PISA test results 2019

Today (3 December 2019), the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results have been released. The results show that the UK has improved its global ranking, with England in particular rising up the ranks in maths.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign said:

‘Whilst the news that the UK has improved its global ranking in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests, and England has modestly improved its standings in maths, is positive – we must not lose sight of the fact that creative subjects are vital for a well-rounded 21st century education.

As Andreas Schleicher, director for education and skills at the OECD, stated in his evidence to the Education Select Committee in February 2019, art may become ‘more important’ than maths in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He said, “We often talk about soft skills as being social and emotional skills, and hard skills as being science and maths, but it might be the opposite. The science and maths might become a lot softer in the future, where the relevance of knowledge evaporates very quickly, whereas the hard skills might be your curiosity, leadership, persistence and resilience.”

It was recently decided by the Department for Education that England would opt out of the optional creative thinking test PISA tests in 2021, which further indicates that the Government does not value creative education. However, to ensure the UK does not fall victim to the technological changes brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, creative subjects must be placed at the heart of a child’s education.’

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians and a nationally recognised subject association for music education.

Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession. We support almost 9,500 musicians across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services.

Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds. As well as working musicians, our membership also includes recent graduates, part-time and full-time music students, and retired musicians. We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.

About the Bacc for the Future campaign

Bacc for the Future is a campaign to save creative subjects in secondary schools across England. It is supported by more than 200 creative businesses, education bodies, and organisations as well as more than 100,000 individuals.

Founded by the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the UK’s professional body for musicians, it successfully fought against the original arts-excluding EBacc in 2013. Since 2015, it has been fighting against the new EBacc with the aim of saving creative subjects in secondary schools across England.

For more information about the ISM/Bacc for the Future, please contact [email protected].