We love the arts, but for how long?

From the perspective of young workers in the arts industry who wouldn’t choose to do anything different, we’re shocked to hear that the fall in entry

numbers for GCSE arts subjects has reached an all-time high. 

According to an ‘Arts Professional’ article published last month, registrations for 2018 arts GCSEs in England have plummeted by a further 51,000, taking the total fall in entries to almost 150,000 over the past five years.

Arts subjects now account for just 1 in 12 of all GCSEs taken, compared with around 1 in 8 five years ago. Could it be the fact that there’s more variety that’s steering our young people away from selecting arts-based subjects?

Thinking back to when we were in school, we can go on for ages listing all the creative choices we had, ranging from textiles to food technology to drama. Not only do these kinds of lessons give students a break from heavily-academic subjects like Maths, English and Science, but they also teach vital life skills, allow young people to express themselves and provide pathways for non-traditional/9-5 job roles. 

So, what really is the reason behind these new statistics? 

Perhaps taking up arts subjects is seeming less necessary to our young people because we’re increasingly becoming a technology-driven society. For example, why do we need to take up textiles and know how to make clothes when machines can do that for us? But this can’t be explained for all forms of art. Music, film, TV studies and Performing Arts are also amongst the fall and we simply can’t understand why. 

If it was up to us, we’d be making sure there were equal choices in terms of arts and non-arts-based subjects in GCSE’s. We’d also be analysing how they’re taught and how they’re advertised when Year 9 students are due to select their Year 10 and 11 options. One things for sure, we’d definitely be encouraging our young people fall in love with the arts again.