Industry backs Labour plan to make arts open to all

diversityThe advertising and marketing industry has backed Labour leader Keir Starmer’s pledge to unleash a generation of creativity and make the arts accessible to every child in Britain, insisting it is “an important step for improving social mobility within the industry”.

Sir Keir used a school visit yesterday to highlight Labour’s plan to broaden the curriculum to ensure that children do not miss out on subjects such as music, art, design, sport and drama.

He is also pushing Britain’s arts organisations to include more people from poorer backgrounds, insisting it is “immoral” that working-class children are being denied the same opportunities to become Hollywood stars or musical icons as private school pupils.

A Labour analysis of major film, TV and music awards showed that, although 94% of children go to a state school, just 60% of British actors, directors and musicians nominated in the last decade were state-educated. The awards covered by Labour’s analysis included the main acting and directing categories at the Baftas and Oscars, and solo artists nominated for the Mercury Prize.

The Opposition pointed to figures from the Campaign for the Arts showing a 47% fall in arts subjects being taken at GCSE between 2010 and 2023.

Sir Keir said: “It is short-sighted and frankly immoral, to allow arts and culture to become the domain of a few privileged pupils. Britain is a world leader in music and film, but we are holding back masses of potential because the Conservatives’ creativity crisis is shutting kids out.”

In response, Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford backed the pledge to change the curriculum to improve access to creative education for people from working-class backgrounds.

He added: “We welcome the plan to introduce a Curriculum Assessment Review to broaden opportunities for state-school pupils and ensure that children don’t miss out on subjects such as music, art, design, sport and drama.

“This is an important step for improving social mobility within the industry, as our research has shown that 20% of UK advertising professionals attended fee paying schools versus a national average of just 8%. This is why our industry has pledged to improve the experience and representation of talent from working-class backgrounds as one of our ‘All In Census’ actions.

“Ensuring that all pupils have access to a creative education early on in their life is vital across the wider creative industries too, beyond advertising and marketing, with Creative UK stressing the importance of ‘protecting our creative talent pipeline at all levels’.

“We will continue to work with stakeholders to support policies which open our industry to all.”

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