Why Ofsted’s EIF could give arts education a much-needed boost

The latest Department for Education (DfE, 2019) figures show that the number of teachers and hours spent teaching arts subjects in schools in England continues to fall. However, the new Education Inspection Framework (Ofsted, 2019) offers renewed hope. Jacqui O’Hanlon, director of education at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Jenny Mollica, director of creative learning for the Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama write in SecEd.

The upshot has been a steady decline in the number of hours and staff dedicated to teaching arts subjects in schools (DfE, 2019) and a reduction in the number of young people opting for arts subjects at GCSE and beyond (CLA, 2019).

However, schools across the country who still believe that arts subjects and experiences play a significant role in the development of their pupils and their school tell us there are rays of hope in the new Ofsted framework, which came into effect in September.

The RSC was commissioned earlier this year by Arts Council England (ACE) to undertake a national research study into arts and cultural education in outstanding schools. The aim of the research was to understand the role that arts subjects and experiences play in school and curriculum development.

The research is yet to be published, but some of the top line findings are compelling in terms of what they tell us about how outstanding schools nationally view arts subjects:

  • Ninety-eight per cent believe that the arts make a positive difference to the wellbeing and happiness of their children and young people.
  • Ninety-five per cent say that the greatest impact of the arts is on developing children’s creativity.

Read more findings and what the arts can do for schools in the full article Why Ofsted’s EIF could give arts education a much-needed boost 

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

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