Invest in arts subjects to protect our children’s futures

Michele Gregson, general secretary of NSEAD's Guardian letter, calls on the government for long-term investment in arts subjects

Michele's letter, published 24 February, supports the Guardian's editorial (7 Feb 2023). Michele writes that the arts are a cultural, social and economic success story for the UK, and why, despite this, arts subjects are under attack. She says: 

'The essential contribution that the arts make to the health, wealth and wellbeing of the UK is clear, well documented and tangible, but this government continues to sabotage and harm our national interests with a myopic approach to education and cultural investment. Now, scientific and technical innovations are hailed as the key to economic growth with the creation of a new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology last week, while the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been “refocused” and reduced. The “arts premium” funding promised in 2020 did not materialise, we have a national curriculum that is unfit for purpose and we are still waiting for a cultural education plan.

'Why is there such a harmful disconnect between education policy and economic and civic needs? With a 40% fall in GCSE arts entries since 2010, how exactly does the government intend to secure the talent pipeline into our vital creative industries? Arts subjects are disappearing from the curriculum in England at a frightening rate, and we should all be alarmed. The damage goes far beyond the economic; it requires a long-term coherent plan and investment in creative arts education. We know that governments often struggle to value what they can’t easily measure. This government appears to be incapable of valuing even the things that it can.'

Read Michele Gregson's letter here


Image: The Guardian © Photofusion/REX