http://bit.ly/cb13CdThis is a fantastic achievement and particularly relevant in a time of shrinking resources. Here at the CLA we are very much hoping that these statistics will be of benefit to all those lobbying the importance of cultural learning.The Department for Education has now published the names of the first 16 Free Schools to open in September 2011. You can read the list here: http://bbc.in/abl9lD. These schools will be set up by parents and community members who feel that they want alternative provision in their area. If you are a cultural learning organisation and work in an area with a Free School then you might want to consider getting in touch to talk about what you do and how you might work together.The Stage has published information on a Free School group in Northamptonshire led by a theatre group named Looking Glass Theatre http://bit.ly/bbsSmv. This is the first school proposed by a cultural learning group that we are aware of, but do let us know if there are any more on the horizon.At the Conservative party Conference last week Michael Gove talked through some of his plans for education. You can read the full speech here: http://bit.ly/cKKoVz. We were pleased to see a reference to the way theatre can inspire young people to engage with learning and hope that this, and ideas like it, will be expanded and developed in the forthcoming education white paper.The Save the Arts campaign was launched this month and has gathered an impressive 50,000 signatories. The target is 100,000 which will guarantee a Commons Debate on arts funding. So if you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here: http://savethearts-uk.blogspot.com/. We particularly loved the piece by Jeremy Deller which was a rallying cry for art, education and freedom, inspired by William Morris.The National Campaign for the Arts ‘I Value the Arts’ http://www.ivaluethearts.org.uk/ campaign is also going from strength to strength. Sign up to pledge your support, but also to receive information on what is happening in your local area. The NCA have also recently published their draft strategy for Drama, Theatre and Young People. You can read the latest here: http://bit.ly/bL5O7wThe Schools Library Commission, led by Baroness Estelle Morris, has published a new report into school libraries, underlining their central importance to young people’s lives and learning. The report (http://bit.ly/bsKQMA) asks questions about how school librarians can be included within the heart of a school and calls for training and support for both teachers and librarians to make this happen.