At 11am UK time this morning, the #includedesign campaign to have creative subjects included in the UK Government’s new Ebacc qualification is asking everyone in the creative industry to devote six minutes of their time to raising awareness of the issue. CR is supporting this initiative by writing to Secretary of State Michael Gove
Why six minutes? The campaign calculates that this is the amount of time per day that may be allocated to creative subjects in schools if they are sidelined by not being included in the core Ebacc subjects.
Here is the text of the letter which we have sent to Mr Gove this morning:
Dear Mr Gove,
I am the editor of Creative Review, the leading monthly magazine for the visual communications industry. Our readers work mainly in the design and advertising industry and it is with their interests in mind that I write to you today regarding the exclusion of creative subjects from the Ebacc.
Successive UK Governments have held the creative industries up as a shining example to the rest of the world. We have been told repeatedly that the creative industries form a vital part of our economy and will play an increasingly important role in the UK’s push toward a ‘knowledge-based’, high-skill economy. In the fields of design and advertising we have a host of genuinely world-leading companies; education is the bedrock of their continued and future success.
I appreciate that you are under enormous pressure from various, competing interests over the make-up of the Ebacc programme. However, I urge you to consider the merits of the Bacc for the Future campaign, which advocates a sixth pillar of creative subjects for the Ebacc. You, more than anyone, will be aware of the effects that league tables have had on schools in encouraging them to ‘game’ the system to produce the best results. I am aware that schools will be able to offer subjects such as Design & Technology as a GCSE, but I cannot help but think that any subjects left out of the core Ebacc ‘pillars’ of study will be considerably disadvantaged, particularly when it comes to the allocation of resources.
In my position I am fortunate enough to be invited to attend conferences around the world; in the last two years I have spoken at design conferences in China, India, Malaysia and Singapore. These countries are working extremely hard to, in their eyes, catch up with what they see as the UK’s world-leading position in industries which they view as absolutely vital to their economic growth. Particularly in India and China, both government and industry leaders have expressed astonishment to me that we would endanger this position by neglecting the education of our next generation of Jonathan Ives, James Dysons and Terence Conrans.
Rather than condemning creative subjects to the margins, surely the way to ensure the UK’s future world leadership in this field is to put design at the heart of our education system? The Ebacc presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the direction of UK education. In 20 years’ time, would you rather be remembered as the Secretary of State who had the vision to secure Britain’s future as a world leader in these important drivers of the new economy, or the man who threw it all away?
Our sister publication Design Week is also supporting the campaign. You can read the text of the letter sent by its editor Angus Montgomery to Mr Gove here.
Anyone wishing to support this campaign can find details of how to get involved at the #includedesign website, including a template for a letter to your local MP and a link to the Bacc for the Future petition.