Policy and Practice round-up November 2019

13 November 2019

This month we bring you news of the new £9,000 Art & Design PGCE bursary; cultural learning election manifestos; DfE analysis of GCSE entries and new guidance on Character Education; plus international practice, research and advocacy links.

£9,000 Art & Design PGCE bursaries from September 2020

The CLA has been calling for initial teacher training bursaries from the Department for Education be extended to all arts subjects for some years. Design and Technology and Music already had bursaries in place. For 2020 these are £15,000 for D&T, rising from the current £12,000, and £9,000 for Music.

We are very pleased to see that from September 2020 Art & Design PGCEs will now attract a bursary of £9,000.

Dance and Drama PGCEs still have no bursaries and we continue to call for them to have the payments.

Cultural Learning in the election manifestos

With an election on 12 December, and party political manifestos due to be published, arts sector bodies, including us, are releasing what they want to see in the political manifestos.

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have published their manifesto which includes a call for a ‘commitment to a strong cultural education and futureproofing our skillset’, and we are pleased to see them endorse the Cultural Learning Alliance’s three asks: A National Plan for cultural learning; An Arts Premium giving children universal access to quality arts provision; and Continuing Professional Development & Learning blueprint for teachers and the cultural learning workforce.

On Friday 9 November the Bacc for the Future campaign, which calls for an end to the current English Baccalaureate and was founded by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), published its manifesto. It is entirely focused on arts education, and calls for a pledge to scrap or reform the English Baccalaureate, and for the arts to be an entitlement for every child as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.

The Creative Industries Federation released its manifesto on 29 October. The Federation, soon to be merging with Creative England, called for ‘creative education at the heart of the school curriculum’ and ‘sufficient resources to deliver accessible extra-curricular creative activities’, echoing the calls of the Durham Commission and extending the Creative Careers Programme. Read the full manifesto.

News from the Department for Education

DfE publishes its analysis of 2019 GCSE results

On 17 October the Department for Education (DfE) released its summary of exam entry and achievements of pupils at the end of key stage 4 (KS4) in 2019. The data in this release is provisional and based on the results data that awarding organisations supply to the Department.

The summary reports a slight increase in the number of children taking one or more arts GCSEs to 44.5%, from 44.3%. While more children taking arts GCSEs is good news, this still means over half of children do not study an arts subject past 14, and we continue to be concerned about the overall decline in the number of children studying more than one arts subject since 2010, and the low levels of access to the arts past 14.

Percentage of pupils entered for at least one arts subject State-funded schools, England, 2010-2019









2018 (prov)

2019 (prov)











 Character Education evidence and guidance published

On 5 November the DfE published a non-statutory Character Education Framework for schools, which includes six benchmarks, one about co-curriculum provision which includes the arts:

How good is our co-curriculum provision?

Does it cover a wide range across artistic, creative, performance, sporting, debating, challenge, team and individual etc. so all pupils can both discover new interests and develop existing ones?

The Framework provides a summary of the research on character and why it is valuable to develop. The same research can also be read as research on why accessing arts activities is important – as evidence shows that they develop resilience and self-efficacy. There is a list of organisations in Annex A that can help schools deliver their character education, as well as case studies in Annex B.

International links: practice, research and advocacy

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the UNESCO Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education in 2020, international bodies such as the World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE) are working on the ways in which they can celebrate the anniversary, and push for better access to arts education for all. If you are interested in learning more about practice, research or advocacy work in other countries do take a look at the following organisations:

The European Network of Observatories in the Field of Arts and Cultural Education – ENO

ENO connects knowledge centres in European countries. It aims to facilitate the exchange of research findings and innovative practice, to stimulate new research in arts and cultural education and to support the development of arts education within the framework of global UNESCO policies and guidelines for education, culture and sustainable development.


ACEnet is a network of European policy makers, civil servants and academics working in the fields of arts and cultural education. They strive to improve arts and cultural education in Europe. ACEnet offers the possibility to benchmark policy measures in an international context. It also functions as a platform for presenting national good practices, and for testing ideas with, or receiving feedback from, other EU countries on work-in-progress.

World Alliance for Arts Education – WAAE

If you aren’t familiar with the WAAE they are a global alliance of the four international subject specialist associations for art, dance, drama and music.

  • International Drama/Theatre and Education Association (IDEA)
  • International Society of Education through Art (InSEA)
  • International Society for Music Education (ISME)
  • World Dance Alliance (WDA)

They work together to advocate for arts education and are concerned with very similar issues to the CLA. They have an annual conference where delegates share research, evidence and practice. The CLA attended last week’s conference in Frankfurt. The next conference is October 2020 in Florida with a theme of assessing impact in arts education.