our part in the school system creating young people who are properly
equipped for their future in the real world.
Q121 Stephen Williams: Does the Department
for Children, Schools and Families actually evaluate this?
Jim Knight: We have the evaluations
collectively that you have been quoting.
Q122 Fiona Mactaggart: I think I
could tell you that you have got a hierarchy, a league table.
You spend, in your big Department with a £50 billion budget,
about the price of a secondary school on this programme. What
do you feel about that?
Jim Knight: As I said before,
it is difficult for us to quantify the exact amount of money that
is spent across the whole of our budgets because there will be
elements of the dedicated schools grant that are being spent on
supporting this programme which we do not measure. We are not
going to go out and impose yet another bit of bureaucracy on schools
to tell us exactly how much of their budget they spend on hosting
the practitioners and so on. It is set against our wider priorities.
We spend £92 million on music. You could argue that we should
take some away from music to give to this, but those are the decisions
that Ministers make, as you know. I am happy that we have got
a really good partnership going with DCMS, that we are delivering
what is an effective programme, and it would be lovely to do it
in more places but we have to weigh that up and our various Secretaries
of State have to weigh that up against the various other things
that we do.
Q123 Fiona Mactaggart: It is a lovely
partnership where a Department with a budget of £1.7 billion
is spending £35 million and a Department with a budget of
£50 billion is spending £2.5 million. I would quite
like it if I was sitting in your seat but I would be a little
less happy if I was in Margaret's.
Jim Knight: Margaret can answer
for herself. It is important to bear in mind that this is also
support for the practitioners themselves. We do get good outputs
from it and it is excellent value for money as far as we are concerned.
Q124 Fiona Mactaggart: Absolutely
it is. You are at the beginning of your new spending round and
you have very clearly emphasised that we are not going to see
it everywhere, Huddersfield is probably not going to get it I
heard, although I am sure the Chairman might have something to
say about that, but is it going to get better?
Jim Knight: I am not in a position
to be able to give you an authoritative answer on that right now
because those decisions have not been made.
Q125 Fiona Mactaggart: Would you
like it to?
Jim Knight: I would like to continue
to see more practitioners coming into our schools. If that is
delivered through Creative Partnerships that is great, but I would
love to see a growth in professional creative arts practitioners
coming in and working with teachers developing their CPD and working
with the pupils developing their creativity.
Q126 Fiona Mactaggart: You imply
by that answer that it might be able to be achieved in other ways
and I think that is interesting. One of the things that I did
in looking at the evidence that the Committee was given was to
single out schools and institutions in Slough, which is a CP area.
I was really struck by the kind of language that they used. I
will give you some examples: "Some departments have increased
their own skills to the point where they can independently use
creative methods of teaching and learning, though others have
not yet reached this stage and would welcome the opportunity for
our connection with CP to continue. I cannot stress enough the
positive impacts Creative Partnerships have had on our school.
Attendance and punctuality have improved and our pupils move on
to secondary school with self-confidence. If creativity is to
be fully established as a sustainable strand of the curriculum
it still needs the protection of the Creative Partnerships infrastructure".
Those are just some examples which I picked because they came
from my patch but actually the stuff which came from the institutions
was all like that. It was very clear that this infrastructure
enabled them to do something better, more adventurously than they
could do without it. Faced with that pretty compelling evidence,
and I think it is backed up by the BMRB survey, by the views of
headteachers, the NFER, could you say that there is a chance that
this programme might get some more resources from your Department?
Jim Knight: Naturally there is
a chance. The decision has not been made and, given that the decision
has not been made, it could go in either direction. Naturally
there is a chance. I cannot make a commitment and I cannot even
raise expectations in any direction on that.
Q127 Fiona Mactaggart: You cannot
get much lower expectations than the price of a secondary school
for the programme, can you?
Jim Knight: A secondary school
is a fantastic thing.
Fiona Mactaggart: They are fantastic
but one secondary school for the country is a bit wet.
