Government says design could become an extra-curricular subject

The Department for Education says there are still no plans to include design and creative subjects in the reformed National Curriculum, suggesting that they could instead form part of extra-curricular activities.


Source: BSFinHull


The DfE has responded to a letter sent by Design Week to Education Secretary Michael Gove last month, which urged him to include design and creative subjects in the EBacc measurements.

The EBacc measurement currently focuses on just five pillars of study: maths, English, sciences, languages and humanities, and the proposed English Baccalaureate Certificates, which could replace GCSEs in 2017, would also exclude design.

The DfE letter says, ‘The National Curriculum is being reformed to give teachers greater flexibility over how to teach, so more children can be inspired by great teaching in subjects like art and music.

‘But there is no intention to remove, or downgrade, any cultural subject from within the National Curriculum.’

However, it does not suggest that design and creative subjects would be included in the future curriculum, instead saying that they might form part of extra-curricular activities.

The DfE says, ‘Schools which do well in the English Baccalaureate tend also to devote considerable time and care to artistic and cultural education.

‘Ministers believe that there is plenty of time in the school day and school week to complement the English Baccalaureate subjects with artistic and cultural subjects.’

The DfE adds that ‘many of the subjects in the English Baccalaureate do have huge cultural importance’, citing English, languages and classics.

It also says that EBCs are intended to be ‘tests of academic knowledge’ and as such creative subjects might not naturally fit into their structure. It says it is working with the Arts Council to look at ways to assess these subjects.

The department also pointed out the range of arts and cultural initiatives that it currently supports, which includes the expansion of the Sorrell Foundation’s National Art & Design Saturday Clubs.

Consultation on the proposed EBCs closed at the end of last year, and a response is expected from the DfE this year.

The Department for Education’s letter to Design Week
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  • Maxine Horn November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    So has Michael Gove gone on record then to suggest that creative subjects are for those who are a tad dim?

    “EBCs are intended to be ‘tests of academic knowledge’ and as such creative subjects might not naturally fit into their structure”.

  • Joseph O'Connor November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    It would seem he has Maxine, but I doubt that he could even be shamed into a typical politician style “I was quoted out of context”.
    Shame is what they should feel though. They betray a desperate lack of understanding of the relationship between Design and Economic success.

  • David Hughes November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Beneath this comment sits the question ‘inappropriate or offensive?’, well Mr Gove, your ideas are indeed both. They are not appropriate to the future prosperity of this nation and they offend every design professional (working in education or not) ever to have worked or trained within these shores.

  • Sorrel Hershberg November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The letter from the DfE reproduced above refers to the Sorrell Foundation’s National Art&Design Saturday Club, which takes place at colleges and universities across the UK.

    I would like to clarify that the Saturday Club was created to augment and not replace art and design tuition within schools. The National Art & Design Saturday Club plays an important role in introducing a number of young people to new skills and routes into further and higher education and careers in the creative industries. However, this should not be seen as an alternative to creative learning opportunities for all young people within the school curriculum.

    The Sorrell Foundation is very grateful for the Department for Education’s support of the National Art&Design Saturday Club, as we are to our other partners and funders, who include Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Creative & Cultural Skills, Arts Council England and private supporters, as well as the Universities and Colleges themselves.

    The Saturday Club was established in 2009, a year before the EBacc was announced. The additional support from the DfE – which commenced in 2012 – is helping to sustain the programme, which this year is providing 100 hours of free art and design tuition to 850 14-16 year olds in 27 locations across England and Wales.

    Sorrel Hershberg
    The Sorrell Foundation

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