Cultural Learning Alliance

Culture is about conversations. And at a time when it seems we’re not talking enough to each other, and generations can be divided, these conversations become more and more important

Dea Birkett
Founder, Kids in Museums

News

Policy and Practice Round-Up

Published 29 November 2010
 

Earlier in November the Secretary of State for Education allocated £110 million to establish an education endowment fund (EEF) designed to raise standards in under-performing schools.

The EEF will distribute money to local authorities, academy sponsors, charities and other groups that bring forward innovative proposals to improve performance in challenging schools. Those bidding for funds from the EEF will have to outline how their proposals will raise attainment. Bidders must also demonstrate how they will be held accountable for the success of their proposals.

The EEF will be administered at arm's length from ministers. The team administering the fund will be appointed following an open competition.

Funding for projects will come from returns on the EEF’s investment and fund managers will be able to draw down some of the capital from the total sum each year. The independent organisation that runs the EEF will also be expected to attract additional contributions from other organisations and philanthropists to add to the fund.

This fund is being established from the money that was set aside when the Government took the decision not to increase the number of free school meals.

The CLA urges cultural learning organisations and partnerships across the country to put pen to paper and get ready to submit their bids.

Twelve groups including Bolton Lads and Girls Club, the Football League Trust and the Challenge Network have been selected to run the first National Citizen Service (NCS) pilot projects. Here at the CLA we hope that arts and cultural organisations will be able to work with the pilots to weave cultural learning into the offer, as in the longer term the Government aims for every young person to have the chance to take part in this scheme.

Musical Futures have accepted 20 young people, from ages 12 to 17, to become Musical Futures Young Champions. The Champions will be based in schools across the country and from January 2011 the young people will complete fortnightly mentoring tasks through the NUMU, providing advice, support and guidance to Musical Futures students in other schools.

Responsibility for important work with regional museums and libraries is likely to transfer to Arts Council England (ACE) following the abolition of the MLA, announced Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.

The principle being discussed is for many of the key functions currently undertaken by the MLA to transfer to ACE by the end of March 2012, subject to agreement from their National Council and agreement on budgets. Provided this agreement is reached it is likely that ACE will take on responsibility for:
  • management and delivery of the Renaissance in the Regions programme.

Detailed plans still have to be worked up and therefore there will be no core

museum selection process for Renaissance before next year
  • museums and libraries development work including museum accreditation and designation

  • a number of statutory cultural property functions, including export licensing for cultural objects and the associated Export Reviewing Committee, the Government Indemnity Scheme and the Acceptance in Lieu scheme

Additional funding of over £46m each year from 2012/13 will be available to deliver this work, with an additional £1.3m of funding going directly to the British Museum to run the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The future of archives work currently undertaken by the MLA is still being considered. Further announcements on this are expected by the end of the year.

DCMS, the Arts Council and MLA are working closely together to resolve the detailed aspects of a potential transfer of responsibilities, including staffing and budgetary issues, the timings of the various transfers and the practical delivery of these functions.

There was a great deal of coverage this week (Guardian , BBC , Telegraph)  of the Government’s decision to cut all £162 million of funding for school sport – to be replaced with a £10 million Schools Olympic Scheme. Colleagues in the Sports Sector have started a Facebook campaign here to lobby for a reversal of this decision. At the time of writing this campaign has over 17,000 supporters. The CLA urges colleagues from across Sport and Culture to work together wherever possible to make the case for continued support of high-quality provision for children and young people and the professionals that surround them.

The Guardian reported that up to a quarter of public libraries are facing closure, and writers including Phillip Pullman voiced their grave concern at the decisions currently being made by some local authorities.

Building on ideas from our signatories, a successful existing programme in Newcastle, and thoughts expressed at our Big Link Up event this week, the CLA is exploring the idea of developing a Cultural Ambassadors scheme for schools.

Cultural Ambassadors would be part of a local network of 100-150 teachers who champion the arts and culture in their schools. Although part of a national framework, the network would be tailored to meet local needs.

Cultural Ambassadors would be the first point of contact for cultural organisations. They would be linked through a website with a database of artists, arts and cultural organisations, information about events, activities and opportunities in the cultural sector. Cultural Ambassadors would meet termly to exchange ideas, take part in training and go to showcases where cultural organisations could offer activities.

If you work in a school we would like to know your thoughts and ideas about how this could work and would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete this short questionnaire: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YDJQBNP

Comments

I think the idea of Cultural Ambassadors is a good one and many galleries and arts organisations have been working with this idea for some time. A national campaign would raise the profile. I would welcome further information about how to broker an innovative project to the local authority with a school or schools in my area for the Education Endowment Fund. The agenda of working with disadvantaged or deprived children is one Stour Valley Arts has been working with as part of the national Chances 4 Change initiative as well as with the national research programme Enquire (run by Engage, the national association for gallery education). It is important to make sure that good work is sustained at a time of enormous change and diminishing resources
Lucy Medhurst 30 November 2010

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Cultural Campus, BFI. Photo: Olivia Hemingway
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