26 July 2017

Policy and practice round-up July 2017

This month we bring you news from Westminster including a possible curriculum fund; reports on inequality, arts and health; and a new focus on curriculum signalled by Ofsted.

20 July 2017

Trends in arts subjects

As part of the English Baccalaureate consultation response the Department for Education has published Trends in arts subjects in schools where English Baccalaureate entry has increased. The DfE has looked at 297 schools where the number of pupils entering EBacc subjects has increased, and asked if there were changes to the number of pupils entering at least one arts subject. They take 2011 as their baseline, not 2010, when the EBacc was introduced, and do not classify Design & Technology GCSE as an arts GCSE.

23 June 2017

Further 8% drop in creative subjects GCSE entries 2016 to 2017

On 15 June Ofqual published its provisional figures for 2017 entries to GCSEs and A Levels. We will not know the final official numbers until August when the Joint Council for Qualifications publishes its data, but the picture continues to look bleak for entries to Arts GCSEs: a decline of 8% on last year’s entries and of 27% in entries in the same subjects since 2010.

23 June 2017

Policy and practice round-up June 2017

This month we bring you the EU-UK Culture and Education Series Community; STEAM news; a pledge for children’s arts; new Heritage Ambassadors; a new ACE evaluation toolkit; training and volunteering opportunities; and the Towards Cultural Democracy report.

22 June 2017

News from Westminster; General Election, new Ministers and the Queen’s Speech

Over the last month we’ve had a general election, a newly configured Ministerial team has been announced, and yesterday a Queen’s speech set out the government’s proposed legislative agenda for the next few years. This post sets out the headlines of what this all might mean for cultural learning.

02 May 2017

Policy and practice round-up May 2017

This month we bring you news of manifesto asks; the new Durham Commission on Creativity and Education; condemnation of Free Schools policy by the Commons Public Accounts Committee; Arts Council England Tailored Review results; NUT and ATL survey results; a new DfE consultation on Primary assessment; the new Chair of Ofsted; and the Get Creative Weekend.

27 April 2017

General Election Manifesto for Arts and Cultural Learning

As we write the political parties are putting together their manifestos which we expect to be published in the next couple of weeks, in readiness for the general election on 8 June. There are a number of items which we would like to see included in the manifestos to protect and enhance children’s access to cultural learning and arts education in schools. Please flag up these actions when you speak to your local candidates and make sure they know how important children’s access to arts and culture is to you personally. 

22 March 2017

What is the true picture of the arts in schools today?

Over the last month we have seen a number of different pieces of evidence about the health of the arts in schools. They range from surveys from the Association of School and College Leaders and the Guardian Teacher Network, and research from the University of Sussex. Each paints a picture of retrenchment and cuts. But the New Schools Network report on the arts and the EBacc claims that arts uptake is flourishing.

21 March 2017

Policy and Practice round-up March 2017

This month we bring you updates on school funding and our new publication ImagineNation, news of Free Schools, a drop in visits to museums, new opportunity areas, a House of Lords debate, Sing Up Day and an installation at Tate asking ‘Why do spaces for education look the way they do?’.

15 March 2017

March Budget 2017: what it means for Culture and Learning

This month the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond presented his final Spring Budget. This Budget heralds some big structural changes, particularly for education and learning, for freelancers and the self-employed and for Science and Innovation. Here’s our analysis of what it means for cultural learning.

08 February 2017

Arts and the EBacc: CLA response to NSN report

The Cultural Learning Alliance welcomes Toby and Ed’s contribution to the wide-ranging national debate and analysis of the impact and purpose of the English Baccalaureate.

It is good to see both the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and the Department for Education actively engaged in this debate, and thinking deeply and seriously about the value of arts and culture to children and young people’s lives. We particularly welcome the joint statement that ‘Government strongly believes that the arts and culture should be for everyone and not just a privileged few. They are hugely valuable in and of themselves, and they have the potential to be forces for openness and social mobility’.

In the coming months it would be good to see government working on the development of policies that reflect this commitment, such as a shift from STEM to STEAM, and the inclusion of a creative industries education strand in the emerging Industrial Strategy.

