Arts in Schools FAQs

What have you published so far?

On 25 May we published a ‘scene-setting’ document which provides information about the 1982 Gulbenkian report, The Arts in Schools, the context in which it was written, the immediate impact it had, and how things have changed in the past 40 years. We also published a 40-year timeline, providing an overview of key developments across the political, social, educational, and arts landscape since the report’s publication.

Why this project and why now?

The 1982 report had a major impact – it was hugely influential with Local Authorities, which then managed the country’s schools. It paved the way for the arts to be included in England’s first National Curriculum in 1988 and inspired many professional arts organisations to engage with the education sector for the first time. But 40 years later we do not have the sustained and equitable practice and provision that The Arts in Schools envisioned. Accountability frameworks have marginalised the arts within schools; many of the structural support systems for delivery have been eroded; arts GCSE and A Level take up is declining; and the pandemic has further diminished the opportunities for arts learning experiences. Four decades on there is a growing body of international evidence asserting the value of the arts in the lives of children and young people across a range of metrics, but this awareness has not been absorbed within our education policy and systems. There are also a number of major initiatives considering education system change. The 40th anniversary of the 1982 report is a timely moment to convene a new post-pandemic conversation on the value of the arts for young people by examining the current state of play, what we have learnt and lost over the intervening decades, and what a new set of recommendations might look like.

What are you trying to achieve with this consultation?

Over the coming months we are inviting colleagues from across the arts and education sectors to share their memories of the original report and its impact, and their thoughts and opinions on the changes since, in order to build a new set of recommendations for the arts in schools which will be published in the final report. We want to review, interrogate and debate where we go from here. We will also be seeking case studies and there will be a template for providing these available later this summer.

How do I get involved/how can I help?

Do respond to our think piece and timeline in our online form here:

Do share your thoughts and reflections and get involved in the conversation on social media using the #ArtsinSchools hashtag.

When do I need to respond by?

The consultation closes on 31 July. After that we will put a call out for case studies for the final report.

Are there any in-person events?

There are some invitation-only roundtable events led by sector experts and focused on the themes of the original 1982 report – findings from these will be published in the autumn in advance of the publication of the final report.

Will young people be involved in the consultation?

There is a young person’s reference group for the project, assembled by the Bridge organisations, and the young people involved will be invited to attend the in-person consultation events if they wish to. The reference group will meet four times over the summer and early autumn.

When will the final report be published?

Towards the end of the year – we do not have a date yet.

What will be in the final report?

The final report will be based on the consultation responses and feedback, so it is not yet possible to know. We do know that the final findings and recommendations will be

grounded in the needs of children and young people and the value of the arts in providing them with foundational skills for life and skills for work. We also know that they are likely to highlight the importance of a collective response, across policy and delivery, and across multiple stakeholders.

Who is funding the project?

This project is being funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch), which funded the 1982 The Arts in Schools Report. There is additional modest support from the Bridge organisations which allows us to involve young people in a parallel consultation about the importance of the arts in schools, and to publish the outputs of the roundtables.