Time for a national youth arts trust?

Teenagers in an art class
18 Apr 2024

There has been a massive decline in arts for young people over the last 15 years. So much so that Joe Hallgarten thinks we need a dedicated national organisation to repair the damage. The current review of ACE might provide an opportunity.

Bridging the divide for children in the North

Childwall Academy
17 Nov 2022

At the heart of the cost-of-living and Covid storm, children and young people have fewer opportunities to engage in arts and culture and barriers to access are growing. Hannah Baldwin thinks this is a crisis in the making.

Education in need of a radical rethink 

First Encounters with Shakespeare production photograph
15 Sep 2022

Industry complains of a chronic skills shortage in areas such as communication and creativity. Yet our education system places little value on subjects that hone those skills, says Jacqui O'Hanlon.

Training the next generation: filming performance bootcamp

31 Aug 2022

Natalie Woolman explains how a bootcamp to develop a talent pipeline for the multicamera teams of the future will address a serious gap in skills training.

Arts education: Call for four-hour minimum entitlement

Schoolchildren taking part in an arts class
21 May 2024

Campaign group says fundamental changes to the schooling system are necessary to address 'erosion and inequality' in arts education provision.

Arts 'a bridge to success' after Goldsmiths league table leap

20 May 2024

The warden of Goldsmiths, University of London has said that studying creative arts, social sciences or humanities is "a bridge rather than a barrier to success" after the university jumped 22 places in the Complete University Guide (CUG) rankings.

It's the highest position in five years for the university specialising in the study of creative, cultural and social subjects, which now ranks 52 out of 130 institutions. 

Professor Frances Corner, warden of Goldsmiths, said: “This is very welcome recognition of our achievements and as a place where our students can further their ambitions.

“It’s also very important that the employment prospects of our students are creditably high with those who study STEM subjects and that studying creative arts, social sciences or humanities is a bridge rather than a barrier to success."

The CUG data noted that a Goldsmiths Music graduate’s prospects for progression “fly high at 82.8 per cent” and indicated that studying for an arts and design degree in London had “a great impact” on future employment opportunities. 

Goldsmith's success follows a recent announcement that 130 of the university's teaching posts are at risk of redundancy as it seeks to make £20m of savings amid declining student numbers.

It is one of at least 14 universities implementing redundancy programmes affecting arts degrees or closing creative courses, according to research by Queen Mary University.

The cuts, which will impact 11 of 19 departments, including Music, Theatre and Performance, English and Creative Writing, and Visual Cultures, have been called "unprecendendetned" in scale, intensity and speed by the University College Union.

Corner previously defended the cuts by saying: "Like other universities, we are having to make difficult decisions because of a funding model widely acknowledged to be unfit for purpose.

“Creative institutions have also borne the brunt of chronic underfunding of arts in schools, and within this environment, fewer students are choosing these subjects at university.

“We are fully committed to retaining the arts, humanities and social sciences as core elements of our educational offer.”

Education system facing 'arts apocalypse', sector warns

Two children standing at a table painting
13 May 2024

Concerns raised over 'decimation' of arts provision in schools and colleges across England.

One in four schools failing to meet one-hour music target

10 May 2024

Almost a quarter of secondary schools are not meeting a new government expectation for Key Stage 3 pupils to be taught an hour of classroom music a week, a survey has found.

Schools Week reports that the expectation was introduced in September as part of the government’s national plan for music, with similar expectations also introduced for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

However, a survey of senior secondary school leaders found that 16 per cent were teaching for less than an hour a week, and 2 per cent were not teaching at all.

Teacher Tapp's research found that another five per cent use a system in which pupils are only taught for part of the year.

Overall, two-thirds said they met the weekly commitment of one hour, with seven per cent saying they taught for more than an hour.

Ongoing issues with recruitment accountability pressures and funding have been cited as possible reasons for schools failing to meet the target.

Deaf pupils to receive Shakespeare resources

08 May 2024

Teaching resources to make Shakespeare more accessible for deaf students are being sent to all deaf schools in the UK.

The British Theatre Guide reports that the teaching packs are part of the Signing Shakespeare project - a partnership between the University of Birmingham and the Royal Shakespeare Company - which began in May last year.

Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall, Deputy Director of Education and Associate Professor in Shakespeare and Theatre at the Shakespeare Institute, part of the University of Birmingham, said: "There are more than 50,000 deaf children in the UK and Shakespeare is the only named author that all children are required to study in the National Curriculum. 

"But the fact is there aren’t many resources for deaf students studying Shakespeare in school.

“Signing Shakespeare is an educational resource programme which brings together visual and active learning for the study of Macbeth so we can try to address this gap between the teaching provision for hearing and deaf students in school.”

