Primary school after-school activities slump

Aug 4, 2014 by

Shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman highlights drop in pupils doing after-school music, drama and dance activities

The number of primary school pupils taking part in extra-curricular music, drama and dance activities has slumped under the coalition, Harriet Harman, the shadow culture secretary, has said.

A Labour analysis of official figures also identified a widening gap between the participation of white children and those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds in after-school arts classes.

Harman said the coalition is “fairly and squarely” to blame for the falling participation, and accused Michael Gove, the former education secretary, of devaluing creativity in schools.

Labour found that between 2010 and 2013, the proportion of primary school pupils taking part in after-school music activities had fallen from 55% to 36%, with a drop in theatre and drama from 49% to 33% and in dance from 45% to 29%.

The slump in cultural and artistic activities among ethnic minority children was even more marked, with participation in music falling by 44%, in drama by 41% and in dance by 51% over the same period.

“We are seeing a serious fall in the amount of art and culture that children are able to take part in,” Harman said. “The blame for this lies fairly and squarely at the door of this government. They don’t understand the importance of the arts and their role to extend opportunities to every child.

“Michael Gove devalued creativity in schools and many local arts organisations who would provide out-of-school activity for young people have lost support because of the government cuts to local councils. And more than a third of local authorities have reported a drop in after-school clubs since the elections.”

She said Labour was committed to giving every child the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts, and would get Ofsted to check that every school was providing arts and cultural opportunities.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said it was nonsense to suggest that the arts were not being properly promoted.

“We are determined to help every child develop their creativity. That is why we have invested £340m to support music and cultural education that will help children to enjoy the arts,” he said.

“In the last month alone, we have cut red tape that restricted after-school drama performances and announced an £18 million funding boost for music education. The extra funding will mean thousands more disadvantaged pupils will have access to instruments.”

via Primary school after-school activities slump under coalition, Labour says | Education |

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