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A new report recommends the government takes action to halt the decline of creative and cultural education

Changing Lives: the social impact of participation in culture and sport published by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee, 14 May 2019, asks the government to take action in order to halt the decline of creative education in schools.

All findings and recommendations published in the report were based on evidence given to the Committee's inquiry which took place between June and December 2018. The report says:

'We are deeply concerned by the evidence we received around the downgrading of arts subjects in schools, with all the consequent implications for children’s development, wellbeing, experiences, careers and, ultimately, life chances. It is not enough for the DCMS and DfE to simply expect schools to provide a ‘broad and balanced curriculum’: they need to take action to ensure that this is actually happening.'

They recommend that the DfE, DCMS work with Ofsted to ensure inspections measure cultural education: 'The DfE and DCMS should work alongside Ofsted to design an inspection regime for primary and secondary schools that measures the volume of cultural education; the integration of cultural education with other areas of the curriculum; and the universality of schools’ cultural offers in ensuring that all children have access to the benefits that cultural participation can bring.'

The report also recommends that arts subjects are added to the Ebacc. They note that Nick Gibb MP, the Minister for School Standards told the committee that he wanted "to see an increase in the number of pupils taking arts subjects at GCSE and A Level." They go on to recommend: 'The best way to ensure that this happens is to add these subjects to the EBacc, as recommended in our recent Live Music Inquiry and by our predecessor committee in 2013 in its Supporting the Creative Economy inquiry.'

The Report also challenges the government's dismissal of evidence and says: 'it [The Committee] remains deeply concerned about the gap between the government’s reassuring rhetoric and the evidence presented to us of the decline in music provision in state schools, for which the EBacc is blamed and which affects students from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds disproportionately.'

Read the report here