Welcome to the website of Susan M. Coles, Artist & Arts, Creativity & Educational Consultant.

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I am starting 2014 with a Campaign which I invite you all to join in with. I was concerned last year to see that DFE had changed the discount coding for GCSEs, so that two different specifications in Art and Design (for example, Textiles and Photography) will count as two GCSEs for the student but only as one in the performance tables. This also affects some other Arts subjects. Dance and Drama together will count as one in the accountability tables. Sharon Hodgson MP tabled a parliamentary question about this and the Right Hon David Laws (Minister of State for Education) responded with this:
Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what representations he has received on changes to discounting codes for (a) arts, (b) design, © music and (d) drama subjects.
Mr Laws: Discount codes are used to gather qualifications with similar content together to ensure that where pupils take more than one qualification in the same or similar subject area, the performance tables only give credit once for teaching a single course of study. The discounting for the qualifications in music and music technology, and in design and technology were not changed. The Department for Education has received a small number of representations from teachers and students regarding the change in discounting for qualifications in performing arts (dance and drama) and art and design. There were also a number of responses on the discounting of performing arts, photography and art and design during the Secondary School Accountability Consultation. These responses were from sources including the Arts Council England, the Cultural Learning Alliance and the ‘Bacc for the Future’ campaign.
So, I am picking up on this sentence THE DFE HAS RECEIVED A SMALL NUMBER OF REPRESENTATIONS…….” and asking you to join me in changing that statement by writing in LARGE numbers to Mr Laws. All the conversations I have had with teachers show that this is a concern and contributes to a marginalisation of the Arts. When we did the Rainbow for Mr Gove letter in 2010, it did get noticed and we can do the same this year with other postal campaigns. It also brings people together with a sense of purpose and that is really important. It’s a democracy and we are allowed to protest! I have created a template for a letter which also has relevant information with it, his address, web links etc and invite you to personalise this and send it BY POST as soon as you can. I hope to get hundreds (no, let’s aim for thousands) of letters in his mail box this month. Let me know when you post yours so we can keep a tally. Just add a comment below the blog. This will go out via Twitter and Facebook and I am also inviting other Arts subjects to get involved.
“Letter to Mr Laws 2014”. THANK YOU for your support and please spread the word.


A teacher

2886 days ago

Done! Passed on.


2883 days ago

done it and others too. thanks, good ideas,

Jeanette Davies

2882 days ago

I am going to a photography forum next week. I will draw attention to your letter.
Do you have any news about the proposed high value art subjects for progress 8. I am being told by SLT that it is likely that Art will not qualify.


2882 days ago

there is not a jot of evidence to support that rumour spread by SLT Jeanette. In fact David Laws has mentioned Art within the context of the 8. Thanks for your support.


2879 days ago

Got all our creative arts team to write and draw a letter. It’s a stupid and narrow minded decision and they simply don’t have a clue.


2878 days ago

if hes writing the next election education policy then we need to write to him every day until 2015.

Clive Niall

2858 days ago

Some people learn through science, some people learn through maths, some people learn through English, some people learn through the arts – visual art, music, drama, photography, textiles (to name but some) Some people learn from a combination of disciplines and interests. No one subject is more important than another, none should preclude study in another, or not be counted as qualifications. They should all have equal weight and be equally important. If you learn you learn, if you achieve you achieve. Where in law is the Ebacc anyway?


2857 days ago

I have written the letter. I despair though. We have had a redundancy in our dept. The EBacc has taken away the very best kids as they don’t even get the chance to take Art. We have gone from 127 in y11 to a possible 42 in year ten come September. Money cut. No CPD. Sharing one art room with GCSE PE and Drama. I’m 29 and ready to leave teaching. Yet I love the subject. NSEAD give me hope but my energy is sapped.

Janine Sykes

2855 days ago

Done. Lovely to read the other support messages.

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