Supporting the creative economy - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

6  Education, skills and training

110. In January 2012, the Creative Industries Council's Skills group, led by Creative Skillset, produced a report which made 17 recommendations to boost skills and talent in the creative industries.[200] Key recommendations, welcomed by both industry and Government, included reform of the ICT syllabus in schools, a promotional campaign to raise the profile of apprenticeships and a call to improve the quality of industry internships.

111. According to DCMS, the work of Sector Skills Councils, Creative Skillset and Creative and Cultural Skills, has been instrumental in identifying skills that would be of value to the creative industries' workforce. While taking evidence and going on fact-finding visits we were struck by the huge diversity of skills needed to secure a vibrant creative sector. During a visit to Warner Brothers in Leavesden, we were impressed by the important roles played by carpenters and electricians, artists and craftsmen. In an evidence session focusing on video games, Ian Livingstone told us: "For me art and music and all the creative skills, that give our competitive edge in this country, should be taught as widely as much as possible." He added that the "ultimate graduate" is someone with a "double" first in maths, physics and art.[201] For good measure, we would add that knowledge of intellectual property and business skills should also feature in the education of our future creative entrepreneurs. Creative and Cultural Skills commented: "Although universities do provide some entrepreneurial education, they have been slower to provide the support for the creative sector they more readily supply to businesses in technological or scientific sectors."[202]

112. Written evidence from the DCMS gives a strong focus to ICT skills; others have been vocal in the case for the arts. Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate, has called for the arts to be made a fourth 'R' in the curriculum. He adds that "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."[203] Universities UK has urged the Government to resist "the narrow view that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects represent the exclusive route to economic success."[204] As Josie Barnard, author and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, put it to us, giving one example: "Many of today's Creative Writing students are tomorrow's managers/leaders ... Students who are taught Creative Writing are taught creative thinking. Creative thinking is clearly essential in business development and business management and feeds directly into the Government's aims ..."[205]

113. On 30 January 2013 the Government announced it had accepted the inclusion of computer science in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). It is important to note that the current EBacc provides a performance measure for schools and is quite separate from the Government's now dropped proposal for English Baccalaureate Certificates which were to replace GCSEs. The Cultural Learning Alliance told us:

    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).

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

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

    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.[206]

114. The Cultural Learning Alliance argues for a light touch approach to the school curriculum that would, for example, see dance and drama included within the PE and English curricula respectively. On 8 July 2013, the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, announced the publication of an updated national curriculum framework that provides some space for both dance and drama.[207] However, there is clear evidence that student numbers are falling in a wide range of subjects across the arts curriculum.[208] The broader arts curriculum has been seriously hit by the Government's approach to performance measurement which we deeply regret. The danger remains that schools will in practice see a continued diminution in the provision of dance, drama and other creative subjects. We therefore recommend that arts are added to the five subject areas currently on which the EBacc assessment is based.

115. An Order under Sections 84 and 85 of the Education Act 2002, will give force to the Government's decision to replace the current national curriculum subject of information and communication technology (ICT) with computing from September 2014. This reflects a greater focus on practical programming skills. We welcome a greater focus on computing in schools, not least because, in the digital age, a practical ability to program computers amounts to basic literacy. It is vital that enough teachers are trained to impart to their students a solid grounding in IT and programming skills.[209]

116. On 7 February 2013 the Secretary of State for Education announced a two month public consultation on the draft National Curriculum. As noted above, this resulted in a revised framework document published on 8 July.[210] A new draft design and technology curriculum programme has also now been prepared.[211] In addition, a reformed GCSE subject content consultation was published in June 2013 accompanying an oral statement by the Secretary of State.[212] The subjects covered in the first tranche are English language, English literature, mathematics, science (biology, chemistry and physics), history, geography, modern languages and ancient language.

117. In England, there is no requirement for students over the age of 14 to study the arts (art and design, music, dance, drama and media arts) and design and technology. Pupils in maintained schools do, however, have a statutory entitlement to be able to study at least some of these subjects. Our inquiry has found clear evidence that the Government's focus on subjects like science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is already having a pronounced impact on the arts and other creative subjects.[213] We believe that the crucial role of arts subjects in a modern education should be recognised and that art subjects should be added to the STEM subjects, changing STEM to STEAM.

118. As it continues to introduce further changes to the national curriculum, the Government must ensure that students up to key stage 3 receive a solid grounding in the arts and design. We believe that students aged 14-16 (key stage 4) must be able to access the widest possible programme of creative subjects to prepare them to play a full part in the knowledge economy.

