Drama GCSE uptake slumps by 9% – Ofqual

Figures released by Ofqual show that entries for all non-EBacc subjects, including drama, decreased substantially in 2017. Photo: Speedkingz/shutterstock
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The number of students taking drama GCSE has fallen sharply in 2017, dropping by 9% in a year.

Figures released by Ofqual, the body that regulates examinations and assessments in England, show that entries for all non-EBacc subjects, including drama, decreased substantially in 2017.

In 2016, 1.4 million students were taking non-EBacc subjects, which has fallen to 1.24 million this year, a decrease of 11%.

Entries for drama GCSE have fallen 9% from 68,250 students in 2016 to 61,950 in 2017. This follows a decrease of 4% from 2015 to 2016.

Take-up of all GCSE arts subjects has fallen by 46,000 in the last year.

By contrast, the number of entries for EBacc subjects has risen from 3.54 million to 3.85 million, an increase of 9%.

A spokesperson for campaign group Bacc for the Future said: “These new figures confirm that the EBacc is having a devastating effect on the uptake of creative subjects at GCSE and A level. The secretary of state must listen to the evidence and the teachers on the front line and scrap the EBacc in its current form before any more damage is done.”

The EBacc was brought in by the government in 2010. It uses the number of students achieving at least a C grade at GCSE in ‘core’ subjects – English, maths, sciences, a language and either geography or history – as a way of measuring a school’s performance.

No arts subject is included in the list of core subjects.

In its election manifesto, the Conservative party pledged that 90% of pupils would study the EBacc by 2025, but it is not yet clear whether the party still intends to honour this aim.

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