Letters extra: problems with the Artsmark award

20th July 2001 at 01:00

I applaud the long-overdue attempt to acknowledge achievement in the arts through the Artsmark scheme (TES July 6), but am dismayed by the way in which, in practice, it is implemented.

One of the key factors in raising the profile of the arts in schools is making traditionally female subjects appeal to boys. This is acknowledged in the criteria for assessment which requires schools to meet challenging targets for gender balance in options at both Key Stage 4 and post-16.

As an experienced teacher of dance and drama in mixed secondary schools I am disturbed to learn that a significant number of girls' schools have successfully achieved an Artsmark, including gold status. By virtue of being single-sex, such schools have been exempted from satisfying one of the most challenging criteria in application. This is not fair and brings into question the reliability and significances of the awards as a whole.

Liz Dale

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