Paint a positive picture of art

12th August 2016 at 01:00
Teachers are struggling to get their concerns heard, but one expert says the answer is to work together

Things are tough for art and design teachers. A recent survey by the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD), which explores the impact of government policy on art, craft and design education over the past five years, highlights a raft of concerns about the health of the subject in schools and colleges across England (

Some 1,191 teachers responded to the poll and reported: reductions in curriculum time for artistic learning across all key stages; a devaluing of the subject; limited CPD opportunities and growing job dissatisfaction. There were notable disparities between the state and independent sectors and different types of schools within the state sector.

There have been attempts to address the situation. Engage, the national association for gallery education ( organised Generation Art: Young Artists on Tour. The exhibition featured the work of young artists aged 5-18, selected through an open submission process and it was hosted at venues in Margate, Leicester and the Isle of Wight – all serving communities with low levels of cultural engagement.

The show celebrated the creativity and commitment of young people who pursue art-making in and out of school, prompting the question: how can we foster this passion within the curriculum for all students?

Over the coming year, we all need to pull together to answer this question by tapping into the knowledge and shared experience of art and design teachers across the country. Fortunately, there are several ways in which we can do this.


The website of the national subject association NSEAD ( is the go-to place for anything and everything connected to art, craft and design education. You can also find inspiration and support from local colleagues via the NSEAD regional network groups, which are open to non-members.

ESAG for art, craft and design

Resources to support the national curriculum are available via the NSEAD website and also on the Expert Subject Advisory Group blog ( – including an auditing framework and a searchable spreadsheet signposting hundreds of resources, from early years to key stage 3 and beyond. The advocacy section also features some wonderful videos showcasing the value of art, craft and design education.


This organisation hosts a number of open-access teaching resources on its website (, promoting creative and contemporary approaches to art-making.

TES forums

There are some fantastic discussions happening on the TES art and design forum. Go to to take part.

Dr Emese Hall is a senior lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Exeter and a member of the Expert Subject Advisory Group for Art, Craft and Design

For our guide to art and design resources for 2016-17, visit

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