More able pupils ‘discouraged’ from studying design, teachers say

The majority of senior school staff fail to see the value of art and design education and ‘more able’ students are frequently discouraged from studying the subject, according to a new survey of teachers.


The study, by the National Society for Art and Education in Design, shows that just 32 per cent of teachers believe that art, craft and design is highly valued by senior managers of governers.

One art and design teacher says in the survey, ‘Staff are paid extra to provide revision classes for core subjects in holiday periods, whereas I voluntarily provided exam prep, holiday periods and weekends.’

The survey also shows that just 27 per cent of teachers say pupils are being encouraged to take art-based options.

One teacher said, ‘More able students are discouraged from taking art-based subjects even if they show a particular interest or talent for the subject. Students are “put” into art groups because it is deemed “easy enough” for them.’

The report shows the effect of performance measures such as the English Baccalaureate on art and design teaching. A total of 52 per cent of all heads of department surveyed said that Ebacc had played an important role in the teaching of art, craft and design at their schools.

One respondent said Ebacc had resulted in ‘a reduction of student choice, [with] higher ability students discouraged from practical subjects’.

Many teachers also reported a decrease in the amount of time for teaching art and design and the numbers of trained staff.

Just 36 per cent said their staff levels had remained the same over the last three years, while 35 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that time allocated for art, craft and design had remained constant over the past three years.

The survey was carried out in May across 172 NSEAD members and supporters.


You can read the report in full at

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  • Kate Margolis November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    This was my experience at school exactly. Determination and passion allowed me to break through the barriers to achieve my dream of becoming a creative designer. Never be discouraged.

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