'Every child should have a chance to flourish': Parents 'disgusted' as art and music GCSEs shunned by school

Parents have told of their “disgust” after music and art GCSE options were removed from a school’s curriculum.

Belvidere School. Pic: Google Street View
Belvidere School. Pic: Google Street View

Year nines at Belvidere Secondary School in Shrewsbury, who are going into year 10 in September, have been told they cannot select the two creative subjects when choosing their options.

Amid the decision, outraged parents refused to be silent, and painted a picture of disappointment among their children.

One parent’s anonymous letter to the Shropshire Star said: “I am writing to express my disgust with my child’s education.

"He is a very bright student who excels in music and has acquired a fondness for art.

“This year the students at Belvidere cannot study art or music.

"Having studied both at GCSE level I am disgusted that students are unable to have a chance to develop and enhance their creativity. Instead my son has been offered design and technology!

“Every child should have a chance to flourish. Some children are more creative than others and this measure will be suppressing those children’s interest and their future prospects.

“I have written an email to the school. I have spoken to the music and art teachers who are dumbfounded with this decision.

“I write to highlight the need for children to get the education that they deserve and one that they should have access to.”

Outlet

Another parent told the Shropshire Star: “My son plays the piano, and music is his only outlet. It’s the only thing he enjoys, really. He is very academic.

“The school said there wasn’t enough money and not enough pupils wanted to do art and music.

"How are they supposed to apply to sixth form to do those subjects if they haven’t got the GCSE?”

In April last year during the first lockdown, talented Belvidere pupils demonstrated their musical prowess by writing and performing their original song Hope and Inspiration, an uplifting number about the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was accompanied by a video uploaded to YouTube. Artistic students also designed the cover artwork, and the project helped raise £630 for NHS Charities Together.

Sally Wood, deputy head at Belvidere Secondary School, said a straw poll had been done with the students on which subjects they want to take as options. She added: "We can't share any further information at the moment. We need to speak to our parents and students. There is no further comment to make."

Ofqual figures last summer revealed that uptake of music GCSEs among school pupils has dropped by 35 per cent over the last 12 years.

Around 54,000 pupils took the exam in 2008, compared with 35,000 last year.

The decline has been largely attributed to government cuts to arts subjects in schools.

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