Over the last year there has been a great deal of dialogue around the removal of the arts from school curriculums.
I have read many articles, but still the rhetoric from arts journalists, editors plus the more famous backers, including The Prince of Wales, film director Steve McQueen and comedian Josie Lawrence; that surrounds the importance of keeping the arts in schools, is falling on deaf ears.
I am in total agreement with what is being said - that depriving young people of having the opportunity to study the arts is a real oversight.
For me, theatre and the arts instilled a passion in me and gave me the opportunity to discover something that was new and exciting, a subject with no right or wrong way and something that I don’t feel I would have experienced in the regular ‘class room’.
The more traditional academic subjects such as maths, science and technology are perceived as strong subjects needed for sustaining our economy. Whereas music, art and drama are not and are very often the first to be removed from the syllabus.
In my opinion, the arts are vital. It enriches our lives, adds value and contributes to our learning by providing us with key skills in communicating, public speaking and leadership. It creates freedom and empowers people of all ages and backgrounds, by influencing the way we all think and feel.
The funding pressures have cut lessons and courses from schools and colleges, leaving individuals who long to perform either having to find alternative courses, which might not be right for their needs, or rethinking their future all together.
To not give the people who are passionate about the arts the opportunity to develop in our wonderful, creative industry, would be an absolute travesty. As it would to leave us with fewer performers and musicians in years to come.
The Arts Council England (ACE) has put forward a response to how Ofsted should carry out future school inspections. They have strongly stated that Ofsted should only award a good or outstanding rating to schools with a ‘strong arts and cultural offer’.
ACE also said: “Arts subjects, cultural experiences and creativity should be recognised for their contribution to learners’ wider personal development, particularly in support of good mental health.”
This is an interesting point, which I hope Ofsted takes into account.
I believe that every child should have the opportunity to access the arts whilst at school, to profit from the long-term benefits that comes with an education in these subjects.
It is about time it’s realised just how much the arts contribute to not only our economy but also to our wellbeing.
What are your thoughts on the funding cuts to the arts?