Why We Need Arts Education In Schools

Do you know one thing that really gets my goat? When people/organisations say that Arts Education isn’t needed in our schools. BOULDERDASH!

Recently an OFSTED inspector declared that having arts subjects (drama, music, art etc) taught in schools was giving students unrealistic expectations about having a career in the arts.

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Too many big wigs in government, and power in general, believe that the most important subjects (ones that generate income for the country in a more obvious way) are maths, science and more logical structures (if you don’t believe me take a look at the difference between funding for arts subjects and maths in schools and colleges). And with that viewpoint comes the stance that if you’re into drama or music or singing you’re not ‘that’ intelligent, but if you’re good at maths or science then ding ding ding you win the prize of having the term ‘intelligent’ bestowed upon you.

When I was at school this sort of thinking really inhibited my self-esteem. I have always struggled with maths and maths like subjects, having to have countless tutors all the way through my school days. However, one thing I was always good at (don’t mind me, just blowing my trumpet) was drama, singing and dance.

Okay I’m no triple threat or a Bernadette Peters but I can safely say that that’s where my talents lie. And Drama, throughout my life, is the one thing I’ve always excelled at. Even when I got to Uni I was told by my peers, who did more conventional degrees, that I was dumb and that my degree didn’t count, I showed them how wrong they were with my First Class degree and my job, but this isn’t about them.

Anyway… what I’m trying to demonstrate is that there has always been a culture around the arts in schools, it’s for the ‘less able’ children, putting them in a box where they’ll always be told they’re just not as good as he others.

But let me lay down some FACTS about arts education and the arts sector has a whole.

1. The Arts Creates More Well Rounded People

In a recent Guardian article the paper stated that “The arts make us well-rounded, questioning, lateral-thinking people”, and that the neglect to arts education is driving Britain to the brink of disaster. The article argues that when children have artistic projects it gives them a sense of achievement, a way to express themselves, gain skills in public speaking (which if you want to be a CEO you need to be able to do),  think critically, analytically and laterally.

So you may not be able to get higher than a C in your GCSE Maths exam, but the arts will provide you with the skills to be able to lead. And, if you want to run a Fortune 500 company, you’ll need to be able to talk, schmooze and inspire people, and sorry to say but knowing a Bunsen burner experiment off by heart won’t help you there.  

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2. Businesses Are Becoming More Creative 

As business grows and expands its becoming more and more creatively inclined. Take Adidas or Apple for example, so you need some logically minded people to think of the science of the trainer or the engineering of the phone, but these two businesses are prime examples of how creativity is key to their growth.

Both of these brands are famed for their ‘look’, if Adidas looked rubbish I doubt people like Kylie Jenner would be interested in representing them. Apple too, fames itself on its style, and creates a sense of ‘cool’ around owning one. Who do you think designs the trainers that we rush out and buy? Or the marketing campaigns that make us want the Iphone Xr? CREATIVES! It may seem that you need to be numerically/formulaic inclined to succeed in business, but actually behind every great business is a large group of highly creative people. 

3. The Arts DO Contribute To The UK Economy

Heading back to my previous point of what the government deem as ‘meaningful subjects’, it’s widely misconstrue that the arts don’t contribute to the economy like traditional trade does. But! That is completely untrue.

In an article by the Arts Professional the arts and cultural sector contributed £11.8 billion to the UK economy in 2017, with the arts sector growing 10% in 2015, which was five times more than the UK economy as a whole. The research in the article also states that for every £1 the government spends on cultural funding they recoup £5. With the sector creating 35, 000 UK jobs in 2015. 

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  So next time someone says to you that the arts aren’t important stun them with those stellar facts!

I really hope that one day the arts are looked upon with equal respect to maths and science, but with Brexit looming I fear that this is slipping further and further away… 

But let’s keep positive, and remain in hope, and aid our wonderful industry by supporting it with ticket purchases, donations, blogs and twitter activity!

Till Next Time,

Abigail x

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