Are the arts optional or integral to an education? This study will present various narratives that illustrate the impact of an English policy initiative on pedagogical practice, artistic spheres and public discourse. By illuminating the discrepancies between policy objectives and practical realities the analysis will then feed into the broader dialogue debating the value of arts in society.
In September 2012 the then secretary of state for education made recommendations to remove GCSE examinations and replace them with the English Baccalaureate – a programme measuring attainment in five core subjects. The initiative was scrapped after five months of fierce political and critical backlash. Yet today there are several performance measures, including the Ebacc, that are standard practice in school systems.
The debated value of arts subjects to education has remained constant in critical and public discourse over the intervening six-year timeline as supported by politicians, celebrities, and institutions. This is not a new argument, though there is a dearth of attempts in this particular timeline to impartially amalgamate the opinions of those impacted. By analysing the spaces between research, advocacy and practice as depicted by individual realities the study will identify how, though seemingly unsuccessful on paper, this particular policy case has set a clear precedent in the perception of the public, politicians and school systems.