Arts education should not be a luxury, says Julie Hesmondhalgh

Reacting to a report into school provision, ex-Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh told the Observer she was dismayed that arts education was now seen as a luxury. “The idea it is not career-oriented is so wrong. And anyway, what happened to the idea of learning for learning’s sake? It is so depressing.”

The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education has called for the arts to be woven through the learning process and no longer regarded as a specialism. The report condemned a growing inequality of provision that results in the “neglect and exclusion” of youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“It feels like a conspiracy to me,” said Hesmondhalgh, currently receiving plaudits for her role in the Leeds Playhouse production of There Are No Beginnings, “because top private schools pour millions into arts teaching every year and the people who have been making these policies in government have seen and felt the massive advantages that can bring. It is not that I want to produce nothing but actors and performers in this country, it is that it makes all pupils more confident and articulate in the wider world.”

The report’s conclusions highlight differences between state and private school timetables. “When students’ experience of subjects such as art and design, dance, drama and music is limited, or indeed nonexistent, they become the province of the privileged, whose families can afford to give them access to the experiences of arts and culture,” it says.

Read the full article Arts education should not be a luxury, says Julie Hesmondhalgh 

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

 

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