Art Now, an APPG Teacher Survey Report

The new findings and key recommendations in 'Art Now: A National Survey of Teachers of Art and Design', were shared recently (24 May 2022) at The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art, Craft and Design in Education (APPG) meeting.

Authored by the APPG research group, this first tranche of headlines and recommendations focus on ‘Teaching’. A second report, to be published in the Autumn Term, will focus on curriculum provision in art and design. This timely APPG survey and report provides an essential ‘health check’ on art, craft and design education. And five years on since NSEAD’s last large-scale survey report, it will reflect the impact of policies and the pandemic on our subject and all who engage it. At the APPG meeting the report highlights were shared by Professor Pat Thomson. 

Survey findings:

The workload of art and design teachers is increasing

The majority of art and design teachers (86.4%) reported that their workload had increased during the last five years.

Leaving the profession

Sixty-seven percent of art and design teachers reported that they were thinking about leaving the profession. This percentage is considerably higher than the 44% of [all] teachers who are considering leaving according to a 2022 NEU survey.

Four out of five art and design teacher respondents reported that wellbeing and workload were by far the two biggest disincentives to stay in teaching. Survey respondents reported that both workload and wellbeing were worse during and after the pandemic. 

Investment for subject-specific Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

The survey found that a substantial percentage of primary art leads always attend subject-specific CPD in their own time. Many also pay for some or all of their subject-specific CPD themselves. 

A fifth (21%) of secondary art and design teachers are not getting regular access to subject-specific CPD.

Primary Initial Teaching Training needs to be sufficient to prepare trainees for the task of teaching the national curriculum

The report suggests a deficit in training where prospective primary school teachers undertaking PGCEs only receive 12 hours of creative arts (all arts subjects – music, art & design, dance and drama) and between 3-12 hours of art and design training over four-year courses.

The impact of the pandemic on time, resources and opportunity to teach skills and techniques effectively was identified as a problem for teachers at all levels, but particularly for secondary schools and sixth form colleges

Art and design teachers in secondary schools and sixth form colleges report that many students have not had the same opportunities to build skills and knowledge as before the pandemic.

These headlines can be downloaded here


Report Recommendations

The first large-scale report for our subject was conducted by NSEAD in 2016. In this report we were solution-led, and identified 30 recommendations to address curriculum provision, the value given to art, craft and design in schools, CPD and wellbeing and workload. Since then, and three changes in prime minister later, we have seen some shift in policy, with some of our recommendations achieved. But we know there is still work to do and this post-pandemic survey provides us with important up-to-date evidence. We thank every teacher who was able to take part it. Your participation will help us with our recommendations and key actions ahead.

At the APPG meeting, Michele Gregson and Sophie Leach, presented on behalf of the APPG research group, the following recommendations:


Know your workforce, value your workforce – retain your workforce – we recommend a cross-phase all-subject review is undertaken by government

Invest in workload and wellbeing on teachers – a recovery plan for the profession is needed that recognises the impact of the pandemic on teachers, teaching and learning. 

Invest in Subject-Specific Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – a regular CPD entitlement (time and funding) is needed to ensure subject knowledge of all staff stays abreast with developments in art craft and design.

Primary Initial Teaching Education needs to be sufficient to prepare trainees for the task of teaching the national curriculum – The Secretary of State for Education’s accreditation of providers of ITT must require that the amount of time devoted to arts training within primary courses reflects the requirements of the national curriculum.

Address the fall in art and design teaching hours – Identify the impact of condensed curriculum models on pupils’ entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum; And, review the impact of performance measures on the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum


We will be sharing further recommendations for Ofsted and inspectorates in each of the nations, for schools, cultural and creative industry leaders; parents and carers and you, our valued members. 

We will also shortly be giving you, our members, support to address the issues raised in this report. To accompany the publication of ‘Art Now’ we will be publishing a letter so that you can write to your MP. This letter will address the concerning impact of policies on your wellbeing. As your trade union we will also be sharing subject-specific support for you to make the case for retaining gained time when examination groups leave. As your professional body, we will be meeting with policymakers to address the fall in art and design teaching hours (in England).

The Shadow Minister for Education, Bridget Phillipson MP attended for part of the meeting. Listening to the report’s recommendations she shared her belief that the current government in England was giving little attention to the recovery of children or teachers, that the arts would and should play an important part in children's post-Pandemic recovery and a pledge that creativity and the arts, under Labour, would not be sidelined.


The report’s launch was reported by the TES here


About the Survey: 

There were 1,860 responses

The survey took place between

1, 622 were from England; 139 from Scotland, or both Northern Ireland and Wales.Data was limited from Wales (48 respondents in total) and Northern Ireland (also 48 in total) – the report has not drawn comparisons from these nations.

Survey  report authors:

Professor Sam Broadhead, Dr Kate Noble and Professor Pat Thomson, together with Michele Gregson and Sophie leach; Maddy Gilliam and Pat Thomson have organised all data analysis.