Cultural Entitlement for Young People Given Ministerial Backing
Estelle Morris described it as a 'pivotal moment' - bringing education and the arts together and spoke of risk taking and innovation as the trademarks of the arts sector. There was no doubt from either government department as to the add on value of the arts within education and learning. Entitlement to a minimum level of engagement with the arts and culture would enable more effective delivery of the national curriculum and provide rich out of school activities.
David Miliband outlined how the Government’s current policy initiatives for education would provide a framework for the implementation of cultural entitlement – these included putting more control of school budgets in the hands of head teachers/governors and greater accountability to parents/carers through the introduction of School Profiles from 2005. The idea of the latter being that schools will publish an annual, in part self-evaluation of their achievements, strengths and ambitions. The whole being set within the drive towards personalised learning and individual pathways.
The intentions were writ loud, but implementation seemed to be going to be the on the back of demand led school policies and the drive, skill and commitment of cultural organisations. Practical issues were touched upon including the disaggregated state of educational provision. In a follow up letter to delegates Estelle Morris specified the need to identify the scope of entitlement, what is it aiming to achieve and what the learning and educational outcomes might be, what form implementation might take and the need for brokerage between the arts/cultural and education sectors. Finally rigorous evaluation must be at the core of entitlement.
Rumour has it that Treasury Ministers are keen for deprivation to remain the focus and entitlement to be channelled where these needs are greatest..... until the spending review departmental allocations how entitlement might be taken forward remains unclear.