DCMS Committee report calls for review of the EBacc amidst talent pipeline concerns

'On Tuesday 19 March, the DCMS Committee published its report into live music in the UK. The report recognises that the UK’s live music scene is under threat by a number of factors including ticket resale sites, music venues across the country closing down and the cuts to music education - amidst the uncertainty of Brexit.

The report calls for music and arts subjects to be included in the list of approved EBacc subjects. The predecessor Committee recommended in its 2013 report on ‘Supporting the creative economy’ that arts be included in the list of approved EBacc subjects. According to the Committee, the concerns heard during this inquiry ‘suggest the need is no less pressing now’.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and Founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign said:

'We welcome this timely report into live music from the DCMS Committee, which echoes our concerns and the concerns of the entire industry in relation to the vulnerability of music venues, the EBacc and its impact on the talent pipeline and the threat of Brexit on the music industry. The ISM submitted evidence last year to the Committee and it is great to see our concerns have been referenced.

As it stands, the EBacc policy is failing on its own terms – despite the Government’s EBacc uptake target of 75% (rising to 90% by 2025), the rate of take up has plateaued at 38% since 2014. And this is at a great cost to music education in schools, as this report and research from the University of Sussex (which the report makes reference to), BBC, Education Policy Institute and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education’s State of the Nation report shows. If the EBacc is not to be abolished, despite the evidence against it, then the addition of a sixth pillar for arts subjects would go some way in ensuring all students benefit from a creative education, as the report recommends.

We need an education system that addresses the forthcoming challenges of Brexit and the fourth industrial revolution. We call on the Secretary of State, Damian Hinds to take a fresh look at the EBacc and conduct an urgent review.

We also welcome calls to ensure improved processes are in place within Music Education Hubs to monitor performance. Recommendation 10 in the State of the Nation report calls for the metrics for measuring the work delivered in response to the National Plan for Music Education to be revised to go beyond ‘levels of activity’ reported through the current narrow set of metrics.

We also welcome the report’s support for the introduction of an EU-wide touring visa. As our report Musicians and Brexit showed, an end to freedom of movement will have a major negative impact on the music industry, with a third of musicians relying on work in the EU27 for at least half their income. If freedom of movement is to end, the Government must ensure that free movement rights are maintained for musicians, or introduce a two-year multi-entry visa for British musicians working in the EU27.’