Artists condemn exclusion of arts subjects from English baccalaureate

The Guardian is reporting that more than 100 of the UK’s leading artists have joined forces to condemn the exclusion of arts subjects from the new English baccalaureate, warning it will seriously damage the futures of many young people.

Artists including Tracey Emin, Rachel Whiteread, Phyllida Barlow, Anish Kapoor, Jeremy Deller and Antony Gormley have signed a letter, published by the Guardian, calling on the government to rethink a key secondary school policy introduced by the former education secretary Michael Gove.

The letter says there is compelling evidence that the study of creative subjects is in decline in state schools and that entries to arts subjects have fallen to their lowest level in a decade.

A consequence of this is that it places one of our largest and most successful global industries at risk, one worth £92bn a year to the UK economy. That is bigger than oil, gas, life sciences, automotive and aeronautics combined.” the letter says.

Jeremy Deller called the Ebacc “a huge mistake”, adding: “Thinking creatively is what is going to get Britain through a lot of the challenges of the next 10-20 years and that’s exactly what the arts do, they free up the mind.”

Kapoor said it showed the UK was being “led by a bunch of halfwits, at best”.

He said: “The fact that we enslave our young people as fodder, and educate them as fodder for this monument to capitalism is outrageous. In older times, and not so long ago, an education meant an education in the arts and music and the classics. Have we so lost our sense of what it means to be civilised that all we care about are subjects directed to the economy. What’s wrong with us?”

The Ebacc performance measure makes the sciences, English language and literature, maths, a language and geography or history compulsory for secondary school pupils. Critics say that this has narrowed access to art or dance or music or drama as schools concentrate on core subjects.

Read the full article Artists condemn exclusion of arts subjects from English baccalaureate

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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