Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) (arts 93)

Executive Summary

1. Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) has chosen to submit evidence to the Select Committee because we are concerned that recent and future spending cuts from central and local Government are likely to have a disproportionate impact on young people. This risks the long term future of young people’s engagement with the arts and cultural sector as well as having a potentially detrimental impact on the ability of young people from less affluent backgrounds to gain employment within the creative industries and therefore reducing social mobility.

2. We believe young people’s cultural programmes are particularly at risk of cuts as they do not feature as a priority for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in their structural reform plan. Arts education funding is fragmented across government departments and agencies, with no clear indication on how this agenda is being joined up, which exacerbates the risk of cuts. CCE argues that the issue of young people’s access and engagement with arts and culture merits further investigation as it has an impact on the Committee’s interest in how programmes of work can be better joined up and coordinated.

3. To help address these issues, CCE recommends:

· DCMS should accept they have a fundamental responsibility – even in difficult times – to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to engage with the arts regardless of their background.

· The select committee should use this enquiry to assess the impact of cuts on young people’s cultural programmes.

· CCE believes most cultural organisations should give cultural learning a core role in their work.

· Educational and cultural organisations must ensure they prioritise those without access to cultural learning opportunities.

· To aid this, local authorities and regional agencies should make cultural learning a more explicit part of their planning for children and young people’s programmes.

· Cultural and learning organisations should work together on cultural learning by building local and regional partnerships.


About us

4. CCE is a national independent arts education charity established to support children and young people’s access to the arts and culture. We achieve this by designing and delivering high quality cultural programmes, building a strong independent evidence base and supporting debate among policy makers.

5. We believe all children should experience and have access to a diverse range of arts and cultural activities regardless of their background. This allows children to question, make connections, innovate, problem solve, communicate, collaborate and reflect critically, so they are much better equipped for modern workplaces where employers view these as essential skills.

6. CCE manages Creative Partnerships, the leading European creative learning programme designed to develop the skills of children and young people, raising their aspirations and achievements, and those of their teachers. It matches schools, teachers and students with creative professionals such as artists, architects, multimedia developers and scientists. Together they consider the challenges the school faces and use creative thinking to design programmes that tackle these. The school’s challenge might be low results, lack of parental engagement, or pupil motivation. Projects are linked to the school’s improvement plan to ensure sustainability of the practice and independent research shows Creative Partnerships can have a significant impact on reducing truancy and improving motivation and attainment. 

Why is arts education important?

7. Children who have been exposed to the arts are far more likely to access such opportunities in adult life, enriching the quality of their lives. In addition, ensuring all young people have access to a wide range of cultural and artistic experiences helps to develop their ability to think critically, problem solve and communicate their views. This helps improve their life chances by developing the skills they need to perform well, not only in exams and extracurricular activities, but also to succeed in the workplace and wider society.

8. A recent Ipsos MORI study revealed the differences in young people‘s access to arts activities out of school settings and in particular the links between a child’s access to arts and culture and the educational levels of their parents. It found that 60 per cent of children of parents with no educational qualifications spend less than three hours each week on cultural activities and 20 per cent spend none at all – including reading a book or doing creative things on a computer (Mori 2009).

What is the evidence that our approach works?


9. Ofsted’s 2010 report  ‘ Learning: creative approaches that raise standards’ recognises the benefits of Creative Partnerships, arguing that creative learning practices in schools are improving standards and pupils' personal development. It noted Creative Partnerships schools have seen ‘notable improvements in their levels of achievement and in measurable aspects of personal development, such as attendance’. (Ofsted 2010)

The impact on academic attainment and attendance

10. To date Creative Partnerships has impacted on over 1 million pupils and nearly 5,000 schools across England, from Key Stage 1 to 4. The National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) found from a survey of 13,000 young people who have taken part in Creative Partnerships’ activities have achieved, on average, the equivalent of 2.5 grades higher at GCSE than similar young people in other schools. (NFER 2008)

11. The National Foundation for Education Research also explored the impact of Creative Partnerships programmes on attendance and found an educationally significant reduction in truancy rates in Creative Partnerships’ primary schools. It must be stressed that finding educationally significant statistical evidence is extremely rare, and indicates a strong probability that the only explanation for these results is Creative Partnerships is the cause of the observed effect. (NFER 2008)

Impact on parents

12. Another key predictor of the academic attainment of young people is the degree to which parents are involved in their education. The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (2007) found creative programmes offer low-risk invitations to involve parents, encouraging some to engage with teachers and the whole school. In some cases they found parents took employment at the school as a result of initial involvement in creative projects.

