During my visit to Three Rivers Academy in Surrey, I had numerous conversations with students about the importance of arts in their lives. At the end of one interview with four Year 10s, they expressed an argument of why arts should be included in schools. I thought I would reproduce it here (with some editing) so that others could read what young people at Three Rivers think about the importance of access to arts education in school and what it means to them. This conversation came after we had been talking about their experiences of arts education in school, their plans for the future, and their own creative practices. I always ask if anyone has anything else they would like to add to our conversation, or if there is anything I’ve missed or they think is important that we should know about their own experiences. This is the conversation that then followed…
I’ve heard that they’re going to try and get rid of all the creative subjects for all the years to come, I heard in parliament. That is so sad!
What do you think about that?
Absolutely no way!
I think Art is really important. Arts is a way for a lot of people to express themselves.
It is a massive part of school and growing up.
And school in general is so stressful. Being able to have that one lesson that you can look forward to and you know it’s not going to be as stressful. And this is the one lesson I look forward to every week because I know it’s not going to majorly stress me out.
It’s a nice subject and if we get rid of it, how are kids going to be able to express themselves? It’s going to become a rare thing. So many people are not going to find what they want to do in school. Everyone will just be doing straight writing on paper like 24/7. It just makes everything a lot more boring.
Where are you going to get architects and stuff from? It’s literally such a big part of everyday life and I think no one realises. It’d be stupid getting rid of it!
Also if you get rid of art it can affect anyone majorly because if you work or go to school, every lesson is always writing and it’s not easy in a way. Everything is so hard and it can stress you out and affect you so badly. Being able to have art or photography or textiles where it’s different, it can change a lot of things.
It is something you can enjoy. A lot of the other subjects are really hard to enjoy getting into but art is so nice to enjoy, you can work hard and get proper into it. It’s so good.
You can experiment as well. You can’t exactly experiment in literature can you?
This is the subject I put most of my time and effort into because it’s the one that I really enjoy. It’s the subject I want to spend all of my time on.
Having a good teacher, not being pressured, makes you want to do well. When I’m so pressured it makes me not want to do it.
I sit there and am like ‘no I’m not doing this’.
I don’t want to do it. But when I’m relaxed and I know that I can take my time with it, it makes me want to do it and want to do well. So being able to have that is better for you.
It feels like you’re worth it as well.
More funding should go towards the creative subjects!
This post is written by Lexi Earl.