Why the arts matter

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As financial pressures on schools lead to curriculum constraints it is important we don’t forget the arts.

Lack of funding to the arts has meant that many schools have had to remove the creative subjects from their curriculum.

When creativity, imagination and play are encouraged from a young age to enable the development of individuality, it just doesn’t make sense that schools are having limited access to the resources and facilities needed to ensure young people thrive. Certainly, students who tend to struggle with traditional academic subjects can often achieve much more in a more physically active environment, or purely gain more enjoyment from them which is why Crofton School has persisted in the promotion of the arts.

By doing so, all year groups experience a broader variety of learning forms, as well as a chance to allow students to express themselves in the vital years of secondary school.

The extensive range of arts subjects offered to students brings great variety to the Crofton curriculum and the vast majority of the pupils value these creative lessons as a chance to explore their ability more practically.

Each school year, a variety of performances, showcases and sporting events are held within the grounds to exhibit the hard work of the students. This contributes immensely to the confidence of students and encourages a crucial sense of pride thereby increasing self-esteem.

Laura Blake, one of Crofton’s drama teachers, said: ‘Drama is so important within secondary education as it provides students with so many transferable skills. Not only can it be a great opportunity to build confidence and communication skills, but it also teaches empathy which is so beneficial in today’s society. The extracurricular opportunities that drama offers students are so invaluable and can bring some of the best memories that students take with them after their school years.’

Despite being one of the smaller departments in the school, the arts classrooms and studios are arguably the busiest, supporting students during and after school hours every day of the week, either to aid them in the progression of their work or host activities to inspire an interest in the area.

In stressful times, these facilities offer a release for many students, enabling them to make use of their energy and produce a positive outcome whilst giving them free reign to create.

James Oliver, head of the music department said: ‘Music is vital in schools and the fact that some schools no longer offer it, really saddens me. I think that the discipline you get from learning an instrument is something that can carry across to everyday life and help students when starting a career - training them to manage themselves as well as balancing workload. In a time when mental health is such an issue it seems ridiculous to neglect the arts which is an area where many people can have an outlet to improve the condition of their mental health.’

We all know that mental health, financial stability and independence are important to everyone.

The arts form one of the UK’s biggest incomes. If society wants the next generation to continue this revenue then we need to ensure young people have access to the experiences and subjects in school to be successful, for themselves and the country.

Nalah Stones