After over 100,000 music makers and supporters signed an official Parliamentary petition asking the Department for Education (DfE) to include expressive arts in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), the proposals were debated in the House of Commons on 4 July.
Despite speeches from across the political spectrum in support of the campaign and the place of the Arts in education, the Department for Education's schools minister, Nick Gibb MP, failed to address the concerns of Bacc for the Future and the 100,000 individuals who have supported the campaign in his response to the debate. Mr Gibb also failed to acknowledge recently published figures showing a drop in arts GCSE entries resulting from this new EBacc proposal.
Since the debate a new Prime Minister and a new Education Minister (Justine Greening) have been appointed, and both may look at things afresh. As such, it's worth taking the opportunity to write to your MP directly making the case for the Arts.
Bacc for the Future has a template letter you can use, but it's even better if you write your own.
We'd suggest you emphasise the positive. Great things happen in the Arts in schools, many of them extra-curricular, but there is a strong case for those subjects having the same status as English, science, maths, humanities and languages – they support other subjects; they contribute hugely to the UK economy; there are a shortage of skills in the workforce; they suit some children who may not engage with other subjects – just for starters, and you may have your own experiences to add to this list.
As we have learnt around this and other debates in recent years, if we all push at a heavy door together, we can manage to open it. Let’s therefore keep going, for the sake of that new generation who might otherwise miss out on the joys and benefits of music.