GCSEs: Creative subjects 'may vanish in state schools'

Design and technology, drama and music in danger of becoming the 'preserve' of independent schools, heads' leader warns

Catherine Lough

GCSEs 2019: Creative subjects like music, drama and design technology are in decline in state schools, one heads' leader has warned

Creative subjects such as drama, design technology and music could become the “preserve” of privately educated pupils, a heads' leader has warned.

Following a long-term decline in the number of pupils studying these subjects at GCSE, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said he feared creativity could diminish in state education.

GCSE results 2019: Four key points

News: Grades at 4 year high but stability reigns

Gender: GCSE results 2019: Boys' top grades boost disappears

The number of candidates studying design technology GCSE fell by 21.7 per cent this year to 99,659.

'Narrow' GCSE choices

“Looking at long-term trends, we’re concerned about design and technology – I think that children making things is a great thing to celebrate,” he said.

“It’s an expensive subject, and it gets more expensive with fewer children doing it. We’re seeing a decline in it now and it would be a great pity if such an important subject disappears from the state sector.”

Mr Barton said that while entries in art and design had risen this year, other creative subjects risked being limited to privately educated pupils.

“If you look at what’s happening to drama, to music and to design technology, they’re in serious decline at the moment.

“The knock-on effect of that is that those subjects could become the preserve of the independent schools.

 “And secondly, our pipeline of teachers for those subjects will get smaller and smaller as pupils do not take them on to university.”


Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

Latest stories