Art Now Inquiry – our APPG’s report on the state of the nation’s art education

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art, Craft and Design in Education (APPG) has published the Art Now Inquiry, a timely evidence-and-recommendation-filled report.

The Art Now Inquiry is a collation of three years of evidence gathering. Its 50 pages identify why – increasingly – policies in education are impacting on the provision of our subject. In the report’s foreword, Sharon Hodgson MP, chair of the APPG explains why art education for all is essential. She says: 

‘The capacity for and development of visual literacy and perception is only possible through art education, and therefore access to high-quality art, craft and design education should not be a privilege, but a right for all.’ 

We ask you to:

Read the Art Now Inquiry

Write to your MP (download our letter template)

View the presentation to the APPG by co-author Dr Kate Noble 

Sign and share the petition launched by Sharon Hodgson MP, asking parliament urging the government to take on the Art Now's recommendations

View Bob and Roberta Smith's talk shared originally at the parliamentary launch 27 June 2023.  You will need Instagram to access this recording.


What is included in the report?

  • A large-scale subject-specific survey
  • Testimonies of art educators, leadership teams, and parliamentarians
  • National and international art educator research
  • Findings and recommendations that are timely and essential, as recently published data indicates that the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis are impacting on teachers, on our subject, and in turn, on a generation of young people.

Who will read this report?

We urge parliamentarians, leadership teams and policy makers to read all eight chapters. The report will resonate with educators across the UK, who believe passionately in the importance of all learners to access an art, craft and design education. The Inquiry is also for anyone who needs convincing that art and design education is a right and not a privilege.

Art Now Inquiry’s five evidence-based recommendations:

  1. Address the deficit in art and design primary ITE (initial teacher education)
  2. Invest in subject-specific continuing professional development for art and design teachers. 
  3. Address art and design teacher wellbeing and workload. 
  4. Address teacher recruitment, retention and representation in art and design. 
  5. Investigate the impact of the pandemic on lost learning in art and design and the cost-of-living crisis on disadvantaged learners. 

What are the report’s key findings?

  • Art, craft and design education offers benefits to learnings, including encouraging diverse ways of knowing, interpreting, evaluating, and feeling; supporting the development of a sense of individual and collective identity; increased social awareness and engagement and enhanced opportunities for vocational learning and subject-related careers. 
  • Ofsted (in England) are highlighting the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum. This is resulting in renewed investment and interest in some subject-specific specialist training and resources. 
  • There is a need for greater diversity and representation in the workforce. 
  • There is a deficit in training where prospective primary school teachers only receive between 3-12 hours of art and design training.  
  • Opportunities for teacher CPD are key to ensuring teachers develop and maintain their knowledge, confidence and skills in art and design. In the survey, eight per cent of secondary art and design teachers reported that they had never attended subject-specific training. Primary teachers had less access to art and design training than their secondary counterparts, with 21% reporting they had never attended any subject-specific CPD.
  • Sixty-seven per cent of art and design teachers (across all phases and nations) surveyed reported that they were thinking about leaving the profession. 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 and that these had worsened since the pandemic. 
  • Nine out of ten respondents said that they had experienced negative changes resulting from the pandemic with only 11% saying there had been no change.


With the next general election on the horizon – now is the time to address the deficit in art and design primary ITE and subject bursaries; to invest in subject-specific CPD, wellbeing and workload, teacher recruitment, retention and representation in art and design. It is also time to investigate the impact of the pandemic on lost learning in art and design and the cost-of-living crisis on so many disadvantaged learners.


As secretariate to the APPG, and on behalf of its members, NSEAD wishes to pay tribute and wholeheartedly thank the volunteer writers, copy editors and their staff teams; panellists who gave evidence; the APPG co-ordinator; the report’s designer; our APPG chair and vice chair; and all parliamentarians who has supported the inquiry. And, thank you to everyone who took part in the survey. You have made this timely report possible and policymakers accountable. It is time to save our subject and to fully fund and support our profession.