Educating Our Children to Face an Unknown Future
“We need to see our creative capacities for the richness that they are and see our children for the hope that they are. Our task is to educate their whole being so they can face this future…We may not see this future, but they will. And our job is to help them make something of it”
–Sir Ken Robinson, Do Schools Kill Creativity?
What are the challenges?
- Not every child is born with the same chances to achieve and thrive at school.
- The 6 London boroughs where Creative Schools works are all areas identified as having high numbers of pupils facing disadvantage. In this area, an average of 84% of pupils are BAME and at 20.2% on average are eligible for Free School Meals – more than 5% higher than the national average (Schools Stats and Characteristics DfE, 2019).
- 4 out of the 6 the east London boroughs where Creative Schools works were identified as one of the worst 8 boroughs in London for child poverty rates (Source: Trust for London, London Poverty Profile 2019)
- East London still has one of the highest rates of child poverty in Britain. A staggering 1 in 4 children are growing up in poverty in Newham, where we are based. (Cooper & Stewart, 2017)
- A staggering 42% of pupils eligible for free school meals in the 6 boroughs where Creative Schools works are not achieving the expected standards at GCSE (Trust for London, London Poverty Profile 2017)
- The Warwick Commission Report (Enriching Britain, 2015) found that ‘children born into low income families with low levels of educational qualifications are least likely to engage with and appreciate the arts (and) experience culture as part of their home education’.
- Cultural learning has a part to play in addressing this inequality.
- We believe creative and educational intervention can support young people in east London whilst tackling significant social issues.
- One thing we know is that workforce of the UK’s creative economy has been increasing by 13.7% on average since 2011. We need to ensure that every child has access to the creative skills to thrive in this sector among others. (Creative Industries Federation, 2019)
- Changes to the National Curriculum, qualifications, funding and policy landscape have all had a negative impact on the health of arts and cultural activity within schools, particularly since 2010.
- The Warwick Commission Report in 2015 found a significant decline in the number of state schools offering arts subjects taught by specialist teachers and a large fall in the number of pupils taking GCSEs in art related subjects.
- Schools may not be aware of the enormous range of opportunities and diverse ways of learning that are on offer across East London or how to connect with the right organisation to work with them. Despite there being 100+ arts and cultural organisations based in east London, there remain huge inequalities in the provision of cultural education.
- Schools remain the ‘important gateways to culture…they have an important leveling effect particularly for those young people from less privileged backgrounds’ (A New Direction, 2013)
- Not all teachers and school leaders invest in the arts to impact on learning, behaviour, and wellbeing of pupils, or as a way to prepare pupils for future employment, despite the fact that OFSTED’s new framework explicitly mentions the importance of ‘cultural capital’ and the ‘cultural development’ of pupils as part of a broad and balanced curriculum (OFSTED 2019)
- There is often a lack of a relevant CPD opportunities that would enable teachers to teach across a range of arts, or further strengthen the core curriculum through the arts.
- Teaching is fundamentally a creative vocation. CPD provided by arts and culture providers can help teachers reconnect with their passions and feel motivated to teach in diverse ways.
- Teachers surveyed in 2015 felt that it was difficult to find out about opportunities and often the opportunities on offer to them did not fit with their needs and priorities.
- With such a high workload, teachers and school leaders feel worried about taking on the responsibility for sourcing, costing, planning and commissioning arts and culture projects with partners.
We understand how difficult it can be to advocate for the arts within schools.
We’re here to make that as easy as possible for schools.
The Benefits of Cultural Learning
According to key research by the Cultural Learning Alliance in 2017:
- Participation in structured arts activities can increase cognitive abilities by 17%
- Learning through arts and culture can improve attainment in Maths and English
- Learning through arts and culture develops skills and behaviour that lead children to do better at school
- Students from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree
- Employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment.
- Young offenders who take part in arts activities are 18% less likely to re-offend.
- Children who take part in arts activities in the home during their early years are ahead in reading and Maths at age nine.
- People who take part in the arts are 38% more likely to report good health.
Read the Key Research Findings in full at: www.culturallearningalliance.org.uk/evidence