Press Release: Ed Vaizey visits Harlington School to talk Creative Industries

25 January 2016


 Ed Vaizey (6) compressed


This morning Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, visited Harlington School in Hillingdon to speak to students as a part of Speakers for School’s national Creativity, Arts and Culture in State Schools talk series. This campaign corresponds with the call from industry for more students in state schools to be taking arts subjects given economic projections of the opportunities available, valuable skills they provide for non-arts careers and need for greater diversity in these sectors to keep them thriving in the UK. With a range of 25 ambassador speakers taking part in the talk series, the campaign further aims to demonstrate the value of leading industry figures giving their time to inform and inspire young people in state schools on important issues, and encourage further eminent individuals to give their time.


The Minister spoke to 150 students aged 14-18 and discussed the importance of creative subjects in the school curriculum and how they contribute to the British Economy. Students from the school were then given the opportunity to ask questions to The Minister, ranging from national issues to concerns around the funding of arts.


Ed Vaizey MP said, “I’m excited to be involved in the Speakers for School’s Creativity, Arts and Culture in State Schools talk series. The creative industries are growing at almost twice the rate of the UK economy so it is incredibly important to let students know about the wealth of opportunities and versatility they offer as subjects. It was great to speak with young people about the future of the arts in the UK and hope it encourages them to consider them for their future.”


Callum Atwal, Head Boy and Jodi Bungal, Head Girl, Harlington School it was really beneficial for students to get the opportunity to gain access to, voice their opinion to, and ask questions of someone with so much respect.”


Ed Vaizey was visiting Harlington School in his capacity as a speaker with the Speakers for Schools charity – which sees some of the UK’s most influential leaders from business, culture, the arts, sports, science and technology delivering talks in secondary state schools and colleges across the UK, completely free-of-charge.


Alice Hennessey, Sixth Form pupil who hopes to work in game design, “the talk was very informative on the political life of Ed and allowed students to speak to a person that could potentially change our lives.”


This particularly special event took place on the launch day of the charity’s talk series, which sees Speakers for Schools partnering with The Creative Industries Federation and Arts Council England. Speakers have a chance to share their unique insights as leading figures and have a direct dialogue with students about important issues within the campaign theme.


Liz Horrigan, Headteacher, Harlington School, it was great to offer students opportunities to hear about success and consider things outside of the immediate school environment. I was pleased Ed championed the importance of arts in a broad curriculum.


Shannon Maguire, Year 11 pupil studying drama said, “this talk opened up my mind to where Ed’s from, the Conservative Party and offered a chance for debate. It opened my mind to what I want to do in the future and the positive side of drama as a career.”


Further speakers taking part in the talk series include but are not limited to:

  • Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman, Arts Council England
  • Deborah Bull, Assistant Principal (Culture & Engagement), King’s College London and Former Creative Director at the Royal Opera House
  • John Kampfner, Chief Executive, Creative Industries Federation
  • Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre
  • David Morrissey, Actor and Director


The campaign further aims to demonstrate the value of leading industry figures giving their time to inform and inspire young people in state schools on important issues, and encourage further eminent individuals to give their time.




Notes to Editors


The Creativity, Arts and Culture in State Schools talk series and campaign officially runs from 25th January to 10th February in state schools across the UK.


For more information contact our team at:


About Harlington School

Harlington Community School is a large multicultural school with students and staff coming from a diverse variety of backgrounds (a total of 76 different languages are spoken by staff and students). A high proportion of students are eligible for free school meals. Student ability is a comprehensive mixed ability, and students pursue a variety of different options after their time at school. The majority pursue further education at Russell Group and red brick universities, but a number are now increasingly going into employment and apprenticeships.


About Speakers for Schools

Speakers for Schools is an independent charity that provides young people in state secondary schools across the UK with access to talks from leading, eminent figures, free of charge. The programme was founded by ITV Political Editor Robert Peston with the ambition of organising free talks in state schools with distinguished figures from all walks of life, including leaders in business, the arts, sciences, sport, politics, academia and the media— as often seen in the country’s leading fee-paying schools. Since launching the charity has attracted a network of over 1000 speakers donating their time and travel, and over 2,150 free talks have been organized with state schools and colleges across the UK. Speakers for Schools is kindly funded in full by the Law Family Charitable Foundation and Caxton Associates. To find out more please visit