23 January 2017

NEW REPORT: The Arts empower children and improve life chances

Today we are pleased and excited to publish ImagineNation: the value of cultural learning. This 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.

31 December 2016

What we did in 2016

This is our brief annual round-up of the last year of collective CLA activity.

18 November 2016

Policy and Practice round-up November 2016

This month we bring you education annoucements and consultations, debates in the House of Lords, best practice guides, a survey and a job opportunity.

28 October 2016

Art History A Level closing

Over the last few weeks we have seen a great deal of press about the decision by Examination Board AQA to close the History of Art A-level. This post aims to give you some the facts and figures behind it all.

28 October 2016

Decline in arts teaching hours and teachers

Department for Education figures published in June 2016 show that between 2010 and 2015 the number of hours the arts were taught in secondary schools and the number of arts teachers both fell by 15%.

29 September 2016

Policy and Practice Round-up September 2016

This month we bring you news from Westminster including consultations, speeches and CLA pledges in the Labour Arts policy, plus new guidance for school governors and news on the All-Wales Arts and Education Programme

25 August 2016

Arts GCSE entries decline in England

As we had feared there has been a significant decline in the number of Arts GCSE entries in England in 2016. Entries are down 21% since 2010 and down 8% since 2015. This is the largest year on year decline for over a decade.

28 June 2016

Policy and Practice Round-up June 2016

Despite the seismic implications of the European referendum, there has still been a great deal of activity in the cultural learning world over the last month. We bring you news of; the new Ofsted Chief and the outgoing words of current boss Michael Wilshaw; some new evidence, blogs and arguments for Cultural Learning from Arts Council England; new PISA plans for tests on cultural awareness; the opening of the new Tate Modern extension; great case studies from the RSC and from Yorkshire Dance; good news for cultural learning in Scotland; and the TES School Award winners.

28 June 2016

Arts education statistics: what we know

There has been much discussion about the provision, take up and status of arts in schools across England since 2010 with conflicting statistics being offered by different groups. In this post we attempt to untangle some of the discussion.

28 June 2016

20% decline in take up of Arts GCSEs since 2010

New figures from the Office of Qualifications and Examinations (Ofqual) indicate that this year’s uptake of arts GCSEs in schools will fall even more sharply than we had feared.

19 May 2016

Queen’s Speech

On 18 May the Queen’s speech as part of the State opening of Parliament set out the government’s core legislative agenda, giving details of a large number of new Bills which will progress some of the ideas and policy plans that have been discussed in recent White Papers and consultations.

19 May 2016

Policy and Practice round-up May 2016

This month we round-up news of Academy U-turns, updates on testing, resources and research from the AHRC and Arts Council England, the Pupil Premium Awards, a STEAM opportunity and guidance on the sector’s engagement with the EU Referendum.

24 March 2016

Briefing: The Culture White Paper

The Cultural White Paper is published

On 23 March, Ed Vaizey, the Minister of State at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport & the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, launched The Cultural White Paper at the Southbank Centre.

22 March 2016

Policy and practice round-up March 2016

This month we bring you news of the cultural value of arts in education, how playing a musical instrument increases educational attainment, Dance in the PE and Sport Premium, the Creative Journeys film on making GCSE choices, Grants of £1,000 for schools in Wales, the Into Film Awards and a heads up to look out for the Culture White Paper on Wednesday 23 March.

17 March 2016

Budget 2016

On 16 March the Chancellor set out the 2016 Budget. We summarise the headlines and key points for cultural learning.

19 February 2016

Policy and practice round-up February 2016

This month we bring you news of continuing EBacc debates, views on why arts subjects matter, teacher shortages as confirmed by the National Audit Office, RSA advice on giving schools the power to create, and a survey for those working in museum learning.

18 January 2016

Policy and practice round-up January 2016

This month we bring you news of how to apply to be a Lead Creative School in Wales, using film to teach literacy, details of careers and enterprise volunteering, the 64 Million Artists challenge to be creative this January and Art Is conference.

