Number of drama and arts teachers falling in state schools

A report into the value of culture to contemporary British society has revealed that since 2010, there has been an 8% decline in the number of state school drama teachers, and a 4% decline in hours taught for the subject.

The year-long project, led by the University of Warwick, has resulted in the publication of Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth. Other key findings in the report include:

  • Alongside the decline of specialist drama teachers in England’s state schools, other creative subjects have also been affected: the number of design and technology teachers, as well as the number of hours taught, has fallen by 11%; and art and design teachers have reduced by 4% with a decline of 6% in teaching hours.
  • Young people from low-income families are least likely to engage with and appreciate the arts as part of the school curriculum or their home life; and least likely to be employed in the cultural and creative industries.
  • The costs related to engaging in extracurricular activities mean low-income families are often excluded from creative and cultural opportunities: 22% of parents in the higher social groups pay £500+ a year on extracurricular activities compared to 10% of parents in middle and lower groups.
Warwick

The report led by Warwick University is the result of a year-long project

The report makes a number of recommendations, several of which are aimed at Ofsted: the organisation should not award schools with an ‘outstanding’ status without evidence of a strong cultural and creative education, and should ensure – alongside the Department for Education – that young people up to the age of 16 receive a cultural education in order to encourage life-long engagement with the arts. They also recommend that Ofsted encourage Arts Council England’s aim to have 50% of schools achieving an ArtsMark award.

Other recommendations made include ensuring there is adequate careers advice available to those interested in pursuing a career in the cultural and creative industries, and the creation, by the government, of an arts and culture pupil premium fund and a national creative apprenticeship ascheme.

Commission member and Warwick education researcher Professor Jonothan Neelands said: ‘We are concerned that the educational system as a whole is not focusing on the future needs of the cultural and creative industries and the broader needs of a creative and successful UK. This needs to be addressed across our schools. However, we are particularly concerned that children born into low-income families with low levels of educational qualifications are the least likely to experience culture as part of their home education.

‘Without educational intervention we are in danger of allowing a two-tier creative and cultural ecosystem in which the most advantaged in social and economic terms are also the most advantaged in benefitting economically, socially and personally from the full range of experiences and value in that prevailing system.’

Vikki Heywood, chair of the Warwick commission report, said: ‘The key message from this report is that the government and the cultural and creative industries need to take a united and coherent approach that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life. There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.’

Read the full report at www2.warwick.ac.uk/research/warwickcommission/futureculture/finalreport

Details of teachers’ strike action across England announced

Teachers across England are planning a walkout. Teaching unions National Union of Teachers and NASUWT have come together to work on a joint campaign – ‘Protect Teachers and Defend Education’.

Michael_Gove_Minister

Education secretary Michael Gove has condemned the strike action

The dispute between the unions and secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, regards what the unions consider to be ‘adverse’ changes to teachers’ wages, pensions, working conditions and jobs.

General secretary of NUT Christine Blower said: ‘At the start of the new academic year, the last thing teachers wish to be doing is preparing for further industrial action. It is a great shame that the education secretary has let things get to this stage.

‘With pay pensions and working conditions being systematically attacked, and an education secretary who refuses to listen or negotiate, teachers now however have no other choice. Michael Gove has demoralised an entire profession, it is time that he started to listen for the sake of teachers, students and education.’

Two days of industrial action across regions in the UK have been planned for next month: 1 October will see teachers striking in boroughs from the east of England, east Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside. The second day of striking, due to take place on 17 October, will include the north-east, south-east, south-west and London. Another one-day strike across the whole of England is also planned to take place before Christmas.

A spokesperson for the department for education said: ‘It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the government’s measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more.’

Michael Gove said of news of the strikes: ‘I unhesitatingly condemn this action.’

NUT survey reveals low teacher morale

shutterstock_107801354A survey of teachers has found that there is ‘a crisis of morale in the profession’, according to the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

The YouGov survey, commissioned by NUT, was taken by over 800 teachers in December 2012. Over half of the participants described their morale as low or very low.

A similar survey had been conducted in April of last year and saw that over the eight-month period, those describing their morale as high or very high had dropped from 27% to 15%.

The survey also revealed that 77% of teachers described the government’s impact on education as ‘negative’. Over 70% said they had rarely or never been trusted by the government.

When questioned about the implementation of the Ebacc, more than 80% of those surveyed felt the consultation period had not been sufficient.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said of the survey’s findings: ‘This survey paints a very sorry picture and is a damning indictment of coalition government policies. Michael Gove has been allowed to rush through educational reforms and his academies and free schools projects based on little or no evidence.’