1. EBacc consultation published
The Government has launched their consultation on plans to make the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) a headline measure for schools, and for the EBacc to be given a ‘more prominent role’ within the Ofsted framework.
The intention is for the EBacc effectively to become compulsory, with the Education Secretary expecting ‘to see at least 90% of students entering the EBacc’ by turning the EBacc from a (relatively) harmless league table into a headline measure for school accountability.
2. Next steps for the campaign
The good news is that consultation does not close until Friday 29 January. There is time to carefully analyse the proposals and consider how best to respond.
Given the publication of the consultation, the next campaign meeting will discuss updating our campaign key messages and discuss a first draft of the campaign’s template consultation response.
We will also hold a second meeting at the beginning of December, details to follow.
3. Campaign priorities
· Tell people about the proposals: At this stage, we now have something concrete to tell people about. The priority therefore remains telling people about the proposals and encouraging people to sign the petition at www.baccforthefuture.com
1. The Government are planning to make a narrow range of subjects called the English Baccalaureate, or ‘EBacc,’ compulsory
The Department for Education have announced their plans to make a narrow list of subjects compulsory. These subjects are maths, English, sciences, languages and humanities (defined as just geography and history). This leaves little room for creative subjects and the arts.[i]
2. The ‘EBacc’ has harmed creative subjects in schools
Since the Government first tried to introduce the EBacc, the number of students having access to, or taking creative/arts subjects at GCSE has dropped.[ii]
3. Creative subjects are vital to the success of the UK
The creative industries are growing faster than the rest of the economy, and creative arts have a huge impact on society and culture. The public recognise this, with 77% of adults thinking that arts should be available at GCSE level.[iii]
4. The EBacc lacks support and evidence
There is no evidence behind the choice of subjects included in the EBacc, and researchers, parliamentary committees, businesses and higher education bodies have repeatedly condemned the narrow list of subjects included.[iv]
5. We must have a broad and balanced curriculum – the EBacc isn’t it
The creative industries, education sector, trade bodies, professional bodies, unions and businesses have come together to challenge this proposal from the Department for Education and demand a broad and balanced curriculum.
And here is some of the evidence:
[ii] The effects of the English Baccalaureate, Department for Education/Ipsos MORI; Arts entries at key stage 4, Department for Education; Joint Council for Qualifications, 2007-2014; GCSE Stats: What’s the real picture for the arts in schools? Cultural Learning Alliance, 21 August 2015; Arts GCSE entries 2010 to 2015, 3 September 2015, English Baccalaureate Survey Summary, NASUWT, 2011; School trip slump plunges children’s theatres into crisis, The Stage, June 24 2015; Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value, 2015
[iii] Creative industries statistics, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Tuesday 13 January 2015; The economic contribution of the core UK music industry, UK Music, December 2013; London Theatre Report by Alistair Smith, commissioned by the Society of London Theatre and the National Theatre 2014; The Virtuous Circle John Sorrell, Paul Roberts and Darren Henley 2014. Page 49; Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth, The value of arts and culture to people and society, an evidence review; The Power of Music, Professor Susan Hallam MBE, UCL Institute of Education; 77% of adults in the UK think arts subjects should be compulsory at GCSE, The Stage
[iv] Think again about English Baccalaureate say MPs, House of Commons Education Committee; Supporting the creative economy, House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee; Russell Group quizzed on 'facilitating subjects' list, BBC, 26 September 2013; Acceptable A-level combinations, Trinity College Cambridge, June 2015; LSE’s entry requirements, LSE, June 2015; Preferred A level subjects, UCL, June 2015; Courses listing, Oxford University, June 2015; Courses, University of Cambridge, June 2015; Urgent action needed to meet creative industries’ skills demand, CBI 22nd September 2011, Creative Industries Council urges action to improve skills and training, 20 July 2012; Henley review of Music Education in England, 7 February 2011