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Director's Update

July 2017

Dear colleagues,

The government’s response on the implementation of the English Baccalaureate

After an 18 month wait, the government response to the consultation on the controversial English Baccalaureate has been published. This states:

  • 75% of students in state funded schools in England will study the EBacc by 2022, rising to 90% by 2025
  • There will be two headline accountability measures specifically in the EBacc; numbers of entries and performance scores
  • Ofsted will need to reflect the government’s EBacc policy in its inspection procedure

This announcement has frustrated the arts and education sector.
The Creative Industries Federation (CIF) comments:
This response continues the government trend towards devaluing creative subjects which threatens the growth of the creative industries, the fastest growing sector in the UK economy. The goal of 90% of students taking the EBacc raises concerns for more than a quarter of students in England who take more than seven GCSE’s, meaning they have no space to take creative subjects. This limits the life chances of many of those who would most benefit from non-EBacc subjects, and in time deprives our sector of talent.’ Read the full statement here >>
The government draws on data from the New Schools Network report The Two Cultures in this report asserting that the arts in schools are ‘broadly stable’.
However, other research by The National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) and the Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) strongly disputes this finding, showing instead a marked decline in arts provision.
‘The NSEAD Survey Report 2015-16 told us that the implementation of the EBacc has reduced opportunities for young people of all abilities to select art and design at GCSE. The voice of our members continues to reiterate the deterioration of time and resources and the lack of value given to our subject as an ‘unintended consequence’ of government policy.’ Read the full statement here >>
Cultural Learning Alliance also note:
‘DFE’s own data clearly shows a serious decline of 16% to the number of Arts teachers working in schools since 2010 and 17% in the number of hours Arts subjects are taught.’
Read the full statement here >>
Engage is concerned that the EBacc is restricting young peoples’ opportunities to study and work in the arts. The EBacc also disadvantages students with special educational needs, who may struggle to take 7-8 academic GCSE’s in the EBacc, but excel at creative subjects (a quarter of students at the University of the Arts London are disabled or dyslexic).  Engage will continue to campaign with others for access to arts education for young people. The Bacc for the Future Campaign is asking all members to write to the Prime Minster to voice their concerns about this issue - we hope you can lend your voice to this important campaign.

With best wishes,
Jane Sillis




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