Over the last six months or so I’ve heard from constituents who are concerned about the range of subjects included in the Government’s EBacc. Many people are worried that this performance measure may undermine the teaching of creative subjects in schools and lead to fewer pupils having the opportunity to study them.
I understand the importance of creative subjects, I studied BTEC Performing Arts myself. We also have a vibrant and thriving cultural sector with some outstanding creative organisations that I’m extremely proud of. They play a very important part in the UK’s culture, can be fundamental for the mental wellbeing of children and make a vital contribution to the economy. Therefore I know this industry needs protecting.
Amongst many things, I would like to see a broader-based process for curriculum development. We should be aiming to teach young people a range of skills and knowledge that link well to the needs of society. I also think the curriculum needs updating on other things too, such as Sex Education.
It’s vital we make sure pupils from all backgrounds have access to study creative, artistic and technical subjects such as music, art and design. At the moment I believe the Government has created a schools policy that has allowed the attainment gap between poorer children and their peers widen.
The Government published a consultation in November 2015 seeking views about its proposals on how to get at least 90% of pupils to take GCSEs in the EBacc subjects. It’s now over a year since the consultation was launched and the Government is yet respond. I appreciate it’s been a busy time but I think it’s time ministers tell us what they really think about the EBacc. I will follow this closely and await the Government’s response. I hope that the Government will reflect on the responses they have received to the EBacc consultation, and give more thought to the effects of their proposals before it is too late.