Today sees the launch of the Durham Commission report, which recommends that all children should study arts subjects up to Key Stage 3 and there should be a National Plan for Cultural Education.

The Durham Commission was set up in 2017 to look at how our education system and wider system of learning for children can grow the capacity for creativity. Our Director of Education, Jacqui O'Hanlon, was one of its commissioners.

Speaking about the report, she said: "It recognises the role that arts subjects and experiences play in developing creative capacities and capabilities in young people.

“These are not ‘nice to have’ additions but are instead essential experiences for young people both inside and outside of school; therefore, as the Commission recommends, arts subjects should become standard for all children up to Key Stage 3 and there should be a National Plan for Cultural Education."

Boy in school uniform wearing a cardboard crown reading from a script
Students from our Associate Schools in an RSC Education workshop
Photo by Rob Freeman © RSC Browse and license our images

Jacqui’s Education team works in schools all over the country, with children and young people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

She adds: “What we and our partner arts organisations see consistently is that arts disciplines uniquely help to foster creativity, agency, empathy, tolerance and communication skills in young people. All of these are important for life but are also skills that, as we enter the fourth industrial revolution, will be at a premium.

“In our recent Time to Listen study young people talked consistently about arts lessons as the only place where they felt free to experiment, make mistakes (and learn from them), express ideas and articulate arguments. They also valued arts and creative lessons as a means of relieving stress and processing and navigating complex emotions.”

We are co-hosting a conference for teachers and arts professionals who want to find out more about how arts and cultural learning can support the new Ofsted framework, contribute to whole school improvement and develop cultural capital. Towards a Creative Curriculum takes place at the Barbican, London, in January 2020.

Read the Durham Report