Update: The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art, Craft and Design Education,13 November

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art, Craft and Design Education continues to flourish, both in size and influence. We now have two Chairs, Sharon Hodgson MP and Tracy Brabin MP, and a full complement of representatives from both sides of the House of Commons and House of Lords.

On 13 November 2019, The APPG's first meeting since its AGM in October took place.

The meeting began with Sophie Leach, Assistant General Secretary and Susan Coles, APPG co-ordinator, NSEAD, summarising proposed changes to the Ofsted inspection framework and the implications of these proposals on art, craft and design. NSEAD members can view this presentation here. (You will need to log in as a member to view it).

The meeting took place on the same day as a school funding debate which meant the planned attendance by Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, was postponed. Instead, Sharon Hodgson read out a letter from Angela, for the APPG, which addressed many of the APPG's concerns. She noted:

'It’s clear from your letter from Nick Gibb MP that the Tories are playing lip service to a well-rounded education. If they truly wanted to uphold a holistic education then they wouldn’t’ve pursued excruciating education cuts since coming to power in 2015; compared to 2015, we’ve seen £1.7bn cut in real terms. It’s simply unacceptable.

'However, we have a plan for Government for a well-rounded education: we would reverse cuts to school budgets and increase per-pupil funding to a record high. We would ensure that all schools have the resources they need to deliver a broad curriculum. We would do this by introducing an Arts Pupil Premium which would ensure that art, craft and design