8.5 Developing cultural and creative competences
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Acquiring cultural and creative competences through education and training
Secondary school curriculum
Design and technology, information and communication technology (IT), art and design and music are all compulsory subjects for pupils in Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14):
- the programme for design and technology teaches pupils to design and make products by combining their skills with knowledge and understanding and introduces them to human achievements and ideas which have shaped the world; pupils are encouraged to be innovative and enterprising in their activities, whilst having regard for environmental and sustainability issues
- the programme for information and communication technology enables pupils to identify and question bias in sources they encounter and teaches them a range of ICT skills to find, analyse, communicate, present and share information whilst maintaining the need to check the accuracy of their work; pupils are taught to become increasingly aware of the social, ethical, moral and economic effects of ICT in wider society
- art and design teaches pupils to make connections between their creative investigations and own work and the work of other artists and designers; pupils' creativity and imagination are stimulated, as they are encouraged to challenge assumptions, look at things from a different perspective, be receptive to new ideas and make informed judgements and take practical decisions to communicate their ideas and feelings
- the programme for music aims to engage pupils with making music through active involvement in performing, composing and appraising musical pieces; pupils develop their sensitivity to and understanding of music alongside developing musical skills relating to the control, manipulation and presentation of sound.
Additionally, some schools use the pupil deprivation grant in support of arts and cultural activity. The grant provides additional funding from the Welsh Government to help them overcome the barriers faced by learners aged five to 15 from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The curriculum at Key Stage 4, which is driven by external qualifications, does not include any of the above as compulsory subjects, although pupils must be at least offered the opportunity to study arts, media, culture and technology at this stage if they so wish.
According to Qualified for Life, which outlines the Welsh Government's plans for reforming the Welsh curriculum, one of the four purposes of the curriculum is to ensure that all children and young people will be
enterprising, creative contributors who: connect and apply their knowledge and skills to create ideas and products; think creatively to reframe and solve problems; identify and grasp opportunities; take measured risks; lead and play different roles in teams effectively and responsibly; express ideas and emotions through different media; give of their energy and skills so that other people will benefit.
In order to complete the Welsh Baccalaureate, a post-16 qualification available at Key Stage 4, pupils must study a 'core' of five component subject areas alongside traditional academic and vocational qualifications (known as 'options'). Through different projects which form the 'core', learners must develop key skills in areas such as communication, information and communication technology, problem solving and improving own learning and performance. 'Core' content includes units covering heritage and cultural perspectives and developing entrepreneurial, innovation and business skills.
Further education and training
A number of schemes and programmes enable young people to develop skills in the arts, gaining qualifications through apprenticeship schemes, such as the following:
- Wales Millennium Centre Creative Apprenticeship Scheme, which takes on two apprentices each year to train and develop their skills in technical theatre production
- the Youth Ambassadors Scheme, Blaenavon, which enables young people to discover the World Heritage Site, gives them a voice in its management, manage and participate in workshops and receive training and qualifications
- the National College for Creative and Cultural Industries, which was established in 2016, offers courses in a range of technical support roles in theatre, concert touring, broadcast, themed attractions, education and trade and corporate events; the college aims to provide the creative industries with diverse and highly skilled professionals and, although it offers courses for young people aged 16 years and above, it also welcomes adults.
Non-formal learning and youth work
Young people’s natural desire to develop their creativity and self-expression remains an important area of focus for youth work and non-formal learning (the learning that takes place outside the formal setting of school, college or work-place). However, following budget reductions in all countries of the UK in recent years, and other changes in resourcing in Wales, some youth organisations no longer offer support for young artistic and cultural activities as part of their general provision. Other organisations, which have developed specialist experience (in relation to performing arts or sports, for example) may continue to offer targeted provision, on behalf of a local authority, area health authority or other commissioning body. This will usually involve close collaboration with cultural and educational institutions at the local level.
The Arts Award programme supports young people up to the age of 25 to develop their creative and leadership skills through the achievement of a national qualification which is comprised of five levels. Young people participating in the programme experience arts events, participate in arts activities, take on arts-related challenges and share their skills with other young people, recording their achievements and progress. They are supported by an adviser who acts as their mentor and assessor. There are no entry requirements or time limits for completing the award and anyone working with young people can deliver it, from teachers and museum staff to arts practitioners and youth workers across the UK.
Specialised training for professionals in the education, culture and youth fields
A number of specialised training initiatives and programmes for professionals exist:
- the arts are included in the Masters in educational practice unit on poverty
- guidance from Estyn, the education inspectorate, is available on Improving Literacy through Creative Learning and Cross-curricular themes that develop pupils’ key skills
- the Arts, Literacy and Numeracy Toolkit, developed by the Arts Council of Wales, which includes creative and practical ideas for teachers and artists related to incorporating literacy and numeracy in the teaching of arts subjects.
- the Lead Creative Schools Scheme, which aims to foster new ways of working in schools, so improving the quality of teaching and learning; the scheme sees creative professionals working with teachers in order to shape programme and curriculum development and better address some of the challenges facing their school.
- Hwb, a digital learning platform launched by the Welsh Government in 2012, is aimed at both teachers and learners, enabling them to share resources, boost the IT skills of teachers and promote a culture of digital citizenship for learners; as a virtual learning environment, Hwb encourages collaborations amongst teachers and between teachers and students, supporting the learning of all pupils aged three to 19 in Wales; Hwb's Creative Learning zone is a dedicated area designed to support the aims of the Government's Creative learning through the arts strategy (see 'Existence of a national strategy' in the article 'National strategy on creativity and culture for young people' for more information).
- the Creative and Cultural Skills network, a UK-wide network which works with education providers to shape the next generation of creative practitioners.
Providing quality access to creative environments
Notable programmes and projects aimed at widening the access of young people to creative environments include the following:
- the All-Wales arts and education programme, which involves schools working with artists and arts, heritage and cultural organisations to complement teaching across the curriculum (see the subheading 'Cross sectoral cooperation' in the article on 'Administration and Governance' for more information).
- the Youth Ambassadors Scheme, Blaenavon, which enables young people to discover the World Heritage Site, gives them a voice in its management, manage and participate in workshops and receive training and qualifications.
- Night out, which enhances access to the arts in local communities; their Young Promoters Scheme gives young people the opportunity to learn practical skills by putting on an artistic event in their local community - they may do anything from working in the Box Office, as part of the stage management team or as a promoter for the event itself.
- Arts Alive Wales, which uses the arts to engage, inspire and enhance the quality of life of individuals living in rural communities; their Portfolio and Portfolio + projects are aimed at young people with a special talent and interest in art
- Welsh Millennium Centre Take Part programme, which offers workshops, performance opportunities, a tour and talk visits for schools (note that this programme is not specific to young people).