Ahead of a full Education and Children’s Bill in the autumn, the Academies Bill outlined in the Queen’s Speech this week is the first schools reform for the new government. This “free schools policy” allows high achieving state-funded schools to become academies and leave Local Authority control, and for new academies to be set up by parents or other groups without consulting the Local Authority.
New Creative Learning Networks are being developed in Scotland, supporting a range of approaches bringing together local people with an interest in developing creative experiences and opportunities for children and young people to learn, communicate and champion the arts and culture. The scope of those involved in the networks is broad and aims to include schools and wider communities including children and young people, parents, youth workers, local authority officers and the cultural sector. Some of the networks will be brand new, whilst others will build on existing local programmes.
In March, we launched the Cultural Learning Alliance and asked people to show their support for a cultural entitlement by signing up to join the Alliance. There has been a great show of strength from across culture and education, parents and the general public with almost 1,000 people signed up so far. This tells us just how important cultural learning is to people across the country.
We have a new government led by Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The position on cultural learning isn’t particularly clear in either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat manifestos. Neither committed to a cultural entitlement, or curriculum changes that reinforced culture at the heart of teaching and learning. This situation is likely to be fast-changing , but here we outline what we might expect.