According to official statistics, published by exam watchdog Ofqual, the number of Art and Design GCSE entries has fallen this year.
Ofqual’s provisional GCSE figures show a 5.5 per cent drop in art and design entries. This is very significant as 2016 represents the first cohort to complete their key stage 4 phase of learning under the coalition and now conservative governments.
For art and design in 2015 there were 182,570 entries, this year the figure has fallen to 172,550, a drop of 10,020 entries.
A-level GCE art and design has also see a fall: 4 per cent between 2015-16; this compares to a 0 per cent change in 2014-15 and a 2 per cent fall in 2013-14.
The total number of GCSE entries in all subjects this year has grown by 0.3 per cent, but over the same period, exam entries for arts subjects overall have fallen by 8 per cent.
The figures show that the top five subjects in terms of the biggest increase in take up are subjects contained in the EBacc. However two Ebacc subjects, English literature and French, have declines.
Between 2015 and 2016 the number of candidates for science subjects grew by 105,000, and for history and geography by 33,000.
The findings and drop in entries confirm NSEAD’s Survey Report 2015-16, which indicated a reduction in time, choice and provision for art, craft and design across all learning phases.
When the DfE responded to the Society’s survey findings the TES reported that the DfE said: “The myth that our focus on the core academic subjects is having a negative impact on take-up of the arts was disproven by this summer’s GCSE results – the number of entries in art and design and music subjects are up by 4 per cent since last year.”
These provisional figures, together with the sharp fall in creative, craft and design vocational completions, evidence the impact of government policies on the take up of art subjects in schools.