Sector skills should be funded by employers, not ACE

Girl learning on a craft apprenticeship
22 Nov 2023

The announcement last week (14 November) of the closure of Creative & Cultural Skills (CCSkills) was probably inevitable, writes Pauline Tambling, but it tells a deeper story.

Big drop in arts and humanities PhD students

Oil painting restoration expert repairing damage on the canvas
21 Nov 2023

Concerns raised over future diversity and vitality of arts and humanities research as the number of UK-based doctoral students being funded nearly halves in the space of four years.

Exclusive: Creative and Cultural Skills to close

A young woman working behind the scenes in a theatre adjusting a light
14 Nov 2023

Loss of core Arts Council England funding a significant factor in the decision to close organisation established 18 years ago.

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.

Call for DfE to address music education funding shortfall

07 Dec 2023

The Musicians' Union has written to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan calling for urgent financial support for music education hubs.

An open letter from the union highlights the potential impact of increased employer pension contributions on the finances of hubs, stating that it could lead to "extreme financial difficulties" for the organisations that run Hubs. 

It says that, in turn, this could result in a drastic reduction of what hubs will be able to deliver.

Chris Walters, MU National Organiser for Education, said: “In its National Plan for Music Education, the government has asked the music education sector to deliver more than ever, and yet it has offered no increase in funding for well over a decade. 

"On top of this, it is expecting the sector to self-fund a significant increase in mandatory pension contributions.

“We are simply asking that funding for music education be unfrozen and linked to inflation and that the government funds employers’ pensions contributions for teachers who are employed to deliver the vital work of music education hubs.”

A trailblazer over four decades

Image of Pauline Tambling
06 Dec 2023

Pauline Tambling, who played a huge role in the arts education and training world for four decades, has died. Her friend and colleague Sally Bacon pays tribute to her. 

University students fight to save music department

20 Nov 2023

Students at Oxford Brookes University have launched a petition to save a music course after plans to axe it emerged last week.

The petition, which launched on 17 November and now has around 3,000 signatures, calls for university leaders to reconsider the decision, stating that it will impact both music students and the university's culture.

"We are deeply affected by the recent decision to remove the music course from Oxford Brookes University curriculum," the petition states.

"The music department is more than just an academic division; it is a key element of our university and home to non-music students who participate in societies and music groups. 

"Its removal would mean stripping away opportunities for cultural enrichment, personal growth and community bonding."

The petition adds that arts courses such as music "contribute significantly" to students' mental well-being.

In addition to ending the music course, the university plans to reduce the number of salaried academic staff across several programmes, including English and creative writing.

A statement issued by the English and creative writing team said up to 40% of their staff could go by the end of January.

“As a dedicated team of teachers and writers, we believe the humanities are the beating heart of any university. We get to know our students so well, and they love their courses," the statement said.

“When they graduate, they go out into the world as confident and creative individuals. We have brought great prestige to Oxford Brookes University as leading researchers, ranked the sixth best English and creative writing unit in the whole of the UK for this. 

“We are involved in projects and collaborations that enrich the local community and celebrate the diversity of literature and the arts. All of that is now under threat. This is going to be a very bleak season for all of us across the university whose jobs are now at risk.”

Birmingham Hippodrome launches teacher support initiative

20 Nov 2023

Birmingham Hippodrome has launched a new programme for teachers and educators in the West Midlands in a bid to get more young people in the area engaged with theatre.

Teachers in the scheme will be invited to see live performances at the Hippodrome and attend talks, pre and post-show events and networking events where they can meet and connect with other educators, artists and creatives.

It is hoped that successful applicants will expand their knowledge and be keen to be advocates for the power of theatre for young people.

Zayle-Dawn Wilson, Head of Creative Partnerships at Birmingham Hippodrome, said: “Schools are facing significant challenges in the current climate. 

"In our last benchmarking survey, schools reported over 60% of teachers felt inexperienced in arts education, and over 50% unable to engage young people with the arts. Our vision is to support the education sector by inspiring teachers, to in turn support and inspire their young people.”

Birmingham Hippodrome currently works with 44 primary, secondary and SEN schools and colleges across the region, providing young people with the chance to experience and connect with theatre through the Hippodrome Education Network.

ACE commits £1.2m to young people's initiative in Sunderland

A Creative You crafts workshop for young people at Arts Centre Washington
20 Nov 2023

A multi-year programme providing free arts and culture activities to young people in Sunderland has been backed by a £1.196m grant from Arts Council England.

Autumn Statement: Creative industries urge action on arts education

Mature teacher working with art students during painting class at school
17 Nov 2023

Lack of investment in art and design education is having a 'damaging impact' on one of the UK’s most successful sectors, new campaign group warns.

Music teacher training bursaries set to return

09 Nov 2023

The Department for Education has announced that trainee music teachers at secondary level will be entitled to a bursary of £10,000 from September 2024, after previously axing the support in 2020.

