Inviting a new conversation on the value of arts and culture in education and beyond

Four decades have passed since the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK Branch published The Arts in Schools: Principles, practice and provision back in 1982.


The original report proved hugely influential, particularly for Local Authorities managing the country’s schools at the time, and was republished 9 times, edited by Ken Robinson. Inspiring many professional arts organisations to engage with the education sector for the first time, the report broke new ground: it played a crucial part in the inclusion of the arts in England’s first National Curriculum in 1988.

What’s happened since then?

The sustained and equitable practice and provision that The Arts in Schools report envisioned has not been realised forty years later. The arts within schools have been marginalised by accountability frameworks and subject parity has not been realised as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. Did you know that arts GCSE and A level take up is declining? The pandemic has also seen opportunities for arts learning experiences declining.

On the 40th anniversary of the 1982 report, The Arts in Schools: Foundations for the Future will kickstart a conversation on the value of the arts for young people. It will examine what’s happening now, what’s been learnt over the past four decades and what a new set of recommendations could look like.

Discover more

Fellow Bridge organisation, A New Direction, has produced a new ‘scene setting’ report. It provides more information about the The Arts in Schools, the context of the time it was written, its immediate impact, and explores what’s changed in the past forty years. Download it below!

A New Direction have also pulled together a visual timeline, giving an overview of key developments across the political, social, educational, and arts landscape since The Arts in Schools’ publication. You can download this for free too!

Download A New Direction’s Report and Timeline Now

Please fill in your details below to access the report and timeline for free.

"*" indicates required fields

Be part of the conversation

Get involved in the conversation by sharing your thoughts and reflections by clicking the ‘share my thoughts’ button below. These will be fed into the final report launched by A New Direction, set to be published later this year. Don’t forget to get involved on social media using the hashtag #ArtsinSchools.