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  • By the Banks of the River Lea, Ali Holloway

October 2016 Policy Brief

We bring you this month:

Craft education remains at risk

Findings from our new research report, Studying Craft 16, show that the future of craft education remains at risk. Our new animated summary, and the more detailed findings now on our website, show how both the take-up of GCSEs and the number of Higher Education courses have fallen sharply since 2007/08, while more diverse entry routes into craft suggest rays of hope. Please help us tackle the risks to formal craft education and training by sharing the findings with your audiences.

New Government figures also published in October show a fall in the percentage of pupils entering at least one arts subject of 1.7 percentage points to just 47.9% of pupils in state-funded schools in 2016 (see page 15). This is on top of an overall decline of 8% in the uptake of arts subjects at GCSE between 2015 and 2016.

Meanwhile, the Guardian newspaper reports that the last exam board in England offering art history A level will drop the subject from 2018. More than 200 academics have written an open letter expressing their concerns at the axing of the art history A level.

The Creative Industries Federation has launched 'Social Mobility and the Skills Gap - Creative Education Agenda 2016', demonstrating how the EBacc - alongside plans for apprenticeships - is limiting the life chances of the next generation and how current policies threaten the UK’s standing as a global creative power.

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), noted in a recent speech about the importance of industrial strategy, that “In the debate about education we must make sure that vocational education – especially in engineering and technology – plays a much more prominent role in our country than it has for many years now.” In the Lords, Baroness Neville-Rolfe has confirmed that industrial strategy has to be wide-ranging and will not be restricted to work in BEIS.

Brexit consultation

The Crafts Council has responded to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the impact of Brexit, highlighting the importance of strong conditions for international trade and the need for new tax breaks.

The Creative Industries Federation published the definitive analysis of the implications of Brexit, emphasising recommendations for talent and skills, funding (including continuing access to Creative Europe), trade and investment and regulatory frameworks.

Damian Collins has just been elected as Chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. 

Other appointments - Tom Watson was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Museums and galleries tax relief consultation

A new tax relief for museums and galleries is to be introduced in April 2017 to support them in developing creative exhibitions and to display their collections to a wider audience. The Crafts Council has responded to the consultation on the design of the tax relief, seeking a broad definition of what counts as an exhibition.

New research

Guidelines are proposed on the role of culture: