Welsh Government Arts and Creative Learning Plan

01 April 2015

You may remember Professor Dai Smith’s excellent review Arts in Education in the Schools of Wales in 2013, which included 12 recommendations the Welsh Government committed to delivering. They and the Arts Council of Wales have published the Arts and Creative Learning Plan and will be spending £20 million on its delivery over the next five years.

The Plan sets out how they will make learning about the arts and culture, participating in the arts, and developing creative skills a core feature in the education of children and young people across Wales. Partnerships between culture and education are central to the plans.

The forward from Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills and Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism states:

‘It is only through having high quality arts and creative experiences in schools, by valuing them and giving them their deserved place in our curriculum, by making them available to all children, especially those from deprived backgrounds, that we can nurture the potential of our learners and develop skills we need for our economy.'

As regular readers will know the government in England committed to creating a Cultural Education Plan as part of their response to the Henley Review of Cultural Education. A plan has yet to be created for England. We commend the Welsh plan and would fully endorse a similar approach in England.

If you are working in Wales do let us know your thoughts on these developments and what they will mean on the ground. If you haven’t yet, do read the document and consider how you can play a part in delivering the work.

Detail of the plan

There are two linked strands of activity:

  • the Lead Creative Schools Scheme,
  • and the All-Wales Arts and Education Offer.

The Lead Creative Schools Scheme

Teachers and learners working with creative professionals will identify specific issues they want to address through a creative approach, a model similar to Creative Partnerships.

Schools need to apply to participate in the programme and detailed information will be available in summer 2015. Lead Creative Schools will get specialist support and additional resources including a specialist creative professional called a ‘Creative Agent’.

School Creativity and Arts Champion

We are really pleased to see a CLA recommendation - an Arts and Culture Champion - being taken forward. All schools involved will be asked to nominate a member of staff to be the School Creativity and Arts Champion.

The All-Wales Arts and Education Offer

This offer aims to extend the range and quality of arts experiences available to schools, enabling schools to draw on the knowledge and expertise of arts and cultural organisations. It will be delivered through:

  • Regional Arts and Education Networks

There will be four Regional Arts and Education Networks. Organisations can apply to take on the role of an Arts and Education Network.

The criteria and guidelines for these are currently under development, but successful organisations will all be tasked with delivering a range of arts and education activities. The Networks will provide information and advice and will share best practice and intelligence.

  • Arts Champions

The Networks will co-ordinate an ‘Arts Champions’ programme, identifying exceptional teachers and arts practitioners who will inspire and support their peers.

  • Experiencing the Arts

This is a new Fund that will encourage schools to provide children and young people with opportunities to ‘go one step further’ in their exploration of cultural and arts experiences.

  • Progression and Careers

Arts Council in Wales will map the existing progression routes for more able and talented learners. They plan to highlight opportunities and gaps in provision as well as identifying the current and future resources needed to support this work.

Working with the sector skills councils, national cultural organisations and other stakeholders Arts Council in Wales will explore how young people can gain a better understanding of pathways into the creative sector. Careers Wales will be asked to work with the arts and creative sectors to provide up-to-date and accessible online information about occupations.

The role of the arts in supporting and motivating NEET young people has also been recognised, and work will be done to foster links between arts organisations, schools, local authority Youth Engagement and Progression coordinators and lead workers who support young people at risk of disengaging from education and training. This work will increase awareness of and participation in creative opportunities and will align with the implementation of the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework.

  • Arts and creative learning portal

A new portal will be developed later this year to communicate the various opportunities available.

Where to find information about new developments?

To be kept informed of new developments including how to apply to be a Lead Creative School or a Creative Agent sign up for the Arts and Education e-Bulletin.