Last week we learnt that history of art is to be axed as an A level subject.

While the decision has been blamed on a shortage of experienced specialist examiners and insufficient student numbers, other commentators have suggested that the decision has been made because the subject is viewed as both soft and elitist having been taught at only a handful of state schools but widely offered in the independent sector. 

Although I have never studied history of art, I would argue that the subject is far from soft. After all,  history, which requires a similar skill set and approach, is widely regarded as one of the most academic disciplines by both universities and employers.

More importantly, to understand the present, you need to be able to understand the past. Without A Level history of art, fewer students will learn this valuable lesson and appreciate their cultural inheritance.

So yes, it appears that history of art has lost a PR battle. It is a shame that fewer students will now get the option to study this valuable subject. Ironically, this will make the art world less accessible and arguably more elitist.