Why Ofsted’s EIF could give arts education a much-needed boost

The number of hours spent teaching arts subjects continues to fall, but the new Ofsted framework could mark a turning point for arts and cultural learning. Jacqui O’Hanlon and Jenny Mollica explain

The latest Department for Education (DfE, 2019) figures show that the number of teachers and hours spent teaching arts subjects in schools in England continues to fall. However, the new Education Inspection Framework (Ofsted, 2019) offers renewed hope.

Making the case that arts and cultural learning should form part of every child’s creative education has sometimes, over the past decade, felt like an uphill struggle.

The unintended consequences of the English Baccalaureate, austerity measures and a focus on STEM have all conspired to push arts subjects and cultural learning further down the priority list.

The upshot has been a steady decline in the number of hours and staff dedicated to teaching arts subjects in schools (DfE, 2019) and a reduction in the number of young people opting for arts subjects at GCSE and beyond (CLA, 2019).

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