Off The Fence with Stephen Morgan MP: 'Labour will unleash a generation of creativity to boost opportunity for everyone in Portsmouth'

Stephen Morgan MP for Portsmouth South says that a Labour government will unleash the creative potential of the younger generationsStephen Morgan MP for Portsmouth South says that a Labour government will unleash the creative potential of the younger generations
Stephen Morgan MP for Portsmouth South says that a Labour government will unleash the creative potential of the younger generations
This week Keir Starmer set out Labour’s plan for make the arts accessible to every child in Britain, after years of neglect that has left children from state school backgrounds without opportunities to develop their creativity.

We only have to look to the major awards to know this is the case - only 60 percent of the British actors, directors and musicians nominated for major awards over the past decade were state educated, despite 94 percent of pupils attending state school.

This year’s BAFTA’s revealed this trend is getting worse, not better, with just three out of the ten British stars nominated for acting or directing awards attending a state-funded school.

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Under the Conservative Government we have seen a creativity crisis in schools. Following 14 years of arts subjects being diminished and devalued, GCSE enrolment in arts subjects is down by 47%.

All too often the arts are considered a luxury for those who can afford it, instead of essential to economic and personal growth. Evidence shows that giving children access to creative subjects can positively impact wider attainment and social and emotional well-being.

Growing up in Fratton I was lucky enough to learn how to play the clarinet thanks to a local music foundation funding both the instrument and lessons, something my family would never have been able to afford. But it shouldn’t be down to luck. Later in life chairing a group bringing together local creatives, it became clear to me that Portsmouth’s vibrant culture and arts scene is fizzing full with potential waiting to be unleashed. Yet under this Government we have seen our most cherished and much-loved institutions under threat from closure as a result of funding cuts.

Our city deserves a government with a wide-ranging programme and unwavering commitment to support and fund the arts, with a plan for schools that ensures all children are supported to be creative and reap the practical, emotional and social benefits that come with it.

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That’s why I am backing plans to make arts accessible to every child in Britain, helping to unleash a generation of creativity and reverse the Government’s education policy that has hammered the uptake of arts subjects in states schools.

An incoming Labour Government will bring forward a plan to support the entire eco system of the creative industries. We will safeguard the future of the arts for the next generation by changing the curriculum, so that every child has the opportunity to develop their creativity.

Labour will place the arts back on a footing where they belong - valued, cherished, and central to our economy, health, education, and our global standing. That’s exactly what Portsmouth people deserve.