Schoolchildren from all walks of life will be given the chance to take part in “high culture” – that was the government’s response following a review into how the arts are often closed off to a “privileged few”.
The review into cultural education has been published by Darren Henley, the managing director of national classical music station Classic FM. In it he recommends that pupils have greater access to music, art, design technology and theatre.
He praised the high standard that many schools in England hold in teaching these areas and the facilities provided, but called for the reach of cultural education to be expanded so that all children, including those from poorer backgrounds, can have access to them.
Included in his recommendations are the creation of the first national youth dance company, a film academy and ‘heritage schools’ where pupils will be encouraged to explore historical sites in their local area.
“Britain has forged a well-deserved reputation in popular culture – in film, dance, music and art. But I want to introduce more children to high culture, so they are as interested in Classic FM as they are in 6 Music,” education secretary Michael Gove said.
“There are some brilliant examples of schools giving their pupils the opportunity to experience the full range of cultural subjects – both in school and outside the classroom – and in many families culture is a part of their everyday lives.
“But this is not always the case. Many children, especially poorer children, do not visit museums or art galleries, or go to concerts or the theatre, with their families.”
He called for schools to strengthen their offering of cultural education so that it is not a “closed shop for poorer pupils” and announced £15 million of investment over three years to introduce these recommendations.
Of this, £300,000 will be used for training and mentoring new teachers and continued professional development to improve the quality of cultural education in schools.
Do you feel that so called “high culture” is often placed out of the reach of people from poorer backgrounds? How difficult do you think it will be to broaden children’s cultural education through schools?