Bronze award

1st June 2007 at 01:00
There is currently a problem with the Arts Council's "Artsmark" award, presented to schools for their artistic achievements. As it stands, this accolade has three levels: gold, silver, and the basic Artsmark.

At present, a school receiving the basic award will proclaim that it has received an Arts Council Artsmark. Parents and others who may know nothing of the award, let alone its three levels, are then misled into thinking that there is just one award and that the school is therefore doing great work in the arts. In fact, it's doing just enough to get by, but by flaunting the award it takes the pressure off itself to do more.

Taken nationally, the result of this piece of clumsiness will be to depress, rather than raise, the provision and achievement of the arts in schools. This is presumably not what was intended when the awards scheme was conceived. It is obvious what to do: give the basic Artsmark its logical name - Artsmark bronze. This would remove any such misconception instantly.

Bob Taylor Director, Inside Job Theatre Projects, London EC2

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