Policy and Practice Round-up November 2013

11 November 2013

This month we bring you; a reminder of live DfE Consultations, Scotland's new National Youth Arts Strategy, Arts Council England's plan for world domination by culture, calls for STEM to change to STEAM, A New Direction's report on culture and poverty, changes to the Pupil Premium, funding for Primary Dance training and Neil Gaiman's wonderful call for more reading for pleasure.

Live: DfE Consultations

New accountability plans for 14-19 providers and for sixth forms

Deadline: 20th Nov
Why is this important?
This consultation covers the ‘Facilitating Subjects’ measure. A performance indicator that essentially mirrors the EBacc at A-level. It incentivises certain (non-arts) subjects over others.

Consultation on subject content of A-levels

Deadline: 20th December

Do respond to these consultations as it is critical that there is a very strong cultural voice heard by government. We’ll be putting together submissions as ever, so do e-mail us if you have evidence or ideas you’d like us to include.

Time to Shine

Scotland’s first National Youth Arts Strategy Time to Shine has been launched. It sets out a vision for Scotland, key recommendations and has three main themes:

  • Participation – creating and sustaining engagement
  • Progression – nurturing creativity and talent
  • Provision – developing infrastructure and quality

The strategy is backed up with £5 million in funding and includes;

  • an open fund for organisations to develop new routes for young people to participate in and access arts and creative activity,
  • a new digital platform,
  • and establishment of a National Youth Advisory Group.

Applications to the fund will open early in the New Year, via the Creative Scotland website.


CLA steering group member Pauline Tambling of Creative and Cultural Skills wrote compellingly in the Huffington Post last month about the need to add the A of Arts in to the STEM subjects. Read more here. Her article follows the recommendation in the Culture, Media and Sport Committee report Supporting the Creative Economy that STEM should be changed to STEAM to recognise the important role of arts subjects in contemporary education. This need was also flagged by Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England and Alan Davey, Chief Executive in their introduction to the RSA report Towards Plan A which we mention below.

Although this isn’t a new concept, it’s important to keep flagging to government and to others that arts and creative subjects are just as important to our economy and growth as Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Last month, Liz Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare, made a speech to the CBI where she made it clear that current curriculum reform has been predicated on an economic model built on jobs that need these skills. We must remind her that in an increasingly automated economy the cultural, arts and creative skills are precisely the ones that cannot be replaced by technology and are therefore the key unique selling point this country needs to compete in a global market.

In American STEM to STEAM now has a cross party caucus of 50 congressional representatives calling for Federal programmes supporting the integration of Science, Mathematics and Arts.

Explore this site for resources and evidence about STEAM.

Priced out? An essay about poverty, young Londoners, arts and culture

A New Direction, the London Bridge organisation, has published a report on child poverty and the housing crisis in London. It flags up the implications for children and young people and their cultural engagement. The results of a poll of 1600 young Londoners shows clearly that schools play a hugely important role in driving cultural participation and the report suggests a number of ways that cultural organisations can support and work with young people experiencing poverty.

Plan for world domination for culture?

This month the RSA published Towards Plan A: A new political economy for arts and culture which includes the accompanying essays to their recent ‘State of the Arts’ series of seminars held jointly with Arts Council England. At the final November seminar the Arts Council presented its new holistic vision of the case for culture – placing it at the centre of education, society and economy, You can watch the seminar here.

Alan Davey and Peter Bazalgette are asking for feedback on their assumptions and on the language they use to describe the value of culture, so do get in touch if you notice anything missing. As a starter for ten we’d suggest the specific inclusion of Early Years and Families, which seems to be a significant omission.

Arts Council has also launched a refreshed version of its 10-year strategy, Great Art and Culture for Everyone. Children and Young people remain one of the 5 strategic goals.

Primary Pupil Premium to rise

In the 2014 to 2015 the premium for children of primary-school age will rise to £1300 per pupil, while students of secondary-school age will attract £935 per pupil. The premium is paid directly to schools to spend raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and is available for:

  • all children eligible for free school meals at any point in the past 6 years
  • children who have been in care for 6 months or longer

Schools can use this money to fund arts and cultural activities and we would love to hear more about how this is happening on the ground. Do get in contact with your stories.

Primary School PE and school sport: new funding

In April 2013, the government announced new funding of £150 million, for physical education (PE) and sport to improve the quality and breadth of PE and sport provision. Dance is included in the PE curriculum at Key Stages 1 and 2 and schools can use this new funding to increase the amount and quality of dance that is offered to their pupils. A typical primary school will receive about £9,250 annually in the academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15. Schools are free to determine how best to use this funding.

Youth Dance England is working with the National Dance Teachers Association to identify ways of encouraging and supporting schools to make the best use of this new funding to develop their dance offer to pupils. They are interested in hearing from schools that are already using the funding to support their dance provision and are also keen to hear from schools that would like some advice or support in how to use the funding to develop their dance provision. More details here.

Neil Gaiman and reading for pleasure

Finally our hats off to Neil Gaiman who gave the second annual Reading Agency lecture at the Barbican on the 18th October. He opened with

"I'm going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. I'm going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things."

Read more extracts or watch the full lecture here.