Campaigning

ACA announces key issues threatening opportunities for children

 

Action for Children’s Arts (ACA) campaigns for children across the UK to have access to the arts. Today it has announced current areas of immediate risk, as identified by its members and patrons.

  • As the UK faces its most significant changes and challenges in a generation, ACA considers it is essential that the voices of children should not be excluded from the national conversation. “Listening to Children” will for the first time be the focus for a celebratory event to be organised in association with the National Theatre this year.

The government is squeezing creativity out of our children’s learning”

Rufus Norris, Artistic Director, The Royal National Theatre, writing in The Guardian newspaper

  • The continuing threat of the imposition of the EBacc, if carried through, will lead to reduced arts opportunities for all children, and particularly those in deprived areas.

The government insists that the arts and culture should be available in all schools, and quite rightly so! But by and large it is the private schools that offer this access, and consequently it is too often available only to the elite. This is unfair and unjust. All children should benefit from the richness of the arts in their school lives.”

ACA Patron Sir Tony Robinson

  • Play is an essential part of learning in the Early Years. ACA aligns itself with the many signatories to the letter of concern sent in response to the Ofsted report Bold Beginnings, which threatens to narrow the reception curriculum to focus more heavily on literacy and mathematics, with overly formal teaching and less opportunity for play.

“Early Years are a crucial time within a human life for the development of emotional intelligence. Play, which develops imagination, is being lost in childhood because of the increasing pressure of early school assessment. We must remember it is every child’s right, every day, to have time to create, imagine and play.”

ACA Trustee, and BBC Children’s TV presenters, Chris Jarvis and Pui Fan Lee

  • The continued threat to the future of libraries is of great concern to ACA. All children and families should have access to a range of literature and a place in which to explore it.

“We all of us want the best for our children, for them to grow strong in heart and spirit, body and mind. That so many children do not have the start in life they need to flourish, is society’s fault, our fault. 

We need to give them, their parents and their teachers the tools to do the job. To close a library, to deny children opportunities for reading, for developing a love of literature,  is to exclude children from their culture, their birthright, from fulfilment of their creative potential, and, most importantly, from the knowledge and understanding they will need to comprehend  better the world about them, the lives of others, and themselves. 

Without this empathy, without such knowledge and understanding, where are they? And where are we?”

ACA Patron, Sir Michael Morpurgo

  • ACA notes with concern the reports of charges being introduced in schools for Music GCSE classes. Access to music and music tuition must remain part of the UK school curriculum and not become the preserve of the wealthy.

“It is a tragedy. All our children deserve access to the arts. The UK has traditionally been a world leader in culture – we should be supporting and encouraging the arts instead of jeopardising young people’s choices through these short-sighted cuts”.

ACA Patron, Julian Lloyd Webber

ACA believes that, in the context of current political policy, there is an urgent need to reinforce the importance of the arts as part of a broad and balanced education for all – not just for those who can afford it.

 

Notes for Editors

Click here to download this press release in .docx format

Contact for information: mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk

www.childrensarts.org.uk

@childrensarts

Action for Children’s Arts is a national membership organisation embracing all those who believe that every child deserves access to artistic and creative activity. The charity is dedicated to the promotion, development and celebration of all creative and performing arts, for and with children.

ACA is proud that its membership ranges from individual artists, to National Portfolio Organisations, to parents and teachers – all championing the cause of giving every child access to the arts.

President: David Wood, OBE

Chair: Vicky Ireland, MBE

Patrons: David Almond, Jenny Agutter OBE, Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE, Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, David Bintley CBE, Malorie Blackman OBE, Sir Quentin Blake CBE, Sir Matthew Bourne OBE, Mrs Felicity Dahl, Dame Carol Ann Duffy CBE, Peter Duncan, Michael Foreman, Jamila Gavin, Anna Home OBE, Shirley Hughes CBE, Sir Nicholas Hytner, Terry Jones, Judith Kerr OBE, Julian Lloyd Webber, Joanna McGregor OBE, Michelle Magorian, Roger McGough CBE, Sir Michael Morpurgo, Nick Park CBE, Philip Pullman CBE, Lynne Reid Banks, Sir Ken Robinson, Sir Tony Robinson, Michael Rosen, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Benjamin Zephaniah.

