Percentage of pupils entered for at least one arts subject drops again

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 per cent in the uptake of arts subjects at GCSE this year.'
‘We cannot afford to 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.
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  • 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.