Mhairi Grealis, 27 January 2013

The English Baccalaureate has as it's core subjects, Maths English and the sciences.

This means that the arts are likely to be marginalised: the result of this for theatre I

posit could be:

Less young people going into the profession due to a lack of exposure to the art form

in schools.

Only the wealthy, who can afford to send their kids to weekend activities such as stage

schools and youth theatres will in the end nurture the theatre makers of tomorrow: the

result of this will be an industry that is even more elite

I hear a lot about how we shouldn't apologise for ourselves: does this policy more or

less act as a way to make us apologetic and marginalised?

The session was exceptionally quiet: one other person came. It turns out she had

worked in further education. She had noticed that the young people of today going

through higher education were very ‘box ticky’ themselves: that is, the perceived

learning as modular and ‘sound bite’ sized and relied and expected the tutors to get

them through their degree.

I suppose what this tells me is that the quality and practice of education does have a

profound effect on the adults we make. I fear we're about to disenfranchise a whole

generation from the arts and create a society that is then perhaps less empathetic and

imaginative. Creativity is not confined to the arts, but rather all disciplines advance

with creative thinking. Where are we going, then, with this education policy? Time will


I am curious as to why the session was not better attended: I wonder if, as theatre

makers, whose contact with projects does tend to be short rather than long, we are not

good at thinking of the bigger picture. Or perhaps there just isn't wide spread

knowledge of what's happening in our education system in the sector.


longevity, Longevity, Class, inclusivity, Sustainability, Inclusivity, education, Education,

class, Elitism, sustainability

Comments: 1

Ginnie Stephens, 27 January 2013

E-bacc= whack!

Would have attended this session if I could've been there. (I actually made a long and impassioned response to this report,

which promptly crashed before posting. Ho hum.) In brief:

70% of comprehensive schools have reduced or cut drama as a discrete subject altogether since the G-man's retrospective

and retrograde introduction of the Ebacc (which was alongside results publications in January 2011- PR not even linked to a

course/ qualification cycle for the people on whom it was foisted). There will simply be no legacy of adult engagement with

arts subjects if young people of average-earning families cannot even access them at a formative age within their formal

education entitlement. (Nor any specialist teachers remaining, to share and enthuse with their direct knowledge/

experience, or encourage future makers.) Numbers are very down for the arts as ‘options’ subjects already, because

parents and their children are being scared away and, in conjunction with the university fees situation, there is also less

post-16 up-take as many arts subjects are increasingly being branded as ‘non-academic’ and inappropriate as a bridge to

HE… even by the scared/ sacred leaders of the FE institutions offering the courses.

11-19 curriculum now swerves to a ‘customer is always right/ consumer’ containment mentality: it's about ‘what can you

give me, wholly-formed, that I can parrot back for top marks (or my parents’ll tell Ofsted)?', not about promoting anything

which pushes too much at parameters or causes questioning, nor self-interpretation and/or investigation. It's no coincidence

that those subjects placed at the top of the Ebacc mountain are ones which are or can be binary, contained, finite and rulesor


The framework for assessing school standards has been corrupted to the extent that only one school nationally has now

achieved the top ‘Outstanding’ category since all the parameters were moved in September 2012. Schools/ teaching/

curricula are being unceremoniously knocked down so that the Goverazzi will be able to ‘resurrect’ standards by their

implementation of crazy policies before re-shifting assessment criteria. The GCSE English cover-up last year is just one

case in point. And that's a preferred subject!

The new A-level announced this week, to commence in 2015, is going to have an even more straitening effect on post-16

arts course provision than the E-bacc at 14-16; unless you are ‘lucky’ enough to be a student at a fee-paying institution,

where there may still be time to indulge in the arts during the longer working days, smaller classes, enrichment afternoons,

and six-days-a-week scheduling.

I guess this all means that we must strive to step in the cracks more than ever/ push at those edges.