Despite their rhetoric on choice and variety in education the government is becoming ever more prescriptive in its approach to schools and what they can teach. This is clearly demonstrated in their dogmatic approach on the introduction of the English Baccalaureate, or EBacc as it is known.
Education and skills is a key concern for me and today, I spoke in a debate on the exclusion of creative and expressive arts subjects from the EBacc.
The UK’s creative industries are world-leading, contribute more than £76 billion to the UK economy, and employing more than 1.7 million people, that’s more than 1 in 20 UK jobs. Yet they are afforded lamentably little recognition in the Government’s policy on the introduction of the EBacc.
The Government’s stated policy on the EBacc is so unswervingly prescriptive on subjects and will become all but compulsory for schools.
The EBacc stipulates what subjects must be studied – Maths, English literature, English language, double science, a language (ancient and/or modern) and history and/or geography. Creative subjects are consigned, quite wrongly, as part of this new regime to a lesser category.
Ministers ambition that 90% of 16 year olds should take the full EBacc together with the Department for Education planning to make the EBacc a headline measure for accountability and increasing its prominence in Ofsted inspections, will effectively make the EBacc compulsory for secondary school pupils in England.
Studying creative subjects is not only wholly meaningful and valuable to a broad and balanced education, but equally importantly creative subjects help to position our children and young people for careers that are destined to become a cornerstone of our future economy. The government needs to reconsider its position.
The full debate and Judith’s contribution can be viewed here