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 Association of Art Historians, Condemns Scrapping Of A-Level Art History
Association of Art Historians Condemns Scrapping Of A-Level Art History - ArtLyst Article image

Association of Art Historians Condemns Scrapping Of A-Level Art History

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The final A-level art history course in England has been axed as part of the legacy of Michael Gove’s stint as Education Minister. His 'cull of 'soft subjects’ has ended with the exam board AQA to hold final A-levels in 2018, as art historians warn decision will damage opportunities for young.

Leading art critic WALDEMAR JANUSZCZAK said; "There is no better subject to study than art history. It teaches you everything - religion, politics, science, architecture, literature”. He added; "

Studying art history was the best thing that ever happened to me. It's a truly marvelous subject. Only a moron would think otherwise. This a shocking decision. No art history A level?! The world really has lost its mojo. Fuck off Gove!!!

AQA, the exam board, described history of art as a subject leading students to “an appreciation of some significant themes, from classical Greece to the end of the 20th century”. It is thought that students taking AS exams on the subject next year and A-levels in 2018 will be the last. The Association of Art Historians called the decision "a significant loss of access to a range of cultures, artifacts, and ideas for young people".

It added: “Being able to signpost educational opportunities such as an A-level in art history to students who may never have considered this an opportunity, forms a significant part of our campaign work with partners across west Yorkshire, Bristol, Brighton, and Sussex. The loss of that A-level means that for many prospective students of the subject that door will close and future opportunities will be lost.”

A spokeswoman from AQA said the decision to drop the subject had been difficult. “Our number one priority is making sure every student gets the result they deserve – and the complex and specialist nature of the exams in this subject creates too many risks on that front. That’s why we’ve taken the difficult decision not to continue our work creating a new AS and A-level.

“Our decision has nothing to do with the importance of the history of art, and it won’t stop students going on to do a degree in it as we’re not aware of any universities that require an A-level in the subject.”

Last summer 839 students sat the A-level exam and history of art is only offered in a handful of state schools, but she insisted the low numbers [and therefore the high cost to AQA of setting the exam] were not the main reason for dropping it. “But it’s true to say that the small number of students combined with the way the subject has to be assessed  a large number of specialist options] is what creates the ‘risks’ we refer to in our response.”

The association said it recognised many of the challenges faced by curriculum authorities and that it was anxious to work with them to help mitigate the risks cited by AQA.

Caroline Osborne, an art history teacher for more than 30 years, and a founder trustee of the Art History In Schools campaign group called the decision to drop the A-level “crazy, completely crazy”. She added: “The timing is insane. AQA is saying there aren’t enough teachers to teach the subject - that is one of the very subjects that we have founded this organisation to address.”

One art history teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, described the decision as “really sad and incredibly short-sighted – and directly caused by government interference”. This was the last undermining task by a politician who will remain in a political wilderness for the rest of his dismal career.

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