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100 Arts figures write to Teresa May

A signed letter was delivered to 10 Downing Street, Wednesday 15 March, calling on Teresa May to withdraw the EBacc.

The letter was signed by the actor Robert Lindsey, conductor Sir Simon Rattle, general secretary of NSEAD Lesley Butterworth along with many other heads of subject associations and arts schools. Arlene Phillips CBE hand delivered the letter.

The letter reads: 'The Department for Education’s proposed new English Baccalaureate is damaging the quality of the education offered to pupils in England. It is harming the uptake of non-EBacc subjects, most notably creative, artistic and technical subjects.'

In 2016, for the first time since 2012, the percentage of pupils taking at least one arts subject declined and from 2015-2016 there was an 8% decline in uptake of creative subjects (arts + D&T) ; the largest year on year decline in a decade. Teacher numbers and teaching hours are declining almost twice as fast in creative subjects (whether including D&T or not) as they are overall.

The Department for Education’s consultation on these proposals titled Implementing the English Baccalaureate closed more than a year ago and we are still awaiting a response.

As pupils in secondary schools choose their GCSE subject options, we urge you to reverse this damaging policy, respond to the consultation and withdraw the EBacc.'

'We struggle to see a link between the government’s commitment to the creative industries as a central sector for growth with an education policy (the EBacc) that creates an artificial and false hierarchy of subjects, excluding creative, artistic and technical subjects from counting towards key school accountability measures.'

'Dropping the un-evidenced and deeply damaging EBacc would come with no political or financial cost but with huge gains to the UK’s reputation as a leading creative industries player, our economy and our skills base.'

In addition to the letter hand-in, a celebration of arts and creative subjects took place earlier in the day, outside Westminster in the Old Place Yard. The event, organised by the Bacc for the Future campaign, was also attended by The Earl Clancarty and Bob and Roberta Smith.