The distinctiveness of Art & Design and D&T – ensuring schools provide for high-quality provision in both

Since the introduction of a slimmed down art and design national curriculum in 2014, NSEAD has provided resources to help our members make explicit the requirements of a broad and balanced art, craft and design curriculum. Our much used parallel curriculum and assessment and progression materials (hyperlink here) are two examples. However, the consequences of government policies in education, to include funding cuts and school performance measures, have resulted in some members indicating that their schools have attempted to merge, art & design with D&T. In 2016 at The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art, Craft and Design in Education, we first reported on the implications of such mergers.

In May 2019, Ofqual reported that GCSE candidate numbers for art and design had increased by 3% (hyperlink here). In June 2018, the DfE reported that there had been another fall in art and design key stage 4 hours taught – between 2011 and 2017 the decrease had been as much as 21.1%. The numbers do not add up.

With these discrepancies in full view and guided by reports from members in schools, we are concerned that the apparent rise in GCSE Art and Design masks the true picture of how and where it is being taught. Furthermore Ofqual indicates there has been a 28% decrease in D&T GCSE candidates this year. We are concerned therefore that the apparent rise in Art and Design candidates masks the true picture of how and where it is being taught. Whether it is within D&T departments by art and design trained teachers or by D&T trained teachers, there is a real risk that students are being offered a curriculum lacking breadth and depth.

In this briefing paper and presentation for NSEAD members, Ged Gast, former president of NSEAD, has set out the distinctiveness of art and design; misconceptions about similarities with D&T, and why some schools might seek to merge art & design and D&T departments. The paper also examines the potential implications, impact and outcomes on learning and curriculum provision that result from such mergers.

The paper will help subject leaders and senior management teams to better understand that art and design and D&T are complementary subjects, and that they are not an alternative to each other – the study of one does not replace the other.

The paper also helpfully examines the ‘design’ in art, craft & design and proposes ways to ensure your art and design department team will understand the value of both subjects and how to make explicit the subject differences.

Notably, NSEAD members in Scotland have not reported such mergers. The uniqueness of art and design and expressive arts, sit explicitly away from the study of product and technology and engineering based subjects.

What next? The Society is currently evidencing these changes and welcomes any comments or examples from teachers of art and design who may have experienced changes to their art and design and D&T curriculum or examination offer. This may be reflected in changes to staffing, timetable, curriculum and/or examination endorsements offered. Please email your comments to Sophie Leach (or MG or GG)???). We also welcome any feedback from members on how this paper. Your comments and expertise will inform and help us to evidence an NSEAD members’ webinar on the distinctiveness of Art and Design and D&T and the benefits of planning and providing for both.

This is members' only content. To view and download this paper please log in to the website and then visit this link:

NSEAD Elections 2019. Take an active part in influencing the work of your Society.

Call for Nominations for members of Council and members of NSEAD Forum
Full story...

The NSEAD campaign against inequalities in initial teacher bursaries and misrepresentation of our subject

Since October 2018 NSEAD’s special interest group for Initial Teacher Education has written to both Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education and Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools. We have written and campaigned regarding the misrepresentation of our subject and the discrimination of art and design trainee teachers who do not receive a bursary.
Full story...

Exhibition celebrates Liverpool City Region’s best young artists

dot-art Schools inter-school art competition is already a well-established fixture in the academic calendar for many Liverpool City Region schools as it is now in its seventh year. Due to its success and a partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, a parallel programme was also launched in 2017 for Cheshire West & Chester, Cheshire East and Warrington schools. Since its inception almost 7000 students from 398 schools have taken part.
Full story...

Research shows art and picture books have a direct and positive impact on children's literacy

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE)'s Power of Pictures interim research finds that giving children the opportunity to explore their creativity through art and supporting them to learn through picturebooks, has a direct and positive impact on children’s literacy.
Full story...


Further News Items

See the Further News Items for a full listing of all stories.

Notice Board

The notice board is a place to post requests for help, ideas and inspiration! This service is only available to NSEAD members and subscribers to START magazine.