Primary Colours – decline in arts education and how it can be reversed!

A new report published today, compiled by the Fabian Society, Children and the Arts and the Musicians Union, reveals the huge decline in arts education in primary schools since 2010 and makes 8 recommendations for reform.

Read the full report here 

Primary Colours presents new findings from a Fabian/YouGov survey of a representative sample of 348 primary school teachers and a Fabian survey of 53 arts providers across England.

The Fabian/YouGov poll of primary school teachers in England shows:

  • A decline in quantity: Two-thirds of teachers (68 per cent) say arts provision in their primary school has decreased since 2010, with just 7 per cent saying there is more.
  • A decline in quality: Almost half (49 per cent) of surveyed teachers say the quality of arts provision in their primary school has worsened since 2010, with just 13 per cent believing it has improved.
  • A lack of support and resources: A majority of teachers (56 per cent) do not believe they have access to the resources and support to deliver a high quality arts education.
  • A lack of skills and experience: Nearly half of teachers (45 per cent) also believe they do not have the skills and experience needed to provide a high quality arts education, compared to 32 percent who say they do.

Recommendations include:

  • Increased and ring fenced school funding for arts education in English primary schools worth £150m, through an arts education premium for every primary school.
  • An arts specialist available for every primary school in England, with increased arts training for all teachers.
  • Free music or singing lessons for three years for every primary school child in England who wishes to learn.
  • A free visit to a local arts institution for every primary school child in England every year.

Rosie Millard, CEO of Children & the Arts said: “If you do not open out the arts to children, they will not think it is for them. We cannot allow the arts and culture of this country, which is subsidised by everyone, to be accessed and enjoyed by a tiny elite. That would be ruinous.”

If you work in education, are an artist working in schools, or want to engage more young people in the arts in Nottingham, get in touch! Let’s build a picture of what’s happening in our city and how we can work together to ensure all children and young people have access to an inspiring creative education.

Book your free place at the Arts Partnership Lab, taking place on Wed 13th February, to meet others in Nottingham keen to connect artists and communities.

Cathy Mahmood, Creative Nottingham North Coordinator  07808 165209 

More on support for creative education in the East Midlands: The Mighty Creatives