119. There appears to be a limited recognition in Government about the importance of teaching creative subjects in schools. The relevance of music,[214] for example, has been acknowledged in the Government's first national music plan.[215] Edward Vaizey told us that the Government would also implement a national cultural education plan.[216] A Cultural education policy paper, published by the Department for Education and DCMS on 5 July 2013, seeks, among other things, to encourage more schools to offer a wider spread of creative subjects with a new accountability framework for secondary schools. Professor Bartholomew summed up the need for this well: "We are not naturally creative; we need to nurture that creativity and once we have done it others seek it if we don't seek it for ourselves."[217]

120. Alison Wenham, chief executive officer of the Association of Independent Music, suggested that copyright deserves a place in the curriculum, not least because it underpins many of the careers to which young people aspire.[218] Jo Dipple, chief executive officer of UK Music, considered there to be "a big opportunity for the curriculum to educate young people on the kind of world they are living in when it comes to the creative industries that they love."[219]

121. We recommend that school children be introduced to the ideas of intellectual property and the nature of business to gain a better understanding of the importance of creativity both to the learning process and to wider society and the economy.

122. Beyond the world of school, Alan Davey of Arts Council England told us that "the real shortage at the moment is of training places, internships and apprenticeships, whether it is on the technical level or the artistic."[220] Arts Council England is responding to this with initiatives of its own, albeit on a relatively small scale.[221] Pact members contribute to a training charity called the Independent Training Fund and John McVay referred to work on a report that will "quantify all the different training initiatives, graduate schemes and various other things"[222] that Pact members are engaged in. He also emphasised the importance of clamping down on illegal unpaid work experience: "If someone can afford to come and work in London, paid for by their parents, then you are absolutely discounting a whole range of people who are probably talented and could come and do that. That is bad for our business."[223]

123. DCMS cites[224] a Creative Industries Council report as having identified ways to boost skills and talent, including reform of the ICT syllabus in schools, a "promotional campaign" to raise the profile of apprenticeships and a "call" to improve the quality of industry internships. Matthew Griffiths of PLASA alluded to "tons of regulation"[225] as creating barriers to vocational education. He also suggested that companies would welcome tax relief to encourage the employment of apprentices and a younger workforce.[226]

124. When it comes to strengthening and nurturing apprenticeships, the Government needs to do much more than exhort and encourage industry to participate. Government has to communicate clearly and widely about the opportunities that exist, giving examples of good practice. The case for tax reliefs for companies—particularly in the creative sector—should be examined more closely.

125. We also heard evidence from the university sector. One question which cannot yet be answered with any great certainty is what impact increased tuition fees may have on post-graduate education. This needs to be watched carefully as it could impact on areas like visual effects, where postgraduate level skills are in great demand.[227] We heard that 53% of those working in visual effects have had to be brought in from outside the UK.[228] This links to wider concerns—what Dame Liz Forgan referred to as "visa entanglements"—about barriers to artists wishing to come to the UK.[229] Arts Council England have expressed concerns about the "visa situation" in the context of conservatoires and art schools.[230] Claire Enders also commented on the need to avoid impeding the flow of talent.[231] Professor Geoffrey Crossick put the point:

    If you are studying computing or mathematics or physics, diversity of students from different parts of the world, different ethnic and cultural backgrounds is good for your experience but it does not change the way you learn. In the creative subjects it is that diversity and difference that is one of the great drivers of excitement and energy and change and ideas.[232]

126. There does appear to be some recognition that creative workers and students from overseas have different qualifications and occupations that do not always fit into conventional categories—at least judging by a recent report by the Migration Advisory Committee.[233] Clearly, foreign students and workers in the creative industries play important roles, both cultural and economic. A more considered approach to high talent migration policy is needed.[234]Overseas students make a vital contribution to the growth of the UK's creative economy and there are signs that visa and employment restrictions sometimes fail in practice to recognise this. We urge the Government to take more account of the special situation of the creative individuals, many of them uniquely talented, who wish to study and work in the United Kingdom.

200  Back

201   Q 597 Back

202   Ev 258 (Creative and Cultural Skills) Back

203   Ev w22 Back

204   Ev 253 (Universities UK) Back

205   Ev w182 Back

206   Ev w135 (Cultural Learning Alliance) Back

207   HC Deb 8 July 2013 cc36-45; Department for Education, The national curriculum in England: Framework document, July 2013 Back

208   HC Deb 15 October 2012 c192W Back

209   Qq 556, 583, 593 Back

210   Department for Education, The national curriculum in England: Framework document, July 2013 Back

211   Ibid.  Back

212   HC Deb 11 June 2013 c172 Back

213   Qq 94, 113, 441-444 Back

214   Qq 722, 747 Back

215   Q 902 Back

216   Ibid.  Back

217   Q 452 Back

218   Q 271 Back

219   Q 270 Back

220   Q 160 Back

221   Q 161 Back

222   Q 200 Back

223   Q 201 Back

224   Ev 201 Back

225   Q 772 Back

226   Q 745 Back

227   Q 450 Back

228   Qq 45, 51 Back

229   Q 145 Back

230   Q 149  Back

231   Q 148 Back

232   Q 446 Back

233   Migration Advisory Committee, Skilled Shortage Sensible, February 2013 Back

234   Q 447 Back

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Prepared 26 September 2013