The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art, Craft and Design in Education, 10 October update

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art, Craft and Design in Education (APPG) held 10 October 2017 was held in the Palace of Westminster. The APPG welcomed three new MPs to the meeting; Emma Hardy (Lab) Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle who has been both a trade union employee and a teacher: Thelma Walker (Lab) Colne Valley, a former head teacher, and, Tracey Brabin (Lab) Batley and Spen, a former actress and writer. Thelma Walker and Emma Hardy are both members of the Education Committee. The meeting was Chaired by Sharon Hodgson MP (Lab) Sunderland and Washington West. The APPG covered the following key issues:

Sharon Hodgson shared a letter sent on behalf of the APPG to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education. The letter challenged the fragmentation within initial teacher education. The letter of response received from Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards and Minister for Equalities, was also shared, and was deemed unsatisfactory. NSEAD will draft a rebuttal letter to explain why.

Lesley Butterworth gave a briefing on behalf of the Society. This included the continued traction of the NSEAD Survey Report 2015-16 which resulted in a dedicated meeting with Ofsted and interest from the cultural sector in its overarching question: ‘What will art and design look like in 2020 and beyond?’ Sophie Leach presented evidence and data showing the downward trajectory of GCSE and AS art and design results 2017. The Society’s analysis left members in no doubt that our subject is challenged by government policies.

Henry Vann, Head of External Affairs at the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) provided an update on the valuable work of the Bacc for the Future Campaign. The Earl Clancarty, Vice Chair of the APPG, summarised the recent House of Lords debate on the impact of the English Baccalaureate and the case for broadening the curriculum.

Hilary Gresty, independent visual arts professional, provided a summary of the Norwich University for the Arts (NUA) review of art and design education in Norfolk’s secondary sector. The review provides evidence that even when schools commit to a broad and balanced curriculum, how hard this can be to achieve.

Greta Bertram shared The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts published by the Heritage Crafts Association. The research, its aims and findings, were summarised, to include both training and recruitment issues for heritage crafts.