Keep a broad national curriculum for all children inclusive of the arts
There is a deadline of 14th April for us to make our views known to government about which subjects should remain part of the national curriculum. Many arts subjects are at risk. For example, no conservative MPs thought that music should remain in the national curriculum and only 1 in ten labour MPs thought it should remain. The arts should not be a luxurious add-on. They should be part of every child's basic entitlement. Music, for example, can be academically rigorous, and is also a feature of every known human culture. It has been part of the core curriculum for civilised nations over 2,000 years since the time of Plato. Removing the arts from the national curriculum will de-value them, lead to a lottery of education with individual schools choosing whether or not to provide arts education for their children. Even if you don't agree with me about the arts, we should at least let the government know what we think about which subjects should be compulsory for our schools to teach.
Leon Conrad commented
I heartily agree, but there are small glimmers of hope. Readers may be interested in hearing of a new oracy intervention called 'Speech, Sense, Style' which is currently being delivered in a primary school in Hackney, London with creative storytelling at its heart.
The Speech Sense Style approach is an integrated modern approach to teaching a liberal arts based syllabus of grammar, logic and rhetoric at primary and secondary levels, from KS2 up with storytelling at its heart.
It’s designed as a whole-school oracy intervention.
Speech, Sense, Style is designed to help students think clearly, express their thoughts clearly and eloquently and develop a sense of personal style and pride in communicating at their very best and have fun doing so.
Our premiss is that if students are expected to speak confidently and eloquently, by definition, their speech needs to make sense logically and be meaningful personally.
For the story of how it all started, see http://academyoforatory.co.uk/openb/index.php/2012/07/26/a-pragmatic-approach-to-the-cultivation-of-wisdom
We're keen to spread the word. If you can help us, get in touch!
The fact that the Dept for Education has drastically cut courses for teaching in art from next year shows how little they appreciate the importance of this subject in our culture. Very sad.
Zoe Bremer commented
I think all schools should teach English, a regional EU language, a national EU language and as many arts as are feasible. I am particular shocked to note the number of schools that no longer teach country dancing, especially in England (schools in Scotland aren't so remiss in this respect). Maths and science are very important but these are the subjects that make people cultured.
no no no i dont agree as i think that schools should go back to the old basic style of teaching and teach our kids thng like respect i do agree that music and re should be taught at schools .
Teach tghen Urdu and Indian, prob more use n the future than music or RE
Andrew Chubb commented
You can carry on this campaign by supporting the following campaign launched yesterday on 38 degrees at
We share your concerns about the marginalisation of arts from the curriculum, and our own alternative to the EBac (the Modern Baccalaureate), addresses this and other limitations of the EBac. It has been very well received by Headteachers; a pilot will start in September.
Gove: Give Bac choice to children
Through the introduction of the E-Bac, Michael Gove has dramatically altered our children’s education.
By leaving out subjects like RE, Music, Art, Drama and Technology from the new performance measure, creativity in the curriculum is being eroded, and children in many schools are being dissuaded from taking these subjects up to GCSE level. Instead, they are being strongly persuaded to take those subjects that will help schools to “look good” in the new E-Bac “league tables”. Consequently, the richness and diversity of our children’s education is now in danger of being severely compromised.
Following the work of the “Better Bac” coalition, (http://abetterbaccalaureate.org), Archbishop Sentamu Academy believes that any overarching qualification should be inclusive, aspirational and personalised. It should also prepare our children for further study and the workplace, fully equipped to take their place in society.
We have therefore launched “The Modern Baccalaureate” as an alternative to Mr. Gove’s E-Bac. Full details can be found on our web-site: www.modernbaccalaureate.com
We are inviting schools to join us in refining and developing the award over the next 12 months (see website), pending general release for September 2012.
We would also like everyone who believes the E-Bac to be a flawed concept to join us in asking the government to pause, reflect, consult with the Profession, and support the development of a more modern baccalaureate – because our children deserve better.
Proposed changes to the education of our children are still ongoing.
The Education Bill has been debated in the commons and will also be
discussed in the House of Lords. If anyone has the concerns that I have in relation to the subjects of art and music being removed from the National Curriculum I urge people to use their voice in opposition. The plans under discussion now will affect our children for years to come.