The tax-free sum, which is less than half that on offer for languages and STEM subjects, will be paid in equal monthly instalments over the duration of a trainee teacher's course.

It's hoped the bursary's reintroduction will significantly boost the number of music teachers. Last month, an Ofsted report on music teaching in schools found some schools were experiencing challenges recruiting music teachers at the key stage 3. In a few cases, music had been temporarily removed from the curriculum because of a shortage of specialists.

According to the National Foundation for Educational Research, just 31% of the target for music teacher recruitment will be met in 2023. 

UK Music’s Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl welcomed the return of the bursary for music but said: ”There is still far more to be done to fix the current shortage of music teachers.”

Chris Walters, National Organiser for Education, Health & Wellbeing at the Musicians’ Union, added: “We urge the government to revisit its own National Plan for Music Education and review the other barriers that stand in the way of the plan’s delivery, including straitened school budgets and mixed messaging to schools about the importance of the arts.”

Meanwhile, Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the ISM, noted: “Despite the good news for secondary teachers, there is no bursary at primary level, where a lack of courses remains a point of great concern." In over two-thirds of the primary schools, Ofsted found that non-specialist teachers taught music, with over half lacking the subject knowledge to teach the curriculum well. 

The government has announced that trainee Art & Design and English teachers will also be offered a £10,000 bursary for 2024/25.

Creativity classes boost confidence of pupils and teachers

06 Nov 2023

Teaching creativity in primary schools can help students and teachers improve their skills, according to new research funded by Arts Council England and the Freelands Foundation.

The year-long study, which was conducted by University of Exeter and worked with teachers from the Penryn Partnership in West Cornwall, found "notable increases" in both teachers' abilities to facilitate creativity and students' capacity to develop creative skills.

Teachers taking part reported “increasing confidence and practice” in teaching for creativity. Meanwhile, researchers found children took more risks in developing ideas and experienced a greater connection with knowledge and skills they had previously been taught. 

One teacher said: "This study has confirmed to me that making the time and space for creativity in the secondary classroom is vital if we want to equip teenagers with the kinds of skills that they so clearly need for the future."

Associate Professor Kerry Chappell, who jointly authored the report, said the findings gave “insight into how it’s possible to teach for creativity."

She added: "The fact that our research synthesis was also able to demonstrate widespread developments in both creative teaching and students’ creative skills shows that the Creativity Collaborative project has impact and could be scaled up nationally.”

Charity seeks support for musician development programme

01 Nov 2023

A talent development organisation has launched a fundraising appeal to support the next generation of jazz musicians.

The Tomorrow’s Warriors charity aims to raise £100,000 through its #IAMWARRIOR appeal to help sustain its free-to-access Young Artist Development and Emerging Artist Programmes. 

Music Week reports that the organisation relies on the support of funding and donations to continue to deliver its learning programmes that provide music education to the next generation of jazz musicians, with a focus on young women and those from diverse and low-income backgrounds. 

Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective are among jazz musicians to have previously benefitted from the programme.

DJ and broadcaster Gilles Peterson said: “Tomorrow's Warriors occupies a unique and vital space in our cultural landscape. Their work in helping positively shape future generations is of critical importance, especially in light of the tribulations we currently face." 

Treat intimacy co-ordinators like fight directors, says new consent guidance

Director watching rehearsal of the play stock photo
31 Oct 2023

Bectu and Equity have issued intimacy and consent guidance for drama schools, recognising the widespread use of intimacy practitioners in the creative industries.

'Institutional change' needed to boost creative sector diversity

Students holding tablets and phone talk in university lobby
25 Oct 2023

Access to creative Higher Education courses is ‘highly unequal’ and institutional change is required to improve diversity within the sector, report finds.

Dance as a catalyst for change?

Dance workship
24 Oct 2023

In devising a new Master’s degree in dance, Jo Parkes’s aim has been to interrogate the artform - not as a subject to be studied - but as a form of activism.

Music hubs losing pupils and schools over rising costs

24 Oct 2023

Research finds music hubs and services are being forced to increase prices amid rising costs and funding gaps, but parents and schools are not always able to absorb the price hike.

Hastings schools chosen for art education pilot

24 Oct 2023

A pilot project to develop a new approach to arts education will be run across a group of schools in Hastings, East Sussex.

The Clore Duffield Foundation is working with the Ark group of schools to explore how it can support multi-academy trusts to "deliver excellent and inspiring arts education".

During the project, Ark will work with local and national artists and arts organisations to give all pupils the chance to develop their creativity. 

A range of arts initiatives and partnerships will be trialled, culminating in an arts festival in Hastings in July 2024.

Kate Bellamy, Director of the Clore Duffield Foundation said: “We believe that an excellent arts education is essential for children, young people and the creative industries to thrive. 

"The Foundation has spent the past 20 years supporting cultural institutions to create Clore Learning Spaces for arts education. 

"But not all schools and families can easily access these. So, we are partnering with Ark Schools to explore how multi academy trusts can develop inspiring arts education programmes, ensuring all their pupils benefit."


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