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Celebs call on gov’t to back creative education in schools

SUPPORT: Lenny Henry

OVER 150 celebrities and industry leaders alike have signed a letter from the Creative Industries Federation, calling on the government to recognise the ‘critical’ role of creative education for young people, for the creative industries, and for the economy as a whole.

The letter states that there has been an eight per cent drop in the number of students taking GCSEs in creative subjects since 2014/15.

The Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) has estimated that the take up of arts courses alone at GCSE level has fallen by 35 per cent since 2010, while the BPI has highlighted the growing disparity between the provision of music in state and independent schools.

The National Education Union has reported a 20 per cent drop in contact time in drama, art, music, design and technology, and dance for KS3 students.

Signed by prominent individuals including Lord Foster, Rankin, Adwoa Aboah, Sir Lenny Henry, Inua Ellams and Sir Nigel Carrington, the letter urges government to incentivise a broad and balanced curriculum within schools and make creative education accessible to all young people.

PICTURED: Adwoa Aboah

MP Ed Vaizey said: “If the UK’s creative industries are to continue to be world-leading, we have to strengthen the talent pipeline and ensure creativity is at the heart of the curriculum.

“Studying the arts improves students’ grades across the board, too, and equips young people with the skills required in a future job market. After all, in a world of growing automation, creativity is what makes us human”.

Bob and Roberta Smith and Jessica Voorsangers said: "It's vitally important that the government do everything possible to reverse the decline of the provision of arts subjects in state education.

“We don't want to just hear from Middle class and wealthy kids who go to independent schools about their culture, everyone has culture and every child's voice must be heard. Art in schools is good for the economy but it's also essential for democracy, health, wellbeing and the quality of art itself.

“Art is a driver of social mobility. Art gives children the tools to speak up and act up enabling them to change the course of their lives. Give a child a blank sheet of paper and you ask that child to sing. Art is every human beings right."

Rankin, photographer, founder of Hunger Magazine and co-founder of Dazed Media said: “This country is at a crossroads. For the government to further diminish opportunities for the UK’s next generation by cutting its commitment to creative education is disgraceful.

"It really shows a misunderstanding of the importance the role that creativity plays in empowering youth and building inclusive communities.

“What message does this send to the next wave of artists, designers, musicians and film-makers? One of the UK’s biggest exports is its creative culture - we need to fight to hand the baton down so this continues.”