Policy and practice round-up November

11 November 2011

Policy and Practice Round-Up

This week we bring you news of the Cultural Learning Alliance campaign to highlight the importance of cultural learning in schools; cuts to initial teacher training allocations; a drop in UCAS applications for arts courses; education funding figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies; Youth Music’s new funding programme and network; news of one particularly inspirational teacher, and some new evaluations and evidence.

Cultural Learning Alliance news

Last week we published two new reports: ImagineNation: The Case for Cultural Learning and its sister publication Key Research Findings. We created these reports in response to requests from our signatories for some clear evidence and compelling arguments which could be used to make the case for investment in, and support for, their own work. Do get in touch to tell us your thoughts and about the ways in which you are using the material.

We launched the reports against the backdrop of increasing concern from our members about the National Curriculum Review and the impact of the English Baccalaureate - something that was picked up and discussed widely in the press. If you missed the coverage you can read the articles from the Observer, BBC and the Stage.

We have also been working this month to highlight the brilliant cultural learning work that is already happening all over the country. Over the last months a number of fantastically inspirational cultural leaders and head teachers have been giving up their time to learn more about each other’s experiences and priorities. Ten pairs of leading individuals have taken part in our ‘Cultural Swaps’ initiative. One of these ‘swaps’ took place in London this month between Sandy Nairne of the National Portrait Gallery and Jacqueline Bruton-Simmonds of Jubilee Primary School. The Financial Times covered the swap here.

Finally, the Times Educational Supplement ran a substantial piece, ‘My Creative Teacher’, with leading cultural professionals talking through their early experiences with inspirational teachers.

We cannot thank our supporters enough this week. From the signatories to our report, to the leading teachers and cultural professionals taking part in the Swaps programme, and in the ‘My Creative Teacher' campaign, your involvement has really helped us to shine a spotlight on the importance of cultural learning in the current climate.

Over the next few months we will continue to be watching, responding and commenting as we await the Henley Review of Cultural Education and the government's response. Meanwhile, the principles and values that have been set out in ImagineNation are forming the backbone of our national strategy for Cultutal Learning.

Cuts to Initial Teacher Training Allocations

The government has recently decided the number of places that will be allocated for students wishing to train as teachers in different academic subjects in 2012/13. The Department of Education states that it has made these decisions by ‘taking into account pupil projections, teachers leaving the profession, and other factors including policy changes.’ We are particularly interested in the last as we have not yet seen details of the policy changes that the Henley Review of Cultural Education or the National Curriculum Review will bring about.

The number of places which will be available for new teachers wishing to train in arts and cultural subjects at secondary level has dropped dramatically. The allocations for Art and Design teachers has dropped again to 275 from 320 last year (a significant reduction from the almost 600 places that were offered in 2009/10). For Music the number has dropped from 390 to 340 (again, a huge reduction from approximately 630 places in 2009/10), and for English and Drama the number has been reduced from 2,100 to 1,820.

N.B. These totals do not take into account Teach First Places which are separate and additional.

The impact of these cuts may well be far-reaching. The cut in numbers may mean that some teaching centres will close (following the three art and design PGCE courses in Roehampton, Greenwich and Chester that closed last year for the same reason) and many more may loose the expert training resources which contribute to delivering Masters and PhD courses and continuing professional development to all teachers. These centres are often responsible for innovation and research into the best ways to teach and learn – an increasingly vital function in a time of shrinking resource.

Do get in touch to let us know if you, your school or university is being affected by these current decisions.

27% drop in UCAS applications to Art Schools

Last week the Guardian reported that the latest UCAS figures show a 27% drop in applications to Art Schools. The article went on to show senior figures’ concern that talented but less well-off students will be lost to the creative and cultural industries.

New figures on education and youth spending – are young people paying for the crash?

The Institute of Fiscal Studies has published this report on planned overall education investment from the government for the next three years. The independent financial researchers say spending will fall by 13% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15, but that in England, the deepest cuts will be to school buildings (almost halved), and higher education, 16-to-19 provision and early years which will see cuts of almost 20%.

The BBC reported that public spending on education in the UK is falling at the fastest rate since the 1950s.

Earlier in the week CYP Now published an article flagging up a comment by Children’s Minister Tim Loughton which revealed that figures provided to government by local authorities show that the average gross spend on services for young people is down 25% in 2011/12 compared to 2010/11.

We believe that the emerging picture is one of young people paying disproportionately for the recession and cuts to services. Let us know your thoughts.

Youth Music launch a new funding programme

This week included the London launch of Youth Music’s new national funding programme. The team have been travelling across the country offering seminars which explain their new offer in detail.

The programme includes a new online network for knowledge-sharing, finding local partners and activity, evidence, research and resources. It is free to join and open to anyone interested in music making with children and young people.

There are a number of new funding streams (‘modules’) and applicants can apply for a single strand or a combination. The bulk of the funding is targeted to the following priority areas; Children in Challenging Circumstances, Early Years, Encouraging Talent and Potential, and Workforce Development.

The fund also includes some support for continuing professional development, evaluation and for capacity building – which it is very heartening to see (though at first glance it look as if this will be less than is currently provided by the music leader scheme).

Master of Imagination

Last month we were inspired by Art Teacher Jeff Stratton from Lipson Community College in Plymouth, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Pearson Teaching Awards. The BBC article covering the Award read as follows: ‘Originally trained as a painter, he has taught art for many years, with the college giving him the title of "master of imagination" in recognition of his ability to inspire creativity.’

Creative Apprenticeships Evaluation

Creative and Cultural Skills have published an evaluation of the Creative Apprenticeships scheme which indicates that there have been 700 apprenticeship completions to date, with the current cohort comprising 210 learners. The evaluation uses social return on investment (SROI) methodology which indicates that the current cohort will generate gains to society over the coming ten years of some £2.4 million – impressive!

The Arts in Criminal Justice

Another new evaluation report from New Philanthropy Capital looks at three charities using art to work with prisoners and ex-offenders: Clean Break, Only Connect and Unitas. It calculates the money these charities' work saves the criminal justice system, putting forward the economic case for investment in arts charities. For the Unitas Summer Arts College Scheme NPC estimates that for every £1 invested the Summer Arts Colleges create £5.89 of value to society.