UK designers fight plans to "smash" creative education

News: over 150 UK designers, brands and organisations have joined a campaign to get the government to rethink plans to remove design and other creative subjects from the school curriculum.

Designers including Sir Terence Conran, Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby, and Bethan Grey and Berg are supporting the #IncludeDesign campaign, along with companies including IDEO, SeymourPowell, Black+Blum and Deadgood.

The organisers of #IncludeDesign are calling on designers to respond to the Department of Education's proposed reforms to the curriculum and have created a template to help people formulate their response. Consultation closes next Monday 10 December.

The proposed curriculum reforms will introduce a new qualification, the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) for secondary students, featuring five compulsory "stem" subjects - maths, English, sciences, languages (ancient and modern) and humanities (defined as only history or geography).

Creative subjects like design will taught at the discretion of the school, leading to fears of a huge drop in students studying such subjects and a corresponding decline in the UK's creative industries.

"If the new EBacc comes into force, then pathways from school to the creative industries will be at risk," says #IncludeDesign, which is calling for creative subjects to be introduced as a sixth pillar of the EBacc system.

The campaign is being orchestrated by Joe Mcleod at ustwo, a digital design studio in Shoreditch, London. "It would cause a significant business loss to the UK," Mcleod told Dezeen.

Last week new D&AD president Neville Brody described the government's plans as "insanity" and told Dezeen:  “The UK government is trying to demolish and smash all ideas about creative education."

Brody added: “The creative industries need high-quality creative graduates. If we’re not getting the graduates, we’re not going to sustain the industry. Creative services as a percentage of GDP is higher here than any other country, so why would you not want to support, promote and build that?”

The Design Council, D&AD and the Design Business Association are among organisations supporting the initiative.

A second campaign, Bacc for the Future, is also collecting signatures as part of a broader campaign to include music, dance and drama and other creative subjects on the new curriculum, as well as design. So far the site's petition has collected over 27,000 signatures.