Russell Group scrap list of ‘preferred’ A-Levels amid concerns about arts

Today (Thursday 23 May) the Russell Group, which represents the most selective universities, has announced that it will no longer list “facilitating subjects”, saying that it has been “misinterpreted” by people who believe these are the only subjects that top universities will consider.

Instead the group will replace its guidance, first published eight years ago, with a new website that hopes to offer more personalised advice to students in a bid to widen access.

This is a significant development for the ISM and the Bacc for the Future campaign which has been calling for the EBacc – based on the list of Facilitating Subjects – to be scrapped.

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

‘The ISM and the wider Bacc for the Future campaign welcome the Russell Group’s decision to scrap the list of Facilitating Subjects, which we know first-hand from music departments has had a devastating effect on the uptake of creative subjects at A-level. This is particularly the case within A-level music, which, according to research by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and shown by the APPG for Music Education’s State of the Nation report, is the fastest disappearing subject in schools.

This development further calls into question the EBacc policy, which was based on the list of Facilitating Subjects. We urge the Government to look again at their EBacc policy, which is already failing on its own terms and has no place in a 21st century education.

We look forward to contributing to the beta testing phase of the Russell Group’s Informed Choices website.’