BBC News reports that the Children’s Secretary Ed Balls and Culture Secretary Andy Burnham will today launch an initiative that promises access to ‘high-quality cultural activities’. It proposes visits to theatre shows, museums and galleries and the opportunity to learn how to act and play musical instruments. “Great!!” one would think. I disagree.
Whilst learning an instrument and visits to the theatre are things I would want my son Ben to experience, that’s my choice. All too often the middle class way of life is held up as some kind of paradigm. Well yes, on the whole I like it, but it’s not without its problems and shortcomings. If it was all a question of money (and the lack thereof) then I would welcome this with open arms. But it’s not. I can afford to take my family to the ballet, opera and performances of Shakespearean plays but, to be quite honest, I’m not that interested and would rather spend my money on other things.
I think that, like most things the Labour government do as regards education, this initiative is focused not on the individual well-being of children but on a more national picture. Here’s the telling paragraph in the BBC News article:
“[Children] will learn through culture using engagement with the arts and other activities to boost attainment, other skills and personal development.”
So it’s all to do with boosting attainment and making the UK a destination for ‘cultural activities’. I know a lot of people may disagree with me on this one, but I can’t help but feel that this is one part of the population dictating to the rest…