Letter to PM

Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister's Office
10 Downing Street

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Dear Prime Minister,

The harmful impact of the English Baccalaureate

The Department for Education’s proposed new English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is damaging the quality of the education offered to pupils in England. It is harming the uptake of non-EBacc subjects, most notably creative, artistic and technical subjects.

In 2016, for the first time since 2012, the percentage of pupils taking at least one arts subject declined[1] and from 2015-2016 there was an 8% decline in uptake of creative subjects (arts + D&T)[2]; the largest year on year decline in a decade. Teacher numbers and teaching hours are declining almost twice as fast in creative subjects (whether including D&T or not) as they are overall.[3]

The Department for Education’s consultation on these proposals titled Implementing the English Baccalaureate closed more than a year ago and we are still awaiting a response.

As pupils in secondary schools choose their GCSE subject options, we urge you to reverse this damaging policy, respond to the consultation and withdraw the EBacc.

According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) the creative industries are the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, worth £87.4bn a year to the UK economy, and the creative economy as a whole accounts for one in 11 jobs. You recognise this in your commitment to setting an industrial strategy, outlined on Monday 23 January 2017, which puts the creative sector at its heart.

But we struggle to see a link between the Government’s commitment to the creative industries as a central sector for growth with an education policy (the EBacc) which creates an artificial and false hierarchy of subjects, excluding creative, artistic and technical subjects from counting towards key school accountability measures.

With the UK now repositioning itself on the world's stage, the EBacc is no longer relevant; and dropping the un-evidenced and deeply damaging EBacc would come with no political or financial cost but with huge gains to the UK’s reputation as a leading creative industries player, our economy and our skills base.

The Bacc for the Future movement represents more than 200 organisations working as investors, educators and creative organisations and more than 100,000 individuals. We urge you to listen to the head teachers, businesses, organisations and creators who oppose this policy. This includes the Royal Institute of British Architects, BRIT School, Design Council, Music Industries Association, and Creative Industries Federation. We place a high value on the creative industries.

We urge you to publish the consultation response without delay and look forward to your announcement that the government has listened and is reversing the EBacc policy.

Yours sincerely,

The Bacc for the Future campaign, including more than 100 artists and arts organisations. (Full list of signatories to be published later today.)

[1]Department for Education, 13 October 2016
[2] Cultural Learning Alliance, 25 August 2016
[3]School workforce statistics, Department for Education

Signed by:

