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[Closed] Arts Pupil Premium Act 2013  

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Alex Cardigan
(@alexcardigan)
MP for Montgomeryshire
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 78
16/02/2019 9:31 pm  

Arts Pupil Premium Act 2013

An Act to create a £50 pupil premium on the arts; to encourage participation in arts, music, and drama; to break down the barrier for poorer students of pursuing creative subjects.

BE IT ENACTED, by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

  1. Definitions

(1) The Arts Pupil Premium is defined as a £50 boost for disadvantaged pupils who sit a GCSE exam in a creative arts subject.

(2) Creative arts subjects include art, drama, music, and whatever else the Department for Education wishes to deem as a creative art.

(3) Disadvantaged pupils are those who are in in local authority care, adopted from care (and the parent self-declares), or were in care in the last year, which ceased by virtue of a special guardianship order.

  1. Provisions

(1) Each disadvantaged pupil sitting a creative arts GCSE exam will have a £50 pupil premium attached.

(2) Schools in receipt of the pupil premium grant are required to account for its use and report this publicly.

  1. Funding

(1) There is to be paid out of the Treasury, to the Department of Education, any funds attributable to the provisions of this Act.

  1. Short title, commencement and extent

(1) This Act may be cited as the Arts Pupil Premium Act 2013

(2) This Act comes into force on the day it is passed.

(3) This Act extends to England.

 

Alex Cardigan
MP for Montgomeryshire
Parliamentary - 5
Media - 16
Policy - 3


Alex Cardigan
(@alexcardigan)
MP for Montgomeryshire
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 78
16/02/2019 9:32 pm  

Mr Speaker,

It is a great point of pride for me that despite the economic carnage that followed the recession, and the need for public spending cuts thereafter, the coalition has worked hard to protect front-line school budgets. It's also a point of pride that the coalition has been able to introduce a pupil premium for disadvantaged students, showing a real commitment to closing the attainment gap, and creating a more meritocratic society. This said, it is no secret to anyone in this house that in real terms, due to a rising number of children in school, and the impending need to get borrowing down, attainment in some subjects has slipped. Most notably, in the arts.

Before I was elected as the MP for Montgomeryshire, I taught at a local school in my constituency. We were very good at a few things. Teaching Welsh, having a good attitude to sports, and promoting the arts. Though some members may scoff, I believe that some subjects considered peripheral  - so not maths, english, or science - are just as important as any other. My reason for introducing this PMB is simple. We need to ensure that, going forward, we give creative subjects the care and attention they deserve. We also need to break the barrier between poorer pupils and pursuing subjects like art, music, and drama - you do not have to look far in art schools to find a very socially disproportionate set of students.

Creating an Arts Pupil Premium at £50 per disadvantaged pupil is my proposal. This is a low cost proposal, but one which ensures that creative subjects are not left behind, or ignored, and that access to the arts is there for everyone. If pupils are denied opportunities that their better off counterparts may have, then change is clearly needed. This is no crusade against private education, but a very practical piece of legislation designed at promoting the arts amongst young people. I have no expectation of gaining a second reading, but I believe that bringing this idea forward is my duty as an MP, as a great believer in the arts, and as a former educator. Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Alex Cardigan
MP for Montgomeryshire
Parliamentary - 5
Media - 16
Policy - 3


Dot Wainwright
(@dot)
Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 15
17/02/2019 11:44 pm  

Mr. Speaker,

I must confess, I have a difficult time accepting that the sum of £1.29 per week, and then only to pupils under the care of the Local Authority, is sufficient to make a difference in the quality or availability of arts education. Indeed, it is possible that only a few thousand pupils nationwide will even qualify for this support, meaning that it is very probable that the amount of bureaucratic overhead necessary to offer this program will exceed the value of the program itself: registers must be created, Memoranda of Understanding signed, criteria set and measured, files audited, money transmitted, and reports drawn up, none of which will happen for free.

