Policy and Practice round-up February 2020

30 January 2020

This month we bring you news of the RSA’s Arts-Rich Schools report; confirmation of £85 million of investment by the Department for Education in cultural education for 2020/21; and background and research on the Early Years Foundation Stage reform from Earlyarts.

RSA Learning About Culture project publishes stories of eight schools offering great arts education

Learning About Culture is the UK’s largest ever study into the value and impact of arts-based learning for children, particularly those experiencing disadvantage, and is working to strengthen the evidence on what works in arts-based learning, and help schools and arts organisations to improve the quality and effectiveness of their practice.

The CLA has been involved in the RSA Learning About Culture project since its launch and values their first publication The Cultural Learning Evidence Champion’s Handbook.

The RSA Arts-Rich Schools report, published on Monday 27 January, provides case studies from the frontline of headteachers who have committed whole-heartedly to an arts-rich education, and shares some of the strategies they are using to deliver their vision. Sam Cairns, our Co-Director was one of the authors.

Key strategies identified are:

  • Giving the arts high status within their school
  • Prioritising dedicated arts spaces
  • Developing a range of partnerships to facilitate curricular and extra-curricular offer
  • Maintaining curriculum breadth at secondary school
  • Prioritising specialist staff
  • Timetabling to put the arts at the centre of school life

Read the full Arts Rich Schools report, including inspiring examples and stories from school leaders, teachers and students.

DfE confirms £85 million arts education funding for 2020/21

On 3 January the Department for Education (DfE) confirmed it would continue its funding for Music hubs, In Harmony, Youth Music and Cultural Education programmes for 2020/21. These schemes will receive a total of £85 million in the 2020/21 financial year, with £80 million going to Music Hubs.

The full list of schemes the money will fund is:

  • Music Education Hubs
  • In Harmony
  • National Youth Music Organisations (NYMOs)
  • Music for Youth
  • Heritage Schools
  • BFI Film Academy
  • Museums and Schools
  • ACE Bridge Network
  • National Youth Dance Company
  • Saturday Art and Design Clubs

It is great news that all these valuable programmes will be continuing their work to improve children’s participation in arts and culture. Read more on the DfE website.

Early Years Foundation Stage reform Consultation: background and research

On Friday 31 January the consultation on the Early Years Foundation Stage reform closes. For those of you interested in the background to the reform and consultation, including the current research on pedagogy and curriculum design, we highly recommend Ruth Churchill Dower’s article for Earlyarts which goes in to detail on the subject.


Image credit: Leeds Museums