100,000 signatures back EBacc debate

The exclusion of creative subjects from the Department for Education’s new English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is set to be debated in the House of Commons after a petition started by a Drama teacher secured the necessary 100,000 signatures for debate.
The Parliamentary Petition, which criticises the exclusion of art, drama, music and other creative subjects has reached 100,000 signatures and is backed by the Bacc for the Future campaign to save creative subjects in secondary schools. This milestone means that the issue of the Government’s damaging new EBacc policy will be debated in the Houses of Parliament.

Richard M Wilson, a Head of Drama from Chelmsford, Essex and creator of the petition said:

‘The marginalisation and downgrading of the arts and other creative subjects in state education is a topic which demands a debate in the Houses of Parliament. When we were struggling to reach 10,000 signatures I didn't dream we would get as far as this.

The EBacc will have a dreadful impact on the arts in our schools; but the 100,000 signatures is a testament to the how much that arts and culture are loved and valued in the UK. We look forward to the debate that we have managed to secure in parliament.'

The new English Baccalaureate, or EBacc as it is known, requires pupils to study a minimum of seven GCSEs: Maths, English literature, English language, double science, a language (ancient and/or modern) and history and/or geography. If a pupil studies triple science and both history and geography, this totals nine subjects, leaving little – if any – room for creative subjects. By focussing on a narrow range of subjects at GCSE, creative industry relevant qualifications are being put at risk and forces creative subjects out of many secondary schools. This will have a knock-on effect on the creative industries, which are worth £84bn per year to the UK economy.

Deborah Annetts, co-ordinator of the Bacc for the Future campaign said:

‘A fortnight ago, we were delighted to see the Government re-state its real commitment to music and the wider cultural sector but as we know, their EBacc policy is completely at odds with this. The fact that 100,000 people have signed this petition truly shows how much the Government has underestimated how much concern there is regarding their ill thought out policy and the adverse impact it will have on creative subjects in schools.

To echo Richard, the success of the petition underscores how valued arts and culture are in our society – something that has been said by both the Chancellor George Osborne, and the Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. The forthcoming debate will be a crucial development in the fight against this damaging EBacc policy.’

To arrange an interview with Richard or Deborah, or find out more about the campaign, please contact us at francesca.treadaway@ism.org or on 020 7313 9327.