When we think of our education, we are encouraged to think about the ways we are supported and aided in our journey to our futures. But what if we felt the opposite, and the subjects we were passionate about were frowned upon, if we felt as though we didn’t get enough support or help with them, or if we felt ostracised for not being able to afford to carry ourselves through our course? For over 10% of students studying their GCSEs in the UK, the subject or subjects which they commit themselves to and wish to continue with, this is what they have to go through.

In the majority of British secondary schools, academic subjects are the focus of school time, and it is compulsory for students to take core subjects up to at least GCSE level, and for English and Maths, to leave with a pass. The government advises schools of how to divide the budget, recommending core subjects and guided subjects such as geography, history, and languages before leaving subjects such as performing arts and music with minimal funding. Leading down the chain of authority, this causes governors not to approve of creative subjects and for this negative outlook upon vocational skills to continue down to school staff.

 “School funding, in general, is diabolical,” the head of the drama department at Norbury Manor BEC said when interviewed. “It’s so strange because the revenue the entertainment industry brings in for Britain is unreal, and yet the government doesn't feel like it’s something that they should invest in.” She states how the poor funding can “demotivate” her as a teacher, but she tries to stay positive, saying “When you are faced with adversity, you learn how to overcome it.” Although it can be trying for her as her subject is not taken as seriously as she would like, she makes the most of what she has and tries to enrich her students with the fundamental “core values” of the art. She sticks to the idea that “When you have a trough moment, there’s sure to be a peak.” This is an important message for students who feel focused on creative or vocational subjects, and she feels that although it is a shame, we should try not to be discouraged.

Yasmin Ammour - Norbury Manor BEC