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.