Letter to Nicky Morgan

Dear Nicky Morgan,

Welcome to the world of Education.  This Sunday we will be screening a sneak preview of 'Art Party' a feature film starring John Voce as Michael Grove at the Latitude Festival. Grove's character is based on your predecessor.  All people involved in Education are reeling from the last four years of Michael Gove's Education reforms.  Michael's main mistake was to confuse the different subjects; Mathematics, History, English, Art etc. with educational standards.  Michael thought certain subjects had innately high standards and some subjects were substandard. These illogical and prejudicial views lead Michael Gove to make a complete mess of the national curriculum.

He constructed a hugely complex system for valuing subjects that marginalized everything he thought was not worthwhile including, surprisingly, creativity in the arts and design.

Other people will tell you about problems with free schools, and academies. How Michael Gove, with one hand gave growing control over schools to local business's and religious groups which has lead to huge difficulties over accountability and on the other hand, tried to control schools through the curriculum.

But it is his diminishment of the Arts in schools that has alienated every single person I have met in my attempt to better advocate the arts to Government since 2010.  I welcome your appointment.  You have talked about your frustration with the Conservative's negative approach.  Well you have just replaced a man for who a negative approach has spelt his demise.  Go girl!  You should feel validated in the idea of showing children a future that has a positive message.

The arts in schools provide a beating heart of hope in schools.  Art is about design and drawing the future.  Creativity is future gazing.

Until this morning I was planning to run in Gove's Surrey Heath Constituency in the next election to flag up the issue of the place of creativity and design in our schools. I even bought a camper van from which to conduct my campaign.

Your constituency, Loughborough is further for me and my camper van to travel.

I hope you will listen to teachers, children and parents. I hope you understand that not all kids are the same.  That hugely intelligent kids at math’s and science should be encouraged to enjoy and contribute to the culture of our country and that gifted creative kids must not be told their subjects are not worth studying.

I hope you get the fact that British design depends on kids being visual and able to draw. I encourage you to visit the Nationwide Art Party at a venue near you on the 21st of August, GCSE results day and do everything in your power to reverse 14% decline in children choosing the arts in schools since 2010.  Please do ask children to choose the arts at school and be all that they can be.


Bob and Roberta Smith