A new analysis of trends in GCSE entries claims that the introduction of the EBacc performance measure has had “no discernible impact on the popularity of the arts at GCSE”.
The report by New Schools Network challenges conventional thinking that government policies are forcing subjects such as drama and music out of the classroom in favour of subjects considered more academic, by showing a small increase in the uptake of GCSE arts subjects.
The report states that the number of arts GCSEs being taken in 2015/16 was higher than in 2011/12 when the EBacc had only just been announced. It says that the average number of arts GCSEs studied by each pupil has increased by 7.4%, with 48% of students taking at least one arts GCSE in 2015/16.
Whilst this may bring some cheer to those worried about a decline in arts education in schools, figures show that arts subjects account for a relatively small number of all GCSE entries in total.
Statistics from the report are reached by removing entry data from private schools which the Network claims are not influenced by the EBacc, and by removing Design & Technology GCSE as an ‘arts’ subject.