Researchers blame Progress 8 for decline in GCSE art subject entries

New evidence about the negative impact of the EBacc performance measure on arts education at GCSE has contradicted the government’s own research. Pete Henshaw reports

The government has been called upon to withdraw its claim that the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure has not resulted in falling entries to arts subjects.

It comes after a report last week showed a notable decline in arts subject entries at GCSE over the past two years.

The study, published by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), highlights the triple pressure of the EBacc, Progress 8 and wider financial issues as being to blame for the decline.

It says that the EBacc element of Progress 8 is putting “particular pressure on arts subjects”.

However, the findings are at odds with a Department for Education (DfE) analysis published in July showing that in schools where EBacc entries have increased the proportion of pupils entered for at least one arts subject has also increased.

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