“La La La La La, I can’t hear you”

It seems that the chattering teachers are starting to realise that there is a National Curriculum review taking place, and that subjects such as Art&Design, D&T and other so called ‘soft’ subjects might be left out. And just for once, instead of competing with each other for superiority, such subjects appear to be united in their fear of being marginalised. Sadly it’s all come a bit late, as Mr Gove has his fingers stuck firmly in his ears and is singing loudly “La La La La La, I can’t hear you”.

First though, there’s the issue of the EBac and all the media-hyped reports of schools cutting courses in the creative arts. Surely any sensible headteacher is not going to risk entering all students for the EBac subjects at the expense of reducing the number of overall GCSE A*-C passes – an ‘A’ in Art must be better than a ‘F’ in a MFL? And anyway, the EBac only consists of five subjects, so, as most students take between 8 and 10 subjects, there’s still plenty of scope for other ‘non-EBac’ subjects to flourish?

Meanwhile, controversially as ever, I suggest we should be celebrating the ‘de-acadimisation’ of subjects that are more accessible to the vast majority of students. Outside of the constraints of the National Curriculum Attainment Targets and totally ill-conceived Level Statements, teachers will once again become free to cover what is most appropriate for their students and circumstances. Then, when they’ve remembered, or come to realise, what it was like before the National Curriculum, start to take risks again and develop new more creative approaches to education in the Arts without fear of an Ofsted inspector telling them they should be following the rules all the time.

So, while it’s a shame that students who have the misfortune to be academically able will continue to be denied access to more creative, technical and vocationally-oriented courses, at least the rest will be able to gain proper credit for their talents and abilities without the need to sit and often fail the obligatory ‘written-paper’.

While I don’t want to go back to the 1950s, the 1980’s surely was a more progressive and optimistic time? Back there maybe we can at least start to pick up again where we left off…

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