Help save the arts

(36 Posts)
plymouthmaid Sat 10-Nov-12 18:18:35

I wonder if you can help. The government is intending to restructure the education system at Key Stage 4 and introduce the English Baccalaureate. The proposed reform sees all creative subjects removed from the curriculum, I feel that this has huge and far reaching consequences for many of our young people and will have a massive impact on the cultural life of the country.If you feel that these reforms are wrong could you please spare 2 minutes and sign the petition asking the govenment to rethink these proposals.


chloe74 Sat 10-Nov-12 19:30:35

I think you are mistaken, art subjects aren't being removed from the curriculum. The EBacc subjects are going to be preferred but optional subjects to try and reverse the decline of our education system. Arts subject will still be available as they always have. Looks like a big improvement to the degraded GCSE system we have now.

Kez100 Sat 10-Nov-12 20:38:57

While I agree that including an Art at GCSE creates a more well rounded education, it does not suit every student to have to do one and they should not have to. I recall being made to do and Art at school (where I scored CSE 2) when I really wanted to study Chemistry (where I was certainly capable of a good O Level standard).

Ebacc isn't perfect, RE ought to be a humanity in my view and there should be an exception for some SEN from having to do a MFL, but the system covers 6 GCSEs and there are plenty more opportunities available (most do 9 or 10 subjects) to include an Art of some sort.

Certainly Arts will still be on the curriculum although not as many may choose them - that is a possibility.

chloe74 Sat 10-Nov-12 23:01:30

I agree as well, that if you have an aptitude, Art GCSE can add to the talents of some children but its no substitute for getting a decent education.

Ebacc hasn't started so its still early to judge whether or not its 'perfect' but I think we all agree the GCSE format needed changed.

What will be critical in its success is if politicians hold their nerve and don't give in to cries to dilute the focus of the EBacc on academic excellence. If you start including life style choices in the core like, RE, citizenship, domestic science etc, you will end up with another discredited exam system.

The five areas chosen should give most kids a decent education and they have plenty of room to fit all their other choices in around that. Remember the EBacc isn't compulsory although I certainly think it should be.

Kez100 Sun 11-Nov-12 05:35:39

RE should not be ranked alongside citizenship and domestic science.

Kez100 Sun 11-Nov-12 05:42:22

Ebacc shouldn't be compulsory because not everyone can access all subjects. MFL for example can be excrutiatingly frustrating for some (my severly dyslexic son, for example).

Arts cover such a wide range and can really add to a useful education. How many academic children are painfully shy? Drama might help them a great deal and actually be one of the most important for real life use if it allows them to come out of their shell. Music is a wonderful art too. But all these are child-specific, so it is more understandable that they are not ebacced.

chloe74 Sun 11-Nov-12 12:21:20

RE is one of those areas you have to study to tick the PC box, very similar to citizenship and domestic science etc its not an academic subject, you cant be seriously suggesting it ranks alongside Maths, Physics, History etc. Your missing the point that the EBAcc is for academic subjects.

I wouldn't make the EBacc compulsory for SEN and I guess dyslexia might fall into that area depending on how severe it is. It could be that teachers are not providing him with enough support and using it as an excuse.... But I stick with the belief that everybody should learn a MFL (from primary), its a global world out there.

Having a compulsory EBacc wouldn't affect a shy pupil, they could still do Drama.

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 11-Nov-12 12:25:37

RE is exactly like History - you need factual knowledge and the ability to construct well-argued discursive pieces. And what on earth is "Domestic Science"?

Kez100 Sun 11-Nov-12 12:37:53

Yes, I am suggesting RE ranks alongside other academic subjects. Indeed, Cambridge University in their Subject Matters document say :

Are you inclined towards the arts or social sciences?
If you think you would like to study an arts or social sciences course at university but you are not sure
which one, then English Literature†, History, languages and Mathematics are good ‘keystone’
subjects: choosing one or more of these will provide a good foundation for your subject combination.
Other good choices to combine these subjects with include: an additional language, Ancient History,
Classical Civilisation, Economics, Further Mathematics‡, Geography, Philosophy, Religious
Studies and sciences (Biology, Chemistry or Physics).

chloe74 Sun 11-Nov-12 13:43:23

Religious Studies looks at the supernatural beliefs and rituals of various cultures, sects and countries. It does not teach the truth behind these beliefs, unlike a factual subject like History which teaches how to use evidence to uncover truths. Construction of a good argument/essay/thesis will be taught in the English EBacc . The history of Christianity can be taught in the History EBacc just like Greek/Roman/Norse mythology. A teacher explained to me that RE is to promote tolerance between children who have parents with different beliefs. It would destroy the academic EBacc to include the easy option of a non academic subject like RE and we might as well keep the GCSE system.

