Trinity College London’s Response to Henley Review of Cultural Education

2 Mar 2012

Trinity College London welcomes Darren Henley review, Cultural Education in England, and the government's response to it. As both Michael Gove and Darren Henley said at the launch event for the review, England has some of the world’s finest artists: actors, architects, dancers, film-makers and writers. We also have a great deal of excellent education and provision for children and young people, but the picture is patchy. At Trinity we were delighted to hear Mr Gove express a commitment to an excellent cultural education for every child, and we are keen to play our part in making that happen.

The review contains some very considered and sensible views about the value of cultural education, which we hope will be recognised more widely. It emphasises that there are both intrinsic and extrinsic values in receiving a broad and excellent cultural education. Employers clearly value skills such as creativity, teamwork and dealing with complexity, which are a fundamental part of cultural development. Also recognised in the report is the intrinsic value of cultural education for its own sake – for every child.

Trinity has managed Arts Award in collaboration with Arts Council England for the last seven years and we are delighted that the value of this qualification is recognised in the review and its recommendations. We will work with the Arts Council to ensure the widest possible access to Arts Award for children and young people. The first step will be the launch of two new levels of Arts Award – Discover and Explore – which open the award to young people aged 7 to 25 from April 2012. We also welcome the proposal for royal patronage of Arts Award as this will help raise public recognition of the cultural achievements of our children and young people.

Another area of the report which we particularly welcome is the commitment to workforce development. Trinity provides a wide range of qualifications for teachers, including the Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning, mentioned as a model for development in the report. We look forward to working with the sector to produce teacher and practitioner qualifications which are closely matched both to their needs and to the outcomes of the review.

In order for England to ensure its pre-eminent place in tomorrow’s cultural landscape it is vital that appropriate ways are found to recognise and develop talent. The qualifications associated with the Dance and Drama Awards, run by Trinity, have ensured the quality of provision within the many excellent schools nurturing the talent of those who are destined for careers in musical theatre, dance and acting. In 2008 two-thirds of performers in West End musical theatre had trained in colleges offering these qualifications. The dance and drama awards allow access to professional training and a degree-level qualification to students who would not otherwise have the opportunity. We welcome the proposed review in this area, but would urge the Department for Education, Department for Business Innovation and Skills and Young People’s Learning Agency to recognise the vital role played here by qualifications.

Sarah Kemp. Chief Executive of Trinity College London, said:

"I am delighted the case for cultural education is made so strongly by the review and I would like to congratulate and thank Darren Henley for such a considered and well-researched piece of work. Trinity College London has a commitment to supporting engagement and achievement in the arts and culture for every child. We know from first-hand experience the impact that a broad cultural education has on all children, equipping them with the vital skills which will enable them to be successful as adults. Trinity is looking forward to playing a full part in turning the proposals in the review into a reality.”

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