Q128 Chairman: You do not sound very
passionate about it. I have got to know both of you very well
and I know when you really are passionate about something. I am
surprised because, given your background, I thought you would
be passionate and say, "I'm going to be in there. I may not
win but I will be fighting my corner because I think this programme
works and I would like to see it have a bigger budget and rolled
out in different ways". I get more passion out of Margaret
on this particular one. I wonder what is holding you back on it.
Jim Knight: The honest answer
to that, Chairman, is that I have taken on the responsibility
for this policy area relatively recently, since July, and for
most of that time schools have not been in term, they have been
on holidays. We do not have Creative Partnerships in my own area,
so I have not been and seen it for myself. Possibly informed by
my own personal experience I can reflect that more easily. I can
say absolutely that I see the evidence and I see the testimony
from people about how well it works. That suggests to me that
in particular the way it has been targeted has worked because
in those areas of need they perhaps need that infrastructure more
than they might need it in some other areas. In my area there
are quite a few professional practitioners who live and work there
who do have a good relationship with the schools, sometimes in
their own time, and it is fantastic. I can get very passionate
about the importance of the arts and creativity more widely in
schools and getting practitioners in working with young people,
and I do think this programme is very important and I want to
see it continue.
Q129 Fiona Mactaggart: There was
some quite interesting research which was given to the Committee
which I would recommend to you which was conducted by Anne Bamford,
a UNESCO scholar, looking at creativity programmes internationally.
One of the things that highlights is that in those countries which
have high ambitions and perhaps have plans for a more creative
curriculum, unless they have the kind of networking driver and
continuous professional development that something like the CPD
has provided, those high ambitions very often fail. So you can
put in money, as I think they did in Mongolia as we were told
by Paul Collard, but actually get out little because you have
not got the structure that delivers it. What has been striking
in reviewing the evidence that has been presented to us is that
Creative Partnerships is actually bridging that gap that the UNESCO
research highlights. If that is the case then should we not be
giving other parts of the country the opportunity to experience
Margaret Hodge: I would love to.
I will give you one example, and I am sure you have had loads
here, but this was a really powerful one that I had not seen but
it was given to me, which was Random Dance working in
Q130 Chairman: It must not include
Switzerland or orchestras!
Margaret Hodge: No, Random Dance
in Durham. There were four schools that took part. I think this
is Creative Partnerships at its best. It was an investigative
approach to science learning through the medium of dance and costume
design. They considered form, movement, vocabulary and function,
and as well as creating and performing alongside this professional
group, Random Dance, and Northern Symphonia in Durham Cathedral,
the young people met a heart specialist, somebody called Philip
Kilner, a surgeon, Soya Babu Narayan, a composer, John Taverner,
and a designer, Shelley Fox. The outcome of that was they had
a performance in Durham Cathedral, they had new approaches to
science learning, it raised the aspirations among the young people
who took part in it and it was an understanding of their own voice
in performance being as important as that of the professionals.
That encapsulates what Jim and I both view as great. You can talk
about it in creativity, bringing professionals into the room in
other areas of the curriculum is
Q131 Chairman: Minister, we agree
Margaret Hodge: Brilliant.
Q132 Chairman: This is music to our
ears, but the question that the four of us have been asking you
this morning is here we are seeing quite a good programme and,
if it is a good programme and you have targeted it on certain
pilot areas because resources are short, one of the things that
one expects from that kind of pilot is you come up with some kind
of model, learning from the experience of the pilot, that you
can apply to other schools which could do it on a smaller resource,
perhaps a resource they find themselves or perhaps a smaller resource
coming from your two Departments and you can franchise it out.
What does not seem to be coming out at the moment is this is a
good programme but what is the spin-off for the other schools
and how is it delivered. That really seems to be the big, black
hole in the whole programme.
