Getting high on Classic FM

Press notice from the DfE:  Vision for cultural education will inspire all children and enrich lives 

In yet another attempt to take us back fifty years, that marvelous maestro Mr Gove plans to bring back Saturday Club. No, not the ‘popular beat combo’ version with Brian Matthew, but an Art and Design Saturday Club – a subject so important to our national heritage and future economic prospects that apparently the needy will now be able to study it on Saturday mornings – if of course they can be persuaded to get out of bed to do so. Ah yes – indeed it surely won’t be long now before we’ll be the ‘envy of the world’ again?

But wait, there’s more. Snoop Dogg Gove is determined to ‘end any suggestion that high culture is only for the privileged few’ and he wants to introduce more of the unprivileged masses to it so that ‘they are as interested in Classic FM as they are in 6 Music‘.  Classic FM? High Culture? Not when I last listened, which admittedly was a long time ago. More like the security of a soft, well-worn sofa served with a dainty cup of over-sweetened tea, as I recall.

And then there’s the idea of the Heritage School. I thought that’s what the teaching in most schools was anyway?

All this has been in response to the recently published, and absolutely quite honestly independent, report by Darren Henley (the MD of Classic FM – now there’s a coincidence!) into Cultural Education in England. Henley makes a strong case for cultural education and that it should be given greater priority and value in formal and informal learning. The report and its recommendations makes for positive reading, documenting a wide range of projects and approaches that would do much to encourage young people to engage and participate in the Arts.

But in welcoming and responding to the report, smooth-talking, e-mail deleting nice Mr Gove and the DfE seemed to have managed to read into it exactly what they wanted and have used it as an opportunity to pedal a Victorian philanthropic return to the notion of appreciation of high culture by enabling the poor to study the great achievements of the past.

At this rate of development of our future creative cultural heritage it surely won’t be long before we end up with someone like Englebert Humperdink representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest… What’s that you say? Oh No…..