Government Responds to EBacc Consultation
On 19th July, the Government published its long-awaited response to the EBacc consultation, restating its aim that a ‘vast majority’ of pupils should study the subjects within the EBacc.
Although the targets have been lowered from 90% of pupils by 2020, to 75% by 2022, strong concerns remain about further erosion of arts subjects offered at GCSE.
Our teacher members and the young people we speak to, tell us of the reductions in hours available to dance teaching and how ‘academically gifted’ pupils are strongly encouraged to focus only on EBacc subjects, by channelling them into the EBacc routes, which exclude or limit access to non-EBacc subjects including dance.
At a time when teenagers are at greater risk of suffering metal health problems and there is evidence to suggest that dance and creative arts can have positive effects on mental, as well as physical health, it is particularly concerning that these subjects are not valued as they should be.
The Government does state that it “…is committed to ensuring that all students have access to a broad and balanced curriculum, and schools have a duty to provide this…We intend to continue to work with schools to share effective ways of offering choice to pupils.” We would welcome more information about this area of work and how One Dance UK can support schools to offer choice.
The Government’s response comes just a few weeks after Ofsted’s Chief Inspector called for a greater focus on a ‘broad and rich curriculum’ and a move away from focusing on the data and instead looking at the ‘substance of education’.
Meanwhile, the teaching unions ASCL, NAHT and NUT have also voiced their concerns that the EBacc measure is staying, even with its reduced targets. With Geoff Barton, General Secretary of ASCL stating: “It helps neither students, parents, teachers, nor school leaders. In our view, and in line with the Chief Inspector of Schools, schools should provide a curriculum with an academically rigorous core for all, plus broader opportunities in the arts and sport.”