Does the Minister accept that whatever spin he may put on it, when the Education Secretary told pupils not to study arts subjects because it would hold them back for the rest of their lives, she and his Government were systematically undermining artistic education for all children in this country? Is he not ashamed that on his watch the number of children taking part in music in schools has fallen from 55% to 36%? Does he not realise that a strong artistic and cultural education should be the universal entitlement of every single child in this country, because it is good for them, good for the economy and good for this nation?
Edward Vaizey, Minister of State (Culture Media and Sport) (Digital Industries) (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State (Business, Innovation and Skills) (Digital Industries) (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)
This week we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Jennie Lee’s first White Paper on the arts, and I am pleased that 50 years later we continue to support the arts, particularly in education. The Education Secretary did not say what the hon. Gentleman claims that she said; she said that for too long people had thought that science had held back their careers. She has praised arts education and she is giving a very important speech on cultural education next week. The hon. Gentleman is invited.
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