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Suffolk education bosses call for arts subjects to be nurtured not neglected

PUBLISHED: 17:42 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:42 30 January 2018

Sidegate Primary School's Festival of Arts is one way Suffolk schools have championed creative subjects.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sidegate Primary School's Festival of Arts is one way Suffolk schools have championed creative subjects. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Education bosses in Suffolk have said it is vital that arts subjects do not continue to suffer, after nine in 10 schools in a national survey said they had cut back on arts.

Guest speakers at the One sixth form Creative Industries Day. Picture: JOHN NICEGuest speakers at the One sixth form Creative Industries Day. Picture: JOHN NICE

A BBC survey of more than 1,200 schools nationwide revealed that 90% had cut back on lesson time, staff, or facilities in at least one creative arts subject.

The main reasons were because of funding pressures and an emphasis on core academic subjects.

But Suffolk education experts have said that nurturing the arts talents of children had both economic and cultural benefits.

Jake Robson, director of curriculum at one sixth form in Ipswich, said: “The creative industries; encompassing visual arts and design, performing arts and music, media and digital contributed £92 billion to the UK Economy in 2016.

One sixth form media teacher Ross Barrett said the sixth form's Creative Industries Day aimed to inspire students. Picture: JOHN NICEOne sixth form media teacher Ross Barrett said the sixth form's Creative Industries Day aimed to inspire students. Picture: JOHN NICE

“The creative industries are the UK’s faster growing sector and they are stimulating a resurgence in UK manufacturing.

“We believe that nurturing the creative talents of young people makes good economic sense as well as being essential to our cultural offer.

“To this end we continue to invest wisely in highly qualified teaching staff and state of the art resources and accommodation in order to ensure that whether our students study arts or STEM, they are at the cutting edge.”

The issue has left schools having to be creative with budgets.

Last March Kesgrave High School’s dance department revealed that two sold out dance shows brought in around £1,000 after costs towards the department, which had been heavily affected by funding cutbacks.

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills said: “School leaders in Suffolk are facing the same challenges as those nationally.

“Schools leaders manage their school’s curriculum and we are pleased that recent Ofsted reports have recognised Suffolk secondary schools as offering a broad and balanced curriculum, providing ‘a good balance of subjects to meet pupils’ needs and interests’ and that ‘leaders have tailored the curriculum to meet the individual needs of pupils’.”

Researchers at Sussex University said that a study found the EBacc introduced in 2010 meant fewer students were taking GCSE music.

One hosts Creative Industries Day to inspire next generation

To help showcase career opportunities in the creative industries, One sixth form invited industry professionals to shine a light on their work for the first ever Creative Industries Day.

Representatives from Screen Suffolk and the University of Suffolk spoke about the work of individuals in Suffolk, such as the local sound and design artist who worked on Star Wars and those who worked on the latest series of Detectorists.

Ross Barrett, media teacher who organised the event, said: “Many of our students have an idea of what they would like to do in terms of their career but they are not necessarily sure how to get there.

“So when they get advice from ‘the horses mouth’ in relation to what they have to do after One, it really helps them make informed decisions about their careers.

“It puts what they are studying into context in industry terms.”

The sixth form aims to grow the event each year.

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