Secondary Schools: Arts Subjects Debate

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Department: Department for Education

Secondary Schools: Arts Subjects

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Excerpts
Monday 7th June 2021

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber

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Department for Education
Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, since the introduction of the EBacc, the take-up of GCSEs in the arts has remained broadly stable. As I believe the noble Baroness is aware, we also developed a pilot project, funded by DCMS, for apprenticeships, which are important in this sector. We are developing this with ScreenSkills as a partner, because people do not tend to have one employer in this sector and move from project to project. We had to pause because of Covid, but we hope to extend the pilot and look again to make sure that there are apprenticeships in this area for young people to take advantage of.

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Portrait Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (GP)
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My Lords, the Minister referred to the well-being benefits of the arts. She is probably aware of the “HEarts survey” published in the PLOS ONE journal in March, which showed that arts involvement is

“associated with higher levels of well-being and social connectedness”

and lower levels of loneliness. Surely, education in secondary schools is essential to set that up. Given the Government’s avowed attention to build back better, should the £90 million arts pupil premium referred to by the noble Earl not be certain and guaranteed, rather than up in the air? Schools are planning staffing now and staff are planning their future careers—they need to know what is happening.

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, all I can say to the noble Baroness is that, unfortunately, we have had to make some difficult decisions in relation to current priorities. An arts premium will be considered in the spending review but, as I have outlined, about £84 million this year has gone into the music hub and various programmes to ensure that provision. I wish we had the ideal world that the noble Baroness outlines.