Policy and practice round-up March 2011

15 March 2011

This has been a month of reviews, inquiries and papers and a flurry of activity – particularly from the Department of Education. We bring you news of a newly-announced review of teaching standards; the on-going debate on the English Baccalaureate; Professor Ken Robinson on creativity; Arts Council England RFO data; our response to the Curriculum Review; and Labour’s education policy review launch.

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove has announced a review of teaching standards as he believes the current standards are too vague, and have too little focus on improving teachers’ skills. The review will be led by Sally Coates, principal of Burlington Danes Academy in London. You can read the full details of the review panel on Mike Baker’s Blog, with additional coverage from the BBC.The Education Select Committee Inquiry into the English Baccalaureate (E-Bac) closed last week. Select Committee rules prohibit the publication of the submission we sent in, but we can say that we made a robust case for the value of the arts and culture within any curriculum and highlighted the perils of overlooking the arts within this performance measure. We will be very interested in what the outcome of the inquiry will be, especially as Michael Gove has been heard to say that he “likes the E-Bac as it is”.Sir Ken Robinson talked brilliantly about the value of creativity and of the arts and culture on Radio 4 this weekend. If you missed it you can listen again here. You can also watch this ten minute RSA Animate clip on changing educational ideas – very useful for understanding both the Wolf Report and the Curriculum Review.As the arts world sites on the edge of its seat awaiting the outcome of the Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Review, it is worth leafing through the recently published annual submission data for the 2009/10 portfolio as it gives as interesting baseline with which to contrast the new picture as it emerges. For example, did you know that in 2009/10 ACE Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) put on 15,814 performances for children and young people? In the same year, school audiences totalled 2,056,451 and 545 RFOs had a least one education and learning specialist on staff.We have been putting together a collaborative response to the Curriculum Review with all our partners. Thanks so much to everyone that has contributed so far. We will be publishing our draft response on the CLA website next week, along with a quick breakdown of the official review form. We will send you a notification when it is up and very much hope that it is will be of use to you in preparing your own submissions.Last week Andy Burnham, Shadow Secretary of State for Education launched Labour’s education policy review. You can read the headlines here in the Times Educational Supplement. We will be following this policy development closely and will report back as the outline and focus develop.