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Bacc to the Future: Campaigning for Creative Arts at Parliament

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Published date 05 July 2016

Yesterday UAL attended the Ebacc debate at the House of Commons. David Crow, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges, gave a speech alongside NSEAD and the NUT at the public gathering organised by the Bacc for the Future campaign, beforehand and attended the MPs briefing last week.

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Bacc for the future campaign gathered outside Parliament with Sharon Hodgson MP (centre, dressed in red) and David Crow (second from right), before the debate

David Crow said:

“This is an important day for creative education. Our MPs now know that over 100,000 people don’t want creative education to be marginalised. But that’s not enough. So now we need to get to the general public. To the mums, dads and head teachers who don’t really care that their children are deprived of art and design. We need to make them care.

This is therefore the day when we switch up our arguments and convince them. Let’s show them that creative education will help our economy become more competitive. […] That it will turn our scientists into prize-winners. It will take time to turn this argument around. But let me end with this thought; 10 years ago, STEM didn’t exist as a concept. Just five years ago, STEM wasn’t big on headteachers’ radars. If STEM can come from nowhere to the centre of the curriculum in a decade, so can creative subjects. We just need the evidence and the willpower to go for it”

Also attending the public gathering before the debate was a dance performance from the Brit School and St Matthews Academy and a brass music from Westcombe Brass.

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Dance performance by the Brit School

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South Asian Dance, St Matthews Academy

Held in the Westminster Hall committee chamber, Catherine McKinnell MP led the debate by raising concerns over “what message” the exclusion of the arts and creative subjects sent to society and students about “the value that the Government place on subjects that help to create expressive, communicative human beings”. This was supported by members such as David Lammy, Marion Fellows and Tristram Hunt who suggested “ we would be mad to strip those subjects out of our education system – not least because we are rather good at them”. There were also some great speeches in support of the creative arts from a number of MPs including Sharon Hodgson and Gordon Marsden.

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Image from the Ebacc Debate held 4 July 2016. Catherine McKinnell MP (standing), addressing the committee.

Gordon Marsden MP referenced his recent visit to UAL in April. He praised UAL for its work and described UAL as “the leading educator of talent in the UK’s creative industries” (Full transcript of his speech here).

Gordon Marsden MP visit to CSM April 2016

Nigel Carrington (left) with Gordon Marsden MP (centre) visiting a workshop at CSM, April 2016

The debate concluded with a disagreement between Nick Gibb and the Opposition on the effects of excluding creative subjects from the EBacc. Nick Gibb said “there will be no significant fall in the arts subjects as a consequence of the EBacc” but Gordon Marsden challenged this and called for the publication of an equality impact assessment on the EBacc’s implementation (link to transcript).

Nick Gibb later noted that the assessment would be published alongside the Government’s response to the consultation, although gave no exact date on when this would be. Watch the full Ebacc Debate on Parliament TV

UAL will continue to campaign for the importance of creative arts education in as many ways as possible to ensure the best for our future students and in support of the creative industries.