V&A director Tristram Hunt: Creative deficit is an education emergency that's undermining society

The director of the V&A has told Sky News there is "an emergency" and "we need to act" in order to stop the drop in young people taking creative subjects at school.

Tristram Hunt warned that the UK's "economy and society" was being "undermined" by the fall in the number of GCSE students choosing the arts.

"We, in this country, are creative and we have incredible creative industries," he said. "But our education system is not providing the pipeline of talent, is not providing the creative young people to grow and fulfil that into the future."

The creative industries are worth over £10m per hour to the UK economy and yet there's been a dramatic decline in the uptake of creative subjects by GCSE students in recent years.

Design technology has suffered a huge drop of 67% from 2010 to 2019, with specialist teachers down by 32%, according to the Cultural Learning Alliance.

Mr Hunt said the independent sector provides a lot of support for arts subjects, such as art, design, music and pottery, but is "under pressure" from "accountability systems and funding criteria in the state secondary system".

The former Labour MP and shadow education secretary stressed that young people should have access to creative subjects to give them a "sense of fulfilment... joy and a sense of purpose", but "there is also a crude economic value here, that if we don't invest in this we're going to miss out on opportunities".

This decline has been widely attributed, in part, to the government's focus on the English Baccalaureate (core subjects of English, maths, history or geography, the sciences and a language) as a measure of performance.

It was introduced by the Department for Education in 2010, under a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government.

The V&A has created a programme called DesignLab Nation which Mr Hunt says is to help young people "discover the wonder and excitement of design" in parts of the country which have suffered economically over the last 20-30 years but which also have a rich history of design and innovation.

Kate Kennedy who runs the programme for the V&A says the key aim is to help students gain "21st century skills" such as "creative thinking, critical thinking and collaboration", which are "so essential to future workplaces" and "broadening horizons".

The programme is running in five areas - Blackburn, Coventry, Sunderland, Stoke-On-Trent and Sheffield.

As well as being cities with strong reputations for industry and design, Ms Kennedy said they're where "students aren't choosing DT at GCSE - they're also areas where there's high free school meals and where students aren't interacting with their local culture".

In Stoke on Trent they've teamed up with the Emma Bridgewater factory, and Sky News followed them as young people from the St John Fisher Catholic College in Newcastle-Under-Lyme were being taken round.

Amelia Carr, the school's art teacher, told Sky News it's a struggle to push creative subjects because they're not core subjects.

But she said working with the museum had been "very engaging", adding: "It's stretching them... and giving them the opportunity to think of different careers for the future."

As part of the programme the V&A has also lent out items from the museum in South Kensington, London, to regional museums in the five areas, so far loaning 114 objects to engage with 21 schools.