GNVQ’s are to blame for decline in standards

I would like to comment on the Royal Society of Arts’ findings (DW 6 December) which suggest design students in the recent RSA bursary competitions showed a weakness in basic skills.

Most art and design students have weaknesses in basic design skills areas. Where do we pin the blame for this? Could it come from the strictures placed upon foundation, general art and design and national diploma courses to “evolve” into General National Vocational Qualification-type courses? And why are there so few introductory art and design courses teaching a syllabus containing a predominance of art and design?

The Government could be accused of trying to kill off the arts in the UK as more and more courses are faced with funding cuts unless they become GNVQs. The inclusion of common skills – communications and business awareness – as opposed to drawing, colour theory and composition, as core elements can be found in the RSA’s introductory course guidelines to GNVQs – so they do not have to look very far to find the primary cause for decline.

Julian Mills




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