Today (13 October 2015) our Chair and former Children’s Commissioner for England, Professor Maggie Atkinson delivered a blistering key note speech at a conference for London teachers. She emphatically called access to a cultural education a human right, as observed by Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in doing so highlighted the challenges and opportunities London faces in ensuring all young Londoners are able to exercise this right.
Ahead of Arts Council England launches the Cultural Education Challenge (their own commitment to ensuring all children and young people can access and benefit from great art and culture), Professor Atkinson spoke passionately about the urgent need to narrow the gap between those children and young people that have access to creative opportunities and cultural education, and those that don’t, and what needs to change in order to create a more equal playing field for all.
Professor Maggie Atkinson:
‘London should to be THE city in which children and young people are brought up and educated as creative, cultural beings, unafraid of the great cultural and artistic settings, and unabashed by their enthusiasms no matter their background or income. Part of our challenge to the cultural sector is that they need to get out of the middle and into outer London. And part of our challenge to government is to get it to make far more noise about career and revenue generating opportunities via the creative industry as a place of work.
We desperately need a change of language: arts ARE ‘basics’, ARE "disciplines" not just fillers of spare time, enjoyment subjects or nice to do!’
She also announced a brand new campaign called Generation Culture, which aims to encourage and support schools to pledge to ‘do one more thing’ to develop the arts and culture in their schools using a portion of their Pupil Premium - additional funding made available by Government for publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.
Schools can sign up to the Pledge at www.anewdirection.org.uk/generation-culture now.