As the creative industries move into first place to be the fastest growing economic sector in the UK, responsible for 5.6% of jobs, and worth £76.9bn to the UK economy, OCR is making a plea for art, music and drama in school to be celebrated.
“Arts in school are a crucial ingredient in the making of UK’s creative life – one of the nation’s USPs. But artists, musicians, writers and actors are not born skilled,” warns Paul Steer, Head of Policy at OCR.
“Huge numbers of creative professionals can trace the igniting of their creativity back to experiences at school, whether it was encouragement from a school art teacher, acting in a play or singing a particular piece of music at school. Lily Allen, Grayson Perry and Evelyn Glennie all talk with passion of the influence a particular teacher had in inspiring them to develop their creativity and follow a creative career,” he adds.
Creative subjects are not included in the five core subject areas of the Ebacc. Marie Bessant, OCR Music specialist, said: “This generally leaves room for only one creative subject at GCSE at most.” Over the last few years numbers taking creative GCSEs have plateaued, and gone down at A Level. The 2014 Warwick Commission report documents decline going back further: ‘Between 2003 and 2013, there was a 50% drop in the GCSE numbers for design and technology, 23% for drama and 25% for other craft-related subjects’.
To support creativity at school, OCR has worked hard to make its new GCSEs and A Levels, for first teaching from September 2016, relevant and engaging. “OCR’s arts subjects know no borders,” Paul continues. “They take inspiration from the ‘best of British’ but also from the ‘greatest of global’ – from Bach to Bhangra, Purcell to Frank Lloyd Wright, Lady Gaga to the Beatles, and Jean Paul Gaultier to Willy Russell.”
GCSE Art and Design offers 64 topic choices ranging from stage design to animation, photojournalism to exhibition curation and soft furnishings to public art. Music covers composers from Bach to Lady Gaga as well as original composition and music technology. Drama offers set design and lighting, sound and costumes as well as lively set texts. Examples are ‘Blood Brothers’ by Willy Russell and ‘Missing Dan Nolan’, a true story by playwright Mark Wheeler who is working with OCR’s drama team on support materials. OCR also successfully campaigned for as much practical assessment as possible in arts subjects.
Our Art and Design, Music and Drama specialists at OCR have selected the five main reasons to study creative subjects:
Compiled by Marie Bessant, Music specialist; Karen Latto, Drama specialist ; Jane Beagrie, Art and Design