Ofsted ‘should only give top grade to schools promoting creative subjects’

Tes is reporting that schools should only be judged “outstanding” by Ofsted if they can demonstrate excellence in creative and technical teaching, according to a new report. 

The Edge Foundation says the inspectorate needs to ensure that creative and technical subjects are given the same value as academic subjects.

The Edge Foundation report, published today, says that the growth of both creative and Stem jobs is double the average across the economy but the number of children taking GCSEs in creative and technical subjects “has fallen dramatically”.

The foundation, which promotes practical and vocational learning, has criticised the impact of the EBacc in reducing the amount of time schools spend on design and technology, art, music or drama.

The report’s author, Edge’s director of policy and research Olly Newton, said: “What our reports consistently show is that government policy is completely out of step with what industry, employers and young people themselves want and need.

“Because this urgently needs to be addressed, we are supporting the Creative Industries Federation recommendation that Ofsted should only give the ‘outstanding’ grade to schools where creative and technical subjects are held in the same esteem as their academic counterparts and invested with the same value.

“More than half of employers (60 per cent) value broader skills such as problem-solving, which the exam factory mentality imposed on schools by the league table system does not encourage.”

The report, the third in a series entitled Skills Shortages in the UK Economy, says:

  • There will be additional 119,500 creative jobs by 2024;
  • GCSE entries in creative subjects has fallen by 20 per cent (77,000) since 2010;
  • Research by the Creative Industries Federation found that 80 per cent of employers believe that skills shortages will increase in the next three to five years;
  • Two thirds (66 per cent) of employers are not confident there will be enough people available in the future with the necessary skills to fill their high-skilled jobs;

An Ofsted spokesman said: “We have often said that pupils deserve to benefit from a broad and rich curriculum, and that schools should not teach to the test.”

“We will propose new criteria for ‘outstanding’ as part of that consultation.”

Read more from the Edge Foundation report   Ofsted ‘should only give top grade to schools promoting creative subjects’

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