This article is more than 5 years old

Supporting applications to the creative arts

Jamie Mackay introduces a new guide, developed by Access HE, to support learners into creative higher education courses and beyond.
This article is more than 5 years old

Jamie Mackay is Deputy Head at AccessHE.

For some readers the following sentence may sound familiar: The introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in 2010, together with the 2015 decision to make EBacc subjects compulsory in secondary schools and ongoing funding pressures, has led to the prioritisation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects at the expense of others – particularly the creative arts.

Right now, young people in schools across the country are finding themselves unable to study arts subjects at GCSE and instead must fuel their passion outside of the classroom and often at great expense – placing those from low income backgrounds at a disadvantage.

If these young people are not being encouraged to study the arts at GCSE and/or cannot fund their passions, this will have (and is having) a knock-on effect in sixth forms and colleges: without having studied creative arts subjects at A Level or equivalent, students are struggling to demonstrate and evidence the right skills for studying these at higher education level. Moreover, there is a danger that those students applying for such courses are either only those from certain backgrounds where there is a long-standing tradition, or have parental funding to support them. Without a pipeline of suitable, trained talent, there will be a huge impact on the creative industries in London. We can try to change policy, but we at AccessHE have decided to do something different and feed young people’s’ passion for the creative arts.

Feeding the passion

Over the last academic year, the AccessHE Creative Network has been hard at work putting together the AccessHE Creative HE Apply Guide which will be launched today during our ‘Strengthening our creative capital‘ event.

Using the expertise of some of our members (Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, Ravensbourne University London, Rose Bruford College, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, University for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex and University of Westminster) we have created a resource which aims to guide learners through their consideration of studying creative higher education, into application and then enrolment.

The AccessHE Creative HE Apply Guide intends to offer a new perspective to those young people who are finding their journey into creative HE confused by unhelpful and mixed messages in the media. By providing facts and figures that showcase the strength of the creative industries and emphasising that choices at higher education should be their own, our hope is to empower young people to make an informed choice about their creative futures. Together with some guidance, we encourage them to consider the following questions:

  • Why do you want to study a creative subject?
  • What should you be thinking about before applying?
  • How do you apply?
  • What happens during the application process?
  • How do you make an informed decision?

Launched in July 2018 as part of AccessHE Week 2018, the AccessHE Creative HE Apply Guide can now be downloaded from the AccessHE website.

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