Letter: Plans will hit creative arts

Youngsters at this year's Eskdale Festival
Youngsters at this year's Eskdale Festival
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It has been my privilege to be the Chairman of the Eskdale Festival of the Arts for the last few years.

This year we have been treated to very high standards of performance in music and the spoken word.

Indeed, as a drama teacher with 40 years of experience, I can honestly say that the verse and choral speaking from local schools was some of the best that I have ever heard.

Hundreds of students have come from Ryedale, Selby, Scarborough and Whitby to engage in classes which have been both entertaining and artistically impressive.

Our four professional adjudicators have been sympathetic and helpful but they have also gone out of their way to help the performers to move forward with their considerable talents.

The staff members at Whitby Pavilion were exceptionally helpful with all of the competitors andtheir teachers and I owe a debt of gratitude to my committee and all of the volunteer stewards who help to make this event a success.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the parents and families who continue to support us – thank you.

Whitby has strong traditions in music, drama, dance and the performing arts – Folk Week, 60’s Weekend, Goth Week and Plough Stots to name but a few. It is right and proper that the curriculum in our schools strongly reflects this rich, local, cultural heritage.

As a retired secondary headteacher with 20 years of experience, I am very concerned about the Government’s proposals for the English Baccalaureate (E.Bacc.)

This is a school performance measure which, if the present proposals are pursued, will effectively reduce the likelihood of students taking music, dance, drama and art, beyond the age of 14.

I have always believed that schools should offer a broad curriculum so that young people have a better opportunity to discover their gifts and exploit them.

If the Government’s proposals go ahead, this will have a very serious impact on the arts in general. It will also have a dramatic impact on the Eskdale Festival, The Whitby Music Centre and the local creative arts industry.

At the time of writing, over 80,000 people have petitioned the Government to try to force a parliamentary debate – 100,000 signatories are needed! I urge all readers to sign the petition by putting E.Bacc into Google drive and then click on The campaign to reform E.Bacc. – Home.

Dave Bradley

Chairman of the Eskdale Festival of the Arts, Sleights