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I was extremely disappointed to learn that after 2018 it will become impossible to study History of Art at A-level. This is yet another example of an increasingly instrumental view of education that narrows both the ambitions and opportunities of young people in this country.

Art history isn’t a 'soft' subject. It is a meta subject that brings together so many other disciplines, and is integral to any serious understanding of our past. Moreover, in the last few decades it’s been an invaluable tool to expose the social, sexual and racial prejudices that aren’t always expressed in words.

The arts sector has been and remains one of the few genuine success stories in modern British society. This country’s international reputation depends in part on the continued excellence of its art institutions. I worry that this unnecessary decision will cause long-term harm to the cultural life of the nation.

As a Director of Studies in History of Art at the University of Cambridge, I want to make it very clear that we will continue to welcome applications from those who haven’t had the opportunity to study Art History at school. Whatever AQA declares, this thrilling subject should be open to all.

Dr James Fox, Director of Studies in History of Art at the University of Cambridge