Petition signed by over 100,000 led to parliamentary debate
The parliamentary debate on the EBacc on Monday 4 July could easily have been lost amongst the current political drama currently dominating everyone’s thoughts and newsfeeds. However the combined efforts of the creative education sector meant that at one point #EBACCDebate was trending on Twitter.
The threat of creative subjects being excluded from schools is already becoming a reality - there are anecdotal stories aplenty about schools already limiting choices for our young people. If creative subjects are not part of the EBacc performance measure - teacher training will not be resourced and the opportunity to inspire creativity in our children will be lost.
It is this that united the creative education sector and provided opportunity for passionate speeches from minsters - Catherine McKinnell (Labour, Newcastle North), Kerry McCarthy (Labour, Bristol East), Jonathan Reynolds (Labour, Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley, Longdendale & Dukinfield) and David Lammy MP (Labour, Tottenham) who all presented powerful arguments about the role for the arts in our society. With many stressing how access to the arts is critical for some of our most disadvantaged young people.
However, even when faced with the Creative Industries new strategy and its jaw-dropping statistics on the value they add to the economy and how many jobs they create, there was little sense that government was convinced.
Education Minister, Nick Gibb insisted the curriculum left sufficient space for creative subjects. But there is clear evidence to the decline in uptake across all creative subjects – reinforced in our own Studying Craft 3 report (published this September) - it isn’t working that way and will only worsen.
So the battle continues. We must continue to work across all of the creative subjects to present a united voice. We must convince parents that the arts are a valuable experience for young people that can lead to rich lives in all senses. And we must present a credible proposal that our teachers and schools can deliver confidently.
Nicky Dewar is Head of Learning & Talent Development at the Crafts Council