The CLA in 2017 …

15 January 2018

Our annual round-up for the Cultural Learning Alliance’s activity last year.


New publications


Our 2017 started with the launch of ImagineNation: the value of cultural learning in January in the Houses of Parliament. The new publication builds on our original ImagineNation: the case for cultural learning published in 2011, and sets out how studying arts and culture changes and shapes the lives of children and young people.

A key purpose of the publication is to communicate with headteachers, school SMTs, and school governors – as well as policy makers and cultural organisations – and copies were distributed by Arts Council Bridge organisations. 30 MPs and peers attended the launch, together with 70 young people and around 150 arts and education sector stakeholders. We had a wide range of speakers at the event including Ministers, Darcey Bussell, Fiona Shaw, and Caleb Femi, who is now on the Arts Council England Board. You can read more about it and watch highlights from the speeches.

STEAM briefing

In October 2017 we published the first Cultural Learning Alliance Briefing Paper – STEAM: why STEM can only take us so far. Published in partnership with Nesta, the briefing sets out the case for STEAM, and includes useful key evidences, facts and figures. Look out for the second briefing paper early next year, focusing on the arts, health and wellbeing.


Over the year we published briefings on key government activities including:


As in previous years we analysed and published data on GCSE entries to arts subjects including the published provisional GCSE results in June and the final numbers published in August 2017 (June and August data). Key points to note are that Arts GCSE entries continue to fall with numbers down by -28% since 2010 and -9% between 2016 and 2017.

We also were pleased to welcome the Education Policy Institute report on Key Stage 4 entries published in September.  

We also published


We attended and spoke at events throughout 2017, including making presentations on the value of arts education to the Russell Group Qualifications Network in March, and to conferences hosted by Arts Council Bridge Curious Minds, the National Arts Alliance for Criminal Justice, the AHRC Cultural Value symposium, British Council and Policy-UK and What Next?

Work with government

The CLA has continued to strengthen its relationships with colleagues across the House of Lords and the House of Commons, briefing a number of peers before key debates in February and September, and Ministers, MPs and Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport colleagues through out the year.

Ofsted roundtable

In November we partnered with Ofsted to arrange a roundtable for arts education specialists to talk about how Ofsted could support high quality arts education in schools. We look forward to continuing the conversation as Ofsted develop and consult on their new 2019 Inspection Framework. 

Social media

We have 3,942 people signed up to our newsletter and @CultureLearning has 8,790 twitter followers. Over the year our tweets had almost half a million impressions. We have nearly 2,000 members of our LinkedIn group and more than 1,000 likes on Facebook.


A big thank you to all our thousands of individual and organisational members. Thank you for your support, for sharing information with us and your colleagues, for lobbying your MPs and councillors, and for working with schools and local arts organisations to ensure that children and young people have access to the arts. Big thanks are also due to our funders, including the Freelands Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Clore Duffield Foundation. Wishing you all a very happy 2018.


P.S. Please tell your colleagues and friends about the Cultural Learning Alliance and encourage them to join. Every member adds weight to our call for children and young people to have access to high quality arts and culture in their lives.