18 January 2016

Life Chances speech

The Prime Minster David Cameron made a speech on 11 January which linked the need to ensure children have access to arts and culture with improved life chances, talking about the ‘opportunity of culture’.

16 December 2015

Policy and practice round-up December 2015

This month we bring you new Kings College CultureCase evidence on the value of arts education, how the arts help us cope with uncertainty, continuing concerns about the arts being squeezed out of schools and a reminder to contact your MP after the spending review.

16 November 2015

Policy and practice round-up November 2015

This month we bring you news of Ofsted’s report on apprenticeships, British Science Association work that links to STEAM, the winner of the RIBA Sterling Prize, thoughts about testing in schools and a call to do one more thing.

16 November 2015

STEAM Hack October 2015

On 28-29 October we hosted a 24-hour Hack at the Science Museum to explore the notion of STEAM: adding the A of ‘arts’ to the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

16 November 2015

English Baccalaureate plans

On 3 November Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, made a speech outlining the plans for the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) which Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools, trailed in the summer. She also announced the opening of a consultation about how the plans will be implemented.

19 October 2015

Policy and Practice round-up October 2015

This month we bring you details of the new Ofsted framework; the new Artsmark; an invitation to a CLA STEAM event at the Science Museum; a dance education conference; and the new Space for Learning publication.

11 September 2015



Join us at the Science Museum, London for a STEAM Hack in October!

08 September 2015

Policy and Practice round-up September 2015

This month we bring you news of a Culture White Paper; Arts GCSEs including a fall of 14%; OCR’s five reasons to study creative subjects; a letter from a curious parent to Nicky Morgan; ideas for a CD19 commitment; and a film from What Next? generation – the power of culture.

16 July 2015

Arts teachers and hours fall

Decline in the hours of arts teaching and number of arts teachers in England’s secondary schools

02 July 2015

Policy and Practice Round-up July 2015

This month we bring you news of; changes to Ofsted, a New Education bill, the Creative Industries Boom and employer needs, Artsmark, our Hay festival debate 'Should young people study the arts?', the new Children's Laureate, Sing Up and #CreateUK.

18 June 2015

Education policy: Ebacc update

Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools, made a speech on 11 June announcing the government’s renewed emphasis on the English Baccalaureate and Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, also spoke about the policy on the 16 June. 

01 June 2015

Policy and Practice Round-up June 2015

This month we bring you evidence for the value of an arts education, a STEAM update, CLA at the Hay Festival, some summer reading and an invitation to submit a short film to Close-up on climate

01 June 2015

A new government

We have some new faces and some familiar faces in the Education and Culture departments of the new government

05 May 2015

Policy and Practice round-up May 2015

This month we bring you news of What Next?, Creativity vs. Robots, Darren Henley's new role, ArtWorks reports and a call for proposals, CLA at the Hay Festival and the Ahead for Culture conference

01 May 2015

The last five years: Cultural Learning and this Parliament

As election day and the prospect of a new government grow closer and closer we wanted to take a moment to think about the last five years and the changes to the cultural learning landscape that have taken place over this parliament.

27 April 2015

Manifestos are out!

All the major parties have now published their Manifesto documents and (as our Twitter followers will know) we’ve been through them all with a tooth-comb. 

06 April 2015

Election Watch

Parliment was dissolved on Monday 30 March. This means that we no longer have MPs and that campaigning for our votes starts in earnest for the 7 May general election.

01 April 2015

Election Watch

Many of you will have noticed the dissolution of Parliament and the start of purdah for civil servants on Monday. This means that we no longer have MPs and that campaigning for our votes starts in earnest for the 7 May general election.

01 April 2015

Policy and Practice round-up

This month we bring you a Budget round-up, some useful evidence on ‘Narrowing the Gap’, the New ITT framework, developments to English Heritage and Hiive – the professional network from Creative Skillset.

10 February 2015

Election time! Policies for cultural learning

As we get nearer and nearer to the election and the politcial parties across the spectrum put the finishing touches to their manifestos, we thought we’d share with you again the most recent version of the document we’ve been using in our conversations.

29 January 2015

BBC Get Creative: What’s the future of education?