Margaret Hodge: I hope it is not
a hole because I hope that the work we have just started on trying
to develop the cultural offer in schools --- I do not know how
long it has taken us to develop the sports offer, we started talking
about that five, six, seven years ago, but we have learnt from
that how we develop the sports offer and we are learning from
the impact of Creative Partnerships and I hope that will build
in with our other initiatives around music, Cultural Hubs, the
stuff that museums are doing, all that into a much broader cultural
offer with culture being a part of the core work supporting both
students and the CPD of their teachers. I do not take that negative
Q133 Chairman: Minister, we all take
away the message that if you are enthusiastic about this you can
learn from the experience and do the franchising job, the spin-off
job. The other thing is here we have got extended schools and
when we had the evidence on Monday there was this enormous opportunity
of the extended school to fill it with creativity but there is
no budget for it, so even at the pilot level there is nothing
happening in the extended schools.
Margaret Hodge: Well, there is.
For example, there is some money going into film clubs.
Q134 Chairman: That is not what Paul
Collard told us.
Margaret Hodge: You talked to
the Arts Council England people on Monday, did you not?
Chairman: Yes, and they said there was
no money for it.
Q135 Fiona Mactaggart: What they
said was that it is separate from the Creative Partnerships money
and Creative Partnerships has no money for it.
Margaret Hodge: Okay. For example,
the film clubs are now getting into a number of schools.
Q136 Chairman: Minister, we know
there are things going on but what we are saying is there is no
knock-on of this very important programme to be able to fill that
space with creativity that comes from this programme.
Margaret Hodge: Two things. The
first is there is because we are developing the cultural offer.
The second thing to say is extended schools are important but
the thing to hang on to and remember about this particular programme
is that it is in the core and we want to keep that. Extended schools
is what happens around the core, important as it is, we want that
to be enriching and fulfilling, but we want this in the core because
of the importance of creativity as a skill and because of the
impact it has on teaching and teachers.
Q137 Chairman: But you are not willing
to put more money into the core?
Margaret Hodge: We have got to
Jim Knight: You also need to think
about what the funding model is. We have a funding model in DCSF
which is about maximising delegation down to schools for them
to be able to buy stuff in. This programme works on a different
basis and more on the basis that DCMS, in my limited understanding
of how the Department works, tends to fund things through the
Arts Council and so on, but funding the artists directly and then
the promoter will buy them in if there is a cost. I think it is
right that practitioners should be funded through this programme.
If we wanted to expand the amount of activity it is a question
of whether or not you then ask schools to make some contribution
if we were to expand it into areas where they do not have the
same level of need.
Chairman: This is why Fiona and I have
been pushing you, Minister. If this is a good model you should
have developed by now a kind of franchisable spin-off that you
apply to a range of schools and say, "You may have to find
your own resources to do this but the content of the programme,
the core element of the programme, is good".
Fiona Mactaggart: It is quite clear that
within the present CP programme
Chairman: I just wanted to let Margaret
Fiona Mactaggart: I wanted to add to
Chairman: To Margaret?
Fiona Mactaggart: Yes.
Chairman: Very quickly because we promised
her 10 o'clock.
Q138 Fiona Mactaggart: In terms of
the CP programme schools, like Priory School in my constituency,
for example, are adding their own resources to the CP resources
in order to mix a model of what you call the way that they do
it and the way that the Department does it. If you just expect
schools to do it on their own without having that framework they
will say they would not do it in the same way, they would not
have those relationships that have been created by CP. Do you
not think that is something that you should be offering into places
which do not get it at the moment, Margaret?
Margaret Hodge: I think that we
have got to learn from that as we develop the cultural offer.
I am with you 100% on its importance and on its impact. We are
saying money is tight, so as we work through creatively looking
at a strong cultural offer in our schools and sports institutions
we have got to understand there has to be an infrastructure to
Q139 Chairman: Margaret, it has been
lovely to have you here. I know that you have fitted us in and
you have got to go but Jim is staying with us a little longer.
Thank you very much.
Margaret Hodge: Thank you very