Domestic Science is what used ti be called cookery, but it has a PC name now.

If your excerpt from Cambridge University about about Arts courses is correct then it confirms my point ie RE is not included as one of their good keystone subjects. It can still be studied but should not be in the core.

I'm head of RE in a comprehensive school.

I promise you, RE is an academic subject...

And it isn't an easy option.

One final thing; if it's not an academic subject what does that say about my degree from Cambridge then?!

Kez100 Sun 11-Nov-12 13:51:39

I'm sorry, you did not say that. You said :

RE is one of those areas you have to study to tick the PC box, very similar to citizenship and domestic science etc its not an academic subject, you cant be seriously suggesting it ranks alongside Maths, Physics, History etc. Your missing the point that the EBAcc is for academic subjects.

You are wrong. RE is an academic subject and it is not very similar to citizenship and donestic science.

chloe74 Sun 11-Nov-12 15:03:44

I am sure every teacher wants their subject area to be considered as crucial as Maths, English or Science and in some ways to some children they might be. But they are not all equally important to the majority of children and their education, otherwise we would not be having this discussion.

That does not mean a degree in any subject from Cambridge is easy. At Cambridge theoretical physics or medicine are far harder that drama, Re, or welsh.

The EBacc is meant to be the core academic subjects that every child should learn. RE, Art, Cookery will be important to some but they are not needed for all to gain a good education and that is why they haven't been included in the EBacc. It makes complete sense.

If RE wasn't compulsory at KS3 then I cant imagine many children would waste an exam slot on it.

Kez100 Sun 11-Nov-12 15:14:10

If RE wasn't compulsory at KS3 then I cant imagine many children would waste an exam slot on it.

You may think that, but then you are mis-informed because you think it is not an academic subject. I would like it included in the Ebacc as a humanity, for those informed children who did want to choose it.

chloe74 Sun 11-Nov-12 15:25:41

Kez, you are conflicting children's beliefs with the beliefs parents project onto them. In this case my information comes from the department of Education, who have decided RE is not an academic subject worthy of the EBacc, making your opinion misinformed.

MrsCantSayAnything Sun 11-Nov-12 15:29:52

As long as children have the option to do say, English, Art and Drama then what's the problem?

Kez100 Sun 11-Nov-12 15:38:19

That is what this thread is all about. Opinion on how the Government have got the Ebacc wrong or not.

Some think the Arts should be included (I don't and you don't)
Some think RE should be included (I do and you don't)

The fact you disagree with the latter and agree with the DFE is perfectly fine as that is your own personal opinion.

However, you also validate your opinion, by saying that is because RE is not an academic subject and is similar to citizenship and domestic science and that is what is wrong.

titchy Sun 11-Nov-12 15:45:15

Religious studies IS on cambridge's list of 'hard' rather than 'soft' subjects. It is most definitely academic. RE isn't on the current EBacc list because it is compulsory to study it anyway.

In any case the EBacc will be replaced in a couple of years by the EBC.

exexpat Sun 11-Nov-12 15:56:17

If the Ebacc means that schools drop everything else except the core subjects to concentrate on getting as many children as possible through the Ebacc, then yes, that is bad news for all non-core subjects, whether art, drama, RE, DT etc.

And given recent history with Sats and so on, there is a strong possibility that schools will do precisely that, as no doubt Ebacc scores will be what league tables and Ofsted judgements are based on. But I don't think that means that everyone should be forced to do an arty or practical subject as part of the Ebacc.

