GCSE results day: further decline in creative subjects

Figures released today (GCSE results day, 22 August 2019) reveal that while uptake of art and design has increased, uptake of other creative subjects is continuing to decline.

Deborah Annetts, founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign said:

‘We are delighted that the uptake of art and design has enjoyed a 9.5% increase and performing arts a 7.7% increase in uptake this year. However, when looking at the wider context, this spike is not enough to correct several years of long-term decline in uptake, nor the issues within the art and design teacher workforce and diminishing curriculum time. We are also concerned that the uptake of other creative subjects is continuing to decline, including music (-2.3%), drama (-0.5%), design & technology (-23%), media, film and TV studies (-12.9%). Overall, since 2014 there has been a 28.1% decline in the overall uptake of creative subjects* at GCSE and a 16.9% decline in creative subject entries at A-Level.

While the Schools Minister is right when saying there has been an increase in the uptake of ‘arts’, this has only been within the art and design specifications. We, therefore, would urge the government to look at creative subjects as separate entities.

We would also urge the government to look ahead to Brexit and the fourth industrial revolution. In his evidence to the Education Select Committee, Andreas Schleicher, (director for education and skills at the OECD) said, “In the fourth industrial revolution, art may become more important than maths. We often talk about soft skills as being social and emotional skills, and hard skills as being science and maths, but it might be the opposite. The science and maths might become a lot softer in the future, where the relevance of knowledge evaporates very quickly, whereas hard skills might be your curiosity, leadership, persistence, and resilience.”

More than ever we need a comprehensive education policy which will give our students what they need in a post-Brexit, digital world and that means creative subjects must be placed at the heart of a child’s education. We urge the government to rethink their failing EBacc policy, which has narrowed the curriculum and is putting creative subjects in schools at risk.’

*We define arts subjects as Art & Design, Dance, Design & Technology, Drama, Media/Film/TV Studies, Music and Performing/expressive arts.