Music and drama could become ‘preserve of elite’, new union boss claims

A new union boss has claimed music and drama could be squeezed out of school timetables because of the government’s EBacc commitments in his first call for action since taking the job.

Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said the subjects are in danger of becoming the “preserve of the elite”.

In his first public announcement since taking over the role from Brian Lightman, who unexpectedly stepped down last week, Mr Trobe said the government’s 90 per cent EBacc commitment would restrict pupils’ time for creative courses.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan announced in November that she wants nine in 10 pupils to complete the EBacc at GCSE, which is made up of maths, English, science, a foreign language and either history or geography.

But Mr Trobe said: “It would be a tragedy if an unintended consequence of EBacc is that it becomes impossible for schools to run music and drama courses.

“The danger is that these subjects will then end up becoming the preserve of the elite, accessible only to those who can afford private tuition.”

A consultation on the proposals ended yesterday. Mr Trobe’s concerns form part of ASCL’s official response.

The union also said there could be insufficient teachers in EBacc subjects and has recommended the government set up a new review group to improve the supply of modern language teachers.

Schools minister Nick Gibb has said the government will “listen closely” to views of teachers, heads and parents on how best to implement the commitment to “ensure schools have adequate lead-in time to prepare for any major changes”.

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