Release date: 06 December 2012
The design industry announced today that it had sent an open letter to Michael Gove warning him that his intention to omit design related subjects from the English Baccalaureate would impact on Britain’s future prosperity.
Stella McCartney, Sir Jonathan Ive, Olympic Torch designers Edward Barber RDI and Jay Osgerby RDI, Sir Terence Conran, the Design Council, D&AD and many of the UK’s leading design agencies argue that omitting Design & Technology and Art & Design from the English Baccalaureate will damage the future prosperity of the UK’s industry and the wider creative economy. Today sees the launch of the ‘Include Design’ campaign, part of the Bacc for the Future campaign, and signatories believe that the omission will fail to provide students with the skills that UK employers need, which they argue will have a catastrophic impact on the UK’s economy.
Education secretary, Michael Gove, has recently revealed a proposal to replace the GCSE exam with an English Baccalaureate. The proposal initially intends to focus studies towards three core subject areas – English, maths and science - with history, geography and languages added at a later stage. Not all subjects will be included, with art and design for example left out.
Signatories of the ‘Include Design’ campaign urge Michael Gove to reconsider the EBacc in it’s proposed form, arguing that the UK creative industries are the envy of the world, and set the bar in excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship. The UK’s design industry is the largest in Europe and one of the strongest globally – NESTA estimates £23bn is spent on design, while Imperial College put the figure at £33.5bn in 2011. Design Council research demonstrates that despite the recession the industry grew by 29 per cent between 2005 and 2010.
‘Include Design’ urges Michael Gove to rethink the Government’s proposal to exclude design and the arts and to add a sixth pillar option for these subjects into the EBacc.
Jay Osgerby RDI, one of the design pair that designed the Olympic Torch, commented:
“Our Creativity is at the forefront of our new economy and also, part of our national identity. We are very creative islanders and our design education has, for decades fuelled that creativity, helping Britain to be regarded as the creative hub of the world. It’s hugely disappointing to see design being relegated to the periphery of our National Curriculum. If we do not support and invest in design education now we risk a brain drain of our best talent in the near future. We should be upping our game, not demoting design to the side lines.”
Sir Terence Conran commented on the proposal to exclude design related subjects from the EBacc:
"The creative industries in the UK are the envy of the world and make a significant difference to the quality of our lives and to the economy. The Government's proposal to strip it from their Baccalaureate makes no sense and sends out completely the wrong message. The strength of the UK creative industries is no accident, it lies in the quality of the education our young receive which is why I founded the Design Museum over twenty years ago and why we are moving to bigger premises in the Commonwealth Institute. We should be encouraging creativity and innovation in our young, not stifling it. I am depressed enough that as a country we make so few things, imagine if we no longer designed them as well?"
Wayne Hemingway, Trustee of the Design Council, commented:
“Britain isn’t a leading design nation by accident. It has happened because in the past we have invested in design education. It’s vital that we continue to inspire and equip young people to create and execute their ideas, and nurture the next generation. Design is the only National Curriculum subject that provides a focus on the practical as well as the theoretical - supporting innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Downgrading this subject by not including it in the English Baccalaureate would have a negative impact both for our children and for the economy.”
 Design services, design rights and design life lengths in the UK - An independent report commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office:
 Design Industry Research 2010 – a comprehensive survey of the UK design industry conducted by the Design Council.
Notes to Editors
1. Open letter to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education:
Dear Secretary of State
We write to you on behalf of the UK design industry.
We believe that the omission of subjects such as Design & Technology and Art & Design from the English Baccalaureate will damage the future prosperity of our industry and the wider creative economy. It will fail to provide students with the skills that UK employers need and its impact on
the UK’s economy will be catastrophic.
The UK creative industries are the envy of the world, we set the bar in excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship. The development of an English Baccalaureate affords the Government an opportunity to enhance one of the strongest areas of our economy. It is an opportunity to create a generation that will stand the best chance of improving our global competitiveness and contribute to our future economic growth. In its proposed form however, we believe the English Baccalaureate will starve our world leading creative sector of its future pioneers.
Collectively we champion good design which shapes society and improves the way people live. The UK’s design industry is the largest in Europe and one of the strongest globally – NESTA estimates £23bn is spent on design, while Imperial College put the figure at £33.5bn in 2011. Design Council research demonstrates that despite the recession the industry grew by 29 per cent between 2005 and 2010. Design is the lynchpin that connects our creative industries together and is fundamental to a broad range of disciplines from advertising to architecture, from furniture to fashion.
The innovation that fuels UK growth relies on knowledge, the skilled use of materials and the command of ideas. Design and the arts are vital components of an accessible and varied education system that can provide these skills.
The prospect of future generations growing up considering these subjects as unimportant is simply incomprehensible. We therefore urge you to rethink the Government’s proposal to exclude Design and the arts from the English Baccalaureate and to add a sixth pillar option for these subjects into the EBacc.
Sir Jonathan Ive
Edward Barber, RDI
Jay Osgerby, RDI
Sir Terence Conran
British Interactive Media Association
Wieden + Kennedy
All of Us
The Brand Union
DBA (Design Business Association)
The Design and Technology Association
Made by Many
Its Nice That
University of Reading
Goldsmiths, University of London
University of the Arts London
The New Black
Mark Thomson Design
Irving & Co.
Create Forty Eight
Huw David design
No Sugar Studio
Not Just Design
Vincent and Bell
We Are Human
2. The ‘Include Design’ campaign is a web based campaign (#includedesign; http://includedesign.org/)
3. 'Include Design’ is part of the Bacc for the future campaign (http://www.baccforthefuture.com/), and encourages participants to sign the online petition
4. For further information please contact:
Tim Crowley, Head of Communications, Design Council