I certainly appreciate the member's interest in creating a feel-good moment for himself and his party, but it seems to me that there are far more efficient and effective ways of promoting arts education, all of them within the remit of the government of which the gentlemen is part. Why has he brought forward this proposal instead of demanded that adequate funding be made available for every pupil, through existing channels?

Dorothy "Dot" Wainwright, MP
Member of Parliament for East Ham

Parliamentary / 7
Media / 16
Policy / 7


Charles Trenython
(@axon)
Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 15
18/02/2019 8:16 am  

MR Speaker,

I'd like to echo the thoughts of my Honourable Friend for East Ham. I agree with this in principle, but it doesn't come close to providing enough funding to make a marked difference.

If an average class of an art subject is around 15, Mr Speaker, that is only around £15 a week, and only £750 for the entire year, assuming a class of 15. Even in this hypothetical scenario, not all of the students might be eligible for the premium. The purpose of the premium is to incentivise the school to teach this subject and if you factor a maximum of £750 into the budget, you will barely cover a portion of the teachers' wages, or equipment such as lighting fixtures in drama, painting equipment in art & design and according to my research, £750 would only pay for around 3-4 keyboards (Source) at a maximum.

In summary, Mr Speaker, this is the right idea, but it shows that the party opposite are perhaps a little out of touch in the challenges facing the education system with an execution which needs some work. 

Charles Trenython MP
Nottingham South

Experience:
Parliamentary: 12,
Media: 7,
Policy: 6


Alex Cardigan
(@alexcardigan)
MP for Montgomeryshire
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 78
18/02/2019 12:31 pm  

Mr Speaker,

To refute some points made by the Honourable Member for East Ham, and Honourable Member for Nottingham South - I'm well aware that £50 per student is not a lot. I simply feel though, that the Members opposite are not showing much understanding of quite how tight school budgets are. In poorer areas, adding £750 to the arts budget is not a paltry sum. That is an awful lot for equipment, extra time, and extra attention, that schools would not otherwise have had. It is disconnected to suggest that giving an arts classroom several hundred pounds for equipment is a derisory total. That money can have a real impact - funding for 4 piano keyboards may sound silly, but that is a lot for a class of 20 or so in a deprived area to benefit from!

 

On the bureaucracy point, I can assure the Honourable Member for East Ham that there would be almost no administrative cost. This data is already collected. We already know which students qualify for the pupil premium, and how many of them are going into creative arts subjects. We also know that there is a gap between poorer and richer students in choosing those subjects. The impetus in on schools, acting on this incentive, to use the money, not on a centralised bureaucracy. There would be almost no administrative cost, so whilst I appreciate the member's concern, I imagine he will be relieved to find out it is unfounded.

The reason this proposal is so moderate is simple. We are still at a point where spending is being constricted, and if there is any chance that the government will accept this legislation, it will accept it only if it can be afforded. These proposals are designed to ensure that schools continue to have an incentive to not only keep creative arts subjects alive, but encourage students from deprived backgrounds into them. As a former educator, I can tell you that adding several hundred pounds to a small departmental budget is not a matter to be dismissed, and I find doing so rather unbecoming. I'd also like to object to making this legislation party political. I'm not a minister, this is a private member's bill, and I speak independently when I argue for it. If good legislation that makes a positive impact fails because it is not perfect, or rather, not proposed by a Labour MP, then that will be a rather sad day for parliament. 

Alex Cardigan
MP for Montgomeryshire
Parliamentary - 5
Media - 16
Policy - 3


Charles Trenython
(@axon)
Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 15
18/02/2019 3:21 pm  

Mr Speaker,

I'd like to make it clear to the Honourable Member for Montgomeryshire that I agree with the principles of the bill, but disagree on the implementation and this would be no different would it have been presented by an Honourable Member on this side of the House.

I take his point about the public finances onboard, but I'd like to propose an amendment to this bill. If we expand the definition of a disadvantaged child based upon their household income, rather than their care status, it would make these measures more effective in allowing deprived areas to receive this pupil premium.

