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General Election Manifesto

Updated: Jun 17

General Election manifesto roundup

In recent weeks and months, various stakeholders within the creative, cultural and education sectors (some of whom are members of the DTEA), have launched their manifesto papers for the forthcoming General Election. These papers outline what they want from the next UK Government, providing guidance for those who want to engage with their local candidates and campaign for the issues which are important for these sectors.


With the date announced this week for the General Election to take place on the 4th July 2024, we've don't want to muddy the water with another manifesto, but we have reviewed the various manifesto papers already available to draw together the key election policy demands.


The DTEA has 3 simple and widely consulted objectives:

  • The inclusion of Drama as a Foundation Subject in the National Curriculum with the same status as Art and Music;

  • The entitlement of every child to at least one annual engagement with professional theatre.

  • A drama curriculum and theatre repertoire that is more representative of the UK's diverse population.

 

Within the context of these core objectives for the alliance, we initiated a streamlining manifestos activity (facilitated by Trevor McFarlane of Culture Commons) with the following organisations – AccessArt,  Action for Children's Arts, the Cultural Learning Alliance, the Drama and Theatre Education Alliance, One Dance UK, National Drama, the National Education Union, the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD), UK Theatre/SOLT, and the University Alliance. We have identified five Manifesto Asks which we share  in common:

 

1. The imperative for a thorough and timely curriculum review(1) to open up a pathway to securing creative and cultural subjects within every child’s school day;

 

2. The need to establish/re-establish an entitlement to arts and culture for children and young people  (with particular reference to the UN Convention of the Child).

 

3. The significance that creative subjects play at school and university in feeding the creative industries pipeline.

 

4. The urgent need to improve representation and equity of provision and access to the arts and culture for children.

 

5. The need for adequate levels of funding and investment in children’s arts and culture.

 

The DTEA believes that these five manifesto asks are essential for the future of the creative and cultural industries, and for creative and cultural education throughout the UK education system. We urge readers to discuss these points with their local candidates, of all parties.


As demonstrated by the DTEA's #SeizeTheDay campaign, opening diologue with local representatives is essential for change. Only through positive discource, correct challenge, educating and engaging them can we hope to inspire them to work with us for change. Together we believe we can instigate change and influence the choices our representatives make for the sectors we work and live in.


Since completing our manifesto research, additional manifestos have been launched by The Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT), and The Council for Subject Associations (CfSA). Most of the major political parties have also published their manifestos.


Further notes on each of the above askes can be found below, along with links to various manifesto asks which have influenced our work. Please read, share and discuss with your local representatives.


(1) A House of Lords report, published Tuesday 12 December, warned that the current education system for 11–16 year olds is too focused on academic learning and written exams, limiting opportunities for pupils to study a broad and balanced curriculum and to develop core skills. Read more at https://www.parliament.uk/business/lords/media-centre/house-of-lords-media-notices/2023/december-2023/education-system-for-11-to-16-year-olds-is-failing-pupils-says-lords-committee/


(2) The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the basis of all of our work. It is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced and is the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history. Read more at https://www.unicef.org.uk/what-we-do/un-convention-child-rights/.


(3) The creative and cultural industries, identified by the Government as sectors which will be essential to the UK's future economic growth, are being stifled by a lack of funding and support for creative and cultureal education. Problems of the future will never be resolved unless we first address them within education. Read more at https://manifesto.wearecreative.uk/ - the manifesto for Creative UK.


(4) A recent exclusive by Channel 4 News revealed that working class creatives in film and TV at lowest level in decade, something we believe is replicated across other sectors within the Creative Industries, such as theatre. Watch the report at https://www.channel4.com/news/working-class-creatives-in-film-and-tv-at-lowest-level-in-decade.


(5) The Conservative Government pledged to introduce an arts premium for schools to make creativity and culture more accessible to children. This was not delivered. Furthermore, funding to arts courses at Universities has been attacked, resulting in courses and entire departments being closed. Many will never return, and those which are in the process of closing may take years to recover.


Campaign For The Arts have published a concise, non-partisan analysis of the political manifestos for the main parties for the upcoming election. You can read that analysis here: https://www.campaignforthearts.org/general-election-2024-what-are-the-parties-pledging-for-the-arts/.


Steakholder Manifestos:

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