• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email

Concerns raised over 'decimation' of arts provision in schools and colleges across England.

Two children standing at a table painting

Vlada Karpovich/Pexels

A group of 14 organisations and artists from across the arts and education sectors have joined forces to "raise the alarm" over the state of arts provision in schools and colleges. 

A joint statement by the group, which includes the National Education Union and Musicians’ Union (MU), says the "eroding of the arts across the curriculum" has "gone far beyond crisis point". 

"We are facing an arts apocalypse," it says.


Last year, the total number of exam entries to all creative arts subjects fell by 4% compared with 2022, representing its smallest-ever share of total GCSE exam entries, with a similar trend for A-level entries.

Meanwhile, the government's Cultural Education Plan, which Arts Minister Lord Parkinson—speaking at an event in January—said would be "published very soon," has yet to materialise.

The organisation's statement says the situation in schools is "deep, multi-faceted and worsening". 

"The current state of arts education is one of the clearest signs of what has gone wrong with our whole system," it adds.

"A commitment to arts education is essential to arrest the decline and to build an education system fit for the 21st Century. 

"We call on politicians of all parties to recognise and respond to the problems on the scale that is necessary. We encourage educators and the wider arts community to push for radical change in their schools and communities."

It lists six policy solutions that it wants all political parties to consider before the next general election.

Full curriculum review

These include a significant increase in education spending, with specific funding for arts education, an increase in arts teacher recruitment, and a full review of curriculum and assessment from early years to post-16 level.

MU National Organiser for Education, Health and Wellbeing, Chris Waters, said: “MU members care passionately about universal access to music education – it’s how many got their leg up into the profession, and how we can ensure that the next generation of professional musicians aren’t only those whose families could afford to pay for lessons. 

“The MU is therefore proud to be working with a group of other organisations that share similar concerns for their own subjects, showing that arts education across the board has been dangerously under-supported under the current government. 

“The Arts Apocalypse statement will help everyone who cares about arts education speak with one voice and restore these vital subjects to the heart of our schools.” 

Other signatories to the statement include Access Art, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, Black Lives in Music, Equity and One Dance UK.