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More than 200 organisations, including the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, the NUT teaching union and Globe Education, are part of the #baccforthefuture movement, which urges members of the public to sign a petition and write to their local MP in protest at the introduction of EBacc.
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In December 2016, the Government launched a proposal for a new, ‘fairer’ funding formula for all
schools in England to be phased in from September 2018.
“…..In the current system similar schools and local areas receive very different levels of funding with little or no justification. Under-funded schools do not have access to provide the same opportunities to do the best for their children.” The government wanted to revise the National Funding Formula for schools to provide “a system that supports opportunity for all, underpinning social mobility and social justice…..” (Department for
This proposed 'fairer' funding policy means that many schools are facing considerable cuts to their funding.
As reported by BBC News and UCanPlay, the specific changes to the funding formula will result in a decrease of £151,000 in next year’s budget for a school in Cheshire. In a letter to parents from the Headteacher, the consequences of the cuts were outlined:
The Creative Learning Alliance have published a report called ImagineNation: the value of cultural learning. This new publication builds on our original ImagineNation: the case for cultural learning published in 2011, and sets out how studying arts and culture changes and shapes the lives of children and young people.
The knowledge, skill and experience made possible by the performing and visual arts, film, museums, libraries, heritage and exploring the built environment, are essential to young people’s development. Through cultural learning, young people are encouraged to explore other cultures, past and present, and inspired to contribute to the arts and culture of the future.
Celebration and a call to arms
ImagineNation is a celebration of this important work, and a call to arms for everyone in education and the arts in the UK today. Every effort must be made to halt the erosion of the arts as an essential pillar in the structure of education, and to ensure that all children are the recipients of a broad and balanced education.
We need to support our schools and settings, many of which are struggling under the weight of complex bureaucracies and competing agendas.
One of the ways to make the case for the arts is to deploy the arguments and evidence in this document. They show that the arts and culture are not an add-on, or a nice-to-have, but are part of the fabric of our society, and that young people have a right to experience the best, and to be given the opportunity to make their own contribution to the continual reshaping of our civilization.
We must celebrate our successes, build best practice, and learn from each other; in challenging times, it is up to us to be the champions of young people’s hopes, talent and ideas.
A host of leaders have come together to add their voices to the debate and make a truly powerful case for the value of cultural learning. You can see the full list at the beginning of the publication.
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A multi-million pound investment in music and arts education will help hundreds of thousands of young people from all backgrounds enjoy ‘potentially life changing cultural activities’, Schools Minister Nick Gibb announced today.Over the next four years the Government will provide £300million to a network of 121 music education hubs to work with schools, local authorities and community organisations to get more young people taking part in music and arts.
Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said:
‘The Government’s announcement of a £300m investment in music education hubs, which comes nearly five years after the launch of the National Plan for Music Education, is good news for music education, children and young people across the whole of England. A continuation of funding, secured for the next four years, will help enable music education hubs to plan their future and continue their life-changing work.
We must ensure that any proposals for extra responsibilities for music education hubs are matched by additional funding and do not lead to a watering down of musical opportunities.
Likewise, we hope this recognition of the importance of music education leads to a reconsideration of the proposed EBacc which has been so detrimental to music and the arts. Music is central to the life of every school – after all it is where all children go to learn so we hope that in the light of this great news, Lord Baker’s proposal for a more creative Bacc will be adopted.’
Peers in the House of Lords have warned that the English Baccalaureate is leading to schools dropping creative subjects from their A level roster.
In a debate tabled by Liberal Democrat peer Sal Brinton, speakers highlighted the potential knock-on effects of government education reforms on A level subjects.
The debate comes amid ongoing efforts to halt the government's plans for the EBacc, which includes no compulsory creative subjects.
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Thursday 3 November marks one year since the Department for Education launched a consultation on their plans to make the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) all-but compulsory in secondary schools, a decision made under former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and first proposed under Michael Gove.
The immediate impact of the EBacc has been an 8% decline in the uptake of creative artistic and technical subjects at GCSE level and a 1.7% decline in the number of students taking at least one arts-based GCSE, seen in figures released by the Department of Education after this year’s GCSE results.
The Bacc for the Future campaign (comprising 200+ organisations and more than 100,000 individuals) is calling on the Government to drop their plans for the EBacc and instead continue with implementing the original proposals for Progress 8 and Attainment 8for all secondary schools.
Neil Constable, Chief Executive, of the Shakespeare's Globe said:
‘The EBacc leaves little room for students to study creative subjects - a cause for much concern. They have cross-curricular benefits and help develop innovative thinkers who contribute both economically and socially in all sectors, be it engineering or medicine, as well as the creative industries.’
