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Fiona Challenges PM’s Schools Record

Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart challenged the Prime Minister on his record on creative subjects in schools. At Prime Ministers Questions, Fiona Mactaggart asked the Prime Minister about the number of teachers teaching these subjects in schools.

Fiona Mactaggart MP:

I went to the Cheltenham Ladies’ College, the Prime Minister to Eton. Both schools which invest heavily in excellent teaching and facilities for music, dance, arts, drama. Yet while he has been Prime Minister, the schools which educate 93% of our pupils have cut teachers in those subjects. Will his legacy be that Britain stops being a world leader in creative and cultural industries and becomes an also-ran?

Prime Minister:

No, I don’t accept that and actually if you look at what’s happened with school funding, it’s actually been protected under this Government and we want to continue protecting school funding. What I would make no apology for is the very clear focus that we have on getting the basics right in our schools. I think it’s absolutely essential that we get more children learning the basic subjects, getting the basic qualifications and then on top of that it’s then more possible, I would argue, to put in place the arts, the dance and the drama that I want my children to have as they go to their schools.

Fiona later commented, “The UK is a world leader in music, dance, arts and drama. The Prime Minister and I were fortunate enough to go to schools which place a high value in these subjects, but I want every child to have the same opportunity. This isn’t possible if teachers are being cut.

“The Prime Minister instead wants to focus on what he describes as “the basics” and these important subjects can then be an afterthought. That isn’t good enough. To continue to be a world leader and produce the best artists, musicians, dancers and actors and actresses we need to value these subjects. I intend to ensure the Government does this.”

A report by The National Society for Education in Art & Design (NSEAD) last year concluded that art, craft and design teachers report their subject is “not always highly valued”, something not reflected in the independent sector.