Number of pupils taking arts subjects at GCSE falls to lowest level in a decade, report finds
The number of pupils taking arts subjects at GCSE has fallen to the lowest level in a decade, as schools encourage bright students to shun “soft” subjects. The uptake of arts subjects has seen a drastic decline in recent years, according to an analysis by the Education Policy Institute (EPI). Their report analyses the uptake of GCSEs in arts subjects - including art and design, drama and theatre, music, dance, and performing arts – over the past ten years. Researchers from the EPI examined the impact of the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) on subject choice, which was introduced by ministers in 2010 to counter the “dumbing down” of GCSE choices and promote “core” subjects. It measures
the percentage of students in a school who achieve five or more A*-C grades in English, mathematics, two sciences, a foreign language and history or geography at GCSE. But critics say this has led to a decline in arts subjects, as teachers encourage bright students to enter for the Ebacc to boost the school's performance rating. “Before 2013, pupils with high prior attainment were more likely than those with medium or low prior attainment to enter at least one arts subject,” the report found.