Sir Mark Featherstone-Witty OBE, Founding Principal/CEO of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) said:
‘The purpose of learning is to find out what you are good at and love doing. Why is this government deciding this for youngsters they don’t know and haven’t asked?’
Stuart Worden, Principal of the BRIT School said:
‘The BRIT School champion a creative arts education and we are living proof that young people can get jobs in the creative industries and make a huge contribution to the UK economy. Without the creative arts, the country will be much poorer and young people will be poorer in life skills too. The arts give young people a place for self-expression, to explore ideas and society. The arts are known to increase confidence, self-esteem and happiness; vital elements of growing up and being connected to the world we live in.’
Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire said:
‘Access to music should be a birth right for all our children and the government has a duty to recognize this.’
Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (and founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign), said:
‘It is a whole year since the former Education Secretary proposed a new all but compulsory EBacc. Since the launch of the consultation we have seen an 8% drop in uptake of creative, artistic and technical GCSEs as these subjects are excluded from the EBacc.
In a post-Brexit UK, we cannot afford to undermine our profitable creative industries – worth £87 billion a year to the UK economy, we cannot afford to exacerbate the skills gap facing our creative businesses, and we cannot afford to lose the broad and balanced curriculum which other countries adopt. The Bacc for the Future campaign has gone from strength to strength, gathering support from more than 200 organisations across design, architecture, engineering, music and the whole of the creative industries and more than 100,000 individuals. We urge the new Education Secretary to drop the un-evidenced and damaging EBacc.’
Sue Wyatt, Chair of One Dance UK said:
‘The EBacc consultation is a vital part of the process of ensuring accountability measures still enable schools to meet the needs and aspirations of all their pupils and the lack of response by the Government is hindering this process. We are deeply concerned about the effect the EBacc is already having on arts education at GCSE and specifically the take-up of dance. In the last year alone, the number of young people taking Dance GCSE has fallen by 9%. We believe that opportunities for pupils to make their own choices are being restricted through the implementation of EBacc pathways and the withdrawal of arts subjects.’
Tess Jaray, British painter and printmaker, said:
‘If these plans are not dropped it will be a national disgrace.’
Chris Keates, General Secretary of NASUWT said:
‘It is essential that all children are offered a broad and balanced curriculum that meets their needs and interests. The EBacc stands in the way of this vital objective by marginalising those creative and artistic subjects that are central to a rounded education and to this country’s economic prospects. It is well past time for the DfE to publish the outcomes of its EBacc consultation, which are certain to show the extent of concern among teachers, employers and the general public about this ill-founded policy. It is essential that the Government sets the EBacc to one side and works with the NASUWT and all those with a stake in the success of the education system to help schools offer the curriculum that all pupils deserve.’
Paula Briggs and Sheila Ceccarelli, Directors of AccessArt said:
‘AccessArt receives phone calls and email enquiries on a daily basis now from parents who are looking for visual arts learning opportunities for their children outside school, as it is becoming harder and harder to access creative learning opportunities IN school. The demand and appetite for creative exploration is there. Back in the nineties we used to talk a lot about enabling every child to explore his or her creative potential – it’s very sad to think that as a society we have actually gone backwards in meeting this aim.’
Dr Michael Pritchard, Chief Executive of the Royal Photographic Society said:
‘The RPS remains concerned about the proposed changes to the curriculum and its impact across the visual and creative arts. The UK excels in photography and the proposed changes will affect future generations at a time when visual awareness and creativity is so important in society and will become ever more important for UK plc.’
Paul Martin, M.D. of Mundo Music Gear said:
‘As a long-time member of the ISM I support wholly its exhaustive work and analysis of the EBacc and its proposal to revert to and implement the original proposals. I would also add that in a world where the western workforce will continue to shrink over time, we need to encourage and foster creative minds more than ever.’
Alice Barnard, Chief Executive of the Edge Foundation said:
‘The EBacc as it currently stands will trap twenty-first century children in the curriculum of the 1900s. Edge fully supports the need for a broad and balanced curriculum that will provide all young people with creative and technical skills as well as an academic core. We have heard encouraging words from the government on the value of technical and creative subjects; now we need action to back this up.’
James Murphy, Managing Director of Southbank Sinfonia said:
‘At Southbank Sinfonia, we believe all children and teenagers deserve regular classroom time dedicated to music. From orchestral practitioners to casual listeners, music helps us all establish a sense of self and define who we each uniquely are in the world. It empowers, consoles, energises, focuses the mind, and inspires creativity that has lasting worth whatever one’s ultimate vocation may be. Furthermore, it can help give a school its soul, as little unites and lifts spirits like music can.’
Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor of University of the Arts London, said:
‘These figures show that the talent pipeline into the creative industries is beginning to run dry, thanks to the EBacc. What schools feel today will be felt at UAL next year, and in the creative industries in five years’ time. This will reduce Britain's competitiveness and lock a generation of talented people out of one of our most successful industries.’
Harriet Meeuwissen-True, Creative Engagement Director at Interplay said:
‘Access to the arts and expressing oneself creatively is a basic human right which every child should have the means to experience and develop. It’s about time that the education system recognises this, rather than treating it as a commodity or an extra-curricular activity, so that everyone has the opportunity to engage and flourish in the arts.’
Michael Smith, Founding Director of Cog Design said:
‘Making creative subjects second-class has begun a predictable decline in uptake. The damaging knock-on effects will cascade through generations. It’s not too late to reverse the plans but it will be, very soon.’
Wozzy Brewster OBE, Founder and Executive Director of the Midi Music Company said:
‘The proposed EBacc as it stands will have a negative impact on the growth of the creative industries because it will disadvantage any young person from a less affluent background who will not be able to enter our sector as an aspiring creative, and develop a professional career, thereby affecting the diversity of the sector now and in the future.’
Jacqui Cameron, Education Director of Opera North said:
‘The implementation of the EBacc proposal will create a major challenge for UK arts organisations seeking to create a diverse workforce; the training of this future workforce begins at school.’
Lesley Butterworth, General Secretary of NSEAD said:
‘The impact of the EBacc on the choices available to young people wishing to study art and design has been made explicit in the GCSE figures, which this year show a 6 percent decline for our subject, the biggest percentage decline in total candidate numbers recorded since 2000, when JCQ first published data. It is imperative that plans for the EBacc are dropped to restore a broad and balanced curriculum for everyone.’
Richard Green, Chief Executive of the Design and Technology Association said:
‘Design & Technology in education has taught, inspired and nurtured a practical understanding of design thinking and problem solving in generations of young people to the benefit of 'UK plc'. Yet, in the last week I received two emails from Heads of D&T, informing me that their schools, one in Liverpool and one in Hampshire, are closing the D&T departments and that the workshop facilities are being converted into classrooms to accommodate more EBacc classes. This is a worrying and growing trend. The loss of D&T in the curriculum deprives an increasing number of pupils of the very education - technical, practical, creative, problem solving - that Justine Greening said British business needs in her speech to the Conservative Conference in October. We call on the Department for Education to recognise and invest in the very subjects that have contributed to the UK’s world leading status in the arts, design and technology.’
Ed Scolding, Director of Greenwich Music School said:
‘Creative subjects are an essential part of a balanced curriculum. The study of a creative subject can have an immediate and lasting impacting on vital areas of work and life. The skills and experiences involved in the study of a creative subject are all the more important in the service-based economy of the present and future.’
Neil Griffiths, Director of Arts Emergency said:
‘The EBacc creates a false hierarchy of subjects which will further embed social inequality in arts learning and careers.’
Diane Widdison, MU National Organiser for Teaching said:
‘The effect of the introduction of the EBacc in Secondary schools is already resulting in a reduction in pupils studying Arts subjects at GCSE level and we are now seeing courses cancelled and qualifications disappearing from the curriculum. The teaching profession is under increasing pressure to produce results in these core subjects to meet Government set standards and unfortunately the Arts seem to be suffering disproportionately.
We continue to urge the Government to rethink their stance on the Ebacc and make sure that each child is offered the chance to study a balanced and comprehensive curriculum that is fit for purpose for an education in the 21st Century.’
Richard Hallam, Chair of the Music Education Council (MEC) said:
‘The importance of a broad and balanced curriculum of quality, which enables every child to choose to pursue an arts subject to 16 cannot be overstated. Action must be taken to ensure this entitlement is a genuine one for all young people.’
Aine Lark, Chair of National Drama said:
‘A curriculum devoid of arts seeks to only partially promote its learners and will surely result in an expressionless bleak future of inflexibility and lack of originality across all walks of life. We must recognise that children and young people grow and develop through play, exploration, experimentation, creative activities. They will not flourish if they are squeezed into half a dozen pre-appointed subjects, dictated by government officials heavy with their own political agendas. Far from being the "foundations of a good education that ultimately will keep options open for young people's future", to quote Nicky Morgan, the EBacc will compromise our students' development as creative thinkers, problem solvers, visionaries and negotiators, and in fact LIMIT their options as they progress into adulthood.
Ali Warren, Secondary Officer for National Drama said:
‘The plans for the EBacc implementation is sending the wrong message to the young people who are the future of our highly successful Creative Arts industries and to their parents. It brands the Arts as second class in a world where the UK has an international reputation for first class work. It makes students feel that by doing Drama or Dance or other arts subjects that they (students) are less important.’
