Should the Arts be Included Within The Curriculum

This is a piece I have written for my Gold Arts Award, exploring whether the arts should be included within the curriculum.

Should the Arts be Included Within The Curriculum

This is my Gold Arts Award Unit 1 Part D Arts Issue. I have been focusing on whether the arts should be included within the curriculum. I chose this arts issue as I have noticed people, mainly parents, disagreeing with the arts. This has also been brought up on the news about the funding and how there was not enough money being put into the arts. This has however changed and the government is taking action. The government stated that "For 2015-16, we are providing £109m to support music, art and cultural education projects – an increase of £17m from last year – allowing thousands more pupils to benefit from a wide range of enriching activities”. This however, has not happened as many schools are still cutting arts from the curriculum as the government are pushing them towards the more academic subjects. If we abolish the NEA, we'll end up with only that art which people are willing to pay for with their own money. These art subjects include; Dance, Drama, Music, Art, Photography and Media. I am personally very passionate about having art subjects included in the curriculum as I have discovered first-hand the skills that you can gain from these subjects. 

This whole debate whether it should or shouldn’t be included in the curriculum was because of the idea that ‘it wasn’t beneficial for students’ and ‘wouldn’t create meaningful qualifications’, this comment coming up in my survey a few times. I personally see the arts as beneficial for students as they can acquire many skills from this such as creativity, improved academics performance, motor skills, confidence, visual learning, decision making, perseverance, focus, collaboration and accountability. 

'Art is integral to life. It enhances it. It civilises and helps build a rounded personality'. – John Major

If you were to take the arts out of the curriculum, some children will not be able to express themselves and to study an art subject you need to be able to take risks, push yourself emotionally, expressively and creatively. The stress children are put under these days with the more academic subjects mean that these art subjects are a much-needed escape and release from the stress and frustration.

In these lessons, you need to be interpretive, collaborative and passionate. I feel that these lessons re-energise you and improve your focus for the more academic subjects. Exercise has been proven to increase your mentality therefore participating in the arts such as dance, P.E. and drama, it will enable children to focus in their more academic subjects. Exercise produces endorphins which are chemicals produced at the base of your brain and, when released, produce feelings of pain relief and well-being.

I created a survey in order to get opinions on this issue. 1 of the 16 surveys I handed out to friends and family stated that the arts are not beneficial and therefore shall be removed from the curriculum. This comment is easily balanced with the proven fact that exercise improves your mentality. Team sports were shown to reduce bad mental health days by 22.3 percent. To get the results, respondents were asked how many days in the previous month their mental health was “not good” due to feelings of depression, stress, or emotional problems. After they took up a variety of physical activities over the next month, they answered the same questions again. This experiment had proven that it improves your mentality as they all had more good days than bad when exercising.

Another comment within a survey from some parents they stated that the arts do not create meaningful qualifications. From this I found that they, as parents, had never done any art subjects in school however, their children do.  In my survey one person said “Studying the arts rarely leads towards meaningful qualifications that can assist in future employment. If a student has drive, talent and determination to exceed in their chosen art form then they would have to also commit to extra-curricular activities, most of which open the door. School time should be used to raise academic standards.” I feel that using school time just for academic subjects puts a tonne of stress on the students as they are expected to excel in these. I also feel the reason why parents do not think the arts should be included in the curriculum is because they haven’t experienced it and all of its benefits first-hand. I have personally experienced this as my parents didn’t understand why I was doing dance and didn’t support me throughout my journey. They said that I will not be able to get a job later in life by taking these art subjects as they focus on the subject when it comes to employability but they do not look at the skills that you gain from an art subject making you much more employable. I feel that you gain many more skills from an art subjects as they allow you to be creative whereas, Maths, Science and English are all sit down subjects and it’s all about reading and learning things from text books.  

A few years ago The Guardian released some hard hitting statistics. 'The number of arts teachers in schools has fallen by 11% since 2010 and in schools where a subject has been withdrawn, drama and performance has dropped by 23%'. Many people think that the money provided to fund that arts are better used elsewhere. 'The arts is a useless industry', a comment made. I can guarantee that they watch films? Films are not just made, there is a lengthy process in which one person has to train and be an actor. The arts is a huge economy that provides millions of jobs and generates billions of pounds, without arts training, this would not be possible. We need young people to be educated in this otherwise a huge amount of money and jobs would be lost. When looking through previous articles about the arts being included it came up that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) should include the arts changing it to STEAM. 

The outcome of last year's debate was to keep the performing arts in the curriculum. Their response to the petition was that the Government believes all pupils should have access to an excellent, well-rounded education and the arts are central to this. There is no plan to remove performing arts from the school curriculum however, along with keeping the arts, they are going to make some small changes that will improve the arts in schools.

"We are clear that arts education should be every bit as rigorous as the rest of the school curriculum and we have strengthened the national curriculum in these subjects and reformed the music and art GCSEs and A levels to make sure this is the case.”

As a result of my research I have come to the conclusion that the arts have many benefits for students physically and mentally and help them to focus in the more academic subjects. This research has shown me the wide variety of opinions on this matter and has helped me to see both sides of each argument and realise that if the arts are cut from the curriculum there will a decline in applicants for acting jobs which could potentially damage the economy. In my opinion, the arts should be included in the curriculum as there are many benefits that come with it such as gaining confidence, team working skills, focus, collaboration etc. 


Jade Burton

Jade Burton

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  • Emily Marsh

    On 8 November 2018, 11:31 Emily Marsh commented:

    I agree completely with your statement as I do take part in the arts however, I wonder if I hadn't would my view be different? I found that you're article is well structured and easy to follow, however it would have been nice to have seen some visual graphs of the given statistics.

  • Emma Del'Nero Williams

    On 8 November 2018, 11:32 Emma Del'Nero Williams commented:

    This is an interesting article and I obviously agree that art based subjects should be included in the curriculum. You make some good points and have conducted some good research. I am interested to know if the statistics have changed much since the article in the Guardian a few years ago.

  • Kelly Stockley

    On 8 November 2018, 11:33 Kelly Stockley Centre commented:

    What if schools only offered the arts within extra-curricular? Do the arts need to be specifically in the curriculum where students should be examined on them or are you asking that the arts should just be accessible within schools? You said that it's the parents that mainly disagree, should the government listen to parents on this matter? I agree with you that the arts should be in the curriculum as statistics have clearly proven to show positive outcomes for more well rounded people. I also agree that it does improve academic progress. A good review.

  • Beth Webster

    On 8 November 2018, 11:54 Beth Webster commented:

    I really like what you say about the actors for films. Without the arts, there would be a massive decrease in actors and money causing people to lose their jobs and we wouldn't have tv shows or films. I would have been interested more on your journey through the arts.

  • Daniel Stokes

    On 8 November 2018, 12:21 Daniel Stokes commented:

    This is an article of which I agree with completely. It is very well worded and you mentioned things of which I already thought of that cause the arts not to be cared for as much as main subjects like English for example. I feel as though the fact that parents are a big influence on kids doing arts is a great point as I have experienced quite a few people that don't feel as though arts like drama, dance, art, etc, will help their kids at all. Well done.

  • holly warrener

    On 8 November 2018, 12:24 holly warrener commented:

    I feel like you have created a strong argument, and I agree with what you say, unfortunately some people don't.

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