A new BBC survey of over 1200 schools has found that creative arts subjects are being cut back in many secondary schools

A new BBC survey of over 1200 schools has found that creative arts subjects are being cut back in many secondary schools in England. Nine out of 10 of schools that responded said they had reduced teaching, staff or facilities in at least one creative arts subject. The increased emphasis on core academic subjects, and funding pressures were the most common reasons given.

The BBC’s education editor Branwen Jeffreys reports:

‘More than 1200 secondary schools have provided information in response to a BBC survey. It provides an up-to-date snapshot of the priority given to creative arts subjects in England. The findings suggest music, art, drama and design and technology are all being squeezed. Of the schools responding – 4 out of 10 were spending less money on facilities, more than 3 out of 10 had reduced timetabled lessons, and some also reported having fewer specialist staff. Most attributed this to an increased focus on academic subjects such as maths, English, languages, the sciences and history. Increasing the number of pupils sitting GCSEs in a core academic curriculum is a government priority. There has already been a drop in teenagers sitting exams in creative subjects. Schools told the BBC they expected that trend to continue.

Responding to the BBC’s findings, Lesley Butterworth general secretary of NSEAD said:

‘We welcome the findings of the BBC News Schools Survey as they continue to illuminate in no uncertain terms the continued and detrimental effects of current government policy on art, craft and design education alongside music, dance, drama and design technology. The broad and balanced curriculum is being cut, and cut again and with that the choices of children and young people who have the talent and aptitude to move through further and higher education the creative, cultural, digital and heritage industries.

'We must also correct the Department for Education who in response to the BBC report state: "Since 2011, the proportion of pupils in state funded schools taking at least one arts subject has increased." We note that the DfE's own report published in October 2017, confirmed that the percentage of pupils in state-funded schools entering at least one arts subject had decreased in 2017, by 1.6 percentage points, to 46.4%.

'The BBC's findings reiterate the NSEAD Survey Report 2015-16 that found a diminishing curriculum offer; dearth of subject-specific CPD and lack of value placed on art, craft and design in formal education as a result of performance and accountability measures in schools.'

30 Jan 2018