Policy and practice round-up December 2015

16 December 2015

This month we bring you new Kings College CultureCase evidence on the value of arts education, how the arts help us cope with uncertainty, continuing concerns about the arts being squeezed out of schools and a reminder to contact your MP after the spending review.

Spending review – did you contact your MP?

The announcement of standstill funding for the arts and culture for the next five years in the spending review was welcome news. In the lead up to the spending review many members spoke to their MPs to make clear how much they valued the arts, and many reported back on how fruitful and positive the conversations were.

If you did talk to your MP, do write again now to tell them how the result affects you, and do also write to the Chancellor and our Ministers, Ed Vaizey and John Whittingdale to tell them too. Bear in mind that this can keep the door open for future conversations about arts education in your constituency.  


New CultureCase evidence

Some of you may already be using the excellent CultureCase website run by Kings College London. It summarises key evidence about the value of culture. December marks the start of a new wave of updates to CultureCase, with two articles per week going live between now and March.

This week includes a study showing that making art increases brain activity in the areas associated with self-awareness and memory processing. Also posted is an interesting study showing that arts participation is very closely linked to education, rather than to social class or status, unlike arts attendance.


The arts give students the ability to cope with uncertainty

Writing on 1 December, Peter Green, headmaster of Rugby School, made a strong case for the value of arts in terms of the benefits they create for students’ future employability:

We know that, in the world of work, creative vision, entrepreneurial skills and artistic flair are key transformational advantages that derive from studying the arts. 

He also highlighted their benefits to personal development (one of the new Ofsted goals) and the ability of the arts to enable students to deal with and navigate uncertainty.

Read the article on the Telegraph website.


Arts squeezed out of state schools

Another red flag around the arts has been raised by the independent sector. Alum Jones, the president of the Girls’ Schools Association, said in his speech to the Association’s annual conference that the arts are being squeezed out of state schools:

I am thinking particularly of music and the creative or expressive arts, which have all but been squeezed out of the school day in many state schools by the imposition of what seems like a constantly changing curriculum

Read more on the TES website.