At the age of 16, very few people will know who they are, or what they want to do. What they are more likely to know is what they are not, and what they don’t want to – or indeed are unable to do.
I was amongst the lucky ones – I had a strong idea of what I wanted from my life from before I did my GCSEs – I had a plan, an idea of where I wanted to be in ten years’ time. Of course, it’s changed. I’ve changed, grown up and experienced life and it’s changed the specifics of my goals, but at the heart of it has been the same: I always want to be creative, and as long as I’m involved in the music industry, I’ll be happy.
For the majority of people in my year, there wasn’t such a clear plan – but through the two years of studying for our GCSEs, subjects were eliminated as A level possibilities, as they figured out what suited them. Most people know if they’re not a scientific person, not a creative person, not a historian – and so on. And as choices were narrowed down to form our A levels, the majority of my peers settled into studying the subjects they enjoyed. For me – and I’m sure I’m not alone in this – this was the first time I felt truly fulfilled in my education. I was studying what I wanted to study in more depth and beginning to specialise. I wanted to specialise in the subjects I believed would take me on to my career – music, music technology, business studies and German. And the one subject I would trade? German. For History.
So far, the rest have been invaluable for every step of my career so far – through my degree, through my Masters’ degree and through my hobbies and extra-curricular activities.
I knew by age 15 that I was not a scientific person. In fact, I knew I was definitely not scientifically inclined far before then. I’m not a mathematician either – I achieved an A at GCSE level, but it’s not something I enjoyed. And if I’d had to study maths and science at A level, I would have felt restricted and limited.
This is why I’m not on board with the proposed English Baccalaureate qualification. Pushing mathematical and scientific subjects onto people who are not naturally good at them could damage their futures and cause some serious demotivation.
But even more worrying than forcing these subjects onto people is the current lack of creative subjects in the EBacc. The campaign Bacc For The Future lays out the facts clearly here, but the point of the matter is we have a chance to change things.
As I said in an earlier post, creativity is important. So, so important. Just think what creativity leads to: the television programs you watch, the music you listen to, the films you see. And that’s only just scratching the surface – just look around you. This world is filled with creativity – everything you eat, drink, put on your walls to brighten up your room – the list is endless.
The good news is that the initial proposal for the EBacc has been declared unfit for purpose and is being reviewed. But we need to get the creative industries included in the qualification – and even more so, we need to make sure they aren’t included as a lower tier qualification.
Creative industries contribute 6% of GDP, employ two million people and export over £16 billion annually. And beyond the financial figures, there are those who want to chose a creative subject as part of their qualifications simply because they love art, music or design.
If you’ve read this far, then I urge you to sign the petition. I don’t want the creative industries to suffer, and I certainly don’t want our future generations to find themselves in an education system where creativity isn’t encouraged.