Year 10 students at the Derby High School urge the DfE not to steal their arts

Talents, different attributes, different dreams and in order to embrace our differences we need the freedom to choose.

As Year 10 students, this new compulsory measure will not affect us, so why should we care? We care because we strongly support the idea that culture greatly affects a nation’s status in the world; it affects the population in a way that is not comparable to anything else. Attending a school as diversely populated as The Derby High School, makes it is easy for us to understand how the Arts unite people. The Arts remain relevant no matter whom we are or what we may be destined for; it is a single language understood by people from all nations and all walks of life.

For many people the Arts are an integral part of developing the skills to grow as successful members of our society. For our peers here at The Derby, the Arts provide an innovative way to access an incredibly challenging, rigorous curriculum.

The creative sector is growing exponentially, generating over eight million pounds an hour for the British economy. Despite this growth the EBaac proposal will see our teachers prevented from educating students with more than one Arts subject which will hinder students wanting to pursue these careers. Surely, our curriculum must evolve with us. In truth, our teachers are educating us for jobs that don’t even exist yet. To that end, our education must help us prepare for the future and not stifle us with the ideals of the past.

If the government were to withhold Arts from the EBaac, the large ocean of incredibly talented British people would surely be reduced to a mere puddle. How can we fulfill our potential if we are restricted to a single option? Had I, Michal, not been Polish, I would not have qualified for the English Baccalaureate, as I would have selected an Arts subject in favour of a language, even if it meant losing the EBaac qualification. But thankfully, I was allowed to take a GCSE in Polish, which allowed me to select the subjects that I wanted without a second-thought.

Unfortunately, this path isn’t open to everyone. Our peer Theo Feeney, who features in our film, is one such example; Theo is a tremendously talented dancer and aspiring game designer. Had Theo been a few years younger his hopes and dreams of a career in the creative industry would have been seriously jeopardised had he not been allowed the opportunity to choose the curriculum, which he knew, was right for him. Are we really heading towards becoming a collectivist society where one’s intelligence is quantified by their success in the same set of compulsory subjects?

Many schools have already started to cull the Arts from the curriculum in order to introduce the EBaac measure, but at The Derby High School, Arts remain an important part of a rounded, carefully considered curriculum. And whilst we, Michal, William and Abbie, will be eligible for the EBaac, a number of our incredibly gifted peers will not. Yet, The Derby High School remains at the top of the league tables in our authority for the progress that we make.

So what is it that allows us to make this progress if we aren't all forced to study the English Baccalaureate? It is the high-standards in our school. The teachers are very thorough and take a holistic approach to teaching, ensuring that each student reaches their potential rather than just pass with a mediocre grade. Furthermore, the school encourages individuality and nurtures the development of every person rather than just seeing them as a grade-earner. Moreover, our teachers pursue every opportunity to give us truly incredible experiences – like visiting Westminster Palace. As a result of The Derby High School ethos, the students try their hardest to achieve grades that exceed expectations. Being part of this community is an honour and we wear The Derby High School emblem with pride.

By William Brockbank, Michal Napieraj and Abbie Trafford,
Year 10 students