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Welsh government urged to make arts more central to curriculum

26/09/2013 Joanna
A new report has highlighted the need for staff in teacher jobs to educate their pupils about the arts and called for them to be made more central to the country's curriculum.

The Welsh government commissioned Arts Council Wales (ACW) to examine the relationship between the country's education and arts sectors, for which it interviewed 471 children and young people, as well as carrying out a more in-depth consultation with arts and education practitioners and learners.

Now ACW has published its findings, which show 99 per cent of schools responding to the consultation felt involvement in the arts improved learner engagement, while 98 per cent said it enhanced emotional wellbeing and 99 per cent interpersonal skills.

All respondents stressed the importance of artists and arts organisations visiting schools for stimulating children's interest and reinforcing day-to-day delivery of arts subjects.

Those consulted placed similar emphasis on visits to theatres, galleries and exhibitions, with evidence from the review highlighting the importance of presenting children with a range of arts experiences - both delighting and challenging - through such trips.

ACW believes creativity should be encouraged as a key skill in schools, with the arts being used to embed creative learning into the curriculum and qualifications, in order to eventually develop a more skilled, innovative and creative workforce.

Its chair Dai Smith explained: "Teaching in and through the arts, far from detracting from literacy and numeracy, should be seen as an enabler to driving up standards in those academic priorities.

"The value of the arts therefore needs to be reiterated with schools and, importantly, schools need to be supported in taking up and delivering more imaginative approaches to cross-curricular creative activity."

Education and skills minister Huw Lewis welcomed ACW's report and said the Welsh government would consider it alongside its wider review of the curriculum, as well as looking at how it can bolster joint working between Wales' education and arts sectors.

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