Education secretary Nicky Morgan has said that she does not believe education can be complete unless it includes the arts.
“I firmly reject any suggestion that I or this government think that arts subjects are in any way less important or less worthy than other subjects for study in school,” she said today.
“On the contrary, a young person’s education cannot be complete unless it includes the arts.”
Ms Morgan was addressing representatives of the Creative Industries Federation at the Roundhouse in London this morning.
She hit back at claims that the government has downgraded the teaching of arts in schools, saying that cultural education is a matter of “social justice”.
The government has been under attack for excluding creative-arts subjects from the list of core subjects that must be studied at GCSE, under the English Baccalaureate system.
At the talk this morning, members of the creative industries expressed concern that this would lead to the arts being marginalised in schools.
But Ms Morgan said: “If you were to force me to identify one thing that would leave a child’s understanding of Britishness incomplete, it would be an appreciation of the vast cultural contribution that our nation has made to the wider world…
“I want every single young person to have the opportunity to discover how the arts can enrich their lives as well. I believe access to cultural education is a matter of social justice.”
When TES tweeted these statements, however, they met with disbelief and derision from teachers. Here are a few examples of the responses:
@tes Then why is drama an opitional subject on the baccalaureate?— Joseph Dunne (@MemoryDetritus) July 16, 2015
@tes Despite everything the Tories have done to savage the Arts.— Nick Barber (@efsb) July 16, 2015