Formal education is a unifying experience for nearly everyone in the country. It's been in Britain since at least the 18th century and it's here to stay.  It’s a core part of life and while its importance cannot be understated, there is a glaring issue in the way certain subjects and pathways are treated.

The “big three” of education are maths, English and science. They are taught to everyone and considered the most important. The constant praise for these core subjects however creates a tag for other subjects to just be a “hobby”.  This name originates from the idea that the skills you learn from “hobby” subjects cannot be applied in the future or used for a stable job in the future.

While it is true that the core subjects have skills that can be applied to day-to-day life, that doesn't mean the others don't. Art is “just about dedication” states a GCSE Art student, George Mathieson.  He says that art has helped with expression and improved coordination skills.

The dismissal of the creative side of “hobby” subjects may be due to the belief that innate talent is needed to have success in those fields.

This heavily contrasts the revision techniques of core subjects which rely on memory and familiarisation with the topics to get high grades. It’s taught in schools that anyone can achieve high grades if time and effort are put into revising yet students are not taught that the talent displayed by students of the creative arts is also time and effort, that anyone can do, used in practice to improve in these subjects and labelling it as merely talent undervalues the work put in by those students in those subjects. 

Another reason for the dismissal of “hobby” subjects is due to a similarity to other subjects. Media Studies is often undervalued due to the similarities it shares with English Literature. Skills learnt in the subjects can often intertwine and enhance a student’s ability in both subjects but while in English Literature, the analysis relies on context and an understanding of the text, in media studies there is a focus on a larger range of semiotic analysis and the application of theories to aid you in that. This subject also cannot be understated in helping students look past face value at advertisements and commercials, making you ask what the corporation wants from the audience. 

In conclusion, these subjects shouldn’t be undervalued as while the three core subjects are important, so are all the others. 

  • This article has been written by Arjun Selva, from Wildern School, as part of Newsquest's Young Reporter scheme.