Major drop in arts GCSEs, figures show

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Ebacc fallout continues

Fewer pupils are taking arts subjects at GCSE, new figures reveal.

Data released by the Department for Education shows that entries to GCSE arts subjects fell by a further 46,000 last year, a drop of 9% drop over the past 12 months.  Entries in every arts subject area have fallen by at least 3,000 since last year, and three subjects – Drama; Media, Film and TV Studies; and Art and Design subjects – each decreased by over 6,000 entries.

This comes at the same time as entries to core English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects in continue to grow

Campiagners say that the decline in arts subjects popularity amongst 16 year olds shows that  EBacc is squeezing the arts out of schools.

“These new figures confirm that the EBacc is having a devastating effect on the uptake of creative subjects at GCSE and A Level,” a spokesperson for Bacc for the Future said.

“This evidence, on top of research published by the University of Sussex identifying the negative impact the EBacc is having on the provision of and uptake of music in schools, needs urgent attention from the Government.

“The Secretary of State must listen to the evidence and the teachers on the front line and scrap the EBacc in its current form before any more damage is done.”

The decline in take-up of arts at GCSE has also hit AS levels, with arts entries down by  43,000 since 2016. The fall was most pronounced in Art and Design Subjects, which fell by 21,000 entries (52%); Drama, which fell by 9,000 entries (65%); and Performing / Expressive Arts, which fell from 3,700 entries to 910 entries – a 75% drop.


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