Chris Palin commented
All the Arts are life enhancing, the Visual Arts are an important part of the development of children and young people because they develop parts of the brain that factual subjects do not. These abilities are to do with creatvity and imagination. Without these capabilities mankind will not be able to overcome the massive problems which face this planet. As a post-industrial nation we need creative thinkers and "doers" to help develop new industries upon which this country desparately needs. To Mr Gove, I say DON'T SHOOT OURSELVES IN THE FOOT FOR SHORT TERM GAIN, look again at the number of businesses which need creative thinkers and designers. AND don't deprive our school children of the only subjects on the curriculum during which they can be truly be themselves, and are not dealing with hard facts which other subjects revel in.
Tania McCormack commented
An art education has to be part of a child's development. As an artist and a prospective Art teacher i strongly disagree with Gove.
viv Dawson commented
arts = creativity
we need to develop creativity
books/computers can hold information
we need to use our minds - education is not about learning
it is about using what we learn
jumping through hoops is not education
being able to examine ideas, work co-operatively, develop ourselves and make decisions are essential - the world is changing rapidly nothing is fixed - creative thinking is essential
I am very concerned at Mr Goves' changes to the National Curriculum and parfticularly the lack of arts. The UK is admired for its contribution to the arts, i.e. designers, theatre, painters etc. My daughter has been given a place to study for a PGCE in Art but the college say this year they can only
take 10 students instead of the usual 20 due to lack of funding. They appear to be dispairing over what Gove is doing.
I recently visited Kings School, Canterbury where arts are flourishing.
Do future plans mean that only the wealthy are going to have access to
education in the arts?
Helen Greenham commented
Working as a classroom music teacher I have seen over many years the essential benefits music can have on pupils. Through singing, waking up the brain, supporting those students who may struggle academically. Memory. Performance. Those who cannot see the benefit of music are existing in ignorance.
Katie Hasler commented
The National Curriculum should be broad enough to allow all students to develop their own skills and interests - and for many, this includes the arts. Losing music, and other arts subjects, from the curriculum would be a real loss to education, and would devalue the idea of inclusivity which is currently key to educational practice.
David Kilgallon commented
For most, the arts serve where words simply can't. Children are learning their language in order to communicate with others. Where the likes of dislexia impede a persons growth and generally frustrate, music and art should be firmly in place to steer them towards another path in life. I fail to see how other subjects can achieve the same effect for emotional expression and it is not a childs place to fight for this basic Human right.
Dean Taylor commented
The National Curriculum should not just be about obtaining knowledge in the core subjects of maths, science and English. Music and all the arts ensures that the student receives a broad knowledge of subjects. That is what education is all about: receiving a broad, all-encompassing raft of subjects to formulate the student. Music is a language that appeals to all persons- not just learning how to play an instrument but learning about different cultures as well. This is not achievable in a heavy timetable of science and maths and to a lesser extent, English.
I don't quite understand how this sits with the Government's policy of improving access to instruments which they floated last year. If music lessons are removed, how on earth will it improve access to instrumental teaching?!?
It is with great regret that I learn of this policy; I hope that this Government "pauses", "listens" and "reflects" on the damage that this will do.
Music is vital for creating well-rounded beings. Music in schools opens otherwise closed worlds for children brought up without exposure to it and related arts. It is a form of expression which can lead to the making of a child not necessarily achieving in other subjects, and confidence found through performance is a life-skill.
The arts are an invaluable part of our curriculum. Children need breadth in their learning so that they can each individually find their strengths and talents.
Jennie Adams commented
Music is everywhere and children need to be encouraged to explore and to have introductions to all the various types. All children sing at some time and this needs to be developed. Singing in large groups is such an experiance it must NOT be taken away from the school curriculum. Children who are seen as low achievers often thrive in the musical world and their only access is in schools.
Malgorzata Niesluchowska commented
Music is part of our life, it is a powerfull source of energy that we will need in the times of chaos, unemployment and fear that might lead to agression and violence, it is an effective way of communication between people, no matter which part of the world they come from- so we do need music education at schools especially in places like multicultured London. Music also has its therapeutical aproach and helps to fulfill unfulflled needs to keep our society on track in those challenging times.
fola Emoike commented
I believe music is a great extra-curricular subject for children.