Guardian Unlimited | Arts news | Schools schedules sideline the arts

This is something that I already knew, most especially the comment regarding thinking imaginatively.

Schools schedules sideline the arts

Amelia Hill
Sunday March 16, 2003
The Observer

Britain’s creative future is under threat as teachers struggle to fit art subjects into a crowded national curriculum, according to a nationwide survey.
More than 80 per cent of UK headteachers say they battle to find time to schedule arts lessons, while almost 90 per cent of teachers worry that the sidelining of arts is affecting their students’ ability to think imaginatively.

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According to the survey of 695 primary, secondary and sixth-form teachers, two-thirds believe the reduction in arts teaching will be detrimental to the fabric of the country, resulting in a diminished creative industry and fewer artists.

‘Creative industries are worth ?67 billion a year to the economy and yet art teaching in schools is struggling,’ said William Sieghart, co-founder of Big Arts Week, a charity which works to get more arts teaching into schools and commissioned the research.

The survey also found that art and design teachers lack training and confidence in using modern technology and in selecting the best software to help their pupils. Only half of schools have access to technical assistance and only half of the art and design departments have direct access to the internet.

Just 13 per cent of secondary schools allow every pupil to take art and design if they wish to do so, while class sizes for art and design are higher than the average for any other subject. More than a third of primary schools depend on being given free materials for their arts lessons, while just one in six has a specialist arts teacher. Many secondary schools, in addition, are forced to ask pupils to buy their own equipment

‘Education has become more prescriptive in recent years, which can mean children not learning to think for themselves,’ said Corinne Abisgold, an educational psychologist. ‘If we want independent, creative thinkers, we have to give our children the opportunity to experiment with their minds.’