In the past month in the UK, the current government has cut the budget to many arts courses in further education. Anything that didn’t come under the STEM umbrella (Science, Tech, English, Maths) was cut at the local college where I live – a town where 35,000 people live and at many others colleges around the country.
Most of the art department was culled – teachers lost their livelihoods and kids had their courses ripped out from underneath them…Even those who were half way through.
I studied performing arts, dance and photography at college and travelled to the next town to study. I was lucky – I passed my driving test at a young age and was bought a little car for my birthday. I loved the little commute to college each day, to do the things that I loved and that brought me alive.
I loved my courses and the people on them. It was a total different story to my school life. I wasn’t academic -I took my maths three times and gave up after the third attempt after continually getting D’s. I got a B in English on the second attempt and passed only a few more with C’s. I knew where my strengths were and I was lucky because my parents knew too.
I wasn’t thick or stupid – I was wild, creative and had a huge imagination. The school atmosphere made me feel stifled and a little nauseous. I rebelled at times and bunked to get out of lessons I hated. There was a drama department at my upper school for a few months when I arrived, and then it shut. I was gutted! Even now, in the few corporate or office jobs I’ve had – I feel uncomfortable being there and stuck. After being in the same room for nearly 8 hours, my soul wants to escape and jump out of the window..
I still got into several universities, again because I was lucky – my parents had been able to afford to pay for my ‘creative’ classes out of school, and at the time, my maths grade didn’t hold me back…
So, I was lucky to have been able to find my vocation early, because of the financial support of my parents. Not everyone is this lucky. A girl from my home town Georgia Coan, who I know well has had her letter to David Cameron published on the Huff Post after her dismay. ‘An Open Letter to David Cameron (cuts to the arts)’. Check it out here. She’s angry and so are hundreds of others like her.
Are the government creating a ‘workhouse’ situation to drive manufacturing industry back up again in the UK? It feels this way. And odd too considering the stats prove that the creative industries are currently booming here… According to Creative Industries UK – the number of UK jobs in creative occupations grew by 6.4 per cent to 1.9m in 2014, far outstripping the 2.1 per cent average job growth rate for the UK economy. Why a government wouldn’t be driving these industries to further growth, I don’t understand.
I’m reading Sir Ken Robinsons New York Times Bestseller – ‘The Element’ right now and it is so uplifting. It makes me feel like I’ve come home. It lists so many people who have huge amounts of talent, and they often didn’t do brilliantly at school; Arianna Huffington, Paul McCartney and Matt Groening to name a few. None of these thrived at school. But they all knew what path to follow, trusted their intuition, were given tools, support and opportunities, hustled their hearts our and made it happen.
The book talks about the people who felt like outsiders, who eventually found their passions and actually made the world a better place because of these passions. It discusses how the IQ test was not meant for the purpose it is used for today and how the educational industries make billions world wide to keep us tested up to the eye balls! I know from experience that standardized tests are not all for one and one for all. We learn using different senses. We are inspired by totally different things. I am one of six siblings and we are all completely different.
Tonight I went to my youngest sisters leavers show (she’s 11) called Musical Madness, and while all the kids in her year took part, and they all seemed to enjoy it. There were about ten that stood out. They shone, they danced and sang their little hearts out. I felt so much joy looking at these guys feeling that moment with every fibre of their being! I also know that some of these kids may not be academic – so what will happen to them? Let’s hope their parents can afford to send them to classes hey?
I LOVE this quote from Ken:
“The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed — it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.” ― Ken Robinson,
A long way off perhaps…?
If you haven’t got it- get your ass over to your bookstore to get a copy…
Big beautiful love