The arts play an important role in enriching young people’s learning and educational experiences. Learning through the arts can engage and inspire young people, support key educational outcomes and develop skills that prepare young people for life beyond school. For many young people, particularly those experiencing the most disadvantage, the only opportunity to gain access to arts education is at school.

Exposure to the arts can help to unlock potential in young people, developing skills in communication, problem solving and collaboration. Arts education can increase young people’s interest in school and learning. All this is in addition to the joy the arts can bring to their growing lives and the enrichment it can bring as they get older.

Where good practice exists in schools, colleges and the arts organisations that work with them, the benefits for young people are significant. In an increasingly fragmented school system, there is an appetite for collaboration between teachers and arts organisations to improve their practice and the impact for young people. We are responding as well to teachers’ interest in increased opportunities to develop their skills and professional practice in arts teaching.

We are building on our experience of supporting work to address different educational issues affecting young people. In this strategic plan, we want to sharpen our focus and thus have a stronger impact. Our funding will support the arts in educational settings, to enhance the lives and achievements of young people.