Example / template letter
If you don’t have time to write a personal letter then you can use this template to help you.
Dear [[MP name]],
I am writing because I am concerned about the disappearance of creative subjects from our schools. This decline is largely due to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), a headline accountability measure for schools in England which excludes creative subjects, and as I am both a constituent and have a keen interest in arts education I would like you to take action on my behalf.
The case against the EBacc has never been stronger. In October 2019, the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education, published their report into creativity in schools and made recommendations on what needs to be done to ensure that every child has access to a creative education. The Commission were critical of the EBacc and stated in the report that they were 'deeply concerned about the reduction of status of arts subjects following the introduction of the EBacc.' In May 2019, the Russell Group, who represent the most selective universities, 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. This development further calls into question the EBacc policy, which was based on this list of facilitating subjects.
These reports only adds to the wealth of compelling evidence from the University of Sussex, the BBC, the independent Education Policy Institute, and others that the EBacc is one of the principal causes of the decline in creative subjects in schools.
And at the same time, we know the EBacc is failing on its own terms: it is entered by just 38% of students in state-funded schools, against the Government’s target figure of 75% by 2022 and 90% by 2025.
The Department for Education’s position is that there is no decline and that the take-up of creative subjects in our schools is “broadly stable”. But according to the Department’s own figures, the fall in creative subjects at GCSE since 2014/15 is nearly 20%, even when adjusted for the declining overall number of GCSE pupils. On no basis can this be called “broadly stable”. In fact, this is a crisis.
Increasing academisation is also playing its part in the disappearance of creative subjects from our schools. This is because academies do not have to follow the National Curriculum. Therefore creative subjects, which are part of the curriculum, are being marginalised from school timetables as schools concentrate their efforts on the EBacc.
The Bacc for the Future campaign released a manifesto before the Election outlining key initiatives to improve access to and uptake of creative subjects including music, art, drama and dance, including the abolition or reformation of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). The asks included:
1. A pledge to scrap or reform the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) because for as long as creative subjects are not included within the framework of the EBacc, the arts will continue to lack parity with other areas of the curriculum. The importance given to the EBacc as an accountability measure acts as a disincentive to schools from offering creative subjects which harms the uptake by pupils.
2. The Government should ensure that all schools have a high quality curriculum offer in creative subjects, teaching them on a regular and sustained basis across the whole of Key Stages 1-3. The arts should be an entitlement for every child as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.
3. Support for higher education institutions to promote the creative, cultural and economic benefits of studying for a creative degree.
4. Greater championing of creative subjects within schools, and investment from Government in training, recruiting and retaining teachers of creative subjects.
5. Development of academic pathways from Early Years through primary and secondary school to enable smooth transition between learning a creative subject at different stages.
6. Ensure that Ofsted does not have to focus heavily on accountability measures imposed by the Government and focuses more attention on the presence of creativity and the arts within the curriculum. Ofsted inspections should prioritise the breadth and quality of creative education being offered in schools.
7. A long-term commitment to music education hub funding of at least £100m per annum for the 121 music education hubs for the next five years to support music education in England factoring in inflation and increases to teachers’ salaries/pension contributions.
8. Commission and publicise a green paper that will seek to analyse the state of creative education in secondary schools, responding to the wealth of evidence and research available, allowing individuals in creative education to feed into what the future of creative education should be.
Access to a well-rounded education and its benefits are at serious risk of becoming the preserve of the privileged few. I am asking you as my local MP to pledge to the above asks and write to the Secretary of State for Education.
Thank you for your time.