Policy and Practice Round-up March 2014

31 March 2014

Welsh government to implement the Arts in Education report

You may remember the excellent report produced by Professor Dai Smith about the role of Arts in Education.

Minister for Education and Skills Huw Lewis announced on the 14 March that they will be implementing the report recommendations, and later this year producing a National Plan for Creative Learning which will ‘set out how the education and arts sectors will be supported to work together to deliver a high quality arts offer to schools, and it will be aligned with the Welsh Government priorities of reducing the impact of poverty on attainment and improving standards of literacy and numeracy.’

The plan will include evidence gathering to measure the impact of work.

A strong thread throughout was the way in which arts deliver other curriculum outcomes including literacy and numeracy.

In a detailed response to the twelve report recommendations the Welsh government set out how they would play a strong leadership role. The CLA is particularly pleased to see included in the planned activity:

  • support to include creativity as one of the ‘wider skills’ being proposed for the new Curriculum for Wales
  • embedding arts and creativity in teacher training and developing ‘arts-related’ teacher CPD
  • mentoring between teachers and arts organisations
  • development by Arts Council Wales of creative learning networks and testing plans for Creative Learning Hubs
  • improved careers advice on careers in the creative industries
  • Estyn (the education and training inspectorate for Wales) to inspect and report on the quality of arts teaching and learning experiences in primary and secondary schools;

Read the full response here.

We applaud the vision of the Welsh government and hope ministers across the border watch the impact of the policies closely.

The value of culture

This month we’re highlighting some of the important current discussions and publications about the value of culture.

  • Arts Council - The value of arts and culture to people and society

Arts Council England published their evidence review on the 14 March. It covers the impact of arts and culture on four areas: the economy, health and wellbeing, society and education. The review presents research that helps demonstrate the importance of arts and culture on society with useful statistics and quotes which we can all utilize when making the case for cultural learning.

There is also a great infographic to accompany the report. The beady eyed among you will notice the CLA key research findings in the education section!

  • AHRC Cultural Value Project

Many of you will be aware of the Cultural Value Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) project which is in its second year.

The starting premise of the Cultural Value Project is that we need to begin by looking at the actual experience of culture and the arts rather than the ancillary effects of the experience. The project is seeking to establish a framework that will advance the way in which we talk about the value of cultural engagement and the methods by which we evaluate that value.

Read summaries of the first phase and second phase of research.

  • Warwick Commission

The Warwick Commission is investigating the Future of Cultural Value with a focus on the state of culture in England.

Chaired by Vikki Heywood the Commission is asking What kinds of investment do we need to ensure the future of culture and how can we work to ensure that all forms of culture are inclusive and accessible for all?

The ambition is that the Commission will gather together the evidence and arguments to energise the debates about the future of investment and engagement in our cultural lives.

Learn more about the project, read up on some of the discussions and watch video of the first public provocation event on their website.

Ofsted reforms

On 21 March Sir Michael Wilshaw announced on proposed changes to the inspection framework. At the ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders) conference Wilshaw said his reforms will mean Ofsted inspectors visit ‘good’ schools once every two years, for one day. At present, Ofsted rated good schools are visited once every five years for three days for a full inspection.

Read the full text of the speech here and listen to an interview with Wilshaw about the reforms here.

Labour Skills Taskforce report: accountability framework should positively incentivise strong arts curriculum

The third report of the independent skills taskforce Qualifications matter: improving the curriculum and assessment for all has been published by Labour.

The report sets out ideas for how we can build a high quality workforce, including an idea for a National Baccalaureate.

Made up of four parts the National Baccalaureate would : include students’ existing A-level or high-quality vocational qualification; study of English and maths to 18; an extended study or project; and a tailored personal development programme.

The report also emphasised the need for the school accountability framework to positively incentivise a strong arts curriculum.

Although recognising the impact of the English Baccalaureate the report recommends that no further changes are made to the accountability system in the next 5 years. It recommends that Labour should ‘monitor schools response to the new Progress 8 measure and the continuing existence of the EBacc and track the effect on take up of the arts and vocational qualifications.’

This stance was echoed by Tristram Hunt MP, shadow education secretary, in a BBC interview on the 2 March. Hunt said Labour would not ‘tinker’ with the current system.

Cultural Metropolis 2014 - London Cultural Strategy updated

Boris Johnson launched an update to London’s Cultural Metropolis cultural strategy last week, which included cultural education achievements and initiatives and campaigns which they are supporting.

There are five Culture Strategy policies linked to education and skills covering campaigns and projects, music education, supplementary schools, employment and training.

The report sends a clear message about the value of cultural learning in supporting progression in to employment and developing cultural capital.

Download the report here.

New database of teaching resources for creative & cultural education

The Arts Council supported Cultural Resources for Schools website draws together teaching resources from arts organisations, museums and education specialists.

Designed to generate creative new ideas and inspire teachers the resources cover all areas of the national curriculum from Key Stage 1 to 5.

Teachers – have a great idea to raise attainment in maths, English or science?

Shine is a competition which is open to any teacher working in England to find fresh ways to raise attainment in English, maths or science.

Winning projects, chosen by a panel of judges from SHINE, TES and corporate supporters will receive up to £15,000 from SHINE to deliver their idea. Deadline for entries is the 27 April.