International Journal of Art & Design Education

New Realities for Art and Design Education: an Overview

Volume 12.1   1993



This paper aims to offer a brief review of the most significant debates from 1987-1993 concerning art and design education in English and Welsh secondary schools. Steers reviews legislative developments over the past six years and notes that the pace of change has been extraordinary. He considers the motivation for change to have been equally unprecedented, rehearsing a view that education has become instrumental in a political programme geared to the elimination of `public service' values, and towards greater exertion of state control over mutually-competing schools. Competitiveness has also been proposed as a characteristic tbe encouraged in pupils as individuals. While he is critical of failed potential and obvious omissions, the general tenor of the author’s observations on the place that art has won in the National Curriculum is cautiously welcoming. Art is for the first time an established subject for pupils aged 5 to 14. But he doubts whether political involvement in educational change may ever again be viewed without scepticism. What has been won for art has been conceded grudgingly by the mean spirited but he argues, in the final analysis, governments cannot mandate what matters most in schools.