‘Show me a great school and I’ll show you a rich pulsing culture of the arts at its core’, says Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, in an article on Tes which argues for the arts to be properly recognised in school accountability measures.
He goes on to say that, ‘Teachers must continue to shout out about the liberating, humanising, intoxicating power of the arts – especially for those children with difficult backgrounds.’
In the article he talks about music, theatre, dance, drama and art being far more than “enrichment” subjects, which trivialises their importance.
The EBacc and Progress 8
He points to a recent report from the Education Policy Institute which covers a period where the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) and Progress 8 were introduced and which reports 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 per cent in 2014 to 53.5 per cent in 2016. Again, this followed an increase from 55.6 per cent in 2010.
• If the same proportion of pupils had taken at least one arts entry in 2016 as in 2014, then around 19,000 more pupils would have taken an arts subject.
• Provisional data relating to 2017 exam entries indicate that the decline is continuing.
He says that these disturbing results are due to “An accountability system that measures success chiefly on a narrow range of academic subjects, and a funding crisis that makes smaller subjects difficult to sustain” and says that teachers as a profession, must continue to shout out about the importance of the arts in our schools and “campaign for an accountability system which better recognises these subjects, argue for the resources that underpin them and do everything we can to preserve them”.
Image from Pixabay, reproduced under Creative Commons CC0
Education Policy Institute: https://epi.org.uk/report/entries-arts-subjects/