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Computer science added to EBacc but still no arts

31 January 2013, Rhian Morgan

Arts organisations are to intensify their lobbying of the government for the inclusion of creative subjects in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) following the announcement that computer science is to be included as one of the science options which count towards the EBacc.

The change has been made following lobbying by technology companies who have been calling for a bigger role for computing in education. The Department for Education says the change is intended to reflect the 'importance of computer science to both education and the economy'.

The EBacc is currently awarded to pupils who get A* to C grades at GCSE in English, maths, sciences, history or geography and a language. From 2017, new English Baccalaureate Certificates will replace GCSEs for these subjects. There’s been extensive lobbying to add further subjects including music, the arts and religious education, with concerns that excluded subjects could be marginalised.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), called on the government to address 'the needs of the creative economy and introduce rigorous creative subjects'. Stephen Twigg, Labour's education spokesman, said 'Gove's exams still place no value on creative subjects like art, music and drama, and no value on practical subjects like engineering, design and technology and construction.'

Meanwhile, the EBacc proposals have been heavily criticised in two parliamentary debates for omitting creative subjects, while Bacc for the Future, a campaign coordinated by the ISM, was praised by the Liberal Democrat Lord Clement-Jones for bringing strong voices together to save creativity in schools by calling for a sixth pillar of creative subjects to be included.

Bacc for the Future now has more than 44,000 signatories on its petition and the support of more than 100 organisations across the cultural, industry and education sectors. The petition can be signed here: www.baccforthefuture.com/sign-the-petition.html

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