18 February 2015
Commenting on a report by the Warwick Commission, Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This is the second report in as many days to confirm that England has a curriculum and assessment system which is too narrow and simply does not allow children and young people to develop their full potential in all areas. The curriculum, reshaped by this Government, focuses on a small range of subjects and makes little concession to creativity and wider issues of personal development.
“As the need for creative and cultural education rises, England’s capacity to meet that need is in decline. Pupil numbers in many arts subjects are falling; teacher numbers are likewise going down.
“In its manifesto, Stand Up for Education, the NUT notes this drastic narrowing of the curriculum, with the sidelining of music, arts and drama. It calls for a wider vision of learning and achievement.
“It is heartening that the Warwick Report makes the same kind of case. Like the Report’s authors, the NUT wants to see ‘a curriculum that is infused with multi-disciplinarity, creativity and enterprise.’ Like them it sees arts education as an entitlement for all children, not just the better-off.
“The Report will reopen a much needed debate on creativity and education. Some of the reforms it proposes are welcome. Others need further discussion. To ask Ofsted to inspect a school’s commitment to creative and cultural education, for instance, is likely to force schools into exactly the tick box approach which is part of their current difficulties. Turning schools in a creative direction means moving away from Ofsted-style accountability, not embracing more of it.
“The Report has major implications, which involve the supply and training of teachers, the design of curricula, the funding of schools and their links to the cultural sector. Teachers will welcome progress on this agenda. It is long overdue.”