Schools should give as much weight to the arts as they do to science and maths, according to leading author and educationalist Sir Ken Robinson.
Writing in this week’s TES, Sir Ken said the arts are frequently relegated to the fringes of the curriculum, on the basis that they are less useful in economic terms than other subjects.
But he said that cultural learning helped achievement in other areas; arguing that the arts are just as vital as any other area of knowledge.
Students from low-income families who took part in the arts at school were three times more likely to graduate from higher education than those who did not, he added.
“Cultural learning directly promotes the economic skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers value most, including creative and critical thinking, collaboration, communication, social confidence and cultural sensitivity,” said Sir Ken, a former professor of arts education at the University of Warwick and author of the bestseller Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.
“As a result, the employability of students who study arts disciplines is higher than those who do not, and they are more likely to stay in employment.”
Cultural learning also put students in a better position to understand differences in attitudes and beliefs, he said.
“Engaging with the artistic practices and traditions of other cultures is among the most powerful ways of helping all of us to see, think and feel as others do,” he added.