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  • Bracelet, Susanna Heron, 1970-1971, Crafts Council Collection: J7. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

February 2017 Policy Brief

A short month, a short policy brief, covering –

Brexit

Crafts Council Executive Director, Rosy Greenlees, attended a ministerial meeting with creative industries representatives to discuss Brexit negotiations.  Rosy raised the importance of creative education for British talent and access to research and EU funding.

The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market heard evidence about how leaving the European Union presents opportunities to make education policy and the visa system more responsive to the needs of the creative industries. Echoing evidence in the Crafts Council’s Studying Craft 16 report, John Kampfner said (Q19), “The EBacc system, while obviously having good aspects in terms of rigour, deprioritised creative industries learning, so any aspiring head teacher in an academy or any other school would see no advantage to promoting creative subjects. Design and technology has gone down 41% in six years, and design is not just in the creative industries but goes obviously across into other sectors as well.”

It is now over a year since the Government since the Department for Education closed a public consultation on implementing the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Findings have yet to be released.

Diversity research

Arts Council England (ACE) has published findings about the collection, analysis and use of diversity data relating to arts and culture by, with and for young people. The report raises concerns about a lack of reliable data that can be used to assess young people’s engagement in the arts and recommends that ACE should take steps to radically improve the collection, analysis and use of such data.

Voluntary Arts has recently published ‘Open Conversations: Developing strong, effective connections to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities’, building on its own experience of developing connections with a range of BAME communities and increasing the ethnic diversity of its board.

Education and employment research

Five months into her King’s College London and Crafts Council UK collaborative PhD, Lauren England blogs about initial findings from her analysis of professional development practices in craft higher education, reflecting on the impact of the omission of ‘craft’ in most course promotion.

The RSA’s The Entrepreneurial Audit highlights how one in seven people are now self-employed. The report puts forward twenty ideas for how the self-employed could be better supported, including by reforming National Insurance contributions, ironing out the problems of Universal Credit, overhauling business rates, creating new rights for home-based workers, and introducing a form of Paternity Allowance and Adoption Allowance for self-employed parents.

Leicester’s De Montfort University is to collaborate with Arts Council England on a pilot programme and a three-year trial to develop a creative talent plan.

The latest figures from UCAS, the higher education admissions service, show a drop of 7% in students applying to study creative subjects over the last year, compared to a 5% drop in entrants across all subjects. The Crafts Council’s Studying Craft 16 findings reveal a decline of 50% in higher education craft-related courses between 2007/08 and 14/15.

The New Schools Network highlights the dramatic drop in the number of arts teachers and the number of hours that arts subjects are taught in recent years. The new report asserts that successful education in the arts and in the EBacc subjects are not contradictory but complementary. It acknowledges that the definition excludes Design & Technology GCSE figures, which would reveal a decline in participation.

A new careers website for manufacturing, MadeHereNow, was launched recently.

Crafts Council’s regional networking events

The findings reveal an overwhelming concern about education and the need to sustain a future generation, an enthusiasm to focus the current energy and dynamism around craft into new models of practice and an interest in finding the right strategies to ensure we sustain the craft sector for the future. All of the findings have informed the Crafts Council’s business planning and forthcoming programmes.

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