The Government proposal to cut 50% of funding to specific arts subjects is part of the “build back better” plan, according to a Department for Education spokesman
The proposals would cut funding by 50% for subjects such as “performing and creative arts, media studies, and archaeology”, with a reallocation of funds towards subjects such as healthcare and IT.
The funding for subjects considered low priority would be cut from 36 million to 19 million. The proposed cuts resonated across various arts communities in the UK, with some arts organisations and universities responding to the call for consultation to underline the importance of the arts.
The response is overwhelmingly negative
Booker Prize winner and celebrated author, Bernardine Evaristo, tweeted: “An absurd £37bn on the failed Test & Trace, unlawfully awarded, now this awful assault on the arts in universities.”
The Public Campaign for the Arts submitted a rejection of the proposal, supported by the input of 115,000 people who responded to their callout within just two days:
SUBMITTED: our response to the OfS consultation, with the backing of over 115,000 people! 🙌
What a show of support for arts education, assembled in just two days. Thank you.
— Public Campaign for the Arts (@Public_Campaign) May 6, 2021
The Creative Industries Federation tweeted a strong opposition, describing arts as a “strategic” part of the “country’s regeneration.” The organisation represents over 10,000 individuals across the creative sector in the UK, including some of the educational institutions targeted by the funding cuts.
‘Depressingly utilitarian’, says headteacher
Currently, COVID has pushed some vulnerable pupils back in their education by 36% against their peers. The funding cuts are creating fears in some teachers that their students will be set-back in their ambitions, especially those from lower-income homes.
Writing for The Times on the value of musical education, Head Master at Streatham & Clapham High School, Millan Sachania described the proposal as “depressingly utilitarian.” He further explained that for students, access to arts education also provided a sense of “well-being and spiritual refreshment”.
Responding to the widespread rejection of the proposed funding cut, the Department for Education said: “Our proposed reforms only affect the additional funding allocated towards some creative subjects, and are designed to target taxpayers’ money towards the subjects which support the skills this country needs to build back better.”