If we offer these subjects in the school environment, it would mean parents won't have to pay for these subjects as extra-curricular activities. I've heard stories of these subjects being dropped due to a lack of uptake for one reason or another. If I was to speculate, it could be due to a lack of facilities for the students. Expanding its use provides an incentive for schools to offer more places on these subjects.

Should the definition be expanded, Mr Speaker, I will find myself supporting this Bill proposed by the Honourable Member for Montgomeryshire.

Charles Trenython MP
Nottingham South

Experience:
Parliamentary: 12,
Media: 7,
Policy: 6


Dot Wainwright
(@dot)
Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 15
18/02/2019 4:44 pm  

Mr. Speaker,

Given the gentleman from Montgomeryshire's certainty that this program can be operated more or less for free, I invite him to name a single government credit scheme of this size which already does so. That is to say, will he please provide to this House the name of a government credit scheme whose operation requires no staff time, no negotiations, no financial charges, no cost to receiving agencies, and no costs associated with auditing or reviewing allocations.

No such example exists, Mr. Speaker. The fact is, the Member has proposed a pleasant-sounding boondoggle.

If the government is serious about arts funding, they should be funding it for every pupil, and at a better rate than the paltry £1.29 per week offered here.

This post was modified 9 months ago by Dot Wainwright

Dorothy "Dot" Wainwright, MP
Member of Parliament for East Ham

Parliamentary / 7
Media / 16
Policy / 7


Alex Cardigan
(@alexcardigan)
MP for Montgomeryshire
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 78
18/02/2019 5:50 pm  

Mr Speaker,

I must again stress that this is not government legislation to the Honourable Member for East Ham. I am proposing this as a backbencher because of my belief in encouraging the arts. Fair enough, I support the coalition government, but I am speaking independently in this debate. I would like the facts at hand to be noted to that end.

I also haven't claimed that this scheme can be operated for free, that would be silly. I've simply stated that the administrative costs were negligible, in response to the misguided claim made by the Honourable Member for Nottingham South. My costings put this scheme at around £3 million. Again, I must stress that I am not a minister, and have no power to make vast spending commitments. Small contributions to school budgets are essential all the same, and I think this legislation would be a good first step. I have nothing else to say to the Honourable Member for East Ham past that I am not a minister, not the government, and cannot really respond on behalf of the government to his rhetoric. This legislation is what it is. 

Going on to the reasonable concern of the Honourable Member for Nottingham South, regarding expanding the definition, I would like to say that I am simply using the Ever 6 Free School Meal definition. This is data that is already logged, and comprises around 13% of students. Using existing data makes the administrative cost negligible, whilst allowing boosts to classrooms, and around 25,000 students, up and down the country. I would actually like to see the pupil premium definition expanded past the current status, however to do so would require a wider change in government policy. As a backbencher, again - not the government! - I'm fairly powerless to propose this and be taken seriously.

Mr Speaker, to finalise my point, this is a simple and easy to implement piece of legislation which improves standards in art, music, and drama classrooms, and does so at a very low cost. I am in no position to propose a radical change that has no chance of being allowed a second reading. If members are going to object to it because it's not re-inventing the wheel, then they are free to do so. I will continue to champion cost-efficient ways to promote the arts amongst young people, and will do so without letting the great be the enemy of the good.

Alex Cardigan
MP for Montgomeryshire
Parliamentary - 5
Media - 16
Policy - 3


Bertie
(@tonybcwilson)
Anthony B.C. Wilson MP
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 89
18/02/2019 6:51 pm  

Mr Speaker, I have agonised for many hours over this bill - The intentions are honourable, and I commend the Honourable Member for Montgomeryshire for his attempt to give further access to unfortunate children to new opportunities in the arts. I would, Mr Speaker, like to ask the gentlemen opposite if he would consider adding a clause that would enable such Children to access funds for sporting activities, and consider extending the bill to families that earn below £22,500 per annum?

