FOCUS ON: All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art, Craft and Design in Education

Date Created: 24th May 2016

Photograph of 8 students presenting in front of a boardroom of adults

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The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Art, Craft and Design in Education is an informal cross-party group, run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, with secretariat support from NSEAD. They meet in Westminster at least once per term. The group believes that art, craft and design education is essential to the economy and to the cultural, spiritual, creative and social wellbeing of all; that it empowers individuals, enabling them to engage with our rich visual and cultural heritage, to express themselves and become visually literate and perceptive, and that access to high quality art, craft and design education is an entitlement for everyone. Lucy Medhurst, one of Artswork’s Strategic Managers, attended the recent meeting on 3rd May, where Sophie Coles (NSEAD) presented findings from their recent report.

NSEAD’s new research has identified a very significant overall decline in art, craft and design qualification completions (at levels 2 and 3). In the last five years, the number of level 2 qualifications (equivalent to GCSEs) has fallen by 43%. Indeed, between 2013-15, vocational qualification completions for Craft, Creative Arts, and Design declined faster than in any other vocational sector.

Meanwhile, a petition to ‘include the expressive arts in the EBacc’, which was backed by the Design and Technology Association and the Bacc for the Future campaign, has received over 100,000 signatures and as a result, is going to be debated in Parliament on Monday 4th July at 4.30pm. NSEAD is also calling for the sector to raise this issue with their MPs.

Three schools with a strong arts and cultural offer led moving presentations at the APPG meeting:

Kenton School in West Newcastle, where 55% of students qualify for Pupil Premium funding

Kenton’s ambition is to normalise outcomes for disadvantaged students, whilst ensuring there is a choice of arts subjects at KS4, in spite of school performance measure Progress 8. All of their Year 9 pupils have a creative option, consisting of Art and Design, Graphic Communication, Ceramics, Photography and Art Textiles. As a result, the department is set to expand from 150 Year 9 students currently studying Art, to over 300 entering Year 9 and starting KS4 from September 2016.

The school is very proud of the success of English as a Second Language and Pupil Premium students, and has support from its governing body and Senior Leadership Team in appreciating the value that the Arts add to education. Attainment is rigorously evaluated.

Gomersal Primary in West Yorkshire spoke about integrating Arts Award to develop standards in Art across the curriculum.

Gomersal’s work to build a strong arts-inclusive KS2 curriculum involves fundraising and technical support time, after school activities, clubs, workshops, as well as a CPD programme for parents and staff.

The school’s Headteacher and Arts Coordinator set a baseline and targets at the start of the year. The added value the Arts bring has been high, with a clear link to literacy levels. The school makes sure to share training and CPD sessions with a wide range of other schools.

Derby School is the first science and arts combined college, with two national awards under their belt for contributions to creativity in education

Derby School hosts a menu of activities for 35 feeder schools in their area. Their strong partnerships and own interpretation of Ofsted criteria have allowed them to focus on the innovation and cultivation of creativity in the curriculum. They believe in highlighting transferable skills, teamwork, leadership and communication and collaboration.

For more on these sessions, papers and presentations, visit


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