DS is 14 and is doing 10 GCSEs. He will probably get As/A*s in all of them. If he had to do art or DT he would be lucky to scrape a C - he is mildly dyspraxic, hated art and DT, and gave them up as soon as possible. They are also completely irrelevant to anything he would ever do in future. I would have hated being forced to do art, music or drama too - I have 10 O-levels, not including any of those subjects, but I help run an art museum, and go to concerts and theatres.

Most people I know who ended up working as actors didn't do any formal drama qualifications at school, and none of the musicians did music O-level - they were too busy doing grades in various instruments and music theory, and getting involved in local orchestras.

I thought the point of Ebacc (if it really has one - I think it's another one of Gove's ideas that hasn't been at all thought through) was to get all children to do a handful of core subjects which are essential for modern life and any further study? So obviously Maths and English, I would say also science, and after that it becomes debatable. It really doesn't help if every subject group now starts lobbying not to be left out - you'll end up with 10 compulsory subjects for everyone, and no flexibility to cater for individual strengths and interests.

chloe74 Sun 11-Nov-12 16:03:12

An opinion cannot by definition be wrong, therefore my opinion that Religious Studies is not as academic as other subjects is valid. I accept your opinion disagrees with this, so we will agree to disagree and leave it with saying that I think the government have probably got it right.

Domestic Science involves as much study about the nutrition of food as it does the cooking of it. So why is that not academic when you claim RE is? Citizenship involves the study and history of politics, so why is that not academic when you claim RE is?

Also if you include RE and Art in the EBAcc then why not also PSHE, PE, Music, DT, Resistant Materials etc. Why even bother with the EBacc and just keep the GCSE system?

EvilTwins Sun 11-Nov-12 16:24:57

I teach Drama and do worry that students who love Drama and would like to take it as a GCSE subject will be discouraged from doing so. Give is an idiot- schooling should be about far more than getting kids through Maths qualifications. However, as it stands, the new EBCs are going to be in a few subjects only, and unless schools are planning to teach a very limited curriculum then I would be surprised if The Arts disappeared completely. EBacc came in a couple of years ago, and most schools made a conscious choice when setting options for the current Year 10 to ensure that EBacc figures would be good next year. I have double the number of Year 10s this year than last year. Whilst I think it is important that an eye is kept on this (and I think a number of prominent directors, artists, musicians etc are campaigning) I don't think there is much need to worry.

As for RE- I think it should be in there with History & Geography, TBH. And WTF is Domestic Science? I believe the term you're looking for is Food Technology. It does bug me when people rant on the education boards and claim to be experts when they make such basic errors.

EvilTwins Sun 11-Nov-12 16:25:53

Dammit. Gove is an idiot, not give. Stupid autocorrect.

Kez100 Sun 11-Nov-12 16:28:42

Domestic Science involves as much study about the nutrition of food as it does the cooking of it. So why is that not academic when you claim RE is? Citizenship involves the study and history of politics, so why is that not academic when you claim RE is?

Its not just me that claims that RE is academic whereas the others are not. I think we can assume Cambridge University (and others) know which are rigorous academic subjects and which are not.

Also if you include RE and Art in the EBAcc then why not also PSHE, PE, Music, DT, Resistant Materials etc.

I include RE because it is an academically rigorous humanity and humanities are in the Ebacc. I don't want it in the Ebacc as a stand alone requirement, I want it included as a valid humanity choice. I do not include the other subjects you mention because Arts and Sport are not in the Ebacc and I see no reason for them to be included.

chloe74 Sun 11-Nov-12 17:30:50

Whether or not RE is hard or soft as a Cambridge degree has no bearing on the GCSE exam. On these boards you read all the time about kids needing help with certain areas, its never about help with RE. Its only a straw poll but it does show where priorities are.

I would suggest that there would be an argument for dropping Humanities from the EBacc, and if you added to it then philosophy would be a much worthier subject than RE which is already compulsory. Certainly I wont be wasting one of my child's exam options on it.

The EBacc is only 5 subject areas to help kids learn the necessary skills for adulthood. All the other soft subjects like Drama can still be studied. I thank Gove for bringing back a decent education system just in time for my child.

EvilTwins Sun 11-Nov-12 17:51:58


Really? You think Gove has "brought back a decent education system"?

