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

Art, Craft and Design Education-is important because

Firstly, art education in schools is not about training artists to draw and paint. It is important because it helps children to think and see, imagine and create. It enables them to enjoy and have confidence in their making. It supports them as they wrestle enthusiastically with materials and resources, acquiring and using skills as they do so. It helps them reflect on, understand and enjoy what others have imagined. Above all it gives them permission to experiment and play.

Dan China