Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

UK's Economy and Creativity 'Will Be Stifled by the EBACC'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

UK's Economy and Creativity 'Will Be Stifled by the EBACC'

Article excerpt

Byline: Anna Davis Education Correspondent

THE new English Baccalaureate will cause long-term damage to the economy by downgrading creative subjects, shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg warned today.

The qualification will create a two-tier system, he claimed, where pupils taking arts subjects at GCSE are not valued as highly as those who take sciences.

Students of engineering and computing will also miss out, although those subjects are vital to Britain's economic development, he said.

He told the North of England Education Conference in Sheffield the EBACC will "usher in a decade of economic decline... because there is no value placed on subjects critical for our future economic competitiveness".

Education Secretary Michael Gove introduced the EBACC for pupils who pass exams in five academic subjects at the age of 16 -- English, maths, science, a language and history or geography.

But scores of culture leaders have urged him to include arts subjects in the new qualification, to recognise the work of creative pupils.

Some London theatre bosses, gallery owners, artists, musicians and dancers fear music, drama and art will be seen as second best and dropped from school timetables, ultimately affecting the cultural life of the country.

Mr Twigg said: "We're seeing creative subjects being sidelined despite the incredible value that our creative sector brings to the UK economy. Latest figures available show 15 per cent of schools have dropped one or more arts subjects since the EBACC was introduced.

"It's no wonder that Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate, has warned that 'the UK's leading edge in creativity may be lost. We cannot deprive an entire generation of children of the cultural skills that they will need.'" Mr Twigg warned that pupils who fail to pass the EBACC will get a "statement of achievement" instead, which he said will not be valued by employers or universities and "risks becoming today's equivalent of getting a CSE". …

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