What we did in 2018

19 December 2018

Welcome to our annual round-up of our activity.

2018 was a cracker of a year. Brexit dominated our political life. The value of creativity and the importance of arts education were nevertheless discussed and written about extensively.

From Arts Council England’s Durham Commission, to the House of Lords and Radio 4 Front Row debates, and comments from both Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, and the Prince of Wales, creativity was in the news.

We spent 2018 continuing to champion the right to culture for every child. We assembled and published a range of evidence, produced written commentaries on policy and on the state of the arts in England’s schools, and we provided support for our members. We established several new partnerships through the publication of our Briefing Papers: the Edge Foundation, Place2Be and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

We also reviewed the CLA’s governance and appointed a new Strategy Group, which oversees our work, and a larger Advisory Panel.


The Strategy Group published a Social Justice Statement in September, alongside a timeline of key arts education moments over the coming three years.

We published three Briefing Papers: an Employability and Enterprise Briefing Paper, in partnership with the Edge Foundation, in March; in May The Arts, Health and Wellbeing with Place2Be; and The Arts in Schools with ASCL in September.

So far 1,143 of you have downloaded the Arts in Schools Briefing and there were 1,931 downloads of the Employability and Enterprise Briefing and 4,648 of the Arts, Health and Wellbeing Briefing.

Also in September we published the Arts in Schools Advocacy Toolkit to support members to champion arts education locally to their local government, schools and MPs, This was in partnership with What Next? and Bacc for the Future.

We also created two posters featuring our 10 Key Research Findings in response to demand from our members.

Policy analysis

We published analysis of the following:

We  kept members up to date on the Arts Council England 2020-2030 Strategy, evidence and consultation activities, on the work of the Children’s Commissioner and on Ofsted’s plans for the new inspection framework due September 2019.

Consultation responses

In February we responded to the DCMS Select Committee on the Social Impact of Participation in Culture and Sport call for evidence, and the T Level consultation. We responded to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper jointly with What Next? in April. In May we responded to the DCMS Civil Society consultation and submitted evidence to the Education Select Committee's inquiry on the Fourth Industrial Revolution in June.


We were delighted to be invited to speak at a range of conferences and events around the country in 2018. These included the Family Arts Leadership conference in Leeds, Art in the Undercroft at Southbank, MA in Cultural & Arts Management at the University of Winchester, Theatre Education Forum in Southampton, RSA Learning About Culture Evidence Champions Network webinar, Go Creative - Get a Job! conference at Highgate School and the Dance Programme Board.

Children and the Arts and Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI) 5 September roundtable with HRH Prince Charles

CLA data and evidence was used for the briefing document that all roundtable delegates received at the event, and the CLA was well-represented, with several Strategy Group and Advisory Panel members participating. We look forward to continuing to work with the PTI on the follow-up.

Curriculum Fund Roundtable

The £7.7m Curriculum Fund was a manifesto commitment from the Conservatives to create high quality resources and reduce the workload burden associated with curriculum planning. In January 2018 we hosted a Curriculum Fund roundtable for the Department for Education with colleagues from arts subject specialist associations and arts organisations, and we submitted written recommendations. You can read more about DfE’s plans for the Curriculum Fund in our August Policy and Practice round-up.

Social media

We end the year with nearly 10,000 twitter followers, and were pleased to welcome almost 1,000 of you this year. Do follow us if you don’t already: @CultureLearning.


A huge thank you to all our thousands of individual and organisational members for your support. Thank you for sharing information, for talking to 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 also to our funders, including the Freelands Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Clore Duffield Foundation.

Wishing you all a very happy 2019.


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.