Education & Family

Call to boost status of arts subjects

picture of manchester foot bridge Image copyright Tadas_Zvinklys
Image caption Bridge the gap: Science and creative subjects go hand-in-hand, says a campaign group

Arts subjects should be given more status in England's school curriculum, science and engineering experts argue.

The Creative Industries Federation and the Institution of Civil Engineers have joined forces to call for more students to study both arts and sciences.

In a report, they argue that creative subjects are as important as science, maths, engineering and technology.

The government says it provides a broad and balanced curriculum for children in which the arts play a "key role".

The campaign group says that Ofsted should judge a school as outstanding only if it can show children are given a wide range of cultural experiences.

Future skills

The Creative Industries Federation is an organisation representing industry, public arts and cultural education.

It and the Institute of Civil Engineers say that creative industries contribute almost £77bn a year to the UK economy - about 5% of GDP.

But in England's schools, the campaigners say, too much focus is on teaching core subjects such as science, maths and literacy.

Their report argues that excluding creative subjects like the performing arts, design, music and film studies is short-sighted.

Studying these subjects, they argue, can lead to children developing the skills needed in design, engineering and computer gaming.

'Mixed portfolio'

They are asking universities to review their selection criteria to "positively encourage a mixed portfolio of qualifications" at GCSE and A and AS-level.

Mitu Khandaker, a games entrepreneur, believes studying both arts and sciences is important, saying: "I'm a video games designer and programmer, and so engineering and the arts are completely inseparable in my work."

She points out that designing computer games is "not only as an entertainment medium generating over £2bn in sales for UK developers, but also crucially as an important cultural form for the 21st Century".

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Children should be urged to study a range of skills, the report says

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Art and design and music are compulsory subjects within the national curriculum for five- to 14-year-olds and the number of pupils taking these subjects at GCSE continues to rise."

More money is being provided this year to support "music, art and cultural education projects" allowing more pupils to access creative activities, he said.

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