The impact of arts education
BY: Annabel Thomas
06 Feb 2017
We’re sure that if you are reading this blog you already understand the value of studying and taking part in the arts, but with increasing pressures on schools and arts organisations how can we advocate for all young people to have the chance to participate in artistic, creative and cultural opportunities? What can we do to ensure that policy makers and educators really understand the value of the arts, and the huge range of benefits it can bring to individuals and wider society?
Arts Award Impact Study
For our part, in 2016 we published the Arts Award Impact Study. This longitudinal study of Arts Award’s impact led by London South Bank University tracked 68 young people over three years. Our Impact Study found that there was a wealth of positive impacts on young people. Many of these are transferable to the world of work, such as increased confidence, leadership and organisational skills. We were also delighted to find out that Arts Award influenced young people’s choice of subjects and supported successful applications for further study, as well as encouraging young people to explore careers in the creative industries.
And it’s not just Arts Award who have found the positive impacts of offering the arts to young people. The Cultural Learning Alliance has published two reports – the first being 'ImagineNation: The Case for Cultural Learning', which clearly highlights the many positive outcomes associated with studying and engaging with the arts. Some of their key findings include, ‘Students from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree’, and ‘The employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment’. The new ImagineNation report was published on 23 January 2017 and highlighted the Arts Award Impact Study as evidence for the positive benefits of arts education (see page 18).
We were also delighted to hear the recent announcement that the Education Endowment Foundation, the government-backed research centre for education, has partnered with the Royal Society of Arts. They will be investigating the impact of cultural learning on disadvantaged children’s attainment and wider outcomes, in a two-year research project funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. As Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of EEF said,
‘All children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, deserve a well-rounded, culturally rich education. But at a time of funding pressure and curriculum changes, the future of arts education in schools is uncertain.
For schools to be able to commit time and resources to arts activities, it's important that they have access to high-quality evidence of the relative benefits of different arts programmes and approaches, both on attainment and wider outcomes.’
We are excited and encouraged to see that research into the impact of arts education is being explored more widely and look forward to the outcome of the EEF and RSA’s research.
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BY: Annabel Thomas