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Uptake of arts subjects in UK schools last year was the 'lowest of the decade'

Laura  Barnes
Uptake of arts subjects in UK schools last year was the 'lowest of the decade'

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published a new report examining entries to arts subjects at Key Stage 4 over the past ten years.

The last decade covers a period of considerable change to school accountability measures, including the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) and of Progress 8.

EPI has found that entries to arts subjects by KS4 cohorts have declined over the past couple of years, following several years of gradual increases, with the 2016 entry rate falling to the lowest of the decade.

The proportion of pupils taking at least one arts subject declined from 57.1% in 2014 to 53.5% in 2016.
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EPI has revealed that provisional data relating to 2017 exam entries indicate that the decline is continuing.

The Incorporated Society of Music’s (ISM) Bacc for the Future campaign and been speaking out against the EBacc for some time now, warning of the danger the UK’s creative industries will face due to a decline in school children taking up creative subjects.

Henry Vann, head of external affairs at ISM, who co-ordinates the Bacc for the Future campaign, reacted to the latest EPI report.

“This is a timely, independent, rigorous and important contribution to the EBacc debate and should be read carefully by the Secretary of State for Education and all those in Government. The impartial analysis explicitly states “that the 2016 entry rates are the lowest of the decade” and highlights a further drop even in pupils taking at least one arts subject – the DfE’s favoured measure,” said Vann.

“It is highly likely that 2017’s recently published GCSE results will show a continuation in this worrying trend, and we look forward to further analysis by the Education Policy Institute once these results are available in full.

“The Government must now meet with arts campaigners, industry and unions who are united in calling on them to reconsider the EBacc in its current form.”

Find out more about ISM’s Bacc for the Future campaign here.

Tags: education , ism , bacc for the future , EBacc , EPI

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