Fine Art Collector | Autumn 2018

Photo courtesy of The Varkey Foundation

The education reform is not only having a negative impact on students. A recent poll of teachers by the National Education Union indicated that more than 80% said they had considered quitting the profession over the past year due of heavy workloads and pressure to meet the government's standards. One teacher decided to take matters into her own hands. After winning $1m, Andria Zafirakou could have retired from teaching and put her feet up. However, the north London teacher revealed that she would be using the money that she won in the Varkey Foundation annual Global Teacher prize to set up a campaigning charity designed to get more artists and art organisations into schools. She told us: “It is absolutely vital to ensure that all schools are offering a curriculum that enables all students to experience the arts. This should not be an "add on" but bolted securely into their daily timetables. If we do not support our schools to achieve this, then we are at risk of depriving a generation of young people of the opportunity to gain skills to excel in all that they do. This is one of the main reasons why I set up my charity Artists in Residence with the money awarded from the Global Teacher Prize. I want to help bring and introduce artists from all genres to schools with the aim of working with the school communities and with the hope of inspiring our children to take up the arts.”

In September 2018, Andria joined the Prince of Wales, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Benedict Cumberbatch as they pledged their support for more creativity in the classroom at a conference hosted by the Prince of Wales charity, Children and The Arts. Prince Charles emphasised the importance of art to the economy: “ We in this country have a fantastic reputation as a country through its creative industries. We don’t realise enough, I don’t think, how much those creative industries contribute to our whole economy and if you’re thinking in just purely economic terms it's worthwhile.” It’s not just school subjects that are facing a dip in numbers, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), museums and galleries across Britain are suffering from a decline in visitor numbers. The biggest drop in 2015/16 was seen in educational visits and school groups. According to the Creative Industries Federation, the creative industries are worth £92 billion a year to the UK economy – this is more than gas, life sciences, oil, automotive and aeronautics industries combined. In a letter to the Guardian, artists Tracey Emin, Rachel Whiteread and Jeremy Deller warned that the reintroduction of ‘traditional’ subjects, “places one of our largest and most successful global industries at risk”


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