See my previous comment about people making basic errors.

titchy Sun 11-Nov-12 17:54:51

EBacc is 6 GCSEs (science is double), it also won't exist in four years, so dont waste any energies trying to change it op. EBC is being consulted on now so if anyone has strong feelings on whether RE should be included as one if the humanities options, or whether an arts subject should also be in there make your views known to the Dfe.
(The reference to Cambridge lists of hard or soft subjects is in relation to A levels not degrees by the way.)

Kez100 Sun 11-Nov-12 18:05:41

Thank you Titchy - I will do

If you read the national curriculum you will realise that there are 4 core subjects:

English, maths, science and RE

It's not me wishing it had the same importance. It does have the same importance.

chloe74 Sun 11-Nov-12 18:51:16

After all these posts I still don't get why anyone is campaigning to save Arts subjects when no one is stopping them from doing Arts subjects ... The new EBC subjects which will lead to the EBacc in 2017 are only the voluntary core of an attempt to improve the decline in our education system. I predict schools and pupils will flock to these new exams once they have started, people will vote with their feet.

EvilTwins Sun 11-Nov-12 20:27:13

chloe- EBC and EBacc are two different things. Neither, IMO, have been thought through. EBacc currently means that students have sat current GCSEs in certain subjects. It means nothing to the students, but is a measure by which to judge schools, which was applied retrospectively. EBCs are examined courses, dreamt up by Gove, and due to start in a couple of years. Given the lack of details available about EBCs (probably because Gove hasn't made them up yet) no one is in a position to comment about them.

prh47bridge Sun 11-Nov-12 21:21:37

I think it is Titchy who (wrongly) thinks EBC will replace EBacc, not Chloe.

I would put a slightly different slant on it from EvilTwins.

The purpose of EBacc is to discourage schools from boosting their league table position by entering students for subjects regarded as easy options. If you find that a school has a high number of students achieving good grades in GCSEs but none of them get the EBacc that tells you something about the education offered by that school.

The proposals for EBCs are currently undergoing consultation. You can find the consultation document here. The details are, of course, not finalised otherwise a consultation would be pointless. However, plenty of people seem to feel able to comment!

chloe74 Mon 12-Nov-12 00:46:08

I am pretty sure I have it the right way around, the Ebacc is like an award to those students who have good GCSE passes in 5 core subject areas. It is also going to be used to rank schools in league tables, similar to the current system of 5 GCSE's A* to C. It was applied retrospectively to get a base line from schools and prevented them from fudging outcomes. As prh47bridge says it should stop schools entering students into soft subjects like 'equivalents' to boost their standing in the tables. Sounds pretty good so far.

The EBC's are essentially an overhauling of the 5 core subject areas to produce a more rigorous academic curriculum and they will replace the GCSE's needed to get the EBAcc. A logical progression.

I have read most of the consultation and it all sounds a pretty good improvement to the current devalued system we have now.

Pupils will still be free to choose arts and drama courses to complement these, indeed the EBacc isn't even compulsory. It even sounds like less able kids will be given until 17/18 to get a good pass in English/Math. I cant see any down side.

Instead of saying this is a bad idea, perhaps someone could explain what exactly is bad about it as all I can see is improvements.

EvilTwins Mon 12-Nov-12 07:14:40

My main problems with it are:
1. Not enough information has been released- possibly because Gove hasn't made it all up yet- will new EBCs run alongside existing GCSE/BTEC qualifications or will EBCs replace all other qualifications? If the latter, then when will this be addressed? If the former, then this isn't an overhaul of the whole system at all.
2. The pass/fail nature of EBCs. What about those who fail? There has been talk of kids being allowed to leave education with nothing. How is that a good thing?

cory Wed 14-Nov-12 12:30:22

If it will be running alongside other subjects, then it will not be very different from the current state in many secondaries these days where the number of compulsory subjects heavily outweighs the options. In dc's school, there are only 2 optional subjects: everybody has to take maths, science, double English, one MFL, RS, one Tech, and a BTech in PE (think I may have left something out here). This has not meant the demise of arts subjects, as plenty of students take those as options. But noone is allowed to fill their entire timetable with less academic options.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now