Celebrating 30 years of the SSAT

On Thursday evening Alison Critchley had the pleasure and privilege to attend an event marking 30 years of the SSAT (originally the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, renamed as the organisation for Schools, Students and Teachers) at the House of Commons yesterday evening.  The evening was hosted by Lord Baker of Dorking, former Secretary of State for Education and passionate advocate of the importance of vocational and technical education.

In his opening remarks Lord Baker highlighted that the subjects in the E-Bacc are almost identical to those that made up the curriculum at the start of the 20th century:

1904 2016
English

Maths

Foreign Language

Science

History

Geography

Drawing

2 x English

Maths

Foreign Language

2 x Science

History

or Geography

 

Lord Baker went on to lament the predictable but nevertheless depressing drop off in the number of GCSE entries in creative and technical subjects over the last six years.  The drop in entries for creative subjects have been widely highlighted, but when you also include Design and Technology subjects the drop is even more stark. Figures compiled by the Edge Foundation indicate that between 2010 and 2016 the number of GCSEs taken in these areas fell by 21%, from 674,000 to 533,000.

The schools in the RSA Family of Academies are determined to ensure that all pupils continue to enjoy a broad and balanced curriculum, despite the challenging financial situation and the narrow accountability measures.  To support this, staff and governors from across the RSA Family have worked together to develop and agree to a Commitment to Arts, Culture and Creativity.  We would encourage other schools to take a similar approach, whilst continuing to lobby for the funding schools need, and the abandonment of the e-bacc as a relevant measure of school performance, to enable all schools to offer the rich curriculum that our pupils deserve.