Labour’s mission to boost the arts


Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Ed Miliband is pledging to put arts and culture at the heart of his government if Labour wins the general election on May 7.

In a speech in London, the Labour leader will promise to guarantee young people’s access to creative education, accusing the coalition Government of depriving schoolchildren of exposure to the arts because of a “backward-looking, narrow educational philosophy”.

And he will offer the creative industries an influential voice within government with the creation of a new committee, chaired by Mr Miliband and drawing its membership from all sectors and regions, with a remit to bring the concerns of the arts community directly to the ear of the Prime Minister.

Speaking to the Creative Industries Foundation, Mr Miliband will stress the economic and educational benefits of access to arts and culture and warn that they should not be allowed to become “the privilege of a few, rather than the right of the many”.

Under Mr Miliband’s plans, schools will only be able to receive an “outstanding” rating from Ofsted inspectors if they offer creative subjects and cultural opportunities.

Schools will be asked to appoint a “local culture champion” to forge links with arts organisations and after-school clubs will be encouraged to offer music, drama, dance and other creative activities.

Labour would guarantee to continue free access to national galleries and museums and encourage the Arts Council to use grants to fund reduced-rate theatre tickets for young people.

And creative industries and arts organisations which receive government grants and contracts would be required to offer more apprenticeships.

Labour cited the findings of the Warwick Commission that numbers of primary school children taking part in music had fallen from over half in 2010 to under one-third in 2013, while the number of arts and culture teachers in schools has fallen by 11% since the last election and in 2013, only 8.4% of students combined arts and science subjects at AS-level.

“In my view, this is a direct consequence of a backward-looking, narrow educational philosophy from a Government that has gone from the Gove regime to the Gove regime in all but name,” Mr Miliband is due to say.

“We have to turn that round. That is why the next Labour government’s mission is to guarantee every young person, from whatever background, access to the arts and culture – a universal entitlement to a creative education for every child.”

Citing the filming of the new Star Wars movie in Berkshire and the training of a new generation of talent at the Brit School in Croydon, Mr Miliband was due to say: “Arts is an area where Britain still leads the world … And every day we see all around us evidence of the brilliance of British theatre, design, fashion, architecture, video games and every other branch of arts and culture.

“Together, the creative industries are our fastest growing sector. But the importance of the arts and culture for me goes far beyond pounds and pence. The arts and culture define our character as a nation.”

And he will add: “If you believe in social justice, if you believe in a more equal society, then access to the arts and culture is not an optional extra, it is essential – not simply because of the worlds it opens up, but because of the wider impact it has.

“Over 40% of 16-year-olds from low-income families who engage in the arts and culture score above average in their school tests – and those who take part in the arts and culture are more likely to get a degree.

“It is for all these reasons that I am committed to opening up access to the arts and culture, because it can’t be right that all of these advantages are the privilege of a few, rather than the right of the many.”

Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search