Support for the creative economy

Written evidence submitted by Cultural Learning Alliance [SCE 062]

The Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) is a collective voice working to ensure that at a time of social and economic stress all children and young people are able to have an active engagement with the creation and enjoyment of our arts and heritage.

The Alliance includes a range of organisations working across the cultural and educational sectors, including non-departmental public bodies, philanthropists, umbrella organisations, cultural partners, education specialists and schools. It is supported by a wider membership of over 7,500 individuals and organisations.

The Cultural Learning Alliance is chaired by Lord Puttnam. A Steering Group meets quarterly to oversee the work and direction of the Alliance, and an Advisory Panel offers expertise and strategic support to all aspects of the CLA activities.

The CLA is run by Elizabeth Crump and Samantha Cairns.

1. Summary

1.1 The Cultural Learning Alliance works closely with the Creative Industry Council and their Skillset Skills Group. We have been working with colleagues to clarify and lobby for a number of school and education focussed interventions that we believe are critical to the development and growth of the Creative and Cultural Industries.

1.1.1 Art, technology and cultural learning in schools fuel creativity in the workplace and that fuels the economy. Creative employees generate ideas, innovation and enterprise.

1.1.2 It is essential that these subjects are included in compulsory education and qualifications. They demand discipline, rigour and resilience to study, and they deliver vital skills to employers, including improved levels of literacy and numeracy.

1.1.3 It is essential that we create employees with a mix of creative, technological and entrepreneurial capacities. Education must value and nurture these essential skills. School measurement and exam systems must reward their development.

1.2 We have five main requests of government and of the arms-lengths bodies that work with it:

1.2.1 We want the English Baccalaureate and proposed English Baccalaureate (EBacc) Certificates to include subjects that promote creative, cultural, technical and entrepreneurial interests and skills e.g. Art & Design, Design & Technology, Music, Drama, Media Studies, Film Studies. We do not subscribe to a hierarchical ordering of subjects.

1.2.2 We want to contribute formally to the curriculum framework for creative, cultural and technological subjects; we believe a light touch is needed, not an overly prescriptive one. We want Dance and Drama to be included within the PE and English Curricula respectively.

1.2.3 We want young people to be offered applied qualifications, that are rigorous and that we help to inform, to run alongside the proposed EBC’s & A-levels, with high quality careers advice for all students at Key Stages 3,4 & 5.

1.2.4 We want Computer Science to be offered on a par with Biology, Chemistry and Physics as a ‘fourth science’ in the EBacc Science subject grouping.

1.2.5 We want schools to be accountable through OFSTED for the development of their pupils’ creative, cultural, entrepreneurial and technical skills. We are keen to help inform this process so that inspectors are better equipped to identify and promote good practice.

1.3 In addition to these requests we want to ensure that schools, FE colleges and universities are equipped with the right workforce to deliver the best teaching and learning to support our sectors. We believe that this teaching and learning should be delivered by appropriately qualified teachers and be supported by the wider creative and cultural sector.

2. Arts and Cultural Subjects in the English Baccalaureate

2.1 The introduction of the English Baccalaureate: What we know

2.1.1 The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is currently a performance measure for secondary schools. It is relevant to young people in key stage 4 (ages 14-16).

2.1.2 Schools are required to publish the number of students that get A-C grades across 5 subject areas at GCSE level. These are: English, Maths, Science, Modern Foreign Languages and Humanities (History and Geography). These are generally known as the 5 Pillars of the English Baccalaureate.

2.1.3 This publication of results acts a league table and has led schools to start prioritising these subjects over others and putting their resources and funds towards them.

2.1.4 A recent poll by Ipsos Mori shows that over the last year alone 27% of schools have cut courses as a direct result of the EBacc measure and the year before 45% of schools cut courses. Of the courses cut, Drama, Performing Arts, Art and Design and Design and Technology are the worst hit.

2.2 The introduction of new qualifications (provisionally named English Baccalaureate Certificates or EBCs)

2.2.1 The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove has announced his intention to replace GCSEs with a new type of qualification. These new qualifications will be first developed for the EBacc suite of subjects and will come into force around 2015. He claims they will be more rigorous than GCSEs, will be linear and will be mainly assessed through exams. Modular learning and coursework will not be included.

