Archbishop of York asks about access to arts education

The Lord Archbishop of York: My question is about the variability of access. I think we all recognise that the statistics quoted are going the wrong way. What we observe particularly is that it is far worse in some parts of the country than others. That is something I particularly observe in the north, where I serve. The DCMS Committee’s report last year spoke about how the creative industries themselves are saying that there is a shortage of the skills that we need. What is being done about this and, particularly, how do we know about the situation? In about 2014, Ofsted changed the way its inspections investigated the arts. For instance, dance was looked at as part of PE. Does the Minister think that this lack of joined-up thinking has had an impact on where we are now and, in particular, on the way that some parts of the country are suffering much more than others?

Baroness Barran (Con, Department for Education): The most reverend Primate is right that there are currently differing levels of engagement, take-up and opportunity in relation to the creative industries around the country. I respectfully disagree with him on the fact that we are not joined up. Actually, a great deal of work is going on between DCMS and the Department for Education in relation to the creative industries sector vision and the cultural education plan, to which I referred. In relation to Ofsted, it did a deep dive into a number of cultural and arts subjects in 2019 and highlighted their importance within the curriculum.


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