Secondary Schools: Arts Subjects Debate

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Department: Department for Education

Secondary Schools: Arts Subjects

Lord Watson of Invergowrie 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, it is correct, as the noble Lord outlines, to say that schools need those specialist teachers. Recruitment of trainee teachers is up by 23% and we have no information about a gap in the recruitment of those teachers. Schools are free to use the £650 million universal catch-up and recovery premium as they see fit. If they wish to spend it on the type of provision that the noble Lord outlines, we hope that they will do so.

Lord Watson of Invergowrie Portrait Lord Watson of Invergowrie (Lab)
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My Lords, as well as lost learning, Covid-19 has had a major effect on the mental health of children. Arts subjects and activities have the potential to reduce stress and anxiety, and are proven to encourage language development in children, particularly the most disadvantaged. Recently, Sir Kevan Collins—I wonder what became of him—said that

“we need to think about the extra hours not only for learning, but for children to be together, to play, to engage in competitive sport, for music, for drama because these are critical areas which have been missed in their development.”

Does the Minister agree and can she explain why the National Tutoring Programme does not apply to creative and practical subjects?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con)
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My Lords, schools offer a number of co-curricular or extracurricular activities. As the Minister responsible for out-of-school settings, I know that much of that activity takes place in those areas. Indeed, the National Tutoring Programme does not deliver as the noble Lord outlined, at the moment. However, a proportion of the tutoring money from the latest and third tranche of recovery money will go directly to schools. As well as being able to spend the universal catch-up and recovery premiums in the manner that schools choose, the school-led aspect of the National Tutoring Programme will enable them to have small-group or one-on-one tutoring in the subjects that the noble Lord mentioned.