Write to your MP
How do I find my local MP?
- Find out who your local MP is by typing in your postcode in the box below.
- Write a letter about the important of creative subjects to your MP using the template letter below.
- Post or email the letter to your MP.
- Tell us if you receive a reply (email BaccfortheFuture@ism.org)
Example / template letter
If you don’t have time to write a personal letter then you can use this template to help you.
[[Your MP name]]
House of Commons
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 May 2019, the Russell Group, who represents 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.
This development is on top 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. In two recent reports, published on live music in March 2019 and the social impact of participation in culture and sport in May 2019, the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has identified the exclusion of arts subjects from the EBacc as a key concern, recommending that arts subjects be added to the EBacc. Teachers are also concerned: in a recent letter to parents, more than 7,000 members of the headteachers’ campaign group Worth Less? referred to a more restricted curricular offer as one of their main concerns around Government education policy.
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.
I would, therefore, be very grateful if you could write to the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, and ask him to do the following:
1. Undertake a thorough review of the EBacc and its negative impact on the availability of creative subjects in our maintained secondary schools.
2. Give clear guidance to all schools in the maintained sector, whether they are an academy or not, that all schools must deliver a broad and balanced curriculum which includes the creative subjects.
Thank you for your time.