National Partnership for Culture: Workshop 3 –culture and education information paper

Information Paper for the meeting of the National Partnership for Culture on culture and education held in July 2021.

This is an abridged version of the information paper produced for the National Partnership for Culture, Culture and Education workshop on 01 July 2021.

If you would like the full version, please email

The purpose of this paper is to support discussions on the key issues facing the culture sector around education (including skills). This is particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support the development of proposals which will tackle those issues.

The key questions for discussion at the workshop will be:

  • what is working well across the sector?
  • what needs to change?
  • what actions will have the greatest impact on strengthening culture in education and supporting the skills development needed to sustain the culture sector through recovery and beyond?
  • which are the most relevant decision-making tables at which culture needs to have a seat? 
  • how do we ensure that we are listening to and learning from   learners voices?

Culture in education

Sustaining cultural education and culture sector engagement in education settings

Potential responses:

  • increase investment in culture within educational settings and ensure the importance of a cultural and creative education fully is recognised as part of the proposed education-led recovery actions set out in the Report of the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery led by Benny Higgins.
  • change perceptions about the value of access to culture and cultural learning by embedding cultural-based learning in Higher Education teacher training courses as well as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and by funding increased engagement between practitioners and teachers. Reinforce the message that children have a right to participate in culture and related activities and that therefore it should be an integral part of education and not be considered an add on.
  • consider how culture can be better embedded in specific initiatives to improve educational attainment including: Pupil Equity funding; Youth Justice Whole System Approach; Care Experienced Children Fun Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework Fund.
  • encourage and support the view that cultural engagement can positively impact the wellbeing of students and teachers, reduce the attainment gap and help to develop social skills and build confidence by funding partnership pilot schemes between Attainment Challenge schools and local cultural/heritage venues to measure the impact of engaging with culture and heritage.
  • create long term cross-portfolio funded programmes that allow cultural practitioners to provide high quality culture experiences, either within school settings or in alternative venues such as museums and galleries, that help support the outcomes of the curriculum.
  • ensure that creative digital resources and programmes developed during the pandemic continue and are accessible for schools and learners across Scotland.

Creative Learning

Supporting broader learning through cultural and creative approaches to learning.

Potential responses:

  • raise awareness of the benefits of creative learning to all subjects throughout education as it can be used through problem solving, articulating and presenting ideas amongst others to develop a deeper understanding of a subject and has the potential to provide more ways for individuals to learn than more traditional methods.
  • provide learning opportunities in professional updates for learning providers and in their continuous professional development. Working with national cultural bodies to develop and share training provision.
  • encourage local authorities to embed arts/heritage/creative learning education in their educational strategies: as part of the curriculum, as a way of teaching and also in supporting pupil and teacher wellbeing.
  • support and embed culture and heritage into everyday learning from early years onwards through the curriculum for excellence; supporting learning through local culture, museum, and heritage resources; support language learning; and fostering an interest in artistic/creative/cultural/heritage careers.

Informal educational settings and lifelong learning

Ensuring opportunities for cultural learning from early years onwards.

Potential responses:

  • consider investing more in informal cultural education settings and encourage more sustainable long term projects to help with recovery of culture, education (in particular to support learning loss) and society more generally. 
  • create further and higher educational opportunities for cultural practitioners to be able to expand their practice and enable them to deliver cross-discipline work, for example, in the wellbeing sector and equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights.
  • consider how the culture and education sectors can widen access to lifelong learning to those who are traditionally from under-represented backgrounds.
  • consider developing a strategic framework looking at culture and children and young people’s mental health.
  • consider the role of youth groups and informal educational settings in promoting wellbeing and other benefits for young people through culture.
  • work towards equity of access to culture with representation at national level and delivery at grassroots level through community networks and local authority provision to emphasize access and participation to culture as fundamental right of everyone. This will require consideration of existing community networks and how they are linked nationally.

Skills and training

Valuing cultural skills and apprenticeships and equity of opportunity.

Potential responses:

  • consider the specific skills needs of the culture sector, particularly in light of the pandemic, and invest in training, learning and skills development for current and future jobs across the sector. This should also take into account business skills that support practitioners to make a living from their skills and also the safeguarding of rarer skillsets.
  • recognise the role of the education system in providing adequate and equitable access to culture in order to embed creative and digital skills development.
  • support cultural organisations, large and small, to be able to offer high quality and accessible apprenticeship and skills development opportunities by considering if the pathways and frameworks that are currently in place are fit to support this delivery.
  • educate students and those embarking on a career in culture of their rights, the value of trade union membership and the support available to them.
  • more professional development for artists creative learning/heritage/museum practitioners and professionals who specialise in creating and delivering cultural experiences working in the culture/education interface, whether community-based or via the education system.
  • ensure there are cultural training and skills development opportunities for all that can be delivered in a way that is accessible to individuals who may not fit the traditional institutional education mould.

Learner voice

Understanding how people want to engage with cultural learning.

Potential responses:

  • encourage and support children and young people to have a say in their arts education and how they want to engage and experience culture throughout their lives whether through formal and/or informal education, working with them to understand their needs and what would empower them to engage more fully.
  • work with Community Learning Development practitioners to understand how individuals and communities would like to engage with culture education opportunities, and support practitioners to empower existing local cultural provision to engage in a sustainable rather than project based manner.
  • build more opportunity for and awareness of youth groups, such as Scottish Youth Parliament and National Youth Arts Advisory Group, and the benefits and insight these groups can have when organisations are shaping strategies at national and local level.
  • consider building a network of individuals from a diverse range of learner backgrounds both geographically and demographically to support research into how the sector can best respond to their needs. 
  • co-design opportunities with children and young people and grass roots organisations so they have ownership of the programmes they are involved in.

Next steps

The workshop discussion will focus on key issues around education (including skills) for the culture sector and priority actions for tackling those issues.

A high level summary of the session will be shared with participants for comment after the event and key outputs will also be shared with Culture Counts and Built Environment Forum Scotland members. This is to gauge broader sector opinion on any draft proposals for action.

The final output from the session will then be considered and further refined by the NPC to provide advice to Scottish Ministers.

NPC Secretariat - June 2021

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