Policy and Practice Round-up May 2014

23 May 2014

Evidence, evidence, evidence

As regular readers will know we are all about the evidence at the CLA. We push for equal opportunity to access the arts because the evidence base tells us the positive impacts it will have on children’s life chances is huge.

In the past few months we have reported on evidence from among others the OECD, DCMS, New Scientist, the Sutton Trust and Pearson.

Out this month to add to this list is the Learning Curve report written by the Economist Intelligence Unit and published by Pearson, which highlights the importance of 21st Century Skills including communication, working in teams and problem-solving, all developed by engaging in the Arts. See the studies we highlight in our Key Research Findings for more information.

Despite all the reports out there CLA members tell us they struggle to find the right evidence to help them in their work so we are pleased that Kings College London has launched CultureCase, with a dedicated section on the Educational impacts of arts and culture.

This very welcome UK based resource joins ArtsEdSearch, a US online database of research. Tweet us any gems you find in CultureCase or ArtsEdSearch and we will retweet.

Yet another disincentive for arts education? Education Services Grant consultation

Back in March the Department for Education (DfE) launched a consultation on savings they need to make to the Education Services Grant (ESG). The ESG is a per-pupil grant paid to both local authorities and academies introduced in 2013. A saving of £200 million needs to be found from the ESG.

Section 4.5 of the consultation states:

Our expectation is that music services should now be funded through music education hubs (which can cover one or more local authority areas) and from school budgets, not from the ESG.

In addition the paper when discussing ‘music services; and visual and performing arts services’ also says:

we believe there is a limited role for local authorities in providing these services.

We know from the Arts Council’s Key Data on Music Hubs that on average Hubs receive at least 7% of their funds from Local Authorities.

Aside from the obvious problems of cutting even one source of funding from already over stretched services, and even if some services are not funded from the ESG, we are very worried about the impact of a message from the DfE to Local Authorities suggesting they should not fund music and other arts services.

We believe this will act as another disincentive on the provision and take up of arts education.

The ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) have launched a Campaign to Protect Music Education and we join them in calling for the DfE withdraw this recommendation and commit to fully supporting music education.

The consultation closes on the 19 June and ISM have posted an example response you can use. Information about how to respond to the consultation is on this page. You can also sign up to the ISM Campaign here.

Labour plans for education

Labour published Putting Students and Parents First at the end of April, a report by David Blunkett setting out possible future Labour education policy. With 40 recommendations Labour’s objectives are to raise standards and offer equal opportunity to all children through ‘coherence, consistency and a collaborative approach’.

A key recommendation was a new post of an independent Director of School Standards appointed and accountable locally with responsibility for key functions currently exercised by the Department for Education.

The role would broker partnerships, oversee new schools and places and support areas such as SEN, careers provision and progression. They would have responsibility for driving up standards for all schools in their area whatever their status.

The proposals also include:

  • kite-marking for ‘those providing substantial education support services who do not fall under the remit of Ofsted’.
  • Revising and possibly updating Every Child Matters.
  • Establishing a curriculum advisory group reporting to the Secretary of State drawn from across the political spectrum. The group would make recommendations on a light‐touch curriculum with the aim to ensure consistency and the avoidance of politicisation of the curriculum.
  • A requirement that all teachers have or be working towards qualifications.
  • Re-establishing The National College of School Leadership linked to cross‐border provision of training through teaching school alliances and the development of peer group support through National Leaders of Education programmes.

Most news coverage focused on the Director of School Standards idea. Read the BBC, Telegraph and Guardian Teacher network articles.

Feeling competitive?

There is still time for young people to enter the NOISE Festival 2014. NOISE Festival aims to give the best undiscovered creative talent a platform to gain international recognition and open up career opportunities.

NOISE aims to help break down barriers to careers in the creative industries. It provides a portfolio website to showcase talents and network.

If you are, as alas the CLA team are, too old to enter the Festival you may still find its live monthly careers webinars useful for the young people you work with. Previous webinars are available to watch on the NOISE website here.