Listening to Children: call for submissions

Are you under 13? Are you concerned about your future? Got ideas you want to share? We want videos, art and poetry from YOU exploring the following ideas:

  • What do like about life in the UK?
  • What would you like to change?
  • What are the important things in your life?
  • What is the role of creativity in your life?

You can answer just one of these questions, or tackle all four! We want to know what you think about what is happening to your country right now. 

Send your creation to mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk with a submissions form attached. You can download the permission form by clicking here. Make sure you get a parent or guardian to sign it first!

Are you a teacher? Get your whole class to take part! Email mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk if you need any ideas or further guidance.

Baroness Benjamin mentions ACA in the House of Lords

We were delighted to have a mention from ACA patron Baroness Floella Benjamin in her opening speech at the House of Lords. This was in relation to the Select Committee for Communications’ report: Skills for Theatre – developing the pipeline of talent. Due to the unexpected early-closing of Parliament, the report did not fully explore children and early-years. ACA hopes that the Select Committee will return to this project and explore the issue further.

You can now read the full report here: https://publications.parliament.uk/…/l…/ldcomuni/170/170.pdf

Write to your MP

ACA has been busy writing to all 650 MPs asking them to sign our pledge for the arts created by children and young people. We have been delighted to have a cross-party response.

We have already received signatures from the following MPs:

  • Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley and Spen (Labour)
  • Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West (Labour)
  • Sarah Champion, MP for Rotheram (Labour)
  • Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North (Labour)
  • David Drew, MP for Stroud (Labour)
  • Mark Field, MP for Cities of London and Westminster (Conservative)
  • Vicky Ford, MP for Chelmsford (Conservative)
  • Nia Griffith, MP for Llanelli (Labour)
  • Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon (Conservative)
  • Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood (Labour)
  • Christine Jardine, MP for Edinburgh West (Liberal Democrat)
  • Jeremy Lefroy, MP for Stafford (Conservative)
  • Chris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East (Labour)
  • Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham (Conservative)
  • Laura Pidcock, MP for North West Durham (Labour)
  • David Simpson, MP for Upper Ban (DUP)
  • Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds Northwest (Labour)
  • Nick Thomas-Symonds, MP for Torfaen (Labour)
  • Derek Twigg, MP for Halton (Labour)
  • Giles Watling, MP for Clacton (Conservative)

If your MP is not on this list, please do write to them on our behalf as the message is always more powerful from a constituent. Our letter can be downloaded by clicking here. If you need help finding your MP’s contact details, please email mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk or get in touch via social media.

 

Information for Press:

Action for Children’s Arts is a national membership organisation embracing all professionals working in children’s arts and all those who share our beliefs. It is dedicated to the promotion, development and celebration of all creative and performing arts for and with children.

Further information: mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk

A pledge for children’s arts

Throughout this 2017 election campaign we have been reaching out to children and young people across the country, asking them to send in their thoughts on how MPs should pledge to protect children’s arts for the future. Below is the pledge that we have created from their contributions:

In creating the future, we ask you to recognise:

  • The importance of early-years (children and infants aged 0-5).
  • That play is an essential part of education, ensuring good physical and mental health in our children.
  • That the arts are the principal trainers of the imagination.
  • The need to listen to and talk with children when making political decisions that affect their futures.

It is every child’s right, every day, to have time to create, imagine and play.

We will be sending this pledge to every elected MP in the country, asking them to write back and state their commitment to children’s arts during their time in office. ACA will be issuing a list of supporting MPs to several press organisations and media outlets at the time of it’s AGM, which will be held on Tuesday 20th June 2017 at the House of Lords.

 

If you would like to attend and are a member, please RSVP to the invitation in your inbox. If you would like to attend and are not a member, you can join at childrensarts.org.uk/join

What’s your pledge?

National charity Action for Children’s Arts is inviting children and young people from across the country to send in a pledge for children’s arts.

