On the 18 March George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer presented the last Budget before the election. As expected there were no surprise big ticket items in the budget, but some good news in terms of tax breaks, training and libraries. Specific items included:
- funding boosts for regional cities, with Manchester, Cambridge and other cities set to keep 100% of growth in local business rates;
- £7.4 million to support libraries in England to provide internet access;
- film, TV, video games and animation received an extra £4 million of match funding for training and development through the Skills Investment Fund and £4 million for a new Video Games Prototype Fund;
- film tax credits have been increased and high end TV tax credits extended. There is a new Children’s TV tax relief from April 2015 and new orchestra tax relief from April 2016.
Osborne also outlined the cuts he believes will be needed in the next parliament including £13 billion from government departments and £12 billion from the welfare budget. Read more in the Budget report.
There are no clear details yet as to where these cuts will be taken from.
Narrowing the gap - Using the Pupil Deprivation Grant in support of arts and cultural activity
The Welsh Government has published guidance on using arts and cultural activity to reduce the impact of deprivation and narrow the gap between children receiving Free School Meals and their peers.
The publication could also be useful for colleagues looking for case studies and evidence on using the arts to narrow the gap for Pupil Premium learners in England. Download the report here.
STEM to STEAM
John Woodward's Review into the Creative Industries, commissioned by Labour, was published on the 27 March. It recognises the importance of the creative industries to our economy and our society.
It includes a STEAM recommendation:
Arts should be integrated into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in schools in England, and there should be support for the professional development of teachers across STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) subjects to develop fusion skills.
The report was warmly welcomed by Harriet Harman, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Chuka Umunna, Shadow Business Secretary.
New core ITT framework
Following on from the Carter Review recommendations and the government’s response published in January, the Department for Education has announced a new ITT core framework to be developed by an independent expert group. It will be led by Stephen Munday, Chief Executive of Comberton Academy Trust, and the Teaching Schools Council. See the full list of group members here.
At the same time the Teaching Schools Council is also being commissioned by the government to develop a new set of standards for school-based ITT mentors.
The group and the Council are expected to report back to government by the end of the year.
English Heritage split = Historic England & English Heritage Trust
From today English Heritage has split in to two separate organisations.
Historic England is the new name for the public body that champions and protects England's historic environment.
The English Heritage Trust is a new independent charity, retaining the name English Heritage, who will look after - on behalf of the nation - the National Heritage Collection, consisting of more than 400 historic sites across England.
The English Heritage Trust will continue the education work, including the free self led visits for schools to sites. Read more about their work here.
Hiive is a new professional network for creative people, backed by Creative Skillset. You can register and join the online community of creative professionals, post CVs, look for jobs, kick-start creative projects, share ideas and promote events. Take a look here.
Learning spaces survey
The Clore Duffield Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England are working with partners to refresh Space for Learning: A Handbook for Education Spaces in Museums, Heritage Sites and Discovery Centres. They want to make sure the new publication meets the needs of colleagues working in cultural organisations, hear your insights about what makes a great learning space and which are your favourite spaces. If you have 10 minutes please fill in their survey.