Policy and Practice Round-up

22 December 2014

This month we bring you good news for cultural learning in Wales, news of Bob and Roberta Smith standing for parliament and how to host a husting, the Lords debate on arts education, a new CEO of Arts Council, their Create magazine and something you probably already have a view on - 'What do we mean by a good education'?

Schools Challenge Cymru £200,000 for Pupil Offer to provide

arts, science, sport, culture and heritage activities

The Welsh government has committed £200,000 to pilot the Pupil Offer in the 40 Pathways to Success schools. The Offer will introduce pupils to new experiences in the arts, science, sport, culture and heritage with the purpose of ‘broaden pupils’ horizons and raise their aspirations, expectations and ambitions.’

You may remember the excellent Welsh Government Arts in Education Report published in 2013 and the commitment made in March to create a National Plan for Creative Learning. An update was issued in August and we are eagaly awaitng the resources promised including online tool kits for schools and cultural organisations on narrowing the gap and improving literacy and numeracy and a review of best practice.

Bob and Roberta Smith to run against Michael Gove at the election on culture platform

If you have been wondering how to get involved in the General Election in May 2015 you may want to take a look at the artist Bob and Roberta Smith’s plans to run against Michael Gove in his Surrey Heath constituancy which was reported in the Independent and Guardian.

Host a Husting

If your level of commitment is falling a bit short of actually standing you could also consider other ways to get involved, perhaps by hosting a Hustings – read the What Next? guide to setting one up, or writing to your candiates. Not sure what to ask for? The CLA have compiled our manifesto asks which you can use in conversations with candiates.

House of Lords debate on Arts Education

Initiated by the Earl of Clancarty, member of the All Party Parlimentary Group on Art, Craft and Design Education, the Lords held a riviting debate on Arts Education in Schools on the 27 November. You can read the full text on hansard.

The debate covered all types of cultural education and showed all the speakers conviction of the power of cultural learning and their commitment to ensuring children and young people have access to arts and cultural activies.

Arts Council England news

New Chief Executive Darren Henley

Arts Council announced their new Chief Executive will be Darren Henley, of the Henley Review of Cultural Education fame this week. Henley replaces Alan Davey who is moving to the BBC. Read what the Guardian and for an alternative view the Spectator blog have to say about the appointment.


Arts Council has been continuing their Culture Matters advocacy push and published the magazine Create at an event on the 18 November.

Create, has 4 chapters: Cultural, Economic, Educational and Societal benefits of arts, is a good read and includes a graphic novel section.

You can listen to the education and children panel from the event here.

Speakers included Professor Sunetra Gupta who talked about the value of science and arts together and the rigour of arts, Professor John Coyne Vice Chancellor of the University of Derby, who pointed out the so-called 'soft' skills the arts develop are actually the hardest to acquire and the MP Kevin Brennan, Shadow Minister for Schools, who endorsed the idea that schools should not be “outstanding” unless they have an outstanding arts and culture offer.

What do we mean by ‘a good education’?

Create also includes a chapter by Anthony Seldon Headmaster of Wellington School and contributor to the CLA Independent School Headteacher interviews report, that has also been published by the TES. The chapter What do we mean by ‘a good education’? looks at privilege and access to the arts and argues that the lack of access afforded to less well off children in unjust and a waste of potential.