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A DCMS report shows a sharp decline in educational visits to museums and galleries


A Department for Culture, Media and Sport report, published 2 February 2017, shows that visitor numbers to UK museums and galleries are down by millions.

Educational visits and on-site activities for under-18s saw the biggest decrease of 6.9%.


The DCMS state: 'In 2015/16, across all sponsored museums, there was an estimated 2.5 million instances where visitors under the age of 18 participated in on-site events, and 11.5 per cent decrease on 2014/15. When excluding Tyne and Wear museum from 2014/15, there was a 6.9 per cent decline.'

This, the most dramatic fall in any of the data, corresponds with the decrease in GCSE and GCE art and design candidate numbers and the fall in art teachers and teaching hours reported by the Cultural Learning Alliance.

In 2016 The NSEAD Survey Report concluded that in the last five years government policy had impacted on the value given to art and design in schools. The report identified that some school sectors types, e.g. independent schools, support gallery and museum visits more than other school types e.g. Free schools:

'82% of independent school art and design teachers indicated that their schools support the principle that every examination group should engage with artworks first hand in galleries and museums and/or through meeting practitioners. In contrast, only 36% of free school art and design teachers said their schools support this principle.'

The NSEAD Survey Report 2015/16 includes recommendations for schools, the DfE and the DCMS to enable children and young people to have first-hand access and experience of art, craft and design through regular gallery and museum visits.

Download the data here.

03 Feb 2017