A letter to the Prime Minister

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Many of you will know that the MIA has been a long-time supporter and signatory in the “Bacc for the Future” campaign. This is fighting against the English Baccalaureate that is eroding music in our schools.

The campaign has now reached a peak with the letter below being handed to the Prime Minister yesterday.

Dear Prime Minister,

The harmful impact of the English Baccalaureate

The Department for Education’s proposed new English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is damaging the quality of the education offered to pupils in England. It is harming the uptake of non-EBacc subjects, most notably creative, artistic and technical subjects.

In 2016, for the first time since 2012, the percentage of pupils taking at least one arts subject declined[i] and from 2015-2016 there was an 8% decline in uptake of creative subjects (arts + D&T)[ii]; the largest year on year decline in a decade. Teacher numbers and teaching hours are declining almost twice as fast in creative subjects (whether including D&T or not) as they are overall.[iii]

The Department for Education’s consultation on these proposals titled Implementing the English Baccalaureate closed more than a year ago and we are still awaiting a response.

As pupils in secondary schools choose their GCSE subject options, we urge you to reverse this damaging policy, respond to the consultation and withdraw the EBacc.

According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) the creative industries are the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, worth £87.4bn a year to the UK economy, and the creative economy as a whole accounts for one in 11 jobs. You recognise this in your commitment to setting an industrial strategy, outlined on Monday 23 January 2017, which puts the creative sector at its heart.

But we struggle to see a link between the Government’s commitment to the creative industries as a central sector for growth with an education policy (the EBacc) which creates an artificial and false hierarchy of subjects, excluding creative, artistic and technical subjects from counting towards key school accountability measures.

With the UK now repositioning itself on the world’s stage, the EBacc is no longer relevant; and dropping the un-evidenced and deeply damaging EBacc would come with no political or financial cost but with huge gains to the UK’s reputation as a leading creative industries player, our economy and our skills base.

The Bacc for the Future movement represents more than 200 organisations working as investors, educators and creative organisations and more than 100,000 individuals. We urge you to listen to the head teachers, businesses, organisations and creators who oppose this policy. This includes the Royal Institute of British Architects, BRIT School, Design Council, Music Industries Association, and Creative Industries Federation. We place a high value on the creative industries.

We urge you to publish the consultation response without delay and look forward to your announcement that the government has listened and is reversing the EBacc policy.

Yours…

The Bacc for the Future campaign signatutories

[1] Department for Education, 13 October 2016

[1] Cultural Learning Alliance, 25 August 2016

[1] School workforce statistics, Department for Education