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We respond to the Henley Review of Cultural Education

  • Date: 28 February 2012
  • Area: National

The Government has today published Cultural education in England: An independent review by Darren Henley for the Department for Education and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Arts Council England is pleased the review recognises cultural education as a central aspect of all children and young people's lives.

Download our response to the review in PDF and Word formats.

Many of the recommendations align closely to the priorities for children and young people we set out in our 10-year strategic framework for the arts, Achieving great art for everyone which includes the goal that 'every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts'.

The Arts Council supports extensive work to achieve this goal through ambitious, acclaimed schemes including the Arts Award and Artsmark and, following on from recommendations in the review, we look forward to developing new ways in which children and young people can take part in cultural education. This includes our leading role in the setting up of the new national youth dance company (NYDC).

The NYDC will work on a similar model to other national youth organisations - for example the National Youth Music Theatre and the National Youth Theatre. These companies give talented young people from a range of backgrounds the chance to experience working in a professional environment and to develop the high level performance skills needed for a professional career in the arts.

The company would draw talent from across England and work with national and regional youth dance organisations. Arts Council England will manage the development work to set up the national youth dance company.

Janet Archer, Director Dance, Arts Council England said:

'We recognise the importance of showcasing and nurturing young people's talent and providing them with opportunities to develop their skills to the highest levels.

'We will work towards the creation of a world class national youth dance company that combines the development of high levels of contemporary and classical technique, with creative performance opportunities directed by leading choreographers.'

The Arts Council will be working with its bridge organisations to improve and create new local partnerships to connect children and young people, schools and communities with art and culture as part of their cultural education - expanding on our work with Music hubs.

With Trinity College London, the Arts Council will also explore how the new cultural passports recommended in the Henley review could be developed as part of the Arts Award.

Visit our children and young people section.

Cultural education partnership

The review also recommends arms length bodies should work together in a more joined up approach as a new 'cultural education partnership', to provide improved cultural education for children and young people. The group will be made up of the Lottery distributors - Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the British Film Institute and English Heritage - and will work with museums and galleries and other partners to improve cultural education for young people across the country.