Cultural vision is from the hearta

atricia Ferguson's cultural blueprint for Scotland falls short by some Pounds 80 million of the pound;100m proposals put forward by the Cultural Commission. It is also less ambitious in many of its objectives, although the commission can be accused of producing a vision too detailed to be implemented.

In educational terms, many of the broad principles are there, even if there are no figures attached to them. The notion of giving young people a "cultural entitlement" is endorsed - although time will tell how individual local authorities interpret new duties, including the idea that community planning must include cultural planning. When times become hard, as appears to be likely, the experience has been that the arts are pushed to the margins of council budgets.

However, the Scottish Executive has pinned its colours to the mast in terms of the curriculum review, saying it wants to see creativity and culture placed more firmly at the heart of learning. Again, we must wait to see what this means in practice, but if it enriches the learning experiences of young people, particularly those in poorer areas, then it must be welcomed.

Recognition that some talented youngsters have only found their route into creative or cultural pursuits by serendipity is, perhaps, overdue. If more youngsters are exposed to the arts as a right and not as the result of a postcode lottery, Mrs Ferguson's modest package may make a vital contribution.

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