Policy and Practice Round-up June 2015

01 June 2015

This month we bring you evidence for the value of an arts education, a STEAM update, CLA at the Hay Festival, some summer reading and an invitation to submit a short film to Close-up on climate

You may be entering in to new conversations in the wake of the election and we thought it might be helpful to reiterate the evidence we have about the value of cultural learning.

We think the five killer facts to know are:

  1. Students from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree.
  2. The employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment. A Scottish study found this effect is greater for students who leave school earlier.
  3. Students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer and are 20% more likely to vote as young adults.
  4. A range of studies show at risk young people who take part in arts activities increase their self-esteem, social skills, confidence and ability to work with others. All attributes that improve disadvantaged children’s life chances.
  5. Bright but disadvantaged student’s A-level results are significantly improved when they experience academic enrichment activities at home from the age of eleven –including going on trips to museums and galleries, and reading for pleasure.

Read more on our evidence pages, and check out Culture Case and the US based ArtsEdSearch.


STEAM update

Building on NESTA’s Creativity vs. Robots message about the importance of STEAM (adding the A of Arts to STEM: science; technology; engineering and maths) the new Creative Industries Federation held a STEAM event on 13 May. It was hosted by the Institution of Civil Engineers with speeches from Ed Vaizey among others.

The event highlighted concerns about the narrow focus some schools and policy makers have on science, technology and maths without art, drama, music, design or other similar subjects. The Federation also launched their Creative Education agenda document at the event. Check out the #STEAMSkills hashtag for more information about the discussion.

STEAM Hack at the Science Museum

The CLA is running several STEAM events this year.

On 24 June we will be talking about the value and barriers to STEAM at the fantastic Teacher Zone at the Science Museum Late. The Science Museum’s Lates is a free night for adults that takes place on the last Wednesday of the month.  Teacher Zone is a VIP reception area for teachers. If you are a teacher you can book your ticket here.

The Science Museum will also be hosting a 24-hour STEAM Hack in the autumn. Over 24 hours in the Science Museum scientists, artists and teachers will work together on solutions to the barriers to implementing STEAM in schools. We expect to look at how to develop a STEAM curriculum and ideas to help in delivering the new GCSEs.

If you would like to get involved in the Hack please contact Sam Cairns (sam(at)


Should Young People study the arts? CLA debate at the Hay festival

The Hay Festival brings together writers from around the world to debate and share stories. At this year's festival the CLA hosted with What Next? the debate ‘Should Young People study the arts?’.

Professor Dai Smith, Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, Kevin Jones, Headmaster of St John's College School, Cambridge and CLA steering group member,  our very own Lizzie Crump and Sam Smith from Transition Tradition discussed the value of arts, culture and creativity to  young people and asked whether we're offering them the right choices.

Listen to the debate on the BBC.


Summer reading

If you are looking for your summer reading the ever-inspirational Sir Ken Robinson has a new book out on Creative Schools that we will be picking up.  


Close-up on climate short films

Close-up on Climate is the schools and youth project organised by the Climate Coalition. If you get your skates on you can submit a short film by the 10 June to tell everyone why fighting climate change matters and be invited to attend a Climate Coalition schools event in Westminster by Oxfam and CREST awards. Close-up would be a really exciting project for young people doing a CREST Award, run by the British Science Association.