Ebacc letter in The Times

Published 8th January 2016

On Wednesday 6th January 2016 The Times published a letter from the ‘Bacc for the Future’ campaign. It explains how the creative industries are integral to the success of the UK economy. It goes on to explain the potential damage to the economy as a result of creative-industry related subjects not being included in the accountability measures by which schools are judged. The D&T Associations is a signatory to the letter.

An article about the letter also appears in the main paper. In the article the Department for Education state that the criticisms are based on a myth and, “Since the Ebacc was announced, the percentage of pupils in state-funded schools with at least one GCSE entry in an arts subject has actually increased.” However, the DfE’s figures omit Design & Technology, whose numbers have almost halved over the last 10 years. They also, inexplicably, only include some types of qualifications (GCSE, early entry AS level) whilst excluding other DfE approved Key Stage 4 qualifications (BTEC). This masks a significant overall decline.

One of the objectives for both our ‘Designed and Made in Britain…?’ campaign and the ‘Bacc for the Future’ campaign is to have a creative and/or technical subject as a compulsory part of the Progress 8 accountability measure. Please support both campaigns by signing the petitions on the associated websites:

  • ‘Designed and Made in Britain…?’ please visit our campaign pages
  • ‘Bacc for the Future’ please visit: BaccfortheFuture.com

The Times letter and signatories are reproduced below:

Sir, We are deeply concerned by the Department for Education’s proposals to make the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) all but compulsory in schools as a headline accountability measure.

The EBacc proposal means that every pupil taking his or her GCSEs would have to study a minimum of seven, narrowly defined, GCSEs: English literature and English language, maths, double or triple science, a modern and/or ancient language, history and/or geography.

The intention is for the EBacc effectively to become compulsory, with the education secretary expecting to see “at least 90 per cent of students entering the EBacc”.

The average number of GCSEs taken by pupils in England is eight. If these plans become a reality, there would be little room left for pupils to study creative industry-relevant subjects and the arts would be squeezed out of schools altogether. In 2010-15 we have already seen a 14 per cent drop in creative and technical qualifications being taken.

The UK’s creative industries are world-leading in their own right, contribute more than £76 billion to the UK economy and employ more than 1.7 million people (more than 1 in 20 UK jobs). To continue to build a thriving creative economy, the arts must be given equal visibility in our schools. At the Bacc for the Future campaign we believe that it makes no sense for the government to implement an educational strategy which is narrowing a skills base in an area so integral to our economy’s success.

Deborah Annetts; chief executive, Incorporated Society of Musicians; Neil Constable, chief executive, Shakespeare’s Globe; Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Birmingham Conservatoire; Sarah Munro, director of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Nadia Stern, chief executive, Rambert; Mary Bousted, general secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers; Christine Blower, general secretary, National Union of Teachers; Andrew Chowns, CEO, Directors UK; Paul McManus, chief executive, Music Industries Association; Victoria Pomery, director, Turner Contemporary; Julian Bird, chief executive, Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre Association; Christine Payne, general secretary, Equity; David Harbourne, acting chief executive, The Edge Foundation; Gilane Tawadros, chief executive, DACS; Professor Gavin Henderson, Principal, The Royal Central School Of Speech and Drama, University of London; Sir Mark Featherstone-Witty, founding principal/CEO, The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts; Professor John Butler, Head of Birmingham School of Art, BCU; Professor John Last, vice-chancellor, Norwich University of the Arts and Chair, ukadia; Professor Simon Ofield-Kerr, vice-chancellor, University for the Creative Arts; Professor Stephen Foster, director, John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton; Sam West, chair, National Campaign for the Arts; Simon Wallis, director, The Hepworth Wakefield; Susan Whiddington, director, Mousetrap Theatre Projects; Anne Rawcliffe-King, director, Royal British Society of Sculptors; Fin Kennedy, artistic director, Tamasha Theatre Company; Katy Spicer, chief executive, English Folk Dance and Song Society; Lesley Butterworth, general secretary, NSEAD; Paul Smith, executive director, Liverpool Biennial; Richard Green, chief executive, Design and Technology Association; Simon Thomsett, chief executive, Fairfield Halls; Terry Luddington, chief executive officer, The British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech; Adrian Friedli, freelance consultant, former programme lead Hull 2017; Andrew Nairne, director, Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge; Anthony Spira, director, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes; Barbara Eifler, executive director, Making Music; Benjamin Dunks, artistic director, Attik Dance; Chris Romer-Lee, co-founder of Studio Octopi and Thames Baths CIC; Dave Moutrey, director and chief executive, HOME (Greater Manchester Arts Centre); David Wood, chair, Action for Children’s Arts; Dominic McGonigal, chairman, C8 Associates; Donna Lynas, director of Wysing Art Centre, Cambridge; Dorothy Wilson, artistic director and chief executive, mac birmingham; Dr Elizabeth Stafford, director, Music Education Solutions; Ed Scolding, director, Greenwich Music School; Geoffrey Harniess, head of the Centre for Young Musicians; Helen Legg, director of Spike Island, Bristol; James Grieve and George Perrin, artistic directors, Paines Plough; Jonathan Lloyd-Platt, chair, Heritage Crafts Association; Karen Dickinson, director, Music for Little People Ltd; Kate Brindley, CEO, Arnolfini; Kwong Lee, director of Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; Rachel Greaves, general secretary, Association of British Choral Directors; Peter Broadbent, director of training, Association of British Choral Directors; Lindsay Taylor, arts curator, University of Salford; Liz Hill, editor, ArtsProfessional; Lucy Phillips, director, Leicester Print Workshop; Margot Heller, director, South London Gallery; Marisa Draper, head of engagement, HOME (Greater Manchester Arts Centre); Michael Smith, director, Cog Design; Nigel Burrows, education manager, Yamaha Music Schools; Paul Hobson, director, Modern Art Oxford; Paul Hoskins, conductor and music director, Rambert; Phillip Flood, chief executive, Sound Connections; Polly Staple, director, Chisenhale Gallery; Rachel Tackley, director, English Touring Theatre and President, UK Theatre; Richard Smith, curator, Lancaster Institute for the Creative Arts; Rob Smith, head of education and learning, Bow Arts Trust; Rosemary Johnson, executive director, Royal Philharmonic Society; Vicky Prior, director, League of Culture; Kat Bridge, artistic director, Greenwich Dance; Penelope Price Jones, chairman, Association of Teachers of Singing; Susie Crow, chair of trustees, The Exuberant Trust; Sarah Gee, co-founder and managing partner, Indigo Ltd; Jeanie Scott, executive director, a-n The Artists Information Company (Paying Artists campaign); Stephen Lacey, emeritus professor of Drama, Film and Television, Faculty of Creative Industries, University of South Wales

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