NSEAD 2015 Survey – art and design in schools

The NSEAD (National Society for Education on Art and Design – the subject association for art http://www.nsead.com) does an annual survey to investigate trends in art and design in schools. Last year the survey documented the emerging (negative) impact of eBac on art uptake and provision. You will understand, even better than me, how the continuing programme being pursued by the government is likely to have an increasing impact on our subject. There is no one else collecting subject specific data. HMI no longer undertakes subject reviews. NSEAD is probably the only national voice for art and design education in schools and it does have access to the national debate. It is really important that their research and data is seen as robust and therefore, their sample size needs to be as large as we can make it.

Here is the link to the 2014 survey results. This has informed the work of the ESAG and debate in parliament and elsewhere http://www.nsead.org/Downloads/NSEAD_ART_CRAFT_AND_DESIGN_EDUCATOR_SURVEY_REPORT_2014.pdf

The 2015 survey can be accessed at the URL below. It is important to encourage as many art teachers as possible to complete the survey and provide an accurate picture of our subject.


We hope you will be able to complete the survey and share this with many of your colleagues.

Good practice in art, craft and design

In January OFSTED published a set of papers sharing examples of good practice in art teaching. There are 12 case studies in all and they include building professional practice into GCE ‘A’ level courses, developing drawing, inspiring creativity and developing a whole school approach to art, craft and design. The case studies are  from both primary and secondary schools. Click here for the link.

Generation ART: Childrens Art Exhibition

Generation ART: Young Artists on Tour is an exhibition of children and young people’s artwork with associated learning programmes, supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic touring programme. Run by engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, the exhibition will open at Turner Contemporary, Margate in June, and tour to New Walk Museum and Art Gallery and Soft Touch Arts in Leicester, and Quay Arts on the Isle of Wight in 2015-16.

Goals of Generation ART: Young Artists on Tour
The aim of Generation ART is for children and young people to be involved in a high quality exhibition at every stage, as curators, artists, audiences and champions. By profiling high quality artwork by children and young people, Generation ART strives to raise the aspirations of schools, teachers and of children and young people, and inspire them to create excellent artwork. click here to go to the website


Sketchbooks: Loughborough University has published research into the use of individual and exploratory sketchbooks. The art foundation diploma at Loughborough University develops students’ approach to creating highly individual and exploratory sketchbooks, with a focus on first-hand drawing and visual notation, and exploration of new ideas, materials and techniques. The course tutors present an interesting critique of ‘A’ level sketchbooks developed as evidence for examinations.
‘… Many students come to us with sketchbooks which are more like “presentation books” rather than a real record of their exploration, or a source of personal visual reference. The emphasis on good presentation means that students often have to un-learn habits they have developed before coming to university, such as decorating pages, making elaborate backgrounds and titles, rather than focusing on first-hand visual research, developing and working up their ideas, which is what is required on a foundation course. The sketchbooks which we see at interview are often superficially attractive and colourful, but this can be at the expense of real content and substance. The expectations of annotation at A level often lead to students writing at length in these books, but the writing is often too descriptive, rather than analytical or evaluative. To download the report click here

Art, Craft & Design ESAG


The purpose of the Expert Advisory Group for Art and Design is to consider and offer advice about art, craft and design education to schools and providers of ITT. We will do this by: publishing, and pointing to, a range of advice and guidance, collaborating with other educational groups to co-author and quality assure advice, working to offer non-biased advice to publishers and other educational stakeholders, advising the strategic group about subject specific issues in art, craft and design education relating to policy.

Warwick report indicates the challenges for the arts

This week the Warwick Commission launched its report, Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth. The report is the result of a one-year investigation undertaken by a diverse group of cultural leaders, supported by academics from the University of Warwick.

Click here for the full report.

The Warwick website says ‘The report argues that the Cultural and Creative Industries are one entity, an ecosystem, which is becoming increasingly important to British life, the British economy, and Britain’s place in the world. It calls for joined-up policy making and a national plan for the sector that maximises cultural, economic and social return. The Commission’s analysis throws down a sharp challenge to all those who value how culture enriches people’s lives and makes a range of recommendations as to how we can ensure everyone has access to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life.’

Advocates and advocacy

The recent NSEAD research report based upon a survey of art,craft and design teachers showed a significant decline in the take up of art and design subjects in KS4 and KS5. There is a consequent reduction in teachers and resources for art, craft and design.This is seen as a result of the introduction of the eBac and the relentless emphasis on ‘academic’ subjects. It is an example of how performance measures do significantly change what is being measured. The mistaken attempt to reinterpret the role of art, craft and design education as art appreciation and a worthy leisure pursuit is doing harm not just to students but to the country.

Art teachers will wish to be passionate advocates for the value of their subject to their childrens lives. They will do well to look at this report by Alan Freeman and Peter Higgs published by NESTA which is the first systematic analysis of the employment trends in our creative and high-tec industries. The creative economy is growing three times faster than the workforce. This is not the time to downgrade creativity in our schools, nor to encourage talented students to drop a subject they love. Art craft and design education is not about providing a hobby for life but a career for life. It doesn’t have to be like this – after all there is an election soon.

Dan China

Next Gen Skills

If we thought that the new subject of ‘computing’ is nothing to do with us we would be wrong. Next Gen Skills is a campaign supported by UKIE which seeks to promote an educational alliance of arts and science subjects to feed the growing and significant sector of hi-tech industries.

Here is what the campaign stands for:

‘Next Gen Skills is campaigning for:

  • The introduction of an industry relevant Computer Science course within the framework of the National Curriculum
  • A review of ICT in its current form and to embed essential ICT skills across the wider curriculum
  • The promotion of the vital role that teaching maths, physics, art and computer science will play in ensuring the growth of UK’s digital, creative and hi-tech industries


The Next Gen Skills campaign is backed by the Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment or UKIE – a trade body that represents the whole of the UK’s video games and wider interactive entertainment industry. Founded in 1989 (and formerly known as ELSPA), UKIE’s membership includes games publishers, developers and the academic institutions that support the industry
UKIE works with government to champion a range of issues including age ratings, education and skills, tax incentives and protecting intellectual property rights. It also works with the media to ensure true and accurate representation of the sector by raising awareness of the industry’s positive economic contribution and the societal benefits of gaming to policy makers, regulators and consumers.
One of UKIE’s key roles is to support its members by providing them with key market information, promoting careers and offering the business support services, training and best-practice knowledge to enable them to operate most effectively.
Next Gen Skills is also working with partners to make these changes a reality on the ground by supporting schools across the country to make ‘digital making’ and creative programming truly mainstream and, most importantly, fun!
The campaign believes that for Computing and Computer Science subjects to be taught creatively, i.e. with reference to Art, Design and the humanities – they need to be based on ‘STEAM’ not just ‘STEM’ – endorsing the approach suggested by NESTA in its Manifesto for the Creative Economy.’

Click here for the link to Ian Livingstone’s TED talk about the power of play.

Dan China