Henley Review of Cultural Education published

Report calls for continuation of strategic commissioning funding
Sharon Heal
The Henley Review of Cultural Education was published today.

The report makes 24 separate recommendations including a broad cultural education for every child with detailed targets for the range and type of cultural activities a child should have taken part in by the ages of seven, 11 and 16.

Other recommendations include a national plan for cultural education in England and that arms-length bodies should set up a Cultural Education Partnership group that could result in “a single strategic commissioning fund for cultural education money”.

The recommendations were broadly welcomed by the government, although there is no major additional funding on offer apart from £2.7m for heritage schools.

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, welcomed the review: “It's encouraging that the review recognises the role of museums and galleries in cultural education so clearly.”

But he added that it was a shame that the emphasis was on school-age children and formal education when museums could offer lifelong learning and informal education opportunities.

Arts Council England (ACE) also broadly welcomed the review but was non-committal about the idea of a national plan for cultural education.

“We think that the cultural lottery distributors should work together to ensure that their individual strategies/plans cohere in a way that takes account of those ambitions,” ACE said in a statement.

In the review Henley specifically recognised what museums and galleries had aready achieved: “I was particularly impressed by the museums and galleries sector, with many national and local organisations from this area firmly planting education at the centre of their activities.”

He went on to say that he would welcome the continuation of strategic commissioning funding, which fostered education partnerships between national and regional museums, with “particular attention being paid to ensuring that children from more disadvantaged backgrounds benefit fully from the financial investment”.

ACE hinted that there might be money to continue with strategic commissioning: “With investment from the department for education we look forward to facilitating future partnerships between national and regional museums and we will begin to plan how to realise this.”


The Henley Review of Culture Education (pdf)

ACE's response to the Henley Review (pdf)

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