News: Apple's senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive has given his support to the growing campaign against the UK government's plans to remove design and other creative subjects from the school curriculum.
Ive and British fashion designer Stella McCartney are the latest names to pledge their support for the #IncludeDesign campaign, which is calling on the creative industries to rally against the Department of Education’s proposed reforms to the curriculum before consultation closes on Monday 10 December.
In a letter to education secretary Michael Gove, the group urges education secretary Michael Gove to reconsider plans to exclude arts and design subjects from the newly introduced English Baccalaureate (EBacc). At present the EBacc only includes the five compulsory subjects of maths, English, sciences, humanities (either history or geography) and a language.
"The UK creative industries are the envy of the world, we set the bar in excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship," reads the letter. "The development of an English Baccalaureate affords the Government an opportunity to enhance one of the strongest areas of our economy. It is an opportunity to create a generation that will stand the best chance of improving our global competitiveness and contribute to our future economic growth. In its proposed form however, we believe the English Baccalaureate will starve our world leading creative sector of its future pioneers."
The move comes as a group of leading art and design schools wrote an open letter to Gove that was published in newspaper The Times this morning. Signed by representatives of the Royal College of Art, University of the Arts London and the Royal Academy of Arts, the letter highlights concerns across the industry that art and design is already being withdrawn from schools to place greater emphasis on the EBacc curriculum.
"With English Baccalaureate Certificates set to replace GCSEs in 2015, the situation can only get worse," it reads. "It is inevitable that more and more schools will feel they have little choice but to downgrade or completely withdraw arts and design based subjects."
A report from the Department of Education reveals that 183 schools have already withdrawn art GCSE, while 247 have dropped drama and 151 have stopped teaching design technology.
Other designers to sign up to the campaign include Terence Conran, Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby, Bethan Grey and Berg, plus The Design Council, D&AD and the Design Business Association are among organisations to offer their support.
Jay Osgerby commented: "It's hugely disappointing to see design being relegated to the periphery of our National Curriculum. If we do not support and invest in design education now we risk a brain drain of our best talent in the near future. We should be upping our game, not demoting design to the side lines."
Terence Conran added: "We should be encouraging creativity and innovation in our young, not stifling it. I am depressed enough that as a country we make so few things, imagine if we no longer designed them as well?"
Last week new D&AD president Neville Brody described the plans as "insanity" and told Dezeen: "The UK government is trying to demolish and smash all ideas about creative education."
Here's the letter signed by Ive, McCartney and others:
Dear Secretary of State
We write to you on behalf of the UK design industry.
We believe that the omission of subjects such as Design & Technology and Art & Design from the English Baccalaureate will damage the future prosperity of our industry and the wider creative economy. It will fail to provide students with the skills that UK employers need and its impact on the UK’s economy will be catastrophic.
The UK creative industries are the envy of the world, we set the bar in excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship. The development of an English Baccalaureate affords the Government an opportunity to enhance one of the strongest areas of our economy. It is an opportunity to create a generation that will stand the best chance of improving our global competitiveness and contribute to our future economic growth. In its proposed form however, we believe the English Baccalaureate will starve our world leading creative sector of its future pioneers.
Collectively we champion good design which shapes society and improves the way people live. The UK’s design industry is the largest in Europe and one of the strongest globally – NESTA estimates £23bn is spent on design, while Imperial College put the figure at £33.5bn in 2011. Design Council research demonstrates that despite the recession the industry grew by 29 per cent between 2005 and 2010. Design is the lynchpin that connects our creative industries together and is fundamental to a broad range of disciplines from advertising to architecture, from furniture to fashion.
The innovation that fuels UK growth relies on knowledge, the skilled use of materials and the command of ideas. Design and the arts are vital components of an accessible and varied education system that can provide these skills.
The prospect of future generations growing up considering these subjects as unimportant is simply incomprehensible. We therefore urge you to rethink the Government’s proposal to exclude Design and the arts from the English Baccalaureate and to add a sixth pillar option for these subjects into the EBacc.
Sir Jonathan Ive
Edward Barber, RDI
Jay Osgerby, RDI
Sir Terence Conran
British Interactive Media Association
Wieden + Kennedy
All of Us
The Brand Union
DBA (Design Business Association)
The Design and Technology Association
Made by Many
Its Nice That
University of Reading
Goldsmiths, University of London
University of the Arts London
The New Black
Mark Thomson Design
Irving & Co.
Create Forty Eight
Huw David design
No Sugar Studio
Not Just Design
Vincent and Bell
We Are Human
And here's the letter from the art and design schools:
We are deeply concerned about the long-term consequences of excluding arts and design subjects from the English Baccalaureate.
A survey commissioned by the Department for Education itself confirms the extent to which schools are ceasing to teach arts and design following the introduction of the EBacc as a performance measure in 2010. In a report that makes disturbing reading, 27% of the English secondary school teachers polled said that a subject or course has been withdrawn from their school in 2012 as a result of the EBacc – with creative subjects hardest hit. 23% report that drama and performing arts have been withdrawn, 17% are no longer teaching art, 14% have lost design or design technology and 11% have lost textiles.
With English Baccalaureate Certificates set to replace GCSEs in 2015, the situation can only get worse. EBacc teaching will take up 80% of teaching time, leaving only one day a week for all other subjects. It is inevitable that more and more schools will feel they have little choice but to downgrade or completely withdraw arts and design based subjects if they are to maximise their EBacc performance.
Michael Gove has stated that it is not intended to remove these vital subjects from the curriculum but that is what his Department’s own survey tells us is happening. According to the CBI, the creative and cultural sector contributes 6% of the UK’s GDP, making it our second biggest industry after the financial sector. It employs around 1.5 million people in 106,700 registered businesses and accounts for more than 10% of the UK’s total export of services. Squeezing out arts and design from the school curriculum will cut off the vital pipeline that feeds this major success. It is something no Government concerned with economic recovery should contemplate and it can be avoided by adding the choice of a creative subject to the list of EBacc subjects.
We urge Mr Gove to think again and give creativity its rightful place at the centre of the school curriculum.
Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London
Dr Paul Thompson, Rector, Royal College of Art
Christopher Le Brun, President, Royal Academy of Arts
Pat Loughrey, Warden, Goldsmiths, University of London
Edward Kemp, Director, RADA, and Joint Principal, Conservatoire for Dance and Drama
Professor Michael Earley, Principal and Chief Executive, Rose Bruford College of Theatre
Professor John Last, Principal, Norwich University College of the Arts
Professor Anne Carlisle, Rector and Chief Executive, University College Falmouth
Professor Stuart Bartholomew, Principal, The Arts University College at Bournemouth
Richard Heatly, Principal, Hereford College of Arts