Culture in the classroom

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The Independent Culture
Proposals to ensure that the arts are given an integral part in the school curriculum were published by the Government yesterday, in its first full review of the arts for more than 25 years.

Its key points include:

All schools should give the arts an integral place in the school-development plan;

Each school should have an arts policy, with a governor identified to take particular responsibility for it;

The office for standards in education will give the arts a greater focus in its regular inspections of schools;

The Government and Arts Council will consult in the autumn on the feasibility of an Artsmark to recognise good practice in schools;

The Government will consult later this year on whether schools should detail arts provision in their prospectuses and annual reports.

Setting the Scene: The Arts and Young People argues that schools and pupils should benefit fully from changes to the National Lottery rules which allow funding to develop young people's skills and talent. It adds that the Lottery will help pay for students to be brought into direct contact with the arts, for example through visits to galleries and theatres and bringing artists into schools.

Sheet music and musical instrument libraries are also to be established across the country so that by 2000 every school, music and choral group should be within reach of one.

More effort is to be devoted to monitoring the education work of arts organisations by the Arts Council and Regional Arts Boards, while the Secretary of State for National Heritage, Virginia Bottomley, is to create a forum bringing together all those with an interest in the arts to inform policy.

Mrs Bottomley said: "My aim is to spark an interest in, and enjoyment of, the arts as early in a child's life as possible and then nurture that throughout the child's educational career.

"Most of us form our attitudes to life and develop our talents and skills while at school.

''So it is vital that schools are able to offer opportunities in the arts which are open to all pupils."