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Art History A-Level saved following national campaign

Posted on 2 December 2016

A high-profile national campaign, led by the Association of Art Historians and supported by the University of York, The Courtauld Institute of Art, the National Gallery, Tate, and the Royal Academy of Arts, has succeeded in saving the Art History A-level.

The campaign began in October this year in reaction to the AQA exam board’s decision to axe the subject from 2018. Top experts from the art world condemned the decision in an open letter to the AQA and raised awareness of the importance of the programme in the national press.

Following the volume of support for the subject from campaign participants, as well as the Department for Education and the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock, the course will continue to be offered through the education examinations board, Pearsons.

Human expression

Professor Michael White, Head of the University of York’s History of Art Department, said: "Art is one of the profoundest forms of human creativity and expression. The study of its history opens eyes and minds to the power of visual communication and the possibilities of intercultural understanding.

“We are delighted that Pearson will offer History of Art A-level from next year and look forward to working with them and with schools across the country to increase opportunities for students to encounter a subject, the international significance of which, is growing every year."

It is hoped that the success of the campaign will increase the popularity of the subject and offer more opportunities for people of all ages to gain more knowledge of the field of study.

Great strengths

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said:“The arts are one of the great strengths of the UK and I am pleased that A-level provision in art history will not be interrupted for students starting Sixth form in 2017."

Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate, added:“Art history is a discipline that opens doors to history, geography, social and economic issues and aesthetics.

“I am delighted that it will continue to be offered as an A level for the benefit of young people in the future. We are grateful to the Department of Education and the Culture Minister for their work in making it happen."


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