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AAH News and Events

NSN launch 'The Two Cultures' report

Posted on Wednesday, 8th February 2017

NSN launch 'The Two Cultures' report 

As a charity working within arts and education, and against the backdrop of our work to ensure the continued offer of an A-Level in History of Art, we welcome the contribution to the on-going debate about cultural education offered by the launch of today's 'The Two Cultures' report from the New Schools Network (NSN).

The report forewords by ministers Matt Hancock and Nick Gibb acknowledge that the continued offer of the History of Art A-Level is an important step in a much wider effort to protect and extend the opportunities offered by arts education, also restating the government's commitment to ensuring that high-quality arts education is the entitlement of every single child.

The Association of Art Historians, along with partner organisations across the arts and education, also welcome the Government's statement within the report that the arts and culture have the potential to be forces for openness, a belief at the heart of our educational campaign work.

This said we are mindful that much is still be to done to ensure the future vitality of arts education in both primary and secondary settings, and will work with colleagues across the schools sector to fully explore the challenges and opportunities presented by the NSN report and its central question as to whether schools have to choose between the EBacc and the arts.

As a school performance measure the EBacc has attracted a significant amount of attention over the last 2 years and with the implementation of headlines measures Progress 8 and Attainment 8 has led to much debate about the challenges for art and cultural education in schools. This debate has naturally thrown up questions as to what the EBacc covers and what Progress 8 and Attainment 8 are used for in terms of school reward mechanisms and is something that we wish to explore with colleagues across education in order to better inform our own education strategies and interventions.

As NSN conclude, more analysis needs to be done to build a complete picture of what is happening with the arts in schools, and we would welcome the opportunity to contribute to the continued debates and analysis that the NSN report calls for, particularly with respect to art history, visual culture and the role of critical and contextual enquiries within schools.

Download the NSN report here.