cultural learning

cultural learning



Whilst a recent study reveals that 13% of schools have already cut arts, drama and music from the curriculum*, the Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) demonstres the impact of cultural learning on the lives of children and young people.
Amongst the findings, based on a review of all available large-scale English language data including from the US, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, are:

  • Learning through arts and culture improves attainment in all subjects.


  • Participation in structured arts activities increases cognitive abilities.


  • Students from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree.


  • The employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment.


  • Students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer and are 20% more likely to vote as young adults.

Professor Mick Waters, leading curriculum expert and member of the Cultural Learning Alliance, said today: “This is a critical time for cultural learning. Currently every child has access to arts and cultural opportunities through the National Curriculum and through their school. This is under threat due to the introduction of the Ebacc* in secondary schools and could be compounded by the removal of all arts subjects from the whole curriculum – something currently being discussed by the Coalition Government. If the EBacc is followed by new plans to axe the arts from the National Curriculum, many of our young people will not have a guaranteed opportunity to participate in the arts at all.”

The full research findings are published on the CLA’s website, together with  ImagineNation: The Case for Cultural Learning, a new report which draws on the research findings and which sets out how and why the arts and heritage have the power to transform young people’s lives. ImagineNation is available to download free from the CLA website.

Signatories to the report are:
David Anderson OBE
, Director General, National Museums Wales, Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England, Sir William Atkinson, Executive Headteacher, The Phoenix Canberra Schools Federation, Michael Boyd, Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company, Marcus Davey, Chief Executive, Roundhouse, Siobhan Davies CBE, founder Siobhan Davies Dance, Bernadette Duffy OBE, Head, Thomas Coram Centre for Children and Families, Dr John Dunford, Chair, Whole Education, Lord Hall of Birkenhead CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Opera House, Peter Harris, Director Children’s Services, Haringey, Russell Hobby, General Secretary, National Association of Head Teachers, Nick Hornby, Chair, Ministry of Stories, Baroness Howe of Idlicote, President, National Governors’ Association, Sarah Ichioka, Director, The Architecture Foundation, Carol Lake, Head of Philanthropy &Sponsorship, JP Morgan, Paul Latham, Chair, Creative and Cultural Skills, John Leighton, Director General, National Galleries of Scotland,  Brian Lightman, General Secretary, Association of School and College Leaders, Anne Longfield OBE, Chief Executive, 4Children, Alison Peacock, Headteacher, Wroxham School, Mark Prescott, Director, Belfast Festival, Susanne Rauprich, Chief Executive, National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Director-General, National Trust, Anthony Sargent, Director General, The Sage Gateshead, Dr Anthony Seldon, Master, Wellington College, Sir Nicholas Serota, Director Tate, Kevin Spacey, Artistic Director, Old Vic, David S Stewart OBE DL, Headteacher, Oak Field School, Sir John Tusa, Chair, University of the Arts, Professor Mick Waters, Professor of Education, University of Wolverhampton

About the Cultural Learning Alliance:
The Cultural Learning Alliance, is a grassroots community of 6,000 teachers, artists, parents, cultural organisations and educational organisations, who are concerned to protect children’s rights to learning through arts and culture at a time of social and economic stress. Its website publishes up to date research, highlights issues in the field of cultural learning, and provides a powerful forum for debate. The community of the CLA is growing rapidly.

*A recent survey of 2,500 teachers by the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) revealed 13% of schools have already cut arts, drama and music: English Baccalaureate Survey Summary (PDF – 90KB)
The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) was introduced in January this year. It rewards secondary schools for the number of young people who achieve good GCSE grades in Maths, English, Science, a language and either History or Geography. This has led to many schools moving the bulk of their resources to these subjects and cutting the option to study the arts. Many leading organisations and groups have called for the EBacc to be restructured or abolished.