Policy and Practice round-up May 2022

20 May 2022

This month we bring you an update to our 20 years of cultural education policy timeline; news of research from Engage on Art & Design Education in Scotland; changes to Education Scotland, including a new national education agency; Future Fwd conference, and the Researching the Arts in Primary Schools blog.

20 years of cultural education policy timeline – now 23 years!

Some of you may remember in September 2019 we looked back at 20 years of cultural education policy marking the publication in 1999 of All Our Futures and in 2009 of Get It, the Power of Cultural Learning: the report that recommended the setting up of a ‘time-limited Cultural Learning Alliance’. 

With the publication in March of the Education White Paper that included a commitment to creating a Cultural Education Plan it seemed a good point to update the timeline to cover up to 2022. Do take a look at the new additions to the timeline which cover the scrapping of facilitating subjects in 2019, the publication of Let’s Create from Arts Council England, Covid 19 policy, Levelling Up and everything in between.   

Engage Scotland publishes Art and Design Education in Scotland research

If you are looking for information about the state of Art & Design education in Scotland the Mapping Contemporary Visual Art and Design Education in Scotland Engage report based on surveys, interviews and workshops with teachers, artists and students is very comprehensive.

It includes information on the barriers to collaboration between schools and arts organisations from a teachers point of view. As usual cost of transport and time are the biggest barriers to visits, but the report also identifies: ‘A potential gap in what the visual arts sector is currently providing in terms of educational activities and what teachers need in order to include sector visits into their curriculum planning.’

The report also echoes earlier work, such as Time to Listen, highlighting that the value of studying arts subjects for students goes beyond specific subject skills and knowledge, with the report finding:

  • A significant portion of young people in the creative workshop identified their art and design classes as a place to develop personal skills
  • The mental health and pastoral support gained from the learning environment of the art and design classroom was highly valued by the young people

Read the full report.

Education Scotland to be split into two organisations

Professor Ken Muir was appointed as Independent Advisor on Education Reform in August 2021 to look at implementing recommendations in the June 2021 OECD report, Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: Into the Future. Professor Ken Muir’s report was published on 9 March.

The report includes 21 recommendations that he considers would create a more cohesive, simplified and consistent education system. The Scottish Government has responded to the report and recommendations and will facilitate a national discussion on the vision for the future of Scottish education. They have also committed to structural changes that are planned to take place by 2024:

  • Establish a new body, Qualifications Scotland, as an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) taking on board the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s (SQA) current awarding functions
  • Consider how to create a new national education agency to take on leadership and support for curriculum, assessment, learning and teaching, separate from Qualifications Scotland
  • Remove Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) from Education Scotland and create a new independent body, separate from the national education agency

Read more on the reforms from the TES.

Future Fwd Creative Conference

The Warwick Independent Schools Foundation is running a free education Creative Conference, Future Fwd, on 4-5 July which includes cultural capital  the importance of the arts in schools and the workplaceas one of its five themes, together with a future-ready curriculum. You can sign up to attend on their website.

Researching the Arts in Primary Schools blog

If you are looking for some inspiring content on the different ways primary schools are delivering arts-rich education for their pupils do take a look at the Researching the Arts in Primary Schools (RAPS) website. RAPS is sharing blogs on visits to some of the 40 arts-rich primary schools that are part of the project. The most recent blog published on 12 May looks at a rural school with 60 on roll.

RAPS comprises two research projects, one exploring arts in initial teacher education and one with the research questions: What do arts-rich/creative primary schools offer to children? How do schools sustain this arts/creative education offer? What are the benefits for children of being in an arts rich/creative school?