The Arts in Schools: Foundations for the Future

New ‘Arts in Schools’ report calls for creative subjects to be central to a rethink of England’s state education system

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and A New Direction are proud to publish 'The Arts in Schools: Foundations for the Future', calling on policymakers to ascribe greater value to the role of the arts as part of a rethink of the state education sector.

The report reflects on policy developments over the four decades since ‘The Arts in Schools: Principles, practice and provision’, the influential 1982 Gulbenkian report, which helped secure the arts’ place in the National Curriculum and contributed to a new ecosystem of education teams in cultural organisations.

Based on research, including a series of roundtable discussions with the heads of schools and multi-academy trusts, teachers, academics, arts educators and young people, the report finds that the arts are vital for young people’s intellectual and personal development, but are marginalised in today’s school system, which itself requires a major overhaul.

View the report

The report’s authors and partners are calling on...

Policy makers to reconsider the status of arts in schools as part of a major re-evaluation of the English education system.

Schools to embrace the arts, and to value their unique contribution to children and young people’s education, development and well-being.

Arts organisations to ensure their resources can be made easily available and relevant to schools (including online), and responsive to their needs, including by opening up opportunities through work experiences, apprenticeships and paid internships.

From the launch


Pauline Tambling, Co-author, The Arts in Schools: Foundations for the Future

Sally Bacon, Co-author, The Arts in Schools: Foundation for the Future


Abi Ali, Member, The Arts in Schools, Young People’s Group

Geoff Barton, General Secretary, ASCL, and Arts in Schools Roundtable Chair

Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive, The Chartered College of Teaching, and Arts in Schools Roundtable Chair

David Bryan, Founder Xtend, Chair of Brixton House, and Arts Council England, London region

Author quotes

Download the report

Call to action

In order to create the changes that the report calls for, we need to inspire action from the breadth and depth of the education and arts sectors.

Education sector - Please share the report and its ten recommendations (an executive summary is available) with colleagues, school and MAT leaders, governors and other contacts, and on social media (download our social media pack and sharable assets).

Arts organisations - For arts organisations with learning teams please share the report with the CEO, artistic director and senior leadership team, and with the board and its chair. We know that when learning has a place at senior management and board level it is more embedded within the organisation.

Parents / Carers - For parents with children in school please consider sending the report or executive summary to the chair of governors, the headteacher and, if relevant, the trust leadership.

There is a downloadable presentation that you can download as a PDF and use.

You might also like to email your MP with a link to the Executive Summary.

Share on social media

Download the social pack and sharable assets



We will be collecting responses to the report with a view to building a campaign as wider policy discussions ramp up later this year.

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