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17th April 2013 Sara Lock

Get a quick overview of the landscape of cultural provision for children and young people

By: Museums Libraries Archives Council, Arts Council England


An overview of the framework for cultural opportunities for children, including a number of case studies and links to why and how practitioners should integrate these opportunities.

There has never been a better time to develop cultural opportunities for young people. For the first time, a single Children’s Plan has identified the need to offer children and young people enriched cultural opportunities that support their personal development and well-being and deliver the Every Child Matters (ECM) outcomes.

This booklet provides an overview of how children’s services and cultural organisations can work together, not just as partners but as joint providers. It is intended for everyone involved in providing, commissioning or coordinating cultural services for children and young people, including:

  • children’s trust partners and local authority children’s services
  • local authority arts and culture teams
  • local authority neighbourhood or community services
  • extended services teams in schools and local authorities
  • cultural organisations, including museums, libraries and archives and those involved in the performing and visual arts
  • Supporting positive outcomes

    Cultural opportunities can help all children to excel, including the most gifted and talented and the most vulnerable or disadvantaged. In many areas, cultural activities are already boosting children’s confidence, stimulating their appetite for learning and narrowing the gap between the most disadvantaged and the rest.

    In some areas, these activities are building bridges across racial and ethnic divides and giving children an incentive to turn away from anti-social behaviour and crime. With the growing economic importance of creative industries, cultural learning also offers a way of equipping children and young people for a rewarding future.

    The arts and culture sector has always offered rich provision for children and young people at all levels of need:

  • universal provision for all children and young people, such as school visits to museums, family use of libraries and membership of youth theatres
  • targeted provision, such as summer universities offering digital arts, dance or carnival activities, for children and young people with specific needs
  • specialist support for children and young people with high-level needs, for example, a resident storyteller working in a young offenders’ institute or an archivist working with looked-after children
  • However, more can still be done to develop high-quality, consistent cultural opportunities for all children and young people and their families, no matter where they live or what their background.

    We want to see a broad offer spanning the visual and performing arts, new media, museums, libraries and archives. The objectives are sustained engagement, clearer pathways for progression and greater reach to include those who are currently missing out.

    Download the report to read more

    | Published:2013

    Smart tags: young people families

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