Policy and Practice Update August 2012

10 August 2012

Olympic fever

This month it seems as if the whole of the UK has been swept up in the Olympic Games and it has been brilliant to see the thousands of fabulous cultural learning projects across the country that are showcasing the brilliant work of children and young people and the professionals and families that work with them. It was great to see so many young participants, in both the Opening Ceremony in London, and taking centre stage as breathers in the official Sailing Opening ceremony in Weymouth. Londondance caught up with two of the young dancers here.

Young people have also been blogging, tweeting and broadcasting their thoughts about the Games. You can read a selection of blogs by A New Direction’s young Social Media Journalists here or listen to Roundhouse Radio to hear live reporting, debates and performances from their radio barge.

Studio Schools, Free Schools and Summer Schools

A large number new schools have been recently announced by the DfE, including 15 new Studio Schools and 102 new Free Schools.

Just to refresh everyone’s memory about Studio Schools, they are backed by employers or business consortia and teach an academic and practical curriculum through real world projects and enterprise. Of those just announced there are a significant number of arts and cultural related schools, ranging from a Manufacturing and Design School in Stoke, to an Arts and Creative Industries School in Rye; a Tourism and Culture School in Liverpool; and a Film, Media and Costume school in Bradford. Among them is North Hertfordshire College, one of the 20 Founder Colleges in the National Skills Academy network, which has announced the opening of a new Studio School that will specialise in Creative Enterprise.

It is also great to see that Plymouth College of Art has been given the go-ahead by the Department for Education to progress their new free school. They have confirmed their intention to fund the next stage of the College’s bid to open a mainstream, city-centre 4–16 through-school in Plymouth.

Finally, the first round of DfE sponsored school summer schools has been announced. Schools are given Pupil premium funding to offer transition projects for eligible young people and can offer academic catch up projects, but also arts and cultural activities. It is great that some of this funding can be used to support great cultural learning, but disappointing to see these activities described as ‘wider enrichment projects’ in the press release – we think that they should be core and essential for all young people.

New HLF strategic framework launched

The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced that it will be making changes to all programmes and initiatives awarded from April 2013 and will be introducing new application materials. We are delighted to see that learning outcomes will be weighted criteria in their new grant assessments:

In assessing projects we will take account of the broad range of benefits that projects may deliver, and will give extra weight to the outcomes that we value most, such as learning.

Payment by results: New Programme for NEET young people unveiled

Last November we published a short item about the government’s planned £1billion spend on the Youth Contract. This week Nick Clegg announced some of the first consortia that have been offered funds to help young people back into training and employment. It is important to note that this is a ‘payment by results’ scheme, so consortia will only be paid if they can prove the impact of their work – a method of funding that the Coalition are increasingly introducing. Congratulations to DV8 and Future Creative for representing cultural learning in the South East Consortia – let us know if any other cultural projects have been successful in gaining any of this funding.

More evidence of crippling cuts to local authority arts funding.

The Stage recently posted an article flagging up two reports; one from the Local Government Association (LGA) and one from the Chief Culture and Leisure Officers Association (CLOA).

Among the many horrifying statistics, the LGA report states that discretionary funding streams (of which the arts is one) will have to be cut by 90% in cash terms by 2020 to meet a projected £16.5 billion shortfall to LA budgets. The CLOA findings estimate cautiously that there has already been a loss of over 2,800 jobs nationally from the sector, with cuts notably affecting front line services such as libraries, leisure centres and development posts in arts, museums and sports.

We join the Stage and Arts Development UK in urging Local Authorities not to turn their backs on the arts and to try and preserve and nurture the excellent cultural learning activity that sustains, enables and inspires young people.

Offer to CLA members from ASDAN

ASDAN is pleased to offer partners in the Cultural Learning Alliance credit rating opportunities for their programmes of active learning to count towards widely used qualifications. One example of this is the agreement ASDAN has made recently with the University of Oxford for their ‘UNIQ Summer School’ programme -targeted at state school learners- which can now count credit towards ASDAN awards. See:

Over 150,000 learners a year undertake ASDAN and national research just published (See: ) focussed on over 500,000 pupils in the DfE national assessment cohort, shows the positive impact of ASDAN ‘learning to learn’ approaches on pupil attainment in core GCSE subjects including English and Maths. Similar learning to learn support is available through Expressive Arts: See

For further information on how ASDAN provision can be used in conjunction with cultural learning programmes for schools, please contact Jon Duckham, ASDAN Head of Programmes, on 07976 400902 or