Submissions will be used to compile a short pledge-card. This will be issued to politicians nationwide in the run up to the General Election, asking them to guarantee their commitment to providing a future for children’s arts in the UK. Participants can either send in a written or recorded/filmed pledge. Our favourite entries will be compiled into a sound-bite to help spread the message.

 

Here is an example to get you started: “Every child, every year: a play, a concert, a gallery, a museum.”

 

WE WELCOME SUBMISSIONS FROM ANYONE AGED 16 OR UNDER. CLOSING DATE IS 7PM ON MONDAY 8 MAY 2017.

 

How to get involved:

 

  1. Write 25 words that you think make a strong, snappy statement in support of all children in the UK having the chance to watch and participate in creative activities such as music, art, drama or dance.
  2. Create a 15 second audio recording or film that makes a bold statement in support of all children in the UK having the chance to watch and participate in creative activities such as music, art, drama or dance.

Ask a parent/guardian/carer to email your entry to: mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk

In your email please include:

  • Entrant’s name
  • Entrant’s age
  • Entrant’s hometown
  • Contact email address
  • Permission from a parent/guardian/carer to share your submission. If you have sent a video, please state whether or not we may use your image.

 

This information will not be shared at any stage in the process.

 Please note that only the audio will be used from filmed entries unless permission is granted to use your image.

Michael Rosen’s thoughts on Children’s rights to access arts.

Taking part in any of the arts means ‘making and doing’. This involves taking materials, ideas, thoughts and feelings from our experience and changing them. You can do this having apprenticed yourself for many years to the best practitioners of that art,

you can do it by studying that art, but there are also ways of taking part in some arts very simply and easily following what is already there, or someone who shows us how. This last way of working means that taking part in the arts is available to all. It mean that anyone in any situation can experience what it means to transform materials, ideas, thoughts and feelings and in so doing transform a part of themselves.

This is one of the ways in which we have discovered how to investigate the world around us and our place in it. A school curriculum always includes subjects which are concerned about the world but it’s not often easy for such subjects to include the child and that child’s place in it. Whether a child is doing pottery, performing a part in a play, taking photos or any art – these will involve the child finding a place for themselves in relation to that material, that view, those lines from a play or poem. Surrounding this activity there will be thought and conversation. These will nearly always involve this ‘positioning’ – “where am I in relation to this stuff?’

We make the plea that children should have time and space to do this as part of their emotional, social and intellectual development. Part of education must be about ‘where am I in this world?’

Doing such things may lead to professional careers, they may enable children to be more confident and willing learners, they may provide potential activities for people for the rest of their lives. All these are valuable outcomes. However, we would do well to remember that children are human beings and are not half-human beings waiting to be grown-ups. As human beings they are entitled to have time and space to reflect on this matter of who they are in the world.

We see a great danger in thinking of education purely and simply in terms of national or international test scores. Such scores can only tell us what kind of teaching most suits that kind of test. It doesn’t tell us about anything that is not tested or cannot be tested. Yet, questions of how can I affect this material (clay, or words, or the body, for example) are crucial to how we proceed in this world. It is not sufficiently useful to simply know the world or to be able to describe it. We have to know why we are changing the world – for the good or the bad? We have to be in a position in which we can come up with ideas for improving people’s lives. We have to know what enables us to face danger, cruelty and terror. We have to know what enables us to have good times too! The arts enable us to do these things and much more.

However, it cannot ever be that we think of the arts as being ranked in some kind of league table – that, say, poetry is ‘better’ than pottery, or some such. Nor can we think of the arts as being best practised by those who are better off, or some such. We say, ‘all arts for all’.

ACA Round-table on Primary Education

The event was introduced by ACA chair, David Wood. This roundtable aimed to bring together children’s arts practitioners with schools that prioritise the arts. Vicky Ireland, Vice-Chair introduced ACA, which is currently working to draw up a list of best-practice primary schools. This resource will be drawn upon for advice and representation at arts advocacy events. This was followed by presentations from the school representatives

 

To read the full report click on this link Action for Children’s Arts Round Table 29042016