2.3 The government’s argument:

2.3.1 There has been a decline in the number students taking EBacc subjects over the past decade. The Department for Education feels that the new performance measure has halted that decline already.

2.3.2 Teaching and learning in the EBacc subjects should take up 80% of school time and there is plenty of time in the curriculum to include other subjects if schools, parents and students think that they are important. This has been confirmed verbally by DfE officials to the CLA, but does not appear yet in writing in DfE documentation.

2.3.3 If schools think the arts are important then they can choose to include them.

2.4 What we know:

2.4.1 There is currently a year-on year decline in the number of children and young people taking arts and cultural subjects in schools. This will have a significant impact on the skills, knowledge and understanding that young people bring to the workforce.

2.4.2 Even committed school leaders and teachers need incentives and supporting structures to enable them to create the most effective arts and cultural learning.

2.4.3 Arts and cultural subjects cannot be relegated to a small percentage of the 20% of time ‘left over’ from the ‘important’ subjects.

2.4.4 Every child must have access to the arts and culture to be given the best chance to succeed. The arts must make up a core element of everyone’s education. If we lose the arts from the curriculum then only those with independent means will be able to participate. We risk an unequal system where some children get no access to the arts at all. We feel that these children will be significantly disadvantaged in pursuing careers as part of the creative and wider workforce

2.4.5 Business leaders and strategists agree with us-a recent report [1] by the Confederation of British Industry calls for the arts and cultural subjects to be included in the English Baccalaureate. This is echoed across the Creative Industry Council Skillset Skills report and across Darren Henley’s Review of Cultural Education.

2.4.6 Arts and cultural learning is essential in schools and makes a real difference. Young people do better in English and Maths subjects if they study the arts and are more employable. They are also more likely to vote, to volunteer and to get a degree. There is a great deal of international evidence [2] to prove this is the case.

2.5 What we suspect

Many of the CLA members are from Specialist Higher Education Institutions and we have begun to hear anecdotal evidence from these colleagues that the number and calibre UK of students applying for cultural and creative disciplines is falling. These colleagues feel that this is directly due to the narrowing of curriculum opportunities and a lack of encouragement of British talent. The CLA is currently working to collect robust evidence of this trend and would be happy to share it with the committee  once it has been collected.

3. Arts in the Curriculum

3.1 The review of the National Curriculum

3.1.1 Our National Curriculum covers statutory learning in schools for young people aged 5-14 (or Key Stages 1-3). It is currently under review and some draft documents for the Primary Curriculum (05-11) have been published.

3.1.2 Art and Design, Design and Technology and Music have been named as subjects that will be included, but Drama has been stripped from the latest draft of the Primary English curriculum. The place of Dance is also in jeopardy. References to Film and Media also appear to be significantly reduced across specifications.

4. Accountability through OFSTED

4.1 It is absolutely critical that excellent arts and cultural learning is delivered in every school and as such it must be incorporated into the accountability measures that all schools are judged by.

4.2 No Early Years setting, School, Youth Service, Academy or other educational setting should be judged beyond ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted unless that school provides a broad and balanced curriculum which includes the arts and culture.

4.3 The CLA and our partners are happy to offer to with Ofsted to develop criteria for this assessment and to work to integrate cultural learning specialists and Specialist Subject Associations into the assessment process alongside inspectors. Suitable indicators will be local and bespoke to different communities and arts organisations, but examples of commitment could include the Arts Council’s existing Artsmark and Arts Award schemes.

5. The need for qualified teachers in schools

5.1 In 2011, the government cut the number of postgraduate certificate of education places for trainee teachers-with art and music among the subjects most hit, losing 220 and 180 places respectively. It is critical that this trend is reversed.

5.2 The Creative and Cultural Industries have a part to play in supporting schools to deliver the best possibly learning opportunities, but this must be done alongside specialist teachers in schools-the sector cannot and should not replace this provision.

November 2012


[1] www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2011/09/urgent-action-needed-to-meet-creative-industries-skills-demand-%E2%80%93-cbi/

[2] www.culturallearningalliance.org.uk/page.aspx?p=93

Prepared 17th November 2012