Music education hubs: ACE seeks fresh bids for two areas

A boy sitting and playing the drums
06 May 2024

Two areas of England are yet to have an organisation appointed to run their music education hub later this year after bids by prospective candidates were rejected for being too weak.

ArtsEd delays misconduct report

01 May 2024

London drama school ArtsEd has revealed it will delay publishing a public statement and summary of conclusions from an investigation into alleged misconduct by its senior leadership team.

The school's Acting Chair, Farida Mannan, said that although an update had been due on 30 April, it would now be deferred until 28 June.

Earlier this year, the board appointed barrister Ghazaleh Rezaie to independently investigate allegations of misconduct and bullying made against Principal Julie Spencer.

Spencer herself was appointed in 2022 after a previous independent review led to the resignation of former principal Chris Hocking.

The 2021 barrister-led investigation found that ArtsEd had a “sexualized environment” and demonstrated a “lack of regard” for the wellbeing of students, exposing them to favouritism, bullying and other misconduct.

Recent allegations against Spencer were made by students, alumni and former staff in Deadline and described a “toxic” and unsafe culture. ArtsEd has strongly disputed the claims.

In February, an employment tribunal heard a former staff member describe a “culture of fear” at ArtsEd and express unease about Spencer and her deputy, Yewande Akindele's leadership.

Spencer is currently on medical leave but has denied the allegations against her.

Full scale of university arts cuts emerges

01 May 2024

Research highlights extent of universities reducing their provision of creative courses and cutting staff.

Call for more joined-up thinking in music education

ISM demonstration outside Department for Education
01 May 2024

The decimation of arts education has hit the music sector particularly hard. Deborah Annetts of the Independent Society of Musicians calls on government departments to work together to stop the decline.

Drama school hopes to 'shift the dial' by axing audition fees

The Central School of Speech and Drama, Eton Avenue, NW3 pictured 2011
29 Apr 2024

Central School of Speech and Drama is scrapping a £40 audition fee for its undergraduate acting degree.

Scottish performing arts academy renamed

17 Apr 2024

The Scottish Institute of Theatre, Dance, Film & Television (The SI) has been announced as the new name for Scotland's MGA Academy of Performing Arts.

The renaming was instigated by the school's new owners, Irish production house Silver Rock Studios. Funding for the school has been secured from West Lothian Council, Creative Scotland, and the Scottish Government.

The institute, Scotland's only school accredited by the Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT), is now based in a campus in Livingston and will be open to international students for the first time.

President and CEO of The SI, Andy Egan, said: “It is an honour to introduce The Scottish Institute and open our brand new campus to our wonderful students, staff and visitors.

"The institute is built on the academy’s reputation and our roots in Edinburgh. This pivotal expansion further marks our commitment to fostering an environment where creativity, learning and profession development take centre stage."

He added: "As we invite our students to our new, state-of-the-art Livingston campus we aspire to nurture a hub that champions creativity, entrepreneurship and learning to inspire the next generation of talent.”


Music-making programme for disabled children extended

A young person playing a clarinet
17 Apr 2024

The OHMI Music-Makers programme will now be available for schools in Central Bedfordshire, Southampton and Liverpool.

Earnings should not dictate policy on creative subjects

Ballet dancers on stage
16 Apr 2024

A blog post by a former government adviser has called for a cap on the number of students studying creative subjects. Orian Brook thinks the figures used to justify this argument misrepresent creative graduates’ earning power and contribution.

Movement 'improves classroom learning for children'

Children taking part in movement-based education
16 Apr 2024

Research led by a dance company found keeping pupils active in the classroom improved their maths and English learning.

UKRI awards £70m to university museums and collections

12 Apr 2024

University museums and collections from 21 higher education institutes will receive a share of £14m of Higher Education Museums, Galleries, and Collections funding each year until 2029/2030.

The funding from Research England - part of United Kingdom Research and Innovation - has been raised from £11.7m and will go to 40 higher education museums, galleries, and collections, compared to 33 in previous rounds.

Among those receiving the multi-year grants are nine museums and collections at Cambridge University, which will share more than £2.9m, and four at Oxford, splitting more than £4m.

Three Birmingham University collections will share £400,000, while the Royal College of Music Museum and The Courtauld Institute of Art will get over £221,000 and £696,000, respectively.

Dr Liz Hide, Director of the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences at Cambridge University, which has been awarded £210,000 a year, said the funding would go toward “[ensuring] researchers can fully utilise our new Collections Research Centre, and enabling our outstanding collections to inspire many new avenues of research across both the sciences and the humanities.”

Former DfE adviser calls for cap on creative courses

Male and female drama students at a performing arts school In studio improvisation class
11 Apr 2024

Leading economist says limiting numbers of students allowed to study creative subjects at university would allow government to invest significantly more, making remaining provision 'outstanding'.


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