The number of students choosing creative GCSE subjects is in decline, prompting concerns regarding the future of the UK’s creative industry and the amount of young people lacking essential life skills. A BBC survey revealed 90% of secondary schools are either reducing lesson time, staff or facilities for at least one creative art subject. Schools taking part in the survey claimed that the emphasis on core academic subjects since the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) coupled with funding pressures are the most common causes for cutting back on resources. The GCSE reform means music, art and drama, subjects - which are often perceived as less academic or vocational - are excluded from the Department for Education’s league tables and, as a result, the number of pupils taking art subjects at GCSE has fallen by a further 51,000 this year. Eliminating creative subjects from the curriculum has had a knock-on effect on the mental health of students. In May 2018, the NSPCC reported that the number of referrals by schools in England seeking mental health treatment for pupils has risen by more than a third in the past three years. More recently, the Children’s Society stated that more than 100,000 children aged 14 in the UK are self-harming. Pressure from school was cited as one of the main reasons for this behaviour by experts. For many, self-harming is sadly a route taken to cope with overwhelming thoughts and feelings.
FINE ART COLLECTOR AUTUMN 2018 63
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