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School film promotes the arts

02 October 2015

A FILM challenging the idea that the arts are a "lovely luxury extra", "soft", or an "easy option" has been produced by a C of E school in London.

A Window to the World, launched last week by St Marylebone School, features interviews with teachers, artists, educationalists, and pupils. It argues that the arts are "intrinsic" to education, and that sidelining them will have negative consequences for broader society, including the economy.

"We are calling for the arts . . . to be seen as vital to our student’s learning as Maths and English and the Humanities are," the school's head, Kat Pugh, said.

Contributors to the film speak of the new environment in which the Arts are being undervalued.

The marginalisation of the arts in the classroom would mean that they became the exclusive preserve of "privileged kids", Baroness Beeban Kidron, a film director, warns. "They are going to run the world. . . It is a criminal attack on our young people."

"Our biggest problem is probably the way the Government talks about study, particularly at secondary level," the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Arts London, Nigel Carrington, says. "There’s a sense that STEM subjects [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] are the key to a great career." He argues that, by contrast, the creative industries are the most rapidly growing part of the British economy.

"We are becoming culturally handcuffed to the idea that nothing it worth doing unless you can measure it," the film warns.

Ms Pugh believes that that the school's commitment to the arts produces a certain spirit "which says that learning is great. You can go to pieces without falling apart. You can fail and get back up again. You can be curious. You can take risks. . .

"A school isn’t a factory which just tries to produce batch upon batch of oven-ready employees year upon year."

St Marylebone has been rated "Outstanding" by OFSTED.



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