Arts: Primary Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th October 2018.

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Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Labour, Lewisham East

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the uptake of arts subjects in primary schools.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

All pupils, whatever their background, should have a secure grounding in the arts and this is an essential part of a broad and balanced education. Music and art and design are statutory subjects in the National Curriculum for 5-14 year olds attending maintained schools. Academies and free schools can use the National Curriculum as a benchmark and are required to teach a broad and balanced curriculum.

Funding for arts education is a Government priority and almost £500 million has been invested in arts and cultural education programmes over 2016-2020. This includes £300 million for music education hubs to ensure that all children have the opportunity to play and perform in choirs and ensembles. Hubs are required to provide affordable progression routes from whole class ensemble teaching, and many hubs provide instrument loans with discounted rates available where needed.

There are many opportunities for pupils to participate in arts-based activities beyond the timetabled curriculum. Many schools provide extra-curricular arts activities for their pupils - for example choirs, orchestras, dance clubs, drama groups and film clubs. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Taking Part Survey indicated that, in 2016/17, 97% of children aged 5-10 had also engaged with the arts outside of school in the previous 12 months.

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