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United Kingdom/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.5 Basic out-of-school arts and cultural education

In 2008, Ministers at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Department of Children, Schools and Families asked Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, to undertake a review of dance education and youth dance to see what was on offer for young people and what needed to be done to maintain a vibrant dance sector for the future. The government response to the Review recognised the significance of youth dance in developing excellence in dance at a professional level. Youth Dance England was awarded a funding package of GBP 5.5 million through Arts Council England to develop a national youth dance strategy across both school and youth dance sectors. For further information, visit

Youth Music funds and facilitates music-making for young people up to the age of 18, particularly those living in areas of social and economic need. It is a national charity set up in 1999 with GBP 10 million per annum of National Lottery money. By 2006, Youth Music had reached over one million children and young people and their funding awards had reached into 98% of Local Education Authority areas in England ( It runs a three year mentoring programme inspired initially by the Home Office. The programme seeks to engage young people in mentoring linked to music-making activity. The aim by 2011 is to have delivered the programme in 19 areas of England and engaged over 850 trainees, with at least 200 of those being developed into mentors themselves. For more information visit

A research report Live the Experience, issued by the Association of British Orchestras in 2009, suggests that more children are enjoying live classical music concerts than ever, but many are still missing out. The report indicated that 400 children's concerts in 2007/08 reached about 250 000 children. It recommends orchestras should examine new methods of engaging children. Other recommendations include the need for orchestras to seek dedicated funds for children's access to concerts and for additional investment to reach every child, especially those in rural areas, and also for local authorities to become more involved.

DCMS funds Media Trust's Youth Mentoring Programme, which works closely with media companies, media professionals and youth organisations to help unlock young people's potential. Media Trust sets up and supports one-to-one group mentoring for disadvantaged 14 to 25 year olds across England. The main impact of the scheme on the young people involved is an increase in social, practical and / or personal confidence. For more information visit

The Museum, Libraries and Archives Council has delivered several cultural education programmes funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Children, Schools and Families to increase demand from schools for museum and archive education, increase supply of museum and archive education activities, and widen access for teachers to museum and archive education. Since 2003, DCMS and DCSF have jointly supported a programme known as Museum Strategic Commissioning, a programme of education and community based work by museums and galleries across England. The programme supports the formal and informal learning of children, young people and adults through more effective use of cultural resources and to promote inclusion. Funding is used to support: partnerships between the museum and education sectors; capacity building; professional development of teachers and museums staff. In February 2008 both Secretaries of State for DCMS and DCSF jointly announced that the Strategic Commissioning Programme would be funded through to March 2011. For more information, visit

Following the launch of the White Paper The Learning Revolution, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council set itself a target of encouraging 3 000 individual museums, libraries and archives to sign up to the active promotion of informal adult learning by March 2010. The MLA announced the launch of a new GBP 100 000 Challenge Fund to encourage museums, libraries and archives to do more to open up their spaces and resources, such as meeting rooms or collections, to self-organised groups of learners. The MLA also established a new Adult Learners Board, to oversee the development of a framework for informal adult learning by March 2010 as part of the implementation of the White Paper.

The Engaging Places project was established in 2006 by DCMS, in partnership with the Commission for Architecture, and the Built Environment (CABE) and English Heritage, to develop a national heritage and built environment offer for schools. The project was designed to develop practical support to schools so that children and young people have more opportunities to understand why buildings and places matter. The first phase of the project led by DCMS was completed in December 2007. CABE and English Heritage set up a joint unit to provide a coordinated approach to schools' engagement with the heritage and built environment. "Engaging Places" is designed to offer teachers accessible, curriculum linked ways to unlock the educational potential of their built surroundings. For more information, visit

Historic Scotland has appointed a number of education specialists working to provide resources and activities at the agency's properties throughout Scotland.

In recent years, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has been promoting a Learning Strategy to harness the work of the many organisations it supports to develop "Cultural Capital" throughout Northern Ireland, to promote creativity, innovation and lifelong learning. The success of the initiative has been reflected in the positive assessment reports produced by the Education and Training Inspectorate of the Department of Education in Northern Ireland. More information can be found at:

Chapter published: 15-04-2011

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