English Baccalaureate July 2016

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

I know many teachers, businesses, parents and pupils have expressed concern that the range of subjects included in the Government's EBacc undermine the teaching of creative subjects in our schools and lead to fewer young people having the opportunity to study them.

As I am sure you are aware, this issue was debated in Parliament on 4 July 2016 after an e-petition calling for the Government to include expressive subjects in the Ebacc had been signed by more than 102,000 people.

Creative industries play a very important part in the UK's culture as well as making a vital contribution to the economy and I believe the combination of technical and creative skills in the creative industries is crucial. I understand that concerns have been raised by many in the industry that the exclusion of creative subjects from the EBacc could have a serious long-term impact. Young people have the right to a programme of study that prepares them for the modern world, with a strong connection to the needs of the economy. I would like to see a broader-based process for curriculum development that links better to the needs of business, society and the knowledge and skills that we need for a strong economy.

It is right that every student should have the opportunity to take all the EBacc subjects if they want to, but I do not believe it should be compulsory. I am also concerned that the EBacc adopts too narrow a definition of rigorous academic study and believe it is important that young people have the opportunity to study creative, artistic and technical subjects such as music, art and design and that teachers should be allowed to help pupils of all abilities to achieve their best.

The Government published a consultation in November 2015 seeking views about its proposals on how to get at least 90% of pupils to take GCSEs in the EBacc subjects. The consultation has now closed and the Government has said it will respond in 'due course'. I await the Government's response and will follow this closely.

I am also trying to encourage more creativeness and arts in my constituency via Creative Nottingham North project (CNN). CNN is a creative neighbourhoods project, developed in partnership with The Creative Quarter, Nottingham and managed by Rebalancing the Outer Estates Foundation. Its aim is to replicate the vibrant culture of the city centre in my patch. To get more information and ways how to get involved with it please visit https://creativenottinghamnorth.com/.

Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views, which I will continue to bear in mind.