DEBATE: Should Art be a compulsory GCSE subject?

This article is about exploring the issue of whether Art should be a compulsory GCSE. I am showcasing my own opinions and exploring the results of my recent survey which asked the public whether they were in favour or not and why. Please comment on whether you think Art should be a compulsory GCSE and why.

DEBATE: Should Art be a compulsory GCSE subject?

I think it should be as it is scientifically proven to release stress and encourage people to express themselves creatively. It also sparks conversations between students and teachers which can help to reduce anxiety and stress, improving students mental health at what is a very stressful time. Art allows us to step away from the world of numbers and words and to do something creative, it can be abstract or a replica of something in real life. It exercises the mind in a way that Maths and English can't, by letting your imagination run wild!

These are my reasons in favour however recently I conducted a survey about what students, teachers and parents though and I am going to share with you the results of this survey. 66.7% of the people I asked voted against Art being a compulsory GCSE while the remaining 33.3% voted in favour.

Here are the comments that were made against:


  1. It's just a waste of time, people should focus on more academic subjects as they are more useful and in my opinion a more important qualification to have than a creative subject.
  2. Too much coursework, friends who have done it said it was very time consuming and became really stressful
  3. It should not be compulsory but students should be given a choice if they want to study art. Besides art, there are many other activities that help to relieve stress for e.g. sports, reading, music and walking.
  4. I picked no because I believe that art is not crucial for learning and although it may relieve stress academic subjects, are much more relevant at this age and therefore more time should be invested rather than learning art.
  5. Art just isn't as important as Maths and English, it's just a fact. You needs Maths to work out money spent and English to communicate - necessities. Art helps you do what vital thing in everyday life?
  6. Art doesn't really help you at all and it isn't as valid to uni's then Maths and English
  7. Why do you need even a basic pass in Maths and English to work in a shop - they are core subjects. Art isn't.
  8. Not as useful as other subjects.

Here are the comments in favour:

  1. It's important to just switch off and relax for a while
  2. It is a really relaxing and creative subject
  3. Art helps relax students and what is a very stressful time. It also opens up a safe space for conversations related to stress and anxiety which are common mental health issues to arise
  4. Art is an AWESOME subject. TO me it's as important as Maths and English because it is sparking creativity which has equal weight than being able to remember lots of facts
  5. Art is a fantastic stress reliving subjects which inspires creativity which is what we NEED to regain as human beings, the art of being creative

I'd like to explore some of the views against that I disagree with. Point 3: I found this point intriguing as it reminded me of the fact that there is a choice to do Art GCSE in schools, but is that enough? It also reminded me of other stress reliving methods...does this issue mean that music or sports studies should become compulsory GCSE too because they relive stress? I think it's another issue that would come with Art being made compulsory.

Point 7: I really like this point about relevance in everyday life. I think the issue was written a bit to bluntly in this statement so I'd like to unpack it a bit. I think that although Maths and English are used in everyday life, isn't art used for interpreting surroundings, colours pictures and shapes. Surely learning to replicate what we see is as necessary as being able to count or write?

Point 2: This was a really eye opening point, is it the style of current Art GCSE's that is preventing people taking it? I to have had friends complain of coursework, does the GCSE need a reform?

I am in favour as I mentioned at the beginning, art relives stress, inspires creativity and provides a safe and relaxed environment to talk to friends. I am excited to see where this debate goes in the future!

I would love to hear your views, please comment them down below! :)


  • Jasleen Singh

    On 22 July 2018, 19:41 Jasleen Singh commented:

    Please comment your opinion and why! :)

  • Luke Taylor

    On 23 July 2018, 11:14 Luke Taylor Contributor commented:

    I don't personally think it should be compulsory - yes, the arts is vitally important in education. But making it compulsory is just another school subject shoved down young people's throats.

  • Belnice Nzinga

    On 18 August 2018, 01:06 Belnice Nzinga commented:

    Hi Jaz! Really interesting debate. I would personally quite like to have compulsory Art GCSE. I went to a creative summer school a few days ago and it was SO nice to just unwind and paint and not have to think about what I was doing logically like I would with Maths or the Sciences. Plus, it was really relaxing and I realised that I'm a lot better at art than I thought I was in Year 8. My counter-argument would be that some people are naturally good at art and some people aren't. I think it's a subject that's really dependent on skill. So it may seem a bit harsh to force (for want of a better word) students to do Art GCSE when that's not where their natural talents lie. Hope your award is going well!

  • Jasleen Singh

    On 18 August 2018, 15:12 Jasleen Singh commented:

    Hi Belnice, Thanks for your input, really interesting to hear a fellow student's perspective! I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed your Summer School and I agree being creative is such a refreshing change! Hope your having an amazing summer so far, can't believe how quickly it's going!

  • Steven Sweetman-Bancroft

    On 13 December 2023, 22:02 Steven Sweetman-Bancroft commented:

    Im against. Not because i think art is a waste of time. I think it is subjective to the Nth degree. So the techniques used by one are right for them it doesn't mean it is right for the next 10 people. The Mona lisa is an aclaimed work of art. I think it is rubish. Yet i see street artists who create in my opinion stunning works of art. So in reality how do you grade such a subject. Yes you can grade on a persons knowledge of existing artists or artworks. But then with that amount of information to digest and learn where will the time be to develop an individual style and technique which is what art is really about. It's not about replication it's about self expression and self development. No one can judge that.
    Art is relaxing. I didn't do it as a subject at school but did as a hobbyist. My knowledge of art surpasses that of my wife and yet she studied to A level.

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