Ministers attacked over celebrities' report on art

14th January 2000 at 00:00
THE GOVERNMENT has been accused of burying a major report on creativity in schools by failing to promote its existence or act on its findings.

The report, produced by a committee which includes celebrities such as comedian Lenny Henry and conductor Sir Simon Rattle, alongside academics and scientists, called for urgent action to raise the profile of the arts in the curriculum.

Professor Ken Robinson, who chairs the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, said: "Most people don't even know it (the report) is around because nothing has been done by central Government to promote its existence.

"There are hackers who can get into NATO defence systems who can't find it on the Government's website."

Issued last May, the 250-page report said creative and cultural developments were as important as basic literacy and numeracy.

Its long list of proposals include boosting arts and humanities in initial teacher training - as critics feel these subjects have been squeezed out in favour of basic sills - and bringing more creative professionals into the classroom.

Professor Robinson compared the muted reaction from ministers to the huge and positive response from all who had read the report. The first run of 10,000 copies ran out within two months, forcing the Department for Education and Employment to reprint.

"The Government has not trumpeted its existence - we think it should. We have asked for a copy, or at least a summary, to be sent to every school. The Government has not so far agreed to that."

"Everybody who has read the report thinks it is important, that it is saying central things to the future of education in this country. The Government has to see that what we say in the report is part of the solution and not another problem."

Echoing a criticism made by universities, he said new teachers were in danger of becoming mere "operatives of the national curriculum".

A spokeswoman for the DFEE said a government response top the report would be issued, but declined to comment further.


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