This, Mr Speaker, is a logical step to gaining my support for this bill. It may not 'be enough' as my right honourable colleagues put it but it is a step in the right direction. I would be grateful to meet with the gentlemen in question to discuss how I can submit an amendment that would enable the financially unfortunate to access these funds for sport and workshop educations, as well as the arts.

Anthony Bertram Charles Wilson, MP for Darlington.
Parliamentary: 11
Media: 24
Policy: 6


Alex Cardigan
(@alexcardigan)
MP for Montgomeryshire
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 78
18/02/2019 7:17 pm  

Mr Speaker,

 

I thank the Honourable Member for Darlington for his contributions. The sports could make a nice addition this legislation, and I agree that the pupil premium in general, and the arts premium in particular, could do with being more inclusive. This said, once again, to change the definition of disadvantaged pupils would require a widespread change, and incur a large administrative cost. That cost would only be worth it were it to be across the board in education. More to the point, government support would be required. With the public finances in their current state, I have tried to make this legislation as cost efficient as possible, to maximise the chance of it reaching a second reading. That second reading would become very unlikely were further costs to be incurred by changes made.

Whilst I agree that it would be good to be broader in incomes, and more inclusive, the purpose of this legislation is far more simple. I'm not here to radically change our education system, how we define disadvantaged pupils, or get in the way of the government's deficit reduction program. This legislation is a cost-efficient step in the right direction, and regardless of the scoffing from across the house, would have a quantifiable impact on the quality of education in the creative arts children can access. If this legislation reaches second reading, I would be happy to add a sport related clause.

Were I to be the Secretary of State for Education, I would propose more radical change. I am not, and this legislation is a first step, rather than a final one, as I believe some other members wish it to be. All the same, I beg that members across the house do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Alex Cardigan
MP for Montgomeryshire
Parliamentary - 5
Media - 16
Policy - 3


Dot Wainwright
(@dot)
Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 15
18/02/2019 7:46 pm  

Mr. Speaker,

If the member is concerned with staying in his own lane and unwilling to rock the boat, why has he sought to establish a precedent through which individual backbenchers feel entitled to seize control over curricular decisions? This bill would divert funding from other initiatives in support of his scheme, leaving other commitments and priorities unheeded, at the behest of a backbencher who can't bear the sight of a rusty trombone.

It seems to me that these principles are exercised only when the gentleman finds them convenient: he mustn't offend the cabinet by asking them for things, for he is but a lowly backbencher who knows his place -- yet he'll take the money out of other pupils' hands, largely on a whim?

Dorothy "Dot" Wainwright, MP
Member of Parliament for East Ham

Parliamentary / 7
Media / 16
Policy / 7


Bertie
(@tonybcwilson)
Anthony B.C. Wilson MP
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 89
18/02/2019 8:05 pm  

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am glad that the Right Honourable Gentlemen is willing to cooperate with members of either side of the house. Would it be the case that parents registered to receive unemployment payments, that their children may receive these payments thus using existing administrative infrastructure without further cost?

 

Anthony Bertram Charles Wilson, MP for Darlington.
Parliamentary: 11
Media: 24
Policy: 6


John Knox
(@jknox)
Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 80
18/02/2019 9:34 pm  

Mr. Speaker,

I want to thank the right honourable gentleman for what I believe is a well intended bill. However, anything worth doing is worth doing right. Has he walked down to Hobbycraft and seen what £50 can buy? We’re talking about some brushes and paint, not paper, clay, or easels. Or if our students are so inclined to prefer music instead of the visual arts, they will have access to a recorder or ukelele. I would ask the gentleman that we need to do better; increase the funding. He speaks of counting the cost; and I appreciate his concern. But can we not do better?

Calvin Ward Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

Parliamentary- 7
Media- 13
Policy- 6


Steve
(@steve)
Member A-team
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 283
18/02/2019 11:17 pm  

Speaker

ORDER. I have not heard the Leader of the House grant this Bill a second reading. Until such a time, honourable members should contain themselves. ORDER.

A Team


Nathan
(@nathan)
Estimable Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 214
06/03/2019 2:25 pm  

Speaker: So... Leader of the House?


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