Tories pledge primary PE and secondary arts boosts

Conservative plan for arts premium criticised as 'too little, too late' by headteachers' union

John Roberts

The Conservative party manifesto has pledged to invest in primary school PE and secondary arts

The Conservative party has pledged to invest in primary school PE teaching and arts in secondary schools in its new manifesto.

The Tories have said they will offer an arts premium to secondary schools to fund enriching activities to all pupils.

And the party has said it will invest in PE teaching to ensure that it is being delivered properly in primary schools.

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The idea for an arts premium has been criticised by the Association of School and College Leaders as an attempt to repair the damage done to creative subjects by the Conservatives' own funding cuts and performance measures.

ASCL's general secretary Geoff Barton said: "It is interesting to see that the Conservatives intend to offer an ‘arts premium’ to secondary schools to fund enriching activities for all pupils.

"While this is welcome it is slightly galling that it comes after arts subjects have been hammered over the past few years by a combination of cuts to school budgets and school performance measures which prioritise traditional academic over creative subjects.

"The ‘arts premium’ smacks of a belated and inadequate effort to repair this damage. It is too little, too late."

The Conservative manifesto says: "We will invest in arts music and sport. Over the last nine years we have made real improvements in maths, English and science, and given more children access to a rich academic curriculum. 

"We retain our commitment to the core subjects and also want young people to learn creative skills and widen their horizons so we will offer an 'arts premium' to secondary schools to fund enriching activities for all children."

The Labour Party's manifesto also included plans for an arts premium –  aimed at primary schools.

It said a new arts pupil premium would be used to fund arts education for every primary school child. 

The Conservatives say investing in PE teaching will ensure children get an active start to life.

The education section of the Conservative manifesto, launched this afternoon, does not contain any other major new policy announcements.

It focuses on a pledge to increase school funding.

The Tories describe this as a £14 billion increase but this has been shown to be £7.1 billion once double and triple counting is taken into account.

The manifesto also contains plans to increase teachers' starting salary to £30,000. 


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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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