Commenting on the Government commissioned review by Darren Henley into cultural education, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Michael Gove is absolutely correct to highlight the importance of cultural education for all children and young people. The NUT has always believed that we need an entitlement curriculum whereby experiences of visiting museums, galleries and theatres can be carried out within the school day. The educational benefits of such activities are tremendous.
“Establishing a national youth dance company is also an excellent idea as it is blatantly evident that there are insufficient places available for young people who have the talent to develop their skills.
“The Government’s present education policies however will do little to enhance the learning of arts and culture in our schools and colleges. As with music and sport these are subjects that have been severely affected, if not entirely axed, as a direct result of cuts to schools and local authority budgets.
“Cultural education is important for its own sake. Surely no one can believe that studying music is any less rigorous than studying history. This is not a question of rigour but one of perception.
“For the arts to be recognised as a valuable part of education there needs to be a complete change in attitude to the curriculum. The interminable focus on league tables, Ofsted inspections and Michael Gove’s favoured E-Bacc leaves many schools with little or no choice but to focus on a few subjects against which they are tested.
“Without the funding and the space in the curriculum, talk about the necessity for all children to have a cultural experience as part of their education will become nothing more than rhetoric.”
For further information contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706/ 07879480061