Risks associated with cutting arts education

13. CCE is concerned the impacts of the cuts on arts and heritage spending both nationally and locally will fall disproportionately on programmes targeting children and young people, having a devastating effect on young people’s education and development. This is likely to result in a whole generation of children and young people missing out on opportunities to learn about arts and culture and develop their own talents.

14. Recent cuts have already illustrated this risk, for example the abolition of DCMS programmes targeted at children and young people including: Free swimming for under 16s; A Night Less Ordinary, which provides free theatre tickets to young people; and the Find Your Talent pilot which encouraged five hours of cultural learning each week.

15. We are also concerned that the DCMS five headline departmental priorities listed in their Structural Reform Plan (July 2010), make no reference to engaging and educating children in culture and the arts. This leaves young people’s programmes an easy target for cuts, particularly where they may already be seen as less important within the cultural sector as a whole.

16. We believe making disproportionate cuts in this area is short sighted for a number of reasons:

Widening the employment divide and reducing social mobility

17. The creative industries have already been identified by the Government as one of the fastest growing sectors. The CBI noted in July 2010 that the creative industries contribute around 6-8 per cent of UK output and produce exports totalling £16bn every year. It is widely expected that they will continue to grow, generating jobs for many years to come. While competition to enter the creative industries is fierce, it is biased in favour of young people from more affluent backgrounds, who are far more likely to experience culture out of school from an early age.

18. Cutting arts and cultural educational programmes would continue to widen the divide in employment opportunities and future careers between those from more affluent and disadvantaged backgrounds. Young people from less affluent backgrounds still find it difficult to access the sector, with the Creative & Cultural Skills Council recently highlighting the industry remains one of the most impenetrable.

19. Alan Milburn’s Fair Access to the Professions report also highlighted this issue: ‘The arts and cultural industries… will be one of our country’s major professions in future. There is strong evidence that children who are exposed to the arts early in life more actively engage with them when they become adults. And yet, middle- and low-income parents wishing their children to participate in a range of cultural activities often find there is no structure to support them in doing so’ (Milburn 2009). Reducing arts education funding risks making this problem worse.

Fragmentation of the funding system

20. Responsibility for funding for young people’s initiatives in the arts and cultural sector currently lies across a number of departments including the DCMS and the Department for Education. In addition, individual museums, the Arts Council, Design Council and others will all be submitting individual plans which will include work on young people and the arts and culture. This kind of fragmentation means there is a danger that no-one is monitoring impact of individual cuts in young people’s work on the sector as a whole.

21. Before the election the Conservative Party acknowledged the need for better ministerial coordination between the Department for Education and Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Although this may now be happening, there is little evidence of this in the public domain or clarity for those working in the education or cultural sector. Both departments need to take their fair share of responsibility for addressing this issue, so that cross departmental policy areas such as cultural education for young people are not lost.

Evidence based decisions

22. We are concerned that DCMS departmental cuts are not sufficiently evidence based, and fail to identify the benefits to society that public expenditure is seeking to achieve. This argument is backed up by the Centre for Social Justice’s recent response to the Government’s Spending review framework. It argues that the Treasury should ‘follow business practice and put return on investment at the heart of its spending decisions. It should take into account not just the financial value created from a spending programme, but the social value as well. This way worthwhile programmes will be expanded and ineffective ones identified and scrapped.’ (Centre for Social Justice 2010)

23. T he recent systematic review of the research on learning outcomes for young people participating in the arts from the DCMS’ research team CASE aims to strengthen understanding of how best to deliver culture and sporting opportunities of the highest quality to the widest audience. The report highlighted the generally positive impact of arts activities on the developme nt of children and young people. H owever it recognizes this will not be true of every arts activity. Therefore CCE argues that decisions about which arts educatio n programmes continue to be funded, should be made based on evidence of what has been proven to work.

Combining localism with efficiency agendas

24. CCE is concerned there are competing agendas at play when cuts are being made both at the national and local level. The Big Society aims to encourage community and citizen action to find local solutions to service delivery driven by local concerns and preferences. This offers a great opportunity for citizens to become more involved in shaping services and producing innovative solutions appropriate to the area they live in. We support this approach.

25. However, we recognise the capacity of many communities will need to be enhanced if they are to play a meaningful role. Our approach is intended to ensure that young people and their families develop the skills and understanding necessary to play a full role in defining and developing their own solutions to their community aspirations. Cultural programmes for young people provide a particularly potent way to ensure they are able to articulate and devise solutions to their own problems. Substantial reductions in funding of such programmes are likely to put this at risk.

Supporting cultural organisations to engage with young people

26. The Demos Consultation Paper - Culture and Learning: towards a New Agenda (Demos 2008), reported on research into the views of arts funders and cultural organisations on the provision of cultural programmes for young people. It found some cultural organisations are ambivalent about their responsibilities towards young people. This has organisational implications, with those working in learning often denied senior management status. For example, heads of learning rarely sit on senior management teams and learning can be sidelined within another function in the organisation.

27. The report found ‘although there have been many positive developments and initiatives in both the cultural and education sectors, fundamental problems remain, with learners encountering widely differing experiences. Cultural learning still has a low profile in public and political consciousness. Shared standards of excellence need to be developed, and consistent levels of provision established.’ (Demos 2008)

28. It recommended that the solution to such a disjointed approach to cultural learning is to have a better regime of evidence and evaluation and a more effective framework for delivery. This would be aided by: better networks for cultural educators and more brokerage. It highlights that ‘Creative Partnerships is the largest and most obvious example, with a now well-established track record and Ofsted-assessed performance. Given the divide already noted between the education and cultural sectors, brokerage is a very necessary function, worthy of extension and investment’ (Demos 2007)


29. CCE fears the current lack of priority for children and young people within the DCMS’ structural reform plan may well lead to a whole generation of young people missing out on cultural activities. We argue DCMS should accept they have a fundamental responsibility – even in difficult times – to ensure all young people have the opportunity to engage with the arts regardless of their background.

30. In this submission, CCE highlights that close attention must be paid to monitoring the impact of individual cuts on programmes for young people. Because funding responsibilities often fall between several departments, there is a danger such programmes could be dramatically affected due to lack of oversight and cross departmental working. Given the wide range of evidence which will be heard in this enquiry, this will be an ideal opportunity for the committee to scrutinise this issue.

31. CCE believes most cultural organisations should give cultural learning a core role in their work. Strong leadership from within the cultural organisations is critical in ensuring the learning function is properly represented at senior management and board level. The expertise of learning teams must also be valued and developed and the needs of children, families and carers must be identified and addressed.

32. Without coordinated efforts to broker relationships between cultural organisations and education providers, and with cultural organisations facing budget cuts, support for young people will almost disappear. With this in mind, CCE argues that educational and cultural organisations must ensure they prioritise those who do not otherwise have access to cultural learning opportunities.

33. To aid this, local authorities and regional agencies should make cultural learning a more explicit part of their planning for children and young people’s programmes. In parallel, cultural and learning organisations should aim to work together on cultural learning by building local and regional partnerships.


CBI. (2010). Creating Growth: A blueprint for the creative industries . London: CBI

Carr-West, J (2010) People Places Power: How Localism and Strategic Planning Can Work Together , Local Government Innovation Unit

Centre for Social Justice (2010) Response to the Spending Review Framework 2010: Maximising Social Value

Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, (2007) Their Learning Becomes Your Journey: Parents Respond to Children’s Work in Creative Partnerships’

Department for Culture Media and Sport, (July 2010) Department for Culture Media and Sport Structural Reform Plan

Gunnell, B and Bright M (2010) Creative Survival in Hard Times, New Deal of the Mind

Holden, J (2008) Consultation Paper - Culture and Learning: Towards a New Agenda , Demos

Ipsos Mori (2009), Evaluation of the Find Your Talent Programme: Baseline findings from ten Find Your Talent Pathfinders,

Milburn, Alan, (2009) Unleashing Aspiration: The Final Report of the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, Cabinet Office

National Foundation for Educational Research (2008) the longer-term impact of Creative Partnerships on the attainment of young people: Results from 2005 and 2006

National Foundation for Educational Research (July 2008) the impact of Creative Partnerships on pupil behaviour

Ofsted (January 2010) Learning: Creative Approaches that Raise Standards

September 2010