by Catherine Dunstan, of Creative Glass Guild
In November, Sky News ran a feature on UK craft, with a particular focus on classes in schools and the issues that are arising as more and more of these classes get cut. This came just days after the education secretary Nicky Morgan told teenagers that they should steer away from arts and humanities subjects – as they limit career choices.
In saying this, Nicky Morgan greatly undermined the importance of art subjects for teenagers while also completely disregarding the millions of people in the UK who are successful in these areas. For instance, UK craft alone contributes £3 million a year to the economy.
Here at Creative Glass Guild, we were pleased to have the opportunity to defend British Craft, especially as we are proof that it is a thriving industry. The company has grown 6-fold in the last 10 years, by supplying glass artists and tradespeople with their supplies and running an ever-growing range of glass courses in stained glass, glass fusing, lampwork bead-making, glass engraving and many more.
Chris Ainslie, a stained glass teacher here, has been working with glass for the past 50 years and was outraged to hear that such classes are being cut in favour of more academic study. He says that children need a balanced diet of education – and that while academic study is obviously important, the opportunity to do art is also very important as it allows children to express themselves and often helps children who may not be so good with numbers and language to grow in confidence and find their strengths.
The students who attend our courses are of all ages, and we know that the opportunity for artistic expression is invaluable. We hope that there will be more action taken to keep art classes running in schools, before cuts in the curriculum prevent children meeting their potential as artists, inventors, and happy grown-ups.