EBacc is having an effect on music in schools

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

New reports have revealed that EBacc subjects are at an all-time high as fewer pupils are taking creative subjects.  According to Schools Week, in 2017, there were 3.85 million entries for the EBacc subjects, compared to 3.54 million last year, a rise of 9 per cent. As a result of this shift, the number of non-EBacc subjects has fallen, including creative subjects like music, art and drama. The number of pupils taking music at GCSE level saw a drop, from 41,850 to 38,750 between 2016 and 2017.

Drama was down from 68,250 entries to 61,950, and art and design was down from 36,450 to 30,100. Introduced in 2010, the EBacc measures schools on the number of pupils who get a grade C or above across English, mathematics, history or geography, science and a language. A number of campaigners have argued that the absence of creative subjects within the measure will have a long-term, negative impact on the creative industries within the UK.

With the Conservatives currently seeking to create a minority government after the recent general election, the party’s stance on the EBacc measure will not please campaigners. In it’s manifesto, the Conservatives outlined the following: “We will expect 75 per cent of pupils to have been entered for the EBacc combination of GCSEs by the end of the next parliament, with 90 per cent of pupils studying this combination of academic GCSEs by 2025.”

One of those opposing the EBacc is the ISM-led campaign Bacc for the Future, which is lobbying government to rethink its decision to omit music from the English Baccalaureate qualification. Earlier this year, over 100 creative industry figures signed the Bacc for the Future petition, which was handed to Number 10 Downing Street, calling on Theresa May to reverse the policy and withdraw the EBacc as pupils in secondary schools gear up to choosing their GCSE subject options.

Commenting on the latest EBacc figures, a spokesperson from Bacc for the Future said: “These new figures confirm that the EBacc is having a devastating effect on the uptake of creative subjects at GCSE and A Level. “This evidence, on top of research published by the University of Sussex identifying the negative impact the EBacc is specifically as having on the provision of and uptake of music in schools, needs urgent attention from the Government.

“The Secretary of State must listen to the evidence and the teachers on the front line and scrap the EBacc in its current form before any more damage is done.”


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