Arts and Humanities: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th November 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Afshar Baroness Afshar Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the claim by the Secretary of State for Education that those studying solely arts and humanities subjects will be "held back" on students who are, or are considering, studying those subjects.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government wants all young people to benefit from a broad and balanced education that equips them with the knowledge, skills and character they need to thrive in modern Britain and realise their full potential. Arts and humanities subjects form part of a broad and balanced curriculum. Our expectation is that every child should experience a high quality arts and humanities education. That is why the national curriculum sets the expectation that pupils study these subjects in key stages 1 to 3.

At key stage 4, the government wants to increase the number of pupils who take GCSEs in the EBacc subjects of English, maths, science, history or geography and a language. These are the subjects that give young people the most options in their futures and will help to secure a place at university or in employment.

As the EBacc is a specific, limited measure consisting of five subject pillars and up to eight GCSEs, there is time in the curriculum for most pupils to study other valuable subjects. The proportion of pupils in state-funded schools taking at least one GCSE in an arts subject has increased since the EBacc was first introduced, rising from 46% in 2011 to 50% in 2015.

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