Sir Simon Rattle, Conductor,
Alison Balsom OBE, Musician,
Robert Lindsay, Actor,
Phillip Pullman, Author,
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Conductor,
Sir Tony Robinson, Actor,
Philip Flood, Director, Sound Connections
David Martin, Executive Director, Oldham Coliseum Theatre
James Otter, Director, Potclays Ltd
Wozzy Brewster OBE, Executive Director, Midi Music company
Gilane Tawadros, Chief Executive, DACS
Paul McManus, Chief Executive, Music Industries Association (MIA)
Dick Hallam MBE, Chair, Music Education Council (MEC)
Neil Griffiths, Co-founder, Arts Emergency
Linda Ewen, Programme Manager, Arts Emergency
Carys Nelkon, Service Manager, Arts Emergency
Christine Payne, General Secretary, Equity
Jacqui Cameron, Education Director, Opera North
Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive, Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM)
Rebecca Farkas, Artist and arts professional
Jane Wilson, Chair, Arts Development UK (ADUK)
Sir Mark Featherstone-Witty OBE, Founding Principal/CEO, The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA)
Amanda Skoog, Executive Director, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance
Patricia Lovett MBE, Vice Chair, Heritage Crafts Association
Sho Shibata, Executive Producer, Stopgap Dance Company
Neil Constable, Chief Executive, Shakespeare's Globe
Professor Anthony Bowne, Principal, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Lesley Butterworth, General Secretary, National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)
Sarah Gee, Managing Partner, Indigo-Ltd
Jeanie Scott, Executive Director, a-n The Artists Information Company (Paying Artists Campaign)
Leslie East, Chair, Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD)
Michael Eakin, Chief Executive, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Daniella Gluck, Founder, Black Dress Code
David Chernaik, CEO, Apollo Music Projects
Paul Smith, Chairman, Choir Schools' Association
Ivor Flint, Chair, Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS)
Mark Pemberton, Director, Association of British Orchestras (ABO)
Professor Gavin Henderson CBE, Principal, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Elizabeth Stafford, Director, Music Education Solutions
Henry Fagg, Director, The Tutor Pages Ltd
Andrew Hurst, Chief Executive, One Dance UK
Chris Keates, General Secretary, NASUWT
Mary Bousted, General Secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL)
Julian Bird, Chief Executive, UK Theatre and SOLT
Stuart Worden, Principal, BRIT school
Judith Ackrill, Head, LSO Discovery
Patrice Baldwin, Past Chair, National Drama and Past President, International Theatre, Drama and Education Association (IDEA)
Dominic McGonigal, Chair, C8 Associates
Saffron van Zwanenberg, Artistic Director, Jackdaws Music Education Trust
John Padley, Principal Director of Music, Queen Anne’s School
Polly Staple, Director, Chisenhale Gallery
Geoffrey Harniess, Head, The Centre for Young Musicians
Joe Scotland, Director, Studio Voltaire
Fiona Watson, Director, Gabriele Skelton
Peter Heath, Managing Director, PLASA
Dr Claire Mera-Nelson, Director of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Alice Barnard, Chief Executive, Edge Foundation
Rosemary Johnson, Executive Director, Royal Philharmonic Society
Simon Terry, Director, Anglepoise
Siobhan Davies, Artistic Director, Siobhan Davies Dance
Stephen Lumsden, Managing Director, Intermusica
Ed Scolding, Director, Greenwich Music School
Martyn Brabbins, Music Director, English National Opera (ENO)
Vicky Prior, Director, League of Culture
Sue Beckett, Chief Executive Officer, Portsmouth Music Hub
Gemma Bodinetz, Artistic Director, Everyman and Playhouse
Paul Hobson, Director, Modern Art Oxford
Helen Legg, Director, Spike Island, Bristol
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers (NUT)
Dr John Habron, Head of Music Education, Royal Northern College of Music
Lhosa Daly, Chair, Bristol Institute of Directors (IoD)
Isabelle Doran, Chairperson, British Association of Picture Libraries & Agencies
Jenni Lomax OBE, Director, Camden Arts Centre
Sam Thorne, Director, Nottingham Contemporary
Dave Moutrey, Director and CEO, HomeMcr
Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitions, Tate Modern
Victoria Pomery OBE, Director, Turner Contemporary
Fin Kennedy, Artistic Director, Tamasha Theatre Company
Donna Lynas, Director, Wysing Arts Centre
Sally Tallant, Director, Liverpool Biennial
Barbara Eifler, Executive Director, Making Music
Sally Shaw, Director, Firstsite Gallery
Paul Hoskins, Music Director, Rambert
Emeritus Professor Stephen Lacey, Chair, Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD)
Jo Towler, Executive Director, Candoco Dance Company
Dr Maria Balshaw CBE, Director, the Whitworth, The University of Manchester
Alice Demba, Coordinator, Liverpool Cultural Education Partnership and the Liverpool Learning Partnership
Andrew Chowns, Chief Executive, Directors UK
Jay Deeble, Past Chair, Schools Music Association and Chair, Dalcroze Society
John Wilson, Conductor,
Nicholas Collon, Conductor,
Charlotte Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Independent Theatre Council (ITC)
Julia Fitzelle, Head of Learning and Participation, Rambert
Kate Mason, Director, The Big Draw
Paula Graham-Gazzard, Policy & External Relations Manager, Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD)
Michael Smith, Founding Director, Cog Design
Vicky Ireland MBE, Vice-Chair, Action for Children’s Arts
Susie Crow, Chair, Exuberant Trust
Adam Milford, Director, Theatre Workout Ltd
David Wood OBE, Trustee, Action for Children’s Arts
James Murphy, Managing Director, Southbank Sinfonia
Danyah Miller, Director, Wizard Presents Theatre Company
Roger McGough CBE, Poet, broadcaster, writer, children's author,
Susan Whiddington, Director, Mousetrap Theatre Projects
Nigel Burrows, Manager, Yamaha Music Schools Education
Lucinda Mackworth-Young, Director, The Piano Teachers’ Course, EPTA UK
Murray McLachlan, Chairman, European Piano Teachers’ Association UK (EPTA UK)
Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS, Chief Executive, The Royal Photographic Society
Lynne Reid Banks, Author,
Matthew Linley, Artistic Director / Chief Executive, Unity Theatre Liverpool
Michelle Magorian, Author,
Malorie Blackman, Author and ex UK Children’s Laureate,
Nick Brook, Deputy General Secretary, National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT)
Jamila Gavin, Author,
Kate Prince, Artistic Director, ZooNation Dance Company
Chantal Spiteri, Managing Director/Producer, ZooNation Dance Company
DJ Walde, Musical Director, ZooNation Dance Company
Annie Taylor-Gooby, General Manager, ZooNation Dance Company
David Almond, Author,
Michael Foreman, Author and Illustrator,
Louise Foreman
Ruth Gould MBE, Artistic Director, DaDaFest
Karen Gallagher MBE, Artistic Director, MDI (Merseyside Dance Initiative)
Felicity Dahl
Michael Rosen, Writer, Broadcaster, Professor
Aine Lark, Chair, National Drama and Kingston Arts
Dr Helen Charman, Director Learning and Research, The Design Museum
Chris Romer-Lee, Director & Co-Founder, Studio Octopi & Thames Baths C.I.C.
Dr Julie Nugent, CEO, Design and Technology Association
Lynne Reid Banks, Author,
Margot Heller, Director, South London Gallery
Simon Bates, COO, Manifesto Digital
Sara Raybould, Director, London College of Music
Naomi Alexander, Artistic Director, Brighton People’s Theatre
Dr Helen Julia Minors, Chair, National Association for Music in Higher Education (NAMHE)