Professor Andrew Brewerton, Principal of Plymouth College of Art and Chair of Governors at Plymouth School of Creative Arts, said:
‘The threat of blanket imposition of EBACC as a control measure on schools has already, by default, resulted in significant decline in the uptake of arts and design at GCSE as these subjects are withdrawn from KS4 option subjects. The degree to which this consequence is intended or otherwise is unclear. What does seem clear, however, is that EBACC will work for some students, but by no means all, and that structural failure of a broad and balanced school curriculum that includes creative subjects spells dismal news for the future of Britain’s world-leading creative economy. We owe the next generation something more than a legacy of league tables, target culture, and teaching to the test, and in education it seems to me more than ever that making is as important as reading and writing.’
The negative impact of the decline in D&T GCSE entry, and the subsequent decline in A-level uptake becomes all the more significant now that new figures show D&T is a key contributing subject for success at university level engineering disciplines.
Figures freshly compiled by Paul McCombie, Admissions Tutor and Deputy Head of Department at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at University of Bath, indicate that D&T is one of the top three factors underpinning graduate success. Based on an internal analysis of 200 graduates of Civil Engineering, 2013 to 2016, the figures correlate A-level subjects to degree performance.
While local to University of Bath, these figures echo the experience of many in engineering and design education, as Prof. Kel Fidler comments, “There is a growing realisation in the UK, and indeed within international engineering higher education, that engineering is not simply a body of knowledge, but is a process - a process that incorporates creativity, design and innovation in providing solutions to the challenges and needs of society. The significance of the background provided by the designing skills inculcated through an A level Design & Technology course is manifest”.
New figures published today by the Department for Education show that the percentage of pupils entering at least one arts subject decreased by 1.7 percentage points to 47.9% of pupils in state-funded schools in 2016.
Deborah Annetts, Founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign and Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the professional body for musicians, said:
‘This confirms our fears that the new EBacc proposal which was announced by the Department for Education in November last year is having an immediate impact on the uptake of creative, artistic and technical subjects in schools. This is on top of an overall decline of eight percent in the uptake of arts subjects at GCSE this year.’
‘We cannot afford harm the creation of the professionals for the future by squeezing the arts out of the curriculum in secondary schools.
‘It defies logic in a post Brexit UK where our children and young people must be prepared for the industries of the future. With a creative economy worth more than £84 billion a year to the UK economy (comparable to the financial services industry), employing two million people and one of the only parts of the economy to be growing, we must make sure we are future proofing the economy. The EBacc is not the way to do this.
Notes for editors
Bacc for the Future is a campaign supported by more than 100,000 individuals and more than 200 businesses and organisations from across the education and creative landscape including:
Aardman Animations (who make Wallace & Gromit), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the BRIT School, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Design Council, the Edge Foundation, the BPI, Music Industries Association, Society of London Theatre, Directors UK, One dance UK, Royal Academy of Arts, UK Music, teaching unions, conservatoires and universities.
Bacc for the Future 1 was successful in 2013 in securing a u-turn from then Education Secretary Michael Gove, after which uptake of arts GCSEs increased, however the campaign was reformed in response to the Department for Education’s renewed plans for an all but compulsory EBacc, published in November 2015. The consultation on these plans closed on Friday 29 January and the Government has yet to respond to the consultation.
An alternative Bacc: 14-19 Education: A New Baccalaureate
Regarding the report, the Bacc for the Future campaign said:
‘Whilst we do not endorse particular proposals, we note that Lord Baker has announced a further alternative to the compulsory EBacc and encourage the Department for Education to carefully consider all options when responding to the EBacc consultation.’
The proposed broadened Baccalaureate by Lord Baker includes six subject areas including:
Notes for Editors
About the EBacc
About Bacc for the Future
The Bacc for the Future campaign is a broad coalition of more than 200 organisations from across the creative, business and industrial sectors and over 100,000 individuals united in opposition to the Department for Education’s (DfE) EBacc proposals. Although once successful in securing a U-turn on the DfE’s EBacc plans in 2010, the campaign was stepped up again in 2015 following the announcement of the plans to implement the EBacc as a performance measure in secondary schools. To arrange an interview with a member of the Bacc for the Future team, or find out more about the campaign, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7313 9312.
Latest press coverage!
As well as appearing on the Today programme and trending on Twitter (both the hash-tags #BaccfortheFuture and #EBaccdebate), the debate was covered in Arts Professional, The Stage (twice), The Conversation, Rhinegold, the Liverpool Echo, Schools Week, Politics Home, the Times Education Supplement, Digital Arts Online, The Chronicle, Design Week and many, many more press outlets. And later in the week, Billy Bragg even criticised the EBacc in a speech to councillors from all political parties at the Local Government Association conference.