Policy and practice round-up May 2013

24 May 2013

This week we bring you a bumper crop of information on a new research project from the AHRC, a Museums Associations paper on people's perceptions of museums, changes to Initial Teacher Training Criteria, a consultation on the DCMS definition on culture, a school's toolkit from the Education Endowment Fund, the launch of What Next? and the announcement of 102 new Free Schools.

Arts and Humanities Research Council launches the Cultural value project

A key topic our members tell us they are concerned about again and again is the evidence base for cultural learning so we are very excited that the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has launched the Cultural Value Project.

The objective of the Project is to develop a framework within which the different components of cultural value will be identified and to establish for each of the components methodologies and appropriate types of evidence for evaluating their contribution.

They anticipate funding between 20 and 40 projects from a range of disciplinary, conceptual and methodological perspectives and have a total fund of two million pounds available. The first funding round has closed with projects announced in July 2013 and completed by May 2014. They anticipate a second round of funding. Projects must be submitted by a University.

If you have thoughts about the Project, suggestions of case studies or methodologies, or are interested in contributing in other ways you can email Dr Patrycja Kaszynska with details:

Museum association perceptions work

We were very interested to read the Britainthinks report for Museums Association on public perceptions of the purpose museums. The report found that education is seen as one of three essential roles for museums by participants. Read the full report here.

Initial Teacher Training – no placements in settings other than schools

There are many excellent examples of cultural organisations providing ITT placements, some of which are an accredited part of courses. Colleagues have been contacting the CLA about the new Initial Teacher Training Criteria Supporting Advice published by DfE that states:

Time spent training in settings other than schools, early years or further education (FE) settings can form a valuable part of teacher's learning, but now cannot be counted towards the qualification.

This effectively ends the possibility of accredited museum based placements. The University of Cambridge Faculty of Education and The Fitzwilliam Museum on behalf of the University of Cambridge Museums have issued a statement, calling for this advice to be rescinded, which we recommend for its comprehensive coverage of the issue.

Do contact us if this is affecting you.

Creative Industries definition consultation

DCMS currently has a consultation open on the ways in which we classify and code the types of activities that are defined as creative industries. This is important because the classifications feed in to the economic estimates of national product produced by the cultural sector. Creative and Cultural Skills have produced a paper and are offering advice to organisations responding to the consultation. The consultation closes on the 14th June.

Education Endowment Fund / Sutton Trust Evidence toolkit

The EEF has recently published a toolkit for teachers and schools to help them decide what kinds of activity they should commission, particularly with their Pupil Premium funds. The toolkit ranks different interventions in order of effectiveness – with peer mentoring and effective feedback ranking very highly (low cost, high impact) and interventions like school uniform and physical environment registering little or no impact on pupil achievement. Arts participation ranks about halfway up the table and you can read what the EEF say about its effectiveness here.

What Next?

Last month What Next? was launched. It's a national movement which aims to engage more people in the debate about how arts and culture make society better.

We joined other colleagues across the sector to talk about some of the key issues facing us all, and, as ever, it was heartening to see that learning and children and young people were often at the heart of the conversation.

What Next? asked delegates to make a number of pledges; to engage with teachers by hosting discussion dinners, to become school governors, to ask teachers and young people onto the boards of cultural organisations and to set aside first night and private view tickets for them. The conference also asked colleagues to meet regularly in their local area to talk about changes they would like to make to the way they work – a good opportunity to share ideas about cultural learning. There are a number of these meetings happening around the country and you can find out where and how to get involved by going to the website.

Free school announcements

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove has just announced the latest round of Free Schools that has been approved. Interestingly, there are a number of arts and cultural learning specialist schools amongst them, including; the DV8 Academy in London that will focus on music production, technology, performing arts and fashion; the East London Academy of Music, a music school for 16 to 19-year-olds in Tower Hamlets; Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts Primary School, which aims to ‘emphasize performing and making performance possible’, and the Weekend Arts College in Camden.