Ebacc, where ART thou?
The English Baccalaureate or the Ebacc has been a bone of contention amongst educators for quite a while now. It’s not hard to imagine why a system that measures a school by its success in Maths, English, Science, History, Geography and languages alone has got some people’s backs up. Of course, these subjects are important in terms of industry, economy and world positioning but aren’t we missing something? What about creative arts or expressive arts? However your school refers to them, their exclusion terrifies me. Why? Because by excluding them from the Ebacc, we are consequently discouraging children to pursue these subjects failing to take into account how talented or passionate they may be.
A couple of months ago I attended a concert at my former school organised by the music department. As usual, I was blown away by the level of talent displayed by children. However one stood out to me in particular — a Year 7 boy who played The Beatles’ classic ‘Here comes the sun’ on guitar and sang along. Beatles’ fans/musicians will know that a Year 7 picking the distinctive melody to the song is pretty impressive, let alone singing along as well. His performance was met with a wholehearted round of applause from the audience, but what the majority of them don’t know is that that boy is autistic and struggles with making friends and everyday school life. For him, music is no doubt a safe haven where through a combination of natural talent and self-discipline he achieves amazing things. Therefore it is truly heartbreaking that this boy will grow up in an education system that devalues these achievements and totally disregards music as a subject.
However, music is just one of the subjects being excluded…what about Drama and Art? Shakespeare and Da Vinci must be turning in their graves. Not only do these subjects enable children to express themselves creatively and productively, which I can’t stress the importance of enough, they are also academic in their own right. Anyone who has analysed the works of Stanislavski or Bach will tell you that. It seems the Tories haven’t done their research or perhaps they have and are still deluded. Their mission to mould children into their perceived ideas of the perfect student for the sake of school league tables is in full swing.
Last week a number of MPs argued for Design Technology to be included in the Ebacc. Good on them, it’s vastly important to our increasingly technological future; but who’s sticking up for the other subjects? By failing to stand up for them we are deterring the artists, musicians and actors of the future; The people that make us laugh, the people that transfix us in a gallery or make our morning commute faster with a song. We are a nation who this year has already mourned the death of Bowie, Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne and Alan Rickman, but it’s better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all.