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A crisis in the creative arts in the UK?

  • 7 September 2017
  • By John Last
  • HEPI number Policy Note 2

Recent debates have focused on the direct economic returns of obtaining a degree – and certain degrees in particular. Taking one county as an example, this report by the Vice-Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts, Professor John Last, reveals the knock-on effect for the options available in schools. In short, creative disciplines are under attack.

Many people believe new developments, such as better longitudinal data on graduate employment outcomes, will lead to an excessive focus on the monetary returns of differerent educational options. This risks a less diverse school system and a poorer match between pupils’ attributes and their education.

Using the findings of new research among schools in Norfolk, the author shows exactly why this would be such a big mistake. The nation’s cultural life would suffer but so too, eventually, would the very economic success that everyone wants to boost.


  1. Matthew Cragoe says:

    Thanks very much for this report which highlights some of the real challenges facing the creative arts in our schools.

    Just a small proof-reading note: the reference in footnote 7 has got garbled: the Cultural Learning Alliance page with details of falls in teachers and hours devoted to Creative Technology is here:

  2. Emma Ma says:

    Thank you for letting us know about the hyperlink in footnote 7, Matthew. We’ll have that corrected. Emma (Executive Assistant, HEPI)

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