Jacqui O'Hanlon talks about the possibilities for change in the current crisis and opportunities to reform the curriculum, recognise the value of the arts and listen to young people.

Our Director of Education, Jacqui O'Hanlon, has written a blog for the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) about the opportunities for change coming out of the current crisis. 

She writes: "Whilst this time of crisis has illuminated the stark realities and injustice of existing inequalities, it has also provided an opportunity for re-shaping."

Next Generation ACT Rehearsals September 2017_2017_Photo by Rob Freeman _c_ RSC_240304
Our Next Generation: ACT company of young actors

Jacqui is also Chair of the Cultural Learning Alliance. Both roles are about championing the right of all children and young people to high quality arts and cultural learning.

Amid the huge range of ideas being proposed for how we re-shape out of the crisis, she pulls the three that feel "most hopeful and most urgent": 

  • Curriculum reform – decolonising of the curriculum, by reforming the kinds of literature, history, and arts experiences students are exposed to so that they better reflect their lived experiences and heritage. See the Black Curriculum for examples of what that can look like. 
  • Articulating the value of arts subjects – arts subject have often been sidelined to STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) but SHAPE, a new collective name for arts, humanities and social science subjects could change that. SHAPE subjects teach us to understand more profoundly the world around us and people in it, through observation, analysis, translation and interpretation. Will we start hearing teachers, families and careers advisors talking to students about which Shape subjects they take as well as which Stem subjects?
  • Youth leadership During this period we have seen a growth in the mainstream visibility of youth led organisations: Sour LemonsBeatfreeks and the Positive Youth Foundation to name but three. To ensure we reform as a relevant and responsive sector we need young people to inform our decision making. 

Read the full blog on the DCMS website