Friday, 25 January 2013

Ebacc To The Future

The introduction of the Ebacc is a worry. It might have been a long time since I donned a hideous school tie (purple, turquoise and grey striped if anyone’s wondering) and dragged my Kickered heels down the corridor to double Chemistry but that doesn’t mean that hearing changes in the system doesn’t sadden me. 

The Ebacc will mean that pupils’ achievements will be recognised in five core subjects: Maths, English, Science, Humanities and Languages. All very serious and worthy subjects and I have no argument with them being there  but where the bloody hell are the creative subjects? What happens if your skills lie in drama or art or music? Once you've dealt with the sheer panic from your parents that you'll be dependant on them for the rest of forever, there's a serious question about what's going to happen to you during school. Instead or nurturing those that have an eye for design or have a knack for acting the fool on stage, the curriculum will now edge those bright minds out and just reward them for the subjects that yes, make you seem smart but leave you with very little skills for the outside world.

I was decently bright at school but it will come as no surprise that drama soon became my favourite subject. I’m quite a shy thing really and, without drama classes, I’m not sure I’d ever have learnt that doing a funny voice in front of people was actually quite fun and something that I wasn’t half bad at. The first time I got up in front of my classmates and made them laugh, I was hooked. It's all very well getting 10 out of 10 in a test about different types of precipitation but it's another thing being applauded on your interpretation of Orinoco Flow (horribily true story that I've only just remembered.) Even if I hadn’t decided to chuck my prospects of ever having a healthy bank balance away, drama taught me to be more confident and creative. I wish I had a better way of putting this without sounding as twee as a box of rose-covered kittens but it gave me a voice that didn’t have to be grounded in fact. It gave me the confidence to express my opinions without having to study a million and one formulas first. I could see something and say how it moved me, what it made me feel and I didn’t have to work out what the bloody equation was or where it fell on a periodic table.

When schools are forced to concentrate on these core subjects, it won’t be long until the creative subjects are phased out and consigned to the extra-curricular box. But when will children have time to do these things out of school? And, even if there is the time, not all parents can afford the cost of sending them to drama classes or piano lessons. Schools are supposed to be there to open up children’s minds to all the possibilities that lay before them but it won’t be long before that creativity is stamped out.  

So please, if a creative subject helped you out when you were at school, please sign the petition to save the future of creativity in our schools. It’s really easy and, if you feel so inclined, you can also write to your MP. Knowing stuff is important but having the opportunity to be creative is even more vital. You can sign the petition here:


  1. Hi,

    I'm new to your blog and really enjoy it (not to mention, as an agentless, unemployed actor doing I job don't enjoy, empathize - but I digress).

    I have to disagree with the views in support of drama's inclusion into the EBacc. My reason: it's not a core subject. I'm not at all up to par with what the plans are for arts subjects if/when the EBacc is introduced, but I'd like to think that schools will understand (surely they do already?) the value of a broad curriculum when marketing themselves.

    Also, I remember back to studying drama during my own high school days and how it was either, when compulsory, hardly taken seriously or, when optional, a refuge for the academically destitute sprinkled with the odd devotee.It was only when I arrived at university that I was exposed properly to people who were as passionate about the craft as I wanted to be.

    Outside of school, there's no shortage of opportunities for young people to get involved in theatre should they want to. And these classes aren't overshadowed by a teacher assessing you which must only make a young person self-concious (art's mortal enemy).

    Not everybody wants to peform and,for some young people, the thought of getting up in front of the class to read is enough to give them panic attacks. Adults too.

    Anyway, really like your blog.


    1. Thank you very much for your comments and I completely understand your view. Yes, drama is often abused in schools and seen as a few hours a week where you can slack off a bit. However, it is also a very valuable subject that can help those who have previously had trouble expressing themselves. Yes, it can be daunting getting up in front of people and not everyone wants to be a performer but combatting those fears and learning to be confident in front of others are transferable skills regardless of what profession you decide to go into.

      And yes, there are a range of opportunities for young people to get involved in theatre or acting out of school but these aren't available to everyone. Often they cost money and not all families have the funds to allow their children to take part in such things. Also, as was my case, I lived in a very small village which meant that many of the options weren't easily accessible. Therefore, if it wasn't for drama classes at school (with wonderfully supportive and encouraging teachers) then it's highly likely that becoming an actor would never have occurred to me (I sometimes which this had been the case!)

      Thank you so much for your comments and taking the time to read my blog, it's much appreciated. :-)