Get Creative is a new, public-facing, year long campaign led by the BBC together with many other partners. It aims to raise the profile of arts, culture and creativity, to highlight their central place in all our lives and to celebrate where they happen all over the nation.

22 December 2014

Policy and Practice Round-up

This month we bring you good news for cultural learning in Wales, news of Bob and Roberta Smith standing for parliament and how to host a husting, the Lords debate on arts education, a new CEO of Arts Council, their Create magazine and something you probably already have a view on – ‘What do we mean by a good education’?

12 November 2014

Rise of Initial Teacher Training places for arts subjects

October brought us some really good news from the Department for Education: a large rise in the number of teacher training places for specialist arts teachers in Dance, Drama, Design and Technology and Art and Design. We are delighted that the government has listened to the sector on this issue and has implemented these changes – as the decline in the supply chain was a major concern for the CLA and our partners.

15 September 2014

Reading and literacy highlight

September the 8th was UNESCO’s International Literacy Day, with the organisation’s website urging colleagues across the world to recognise that Literacy is a key lever for change and social mobility, as well as highlighting projects in different nations. Here in the UK we have seen a great deal of activity; new research, celebrations and the launch of a number of campaigns aiming to get parents, carers and children reading.

15 September 2014

GCSE and A Level consultations

As we reported in our last newsletter the Department of Education is currently running a consultation on GCSE and A Level Art & Design, Dance and Music subject content requirements. The documents on their website set out the minimum knowledge, skills and understanding required for GCSE and A Level qualifications. The awarding organisations use the subject content to create the actual qualifications and the consultation closes on the 17th of September.

15 September 2014

Policy and practice round-up September 2014

This month we welcome everyone back for the Autumn term, and if you’re one of the teachers implementing the new school curriculum for the first time, we’d be really interested to hear how it’s going; especially in the cultural learning subjects. If you’re an artist or cultural organisation then do let us know if you’re developing new resources or practice around the new curriculum. This month the British Museum and the DfE launched online resources for teachers: ‘Teaching History in 100 objects’ and we’d love to hear of other initiatives of this kind.

15 September 2014

The CLA and British Science Association (BSA): Working together

Momentum for STEAM continues to build, both here and in the U.S., There will be breakout sessions at the Conservative conference on STEAM, and a great new STEAM map has been created by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In this bulletin we want to flag up some great STEAM opportunities which we’re developing through the British Science Association (BSA). CLA and the BSA are beginning to work together to investigate possible new partnerships involving the integration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) with the Arts. The BSA recently completed a strategic review and the outcome is a new vision of the role of science in society, one of a future where science is seen as part of – rather than set apart from – culture and society at large. You can find out more here.

30 July 2014

GCSE and A Level reform

Some of the work we have all been doing on Arts GCSEs and A Levels came to fruition in July. Art & Design, Dance and Music GCSE, and Dance and Music AS and A Level subject content and assessment went out to public consultation.

30 July 2014

Culture Vote 2015 – Manifesto asks

A key activity of the CLA this year has been pushing for cultural learning to be included in the party manifestos being prepared for the May 2015 general election.

26 April 2014

GCSE and A Level announcements

On April 9 Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education announced that Art & Design, Dance, Drama and Music GCSEs would be part of the suite of qualifications to be reformed ready for teaching from 2016.

11 April 2014

Arts GCSEs to be reformed for 2016

On Wednesday Michael Gove, Education Secretary announced that Art & Design, Dance, Drama and Music GCSEs would be part of the suite of qualifications reformed ready for teaching from 2016.

07 April 2014

CLA member survey – respond now!

The Cultural Learning Alliance is a collective voice working to ensure that all children and young people have meaningful access to culture.We now have over 10,000 members, with more joining every day.

04 March 2014

Dance and Drama Discount Code change

The CLA has seen an email from Lord Nash’s office confirming that Dance and Drama GCSE will not discount each other from 2015 in school performance tables. This is really good news.

27 February 2014

News from Westminster

February saw debates in parliament on 12 and 13 February on Cultural Learning, the announcement of a review of Discount Codes, cross-party support for STEAM and £750 million (yes you read that right) for Primary School Sports funding.