International Journal of Art & Design Education

A National Curriculum or National Guidelines for Art and Design 5-14?

Volume 12.1   1993



MacDonald reviews the history of curricular legislation in Scotland, where National Guidelines for Art and Design, equivalent to the English National Curriculum Order for Art, were published in 1992. He presents a comparative analysis of the formative processes of curricular change on either side of the border, and contrasts the emphases and evident values represented in the eventual publications of the (English) Working Group and its counterpart, the (Scottish) Review and Development Group. There are two sub-themes in this account: one relates to the well-considered and accepted Scottish accommodation of art and design within a conception of `expressive arts' – a matter that has been controversial in England. The second concerns the great efforts taken in Scotland to articulate models of education as indicative of what educationalists have been trying to achieve. The author's substantive observation, arising from his comparison, is that the two systems constitute a basis for art and design educators – across the United Kingdom – to seek common cause in terms of modifying national advice. The English and Scottish curricula are sufficiently complementary to prompt a consensus of professional and political judgments, the main objective of which should be protection of art and design from further externally-imposed prescriptions.