Cultural Learning Alliance

Art should be the fourth ‘r’ alongside reading, writing and arithmetic

Sir Nicholas Serota
Director, Tate



The Case for Cultural Learning: key research findings

Our key research findings are designed for all our members to use to support, advocate for, and shape their own practice.

Based on consultation with our members, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and building on the work of the DCMS CASE review the Cultural Learning Alliance has conducted a wide ranging survey of existing English language data on the instrumental outcomes of cultural learning.

Using only evidence from cohort studies with large sample sizes (typically 12,000) and research with control groups we can emphatically say there are instrumental outcomes which cultural learning delivers.

English Baccalaureate and GCSE research

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is having an adverse effect on arts subjects in schools. 15% of schools surveyed by Ipsos MORI in 2012 had withdrawn one or more arts subjects as a result of the EBacc. 21% of schools with a high proportion of free school meals (FSM) reported withdrawing arts subjects. 

This comes on the heels of a decade long fall in the number of students taking arts GCSEs, a decline which has been reinforced by the EBacc. Between 2010, when the EBacc was introduced and 2013 entries to arts GCSEs fell by 14%. 

Read more about this in our English Baccalaureate Research report and GCSE research report.


Independent School Headteacher interviews report

The Cultural Learning Alliance interviewed the headteachers of five leading independent schools asking them about the reasons they prioritise cultural learning in their schools and produced this report.

The CLA was interested in the seeming paradox that when parents pay for private schooling they expect a cultural offer to be provided but as a society we do not seem to have the same expectations for schooling we fund indirectly through our taxes. 


Other examples of evidenced work

It is essential for all of us working in this field to understand what makes a cultural experience successful, how practice can be improved, and the outcomes that have been achieved for children and young people.

We have selected ten reports to profile here which show the impact and effects of cultural learning as well as professional development for teachers. Some also demonstrate how Local Authority commissioners can work with the cultural sector. 


Send us your evidence

If you have evidence of the impact of your cultural learning work and would like to share that with us, Please e-mail us at info@culturallearningalliance. Make 'Evidence' the subject of your e-mail, include your contact details and a short description of the project and impact that has been evidenced. Enter the website details for the evidence report if you have one, otherwise we'll be in touch to receive a copy from you.

Evaluate and analyse

This section highlights some tools that you might be able to use to gather and analyse your evidence.

Case Studies

To view our growing selection of cultural learning case studies you can visit the Practice section of our site.

Stories and testimonials

Teachers, politicians, artists, business leaders, cultural professionals, young people and policy makers have all been in touch to tell us why cultural learning has made such a difference to their lives. Read and view their stories here - or upload your own!

Early Years and Family Learning session at Seaham Surestart, The Sage Gateshead. Photo: Cdan Brady
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