London can be the best city in the world for a creative childhood

How can the new Mayor support more children and young people to access the arts?

22 January 2016

One of London’s greatest strengths is the breadth, quality and diversity of its art and culture. In recent years London has also become a national leader in education, with our schools outperforming those in the rest of the country. This gives us a unique platform to make London a place that excels in cultural education and is able to ensure all children and young people are able to develop their talents and, if they want to, to find a route into work in this fast growing sector. We believe this is crucial to the future of London and should be a priority for the new Mayor.

We know that not all children and young people benefit from the incredible cultural assets of this city. We know that too many don’t take part because they can’t afford it, not only the entry costs, but the cost of travel and equipment. We know that overcrowding at home and pressure on community spaces can mean not having anywhere to practice or be creative, and that the way that you can develop your interests, skills and talents in the arts are not obvious for many young people without parental support and knowledge. So there is much to be done...

We want the new Mayor to concentrate on four areas:

  • The London Cultural Education Guarantee - Focusing on supporting London schools to help ensure all pupils can take part in a range of artistic and cultural activity
  • London Curriculum - Building on this excellent initiative so that it becomes a means for all London pupils to explore and own the culture of their city, along with more cultural organisations contributing to the curriculum and more schools taking part.
  • Talent - We need coordinated careers guidance and accelerated access to employment programmes to halt the shocking lack of diversity within the creative sector.
  • Space for young people - Children and young people need places to play, work and create. Planning needs to explicitly seek to meet these basic needs for children to help address the closure of youth facilities and the consequences of overcrowded housing.

The Mayor can provide leadership to ensure London can capitalise on its unique assets and lead the world in developing pathways for young people into the arts and culture. Ultimately this will help us feed the new economy, improve the mental and physical health of Londoners and foster a stronger sense of community across the capital starting with our young people.

Read more in our document London and Power of a Creative Childhood

And ask your candidate for Mayor how they will help more children and young people in London have a creative childhood.