The Department for Education’s recent figures on arts subjects, show a significant drop in their uptake at GCSE and A-Level, The Stage reports.

The latest statisticsc show, that only 47.9% of students at both GCSE and A-Level are taking at least one arts subject, down from 49.6% a year ago.

The decrease is thought to be a confirmation for arts education professionals, that the new English Bacclaureate, is discouraging the uptake of arts subjects in schools.

The figures surveyed state school students sitting subjects including drama, dance and performing arts, arts and design and media studies, across GCSE, Level 1 and 2 certificates (known as IGCSES) and AS Level.

The figures are the lowest figures in three years, and the first time there has been a year-on-year decrease since 2012.

These recent figures add further concern to statistics released in August for performing arts uptake. There has been a drop in student numbers by 9% and 15 % for GCSE and A-Level respectively.

In a statement to The Stage, Deborah Annetts, founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign, and chief executive of the Incorporated Society Musicans said:


“This confirms our fears that the new EBacc proposal which was announced by the Department for Education in November last year is having an immediate impact on the uptake of creative, artistic and technical subjects in schools. This is on top of an overall decline of eight percent in the uptake of arts subjects at GCSE this year.

“We cannot afford to harm the creation of the professionals for the future by squeezing the arts out of the curriculum in secondary schools.”


Creative industry commentators have expressed concern over the worrying trend, saying that the education system should cater for a wide variety of skills and talents required in a diverse economy.