Arts Council England, in conjunction with CCSkills, has drafted a consultation document to which NAWE members are invited to respond.
NAWE is offering the following response to the consultation document (attached). If you would like to offer your own response, please follow this link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/65H7D5F
We should also appreciate you leaving your comments below. That way we will be able to incorporate your opinions in our own negotiations.
Together with other national organisations supporting the professional development of artists, we are concerned that few of us have been offered involvement in the process to date, which we feel has resulted in a draft proposal that is very wide of the desirable mark.
There is, for instance, far too much emphasis on acquiring knowledge related to children and young people’s development, and to health and safety issues, especially given that a) this is only a level three qualification; and b) creative practitioners will not – and should not – be working alone with young people at this level. Units 1, 2 and 5 therefore need to be scaled back and revised to reflect the actual practice of artists working with young people and the needs of those who are employing them as artists, not as child development workers. The proposed qualification actually goes against all models of good practice established.
Equally worrying is the cited subtext of a ‘licence to practise’, not least because the qualification does not seem to allow for accreditation of prior learning. If any such qualification is to gain wide acceptance and offer quality assurance to schools (which we assume is the rationale), it must work for the numerous highly experienced and knowledgeable creative practitioners already working successfully. They must be able to gain credit (and credits) for their existing knowledge and understanding. Any other approach would be highly divisive and liable to cause employers considerable confusion.
There is of course already a considerable range of CPD available for artists working with children and young people, much of it carefully tailored for a particular artform, and contextualised by emerging National Occupational Standards for community and participatory arts that this Certificate seems to ignore. All these standards and qualifications must relate if they are actually to be of use.
There are many other issues that need discussion. For instance, we applaud the fact that most of the learning outcomes in the new unit 4 are to be assessed in a real-work environment, but this should surely apply to unit 3 too. Is there any reason for the inconsistent approach? Such questions – and many more – need answering, but there would seem to be little purpose in addressing such niceties until the fundamental problems with the proposal are addressed.
We should like to propose that the qualification is re-conceived, with input from all the professional bodies dealing with artists engaged with in this field.