Art and Design – undervalued, underfunded

It's time to Save our Subjects. Find out the facts and discover how you can get involved. 


Art and design teacher vacancies are rising

Since 2010/11 to 2022/23 the number of teacher vacancies for art and design have risen to the highest level recorded in this twelve-year period. The Department for Education (DfE) confirms that there has been '81' vacancies this year. To put this in context, in the previous year, there were only '47' art and design vacancies. The rise reflects the significant increase in the number of art and design teachers leaving the profession. The reported ‘Rate of vacancies’ in art and design rose from 0.4 in 2021/22 to 0.7 in 2022/23. 

This is concerning as the teacher supply model (TSM) target, decreased in 2022/23 from 580 in 2021/22 to 530 in 2022/23. When Jack Worth, education economist and school workforce lead at NFER, launched the Teacher Labour Market in England Annual Report, (March 2023) he said: 'ITT recruitment numbers were dreadful last year, and this is not getting better.... challenges have worsened since the pandemic'. 

The NFER report that art and design trainee recruitment are currently set to reach 58% of its target for this point in the year (26 June). But, for those subjects that have had a bursary – there was a 13% increase in numbers. Bursaries are clearly an effective driver for recruitment.

With this evidence we call on the government to reinstate and fund bursaries for art and design trainees. We also call on the government to address the churn and retention rates we are seeing across the profession. 


Art and design candidate numbers are falling

Provisional numbers of GCSE entries have fallen this year, from 194,040 in 2022 to 187,710 entries in 2023. This represents a -3.3% percentage decrease. This is against the direction of travel and the increase in entries overall which are set to grow by 3.6%. Our subject, along with economics and all other arts (drama, music, performing and expressive arts) were the only non-Ebacc subjects to see a fall in entries. What’s more, this follows a fall in art and design GCSE candidate numbers of -2.1% in 2022.

Provisional entries for A level art and design, have also fallen this year. Entries in 2022 were 42,100; entries for 2023 are 40,930, a -2.8% decrease. Again, this goes against the overall increase in entries (all subjects) which rose by 2.3%.

Both data sets – indicating a rise in art and design vacancies and a fall in provisional examination entries – are a wake-up call for all policy makers. The data contrasts with the growth we are seeing in the creative industries with teachers leaving the profession for jobs with flexible, work-from-home and cost saving child-care arrangements. Put simply, we are not recruiting enough teachers to teach our subject. Furthermore, the churn associated with the increase in vacancies has resulted in many young people being taught by non-art and design specialist teachers. How we ask, can teachers without subject-specific knowledge and training, provide the rich breadth and depth of learning needed for key stage 3, GCSE and beyond?


Summer of Art Activism

The government needs to act quickly, so do we: The art and design initial teacher education bursary must be reinstated and – to ensure teaching remains a first-choice career – we want fully-funded pay increases for all teachers, for all subjects. 

We call on the government to invest in our subject, our teachers and trainees. If we don’t, a generation of young people and society more broadly, will bear the scars of lost learning for generations to come. 


Get involved 

Sign the Save our Subject’s campaign letter – your signature is needed before 19 July:

Tweet your support using the #SaveOurSubjects hashtag