Support for the creative economy

Written evidence submitted by Tate [SCE 015]

I write to you further to your request for consultation on how best to support the Creative Economy.

In summary, Tate’s recommendation is that, for the Creative Economy to continue to flourish, we must:

· Mitigate damage being done by excluding the arts from the new English Baccalaureate

· Ensure that the arts are secured in the curriculum review

Experience and confidence in the arts give skills vital to the Creative Economy. They build the approaches required to understand and interpret the creativity of others, they provide the means through which people can find expression and they inspire creativity anew.

In the request for consultation, you ask how we might avoid wasting the inspiration that the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics gave. If the current trajectory of education policy is continued, we risk doing exactly that. The talents of the performers and creators who dazzled the world, and the very same creative industries that Danny Boyle’s ceremony so successfully celebrated, are both rooted in the opportunities provided through cultural learning, the chance to visit galleries, theatres and other institutions and the inspiration to create for oneself.

At the launch of Tate’s Annual Report in September, I called for the arts to be made a fourth ‘R’ in the curriculum , core to the opportunity that is provided for young people in the UK. I reiterate that call in the context of this consultation. The UK’s Creative future will be the poorer -and its part in the global creative economy weaker-if we do not take steps to secure the place of the arts in the curriculum now. By making art a part of the national curriculum, we give the next generation of artists, engineers, creators and cultural leaders-all the bedrock of the Creative Economy-the opportunity to develop the imagination and skills that are vital for our future.

The omission of the arts from the English Baccalaureate (Ebac) is at odds with any clarion call for the Creative Economy. Already, the threat of this omission has sent a signal to teachers and young people. In a survey in 2011, 43% of respondents confirmed that as a direct result of the introduction of the Ebac, schools had put in place plans to restrict the degree of choice pupils are able to exercise over their Key Stage 4 subject options, and almost one in six of respondents reported that as a direct result of the introduction of the Ebac, teachers of non-Ebac subjects had been informed that they were at risk of redundancy. Furthermore, in September 2011 the number of places for secondary teacher trainees was cut by almost 14% overall: within that, Art PGCE places were cut by 40%. Such continued lack of valuation is entirely inconsistent with the value that the creative Economy represents.

In the interests of the Creative Economy and life more broadly, the arts require a stronger voice in the development of education policy and a more secure place in learning and the curriculum. The Cultural Learning Alliance and others have led the way in making representations to the Creative Industries Council especially in respect of the curriculum review, but their efforts must be supported by concerted action by government more widely.

In your questions, you rightly point to the importance of further and higher education in establishing a strong skills base to support the Creative Economy, but it is also the role of learning in general and it is this ecology that is imperilled by current policy. Further and Higher Education are the result of long-term development, and Tate joins with the Confederation of British Industry, and numerous other voices in emphasising the importance of recognising that.

Finally, the UK and Tate in particular are world leaders in providing cultural learning. Over the past year alone, Tate’s learning team has been consulted by organisations from many different countries and has proided official consultation to museums in Oman, Qatar and Singapore. Through turbinegeneration, the online resource developed by Tate, over 32,000 learners participate in a cultual learning network that spans over 40 countries. This reveals that cultural learning is an important export in its own right, with others recognising that they need to develop capacity for it, and that unless we place greater emphasis on cultural learning, the UK will fall behind as they do so.

In September, Tate joined with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Museum and the National Theatre to host the Worlds Together Conference in The Tanks at Tate Modern. It was booked out with 400 and delegates came from 25 countries The conference gathered some of the most influential thinkers in arts learning internationally to ask "What is at stake for children’s cultural lives today?" So successful was the conference that there are plans to recreate it in Brazil at the time of the Rio Olympics. As others follow the lead that the UK has taken, the UK itself risks throwing that lead away.

November 2012

Prepared 17th November 2012