November 2013 Policy Brief
This brief includes updates on proposals for art, craft and design subjects across the curriculum. It also highlights a number of new reports on the arts economy.
Art, Craft and Design curriculum – next steps
In April the Crafts Council responded to the Government’s consultation on the draft programmes of study for Art and Design and Design and Technology at Key Stages 1 to 3. The Government is now pursuing changes at GSCE, AS and GCE A levels, described below.
(i) Arts GCSE research
Earlier this year Arts Council England (ACE) commissioned independent research through Creative and Cultural Skills into what a high quality GCSE in the four subjects of Art & Design, Dance, Drama and Music should look like. The aim was to inform strategic discussions on the future development and the delivery of the Key Stage 4 arts curriculum.
Research agency CfE produced a report that provides an evaluation of current GCSEs in Art & Design, Dance, Drama and Music; an understanding of decision-makers’ and students’ motivations for promoting or choosing arts subjects at KS4; and draft Programmes of Study for each arts GCSE under investigation. ACE has commissioned the Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) to undertake an independent consultation on behalf of the Arts Council to design and refine CFE’s draft Programmes of Study. The Crafts Council participated in the first round of discussions. The CLA will submit an independent report to the Arts Council in February 2014.
(ii) New Art and Design A level: subject content consultation
The Department for Education (DfE) is seeking views on the outcome of Professor Smith’s report on the review of current A level subject content and the Awarding Organisations’ recommendations for changes to the subject criteria and content for A level and AS qualifications. The closing date for the consultation is 20 December. The DfE and Ofqual aim for new AS and A levels in these subjects to be ready for teaching in September 2015.
The AS and A level subjects included in the consultation are: art and design; biology; business studies; chemistry; computing; economics; English language; English literature; English language and literature; geography; history; physics; psychology; and sociology.
Matthew Hancock MP, the further education and skills Minister, gave a speech to the Skills Show 2013 on 14 November on vocational qualifications, the new tech level and the National Careers Service. Level 3 or advanced qualifications which have the support of businesses or universities will be included in 16 to 19 performance tables from 2016, for young people taking courses from September 2014.
Future of apprenticeships in England: Richard Review next steps
On 28 October the Government published an Implementation Plan responding to the earlier consultation on the future of apprenticeship This sets out policy, process and timescales for reforming apprenticeships in England. The reforms introduce higher expectations for English and maths, new grading structures and an increased emphasis on assessment at the end of an apprenticeship. The reformed apprenticeships are intended to be employer-led to respond to the needs of industry.
The Crafts Council is currently undertaking some work on key messages to promote over the next year. These will include an emphasis on improving support for micro-businesses, including how they access the apprenticeship service, which currently focuses predominantly on larger businesses.
Great Art and Culture for Everyone
Arts Council England (ACE) has launched a refreshed version of its 10-year strategy, Great Art and Culture for Everyone. Originally published in 2010, this 2013 update reflects ACE’s newly expanded remit for museums and libraries.
Towards Plan A: a new political economy for arts and culture
Arts Council England and the RSA hosted the final event in a seminar series, Towards Plan A: a new political economy for arts and culture. The seminar
considered a new model for the political economy of the arts.
Digital R&D Fund for the Arts
The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts has launched Digital Culture: How arts and cultural organisations in England use technology – a detailed account of how theatres, performance spaces, galleries and museums in England are innovating with new technologies. It represents the first report in a three year study.
Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital
Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital reports on investment in arts and culture in England. The headline is that 15% of the population of England lives in London, yet in 2012/23 Arts Council England (ACE) distributed £320 of taxpayers’ money to the arts with £20 per head of population (php) allocated in London against £3.60 php in the rest of England.
ACE responded to the report, acknowledging an imbalance and noting also that figures on Arts Council funding relate to where the organisation is administered from, not where its ‘impact’ is. On this basis figures for funding per-head for organisations and companies that are based in London but which tour or have a regional presence will not give an accurate representation.
Creative Employment Programme
After the sixth round of applications to the Creative Employment Programme – a scheme set up to help unemployed 16-24 year olds pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector – figures from Creative and Cultural Skills show that more than 1,000 jobs have been created since the programme launched in May last year.
Small Business Saturday
The UK is celebrating its first Small Business Saturday on 7 December 2013. This is a chance for small businesses to promote themselves and generate trade. In the US, where it’s an established commercial holiday, it generated $5.5 billion in sales in 2012.
Evidence of the neural basis of creativity?
Scientists claim to have uncovered findings on the neural basis of creativity by scanning the brains of accomplished pianists while they improvised on a keyboard.
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