In England and Wales, a large number of cultural institutions offer out-of-school arts education programmes. While some of the courses are free of charge, others have to be paid for, which can act as a deterrent to people of limited financial means.
In 2015, Arts Council England launched the Cultural Education Challenge, an initiative that seeks to connect local authorities, schools and cultural institutions with the aim of providing students with access to high-quality arts (see chapter 5.2).
A government supported scheme to provide stage opportunities and theatre skills for young people aged 5-18 from disadvantaged backgrounds was launched in 2019. It is led by Youth Performance Partners (see chapter 2.6).
Apart from the cultural institutions themselves, there are a number of charities and advocacy groups that either champion or provide cultural education in different arts forms. The selection below is intended to show the scope and breadth of the different projects and is by no means meant to be exhaustive. Some of the charities receive funds from Arts Council England or the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
- Youth Music funds and facilitates music-making for young people up to the age of 25, particularly those living in areas of social and economic need. It is a national charity set up in 1999 and has given 2.9 million young people the opportunity to participate in music projects since then. In Harmony is a music education project modelled on the Venezuelan El Sistema programme, which provides music lessons and instruments to children and young people.
- OneDanceUK, formerly Youth Dance England, is important in the provision of training and education opportunities. As the national sector support organisation, it provides services, information and opportunities to dance professionals and organisations, as well as children and young people who are interested in or actively engaged in dance.
- GEM (Group for Education in Museums) aims to champion learning opportunities of people of all ages through museums and heritage. It does so by supporting organisations as well as education practitioners, running its own projects and sharing best practice. Furthermore, Historic England offers free online resources for teachers and a free image database. Engage is the lead training and advocacy network for gallery education.
- Media Trust’s Youth Mentoring Programme 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 British Film Institute offers a variety of educational resources ranging from the provision of teaching material to hands-on training courses for young people.