Opinion Former Article

Pupils denied access to creative subjects

Children and young people are being robbed of their entitlement to a national broad-based and balanced curriculum, teachers at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union argued today.

The Conference, which is being held in Birmingham, heard that time for creative, practical and art-based subjects is being squeezed out of the school day as a result of the Government’s reforms to the curriculum and exams and schools wishing to improve their rankings in the league tables. Specialist teachers are also losing their teaching jobs.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
“It is a fundamental entitlement of all children and young people to have access to a national broad-based national curriculum.

“Subjects on offer should not be at the whim of governing bodies and individual headteachers.

“The preferences of governors and the school a child happens to attend should not mean that a child cannot have opportunities to experience and excel at music, art, drama or sport. These subjects should not become the preserve of only those parents who have the ability to pay.

“While the Government continues with its flawed policy of ranking schools on the basis of certain subjects, schools will continue to focus on these to the detriment of a rich and stimulating curriculum.

“Teachers are already highlighting the negative impact on pupil behaviour as those whose talents lie in more creative and practical subjects become more and more disaffected as a result of being starved of opportunities to develop their interests and talents.

“It is ironic that a Conservative Government has been the one systematically to dismantle the legacy of the Thatcher Government, which at least recognised the importance of a national curriculum and introduced it.”


NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Sarah Cull 07920 711 069

Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at the ICC in Birmingham from 30 March to 2 April.

The full text of the motion is below:

Michelle Codrington-Rogers to move,
Karen Alexander to second:
Conference deplores the impact of reforms which have led to a narrowing of the curriculum and the loss of teachers’ jobs.
Conference asserts that every pupil should be entitled to receive a broad and balanced curriculum which contributes to enhancing life chances and enables every child to realise their potential.
Conference calls on the National Executive to continue to:
(i) commission research to support the benefits of a broad and balanced curriculum;
(ii) campaign for a genuine, broad and balanced curriculum as an entitlement for every pupil and
(iii) use all means necessary, up to and including industrial action, to oppose the loss of teachers’ jobs.
(Executive, Birmingham)

Lena Davies
Press & Media Officer
0121 457 6250/07867 392746

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