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DTEA response to the Office for Students Consultation on recurrent funding for 2021-22

The The Drama and Theatre Education Alliance (DTEA) strongly disagrees with the first three questions in the consultation document. As an association that that strives to promote the value of drama education, the DTEA strongly opposes the splitting of the C1 price group, resulting in cuts to recurrent grants for arts subjects.

The proposals ignore evidence that subjects beyond the STEM remit contribute tangible benefits not just to the economy but to our society; to our mental health and wellbeing and our understanding of how we can work together to build communities and enhance our existence.

The proposed cuts in high-cost funding to arts subjects that educate students to enter these professions will clearly damage the sustainability and innovation that is a hallmark of the UK creative industries. Decimating HE arts provision is also likely to have an impact on the value and provision of drama, dance, art and music in schools and colleges in the UK.

The UK cultural sector is world-leading in its innovation because of the complex range of forms of training and education, and diverse pathways into the arts, provided by a wide range of UK HE programmes – beyond conservatoires. This act will damage the UK’s reputation as a leader in this field for generations to come.

These unnuanced proposals also ignore the significant and recognised connections between the arts and humanities and STEM disciplines that are currently being explored HE, through research and pedagogy at HE institutions in the UK.

We argue that access to the arts and humanities at HE-level at school and beyond is more urgent than ever in the Covid-era. AHRC research into the major challenges caused by the pandemic is directly relevant to the priorities set out in paragraph 26 of the consultation document: (see

The proposed cuts will inevitably lead to department and programme closures, most likely at HE institutions that historically attract students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and/or from global majority backgrounds. This will only serve to exacerbate issues of representation and access, and will unduly negatively impact individuals on the basis of protected characteristics. An equalities impact assessment is an urgent requirement.

The creative and cultural sector returns much more to the Exchequer in tax than it receives through subsidy - but taking graduate earnings as an indication of ‘value’ is short-sighted.The cuts will accelerate the closures of HE departments and programmes and limit the potential for teaching and research that is closely connected with the fabric of our society: with our culture, health and wellbeing as well as the economy associated with our world-leading cultural industries. The proposals betray a profound lack of understanding of the content of arts and humanities degrees in the UK and a political move to assert that the study of arts disciples as irrelevant to society at large.

We are strongly opposed to these cuts.

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