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  • Work by Crafts Council maker Deborah Harwood

Research and Policy Brief July 2019

We look at further declines in provisional creative subject entries, Sharon Hodgson MP’s concerns about this, the Head of Ofsted’s acknowledgement that not enough has been done to support these subjects, plans for the new Ofsted framework, and CBI calls for changes to the EBacc.

In addition –

Ofqual has published provisional GCSE and A Level entry results for 2019 which show a modest increase in Art & Design subject entries and a further decline in Design & Technology. This is set against an increase in GCSE student numbers of 3.5% from 2018 to 2019.

Sharon Hodgson MP writes in The House magazine about the decline of creative subjects in schools and their importance for a well-rounded education. 

In a speech on design and technology education Amanda Spielman, Head of Ofsted, acknowledged that there has been a 64% decline in participation at Key Stage 4 in design and technology between 2003 and 2017. She said Ofsted has not done enough to help and cited under-investment in the curriculum and teachers in all school phases.

Ms Spielman also announced an ‘education quality standard’ is to be included in the new Ofsted framework to enable inspectors to look more closely at what is taught and how it’s taught. Ofsted has also announced that the new Ofsted framework will require schools to develop their pupils’ cultural capital, a term the Cultural Learning Alliance has explored.

The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) is calling for a broadening of the EBacc performance measure, to include a creative subject. Getting young people 'work ready' notes that, ‘We need to provide a curriculum that instead of narrowing horizons, broadens them, and fosters skills such as creativity, resilience, communication, and problem-solving.’

In other news –

Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough and former Education Secretary, has become the new Culture Secretary. Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane, stays as Culture Minister. She was first appointed in May.

DCMS has published its Economic Estimates 2018 for employment. The Estimates suggest that craft employment has declined between 2017 and 2018 (from 10,000 to 9,000 employees). However, DCMS acknowledges it only measures part of the craft sector. Crafts Council figures (Measuring the Craft Economy, 2014) show that there were 150,000 people working with craft skills across the creative economy (ie in craft businesses, creative businesses and other non-creative industries).

The estimates show that there were 2 million jobs in the creative Industries in 2018 (6.2% of UK jobs), an increase of 1.6% from 2017. The number of jobs in the Creative Industries increased by 30.6% from 2011: three times the growth rate of employment in the UK overall (10.1%). 

New research shows how knitting as part of a guild promotes happiness, skills development, social connections and sustains identity.

Arts Council England has published its draft ten year strategy which emphasises the need for a more diverse talent pipeline and a sector that is committed to innovation and collaboration.

Research by Arts Professional shows that cuts to local authorities’ culture budgets are slowing, with a 1% drop across England reported to the Government this year. Figures for 2019/20 show councils and other authorities are allocating a total of £38.7bn for culture and heritage, compared to £39.1bn in 2018/19. Culture and heritage budgets across England are starting to settle as unitary authorities spend more.

A new All-Party Parliamentary Group for Creative Diversity has been launched by Ed Vaizey MP to establish effective practices for the creative sector in its approach to recruiting, retaining and developing diverse talent and to provide recommendations for industry and government. Sign up to their newsletter here

The Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project Craft Expertise, a collaboration between the Crafts Council and Dr Karen Patel at Birmingham City University, is calling for contributions to its conference on craft economies on 4 December. Craft Economies – Inequalities, Opportunities and Interventionswill explore diversity and inequality in craft in a changing economy.