Policy and Practice round-up May 2019

30 April 2019

This month we bring you the latest on the Arts Council England 10 year strategy; a call for an Arts Premium from the RSC Deputy Director; the Creative Opportunity lecture from Sir Nicholas Serota; evidence that reformed GCSEs offer fewer opportunities to develop creativity; the Sutton Trust 2019 teacher survey results; new research on the contribution of arts to the UK Economy; new Early Years resources for the museum and heritage sector; training on using cohort data for the data geeks among you; and upcoming conferences.

Arts Council England Strategy update

Arts Council England is in the process of developing its 2020-2030 strategy. Findings from the Strategy consultation that closed this January were published on 8 April.

The proposed strategy outcome –  ‘The creative and cultural lives of all children and young people are recognised and nurtured’ – received a ‘significant’ amount of support in the consultation.

Comments on this outcome most frequently addressed what is being taught in schools and the place of arts subjects in the curriculum:

‘There was a view that these subjects are not given appropriate emphasis within the curriculum overall and are being pushed out through changes to the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc), focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other issues.’

Other key themes were the role of ACE as an advocate for arts education, the need to highlight careers in the arts, and the importance of consulting and involving children and young people.

A final consultation round on the draft Strategy and delivery plan will be held this summer.

RSC Deputy Artistic Director calls for Arts Premium and Ofsted to assess arts and cultural provision

On 21 April Erica Whyman OBE, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Deputy Artistic Director, wrote a blog for the TES on arts in schools, saying:

A growing body of research points to the unique role that the arts play in helping to realise the potential of all young people. The arts encourage us to think deeply about what it is to be human. They require us to consider complexity, recognise a range of views and perspectives, they foster empathy, help us develop tolerance and show us new ways of seeing ourselves and the world around us.’

Whyman set out her case using the evidence from the RSC three-year partnership TALE project with Tate and the University of Nottingham which culminated in the Time to Listen report and called for ‘an arts and culture premium' to ensure that every school has the resources to deliver a meaningful arts and cultural education and for Ofsted to fully consider arts and cultural provision when assessing schools.’

We are very pleased to hear this endorsement of the Arts premium idea which we first called for in our Manifesto asks in May 2017.

Read the full blog

The Creative Opportunity

As many of you know the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education has been running since 2017 and will report this autumn. As part of the work Durham University is hosting a series of lectures. You can view the February lecture by Sir Nicholas Serota ‘The Creative Opportunity’ online.

'We must look to creativity as a source of values: we believe that it can help produce young people who have imagination and empathy ... who can shape communities.'
Sir Nicholas Serota, The Creative Opportunity lecture, February 2019

Book for upcoming lectures which include Creativity – What is it? Why does it matter? How can schools ‘teach it’? Can it be assessed? by Professor Bill Lucas. Also look out for Professor Pat Thompson’s lecture, Cultural citizenship – what have the arts and creativity got to do with it?, which we hope will be joining Serota’s lecture online soon.

Reformed GCSEs offer fewer opportunities to develop creativity – Edge Foundation

The Edge Foundation published its fourth Skills Shortage Bulletin on 15 April. The Bulletin included research results from Edge and the National Education Union revealing that 47 per cent of teachers believe there are fewer opportunities to develop employability skills in the reformed GCSEs, and 66 per cent believe that there are fewer opportunities to develop creativity.

Sutton Trust Teacher survey

The Sutton Trust has published the findings from its annual NFER Teacher Voice Survey of 1,678 teachers. 47 per cent of senior leaders say they have cut back on subject choice at GCSE for financial reasons, and 40 per cent at A Level. Also for financial reasons 43 per cent of all teachers say they have cut back on trips and outings and 47 per cent of senior leaders say they have cut back on teaching staff. See our blog on Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools talking about School Funding at the 3 April Education Select Committee for more on this.

Contribution of the arts and culture to the UK economy

Arts Council England has published this year’s report on the contribution of arts to the UK Economy. The report uses data from the Office for National Statistics and has been produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). It is worth noting that a separate report is being prepared looking at the contribution of the museum sector.

Key stats in this year’s report are:

  • Workers in the arts are more productive: productivity in the arts and culture industry between 2009 and 2016 was greater than that of the economy as a whole, with gross value added per worker at £62,000 for arts and culture, compared to £46,800 for the wider UK economy.
  • The strongest GVA (gross value added) growth between 2013 and 2016 was in the operation of arts facilities, which saw its GVA increase by 49 per cent, to over £3.1bn. Book publishing and sound recording also increased significantly during this period, their GVA increasing by 47 per cent and 36 per cent respectively.
  • Employment in the arts and culture in England increased by 12 per cent 2009-2016, from around 110,900 jobs in 2009 to 124,575 jobs in 2016.
  • Employment in the arts and culture for the UK as a whole increased by 11 per cent 2009-2016, from approximately 123,300 jobs in 2009 to 137,200 jobs in 2016.
  • Average full-time gross pay in 2016 for arts and culture jobs was £42,295.

The report also found that ‘Investment in arts and culture in deprived areas can be an effective way of establishing a “city brand” which helps to attract young and creative people to the areas. In turn, this can attract commercial creative businesses, catalysing regeneration and urban redevelopment. Many of the organisations surveyed gave accounts of this happening in their local area’. 

Early Years Toolkit for the museum and heritage sector – new resources

The Museum of London has added some new case studies and articles to its early years toolkit, which is a digital resource full of great ideas and inspiration for those working with under 5s in the museum and heritage sector. 

Workshop on using cohort data

If you are interested in data and evidence you may have seen that many of our key findings reference cohort data – these are longitudinal studies over decades with very large sample sizes, in the tens of thousands, which enable us to control for background when looking at outcomes for different groups.

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the Institute of Education, University College London is running a free workshop: Longitudinal data across the life course: an introduction to using cohort data on 17 May at the University of Edinburgh. This workshop will give both first-time and more experienced data users an insight into four of the UK’s internationally-renowned cohort studies run by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS). Find out more and book your place.

Some pay-for events coming up

 The Thriving Child, 28 June

The Royal Opera House Bridge conference The Thriving Child takes place on 28 June and in partnership with other Bridges including Curious Minds the conference will be livestreamed to five other locations across England and link up with parallel conferences. Cost to attend is £59.

NSEAD National Conference and AGM 2019, 29 June 

The NSEAD (National Society for Art, Craft and Design) conference this year is Art, Craft and Design is ... shaping the future. Held Saturday 29 June at the Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire. 

GEM Conference 2019, 11 to 13 September

The Group for Education in Museums annual conference is Connection, Action, Innovation Forging dynamic and lasting partnerships with communities. Read more on their website.