Cultural Learning Alliance

There is an increasing realisation that the arts are essential to people’s wellbeing and that they provide a lifeline in difficult times

Julian Lloyd-Webber
Musician and Chairman of In Harmony


Culture Vote 2015 - Manifesto asks

Published 30 July 2014

A key activity of the CLA this year has been pushing for cultural learning to be included in the party manifestos being prepared for the May 2015 general election.

Working with members of our steering group we have developed five key actions government could take that we think would go a long way towards delivering a high quality cultural education for all children.

Read the actions below or download this document

We can talk to the parties, but our message is far more powerful if all 10,000 of you members also talk to your MPs, candidates and local councillors about the actions.

When you have conversations with candidates perhaps you could ask them:

  • What they are going to do to deliver high quality cultural education for children and young people?
  • How are they going to support arts and culture in your area?
  • What is their party’s position on one or all of our asks?

Just having the conversation about arts and heritage shows that we, the voters are concerned about children’s access and participation in the arts, and want our government to support it.

The five actions are:

1. Committed national and local leadership

  • Local cultural learning strategies and action plans

Addressing local need in partnership with appropriate bodies, such as schools, creative industry partners and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), a local strategy and plan would build on alliances and provision already in place and the work of the Arts Council Bridge organisations.

The plans would include a focus on equal access to arts and culture for all young people in an area, particularly those with low participation rates who experience multiple deprivations, and require action from arts and heritage organisations in partnership with schools.  

  • A National Plan for cultural learning

The national plan would establish a clear framework defining the roles and responsibilities of schools, cultural organisations and their local partners in delivering high quality cultural learning to every child – as is the case in the National Plan for Music Education.

  • Joined-up government

Effective cross department working between the Departments for Education; Culture, Media and Sport; Business, Innovation and Skills; and Health, to ensure continuity of experience for young people, teachers and parents.

  • Learning trustees for publically-funded cultural organisations

Every publically-funded cultural organisation concerned with cultural learning must have at least one board member or trustee explicitly committed to cultural learning. The appointment should be monitored through the organisation’s funding agreement.

  • Every school to have an Arts & Culture Co-ordinator

An existing member of teaching staff in every school should be given responsibility for partnerships with local cultural organisations and artists, and reporting to governors on the quality of their school’s arts and heritage provision (including within afterschool clubs). 


2. New guidance from Ofsted

Ofsted inspections should be required to recognise and comment on the quality of arts and cultural learning in their reports.

There must be new guidance from Ofsted that no School, Academy, Youth Service or Children’s Centre be judged beyond ‘requires improvement’ unless it offers a broad and balanced curriculum that includes the arts and culture.


3. The extension of STEM to STEAM 

The ‘A’ of Arts subjects must be added to the STEM subjects  – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. STEAM is about making real-world, creative connections between subjects in schools. Teachers need support to develop collaborative practice across the STEAM subjects. In combination, the STEAM subjects will help to develop job-ready, creative, analytical and inventive problem-solvers.


4. Improved teacher training and development

An expansion of the number of teacher training places in Arts subjects, to reverse the 43% decrease in Art & Design, Dance, Drama and Music places since 2010.

All Teaching Schools working in partnership with cultural organisations must offer comprehensive training in the use of culture across the curriculum. A target number of teaching Schools and early years training settings should be designated as specialist Cultural Learning Teaching Schools building on existing pilots. These will develop new partnerships with specialist institutions in Higher Education, creative industries and new models of training.


5. High quality, industry-endorsed careers advice and guidance

Arts and culture are an incubator for the creative industries, which are the fastest growing sector of the economy and employ 1.68 million people.

Every young person must have the opportunity to access high quality, industry-endorsed careers advice and guidance about working in the creative and cultural industries. The education sector and careers advisors should more accurately convey the breadth of possible occupations within the creative and cultural sector, fostering a more realistic understanding of what opportunities exist.




As Chair of Artswork, the Bridge organisation for the SE, and as Director of Programmes for Ignite!, dedicated to promoting creativity in learning... I applaud the Cultural Manifesto, but think it can and should go further.. we should revive the notion of a cultural entitlement for every young person in this country, and their families and communities. On the idea of STEM and STEAM we should go further and seek to embed science into the cultural lives of our citizens. It is not enough simply to add Art to STEM, we need to promote opportunities for people to express both their creativity AND curiosity. See what the CEO of the British Science Association says about science and culture - this is more fundamental than simply topping up STEM with a bit of art.. and the broader understanding of culture needs to be promoted at the party political level.
Rick Hall 31 July 2014
I'm a 3rd year PhD student (Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University), with research interests in creative media production in schools. In one way or another I've been involved in creative output in schools for decades and at the moment, as well as studying, I work part-time in a primary school in East London. I agree with Rick, the vision could be even broader and more integrated, with less slavish allegiance to the idea of individual disciplines that STEAM propagates. I also see a need for a Creative and Media Arts Mentor in schools, which could be filled by the many creative and media graduates, as an alternative to the industry route.
Michelle Cannon 31 July 2014

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Act One Drama Group, North Somerset Find Your Talent. Photo: Simon Rix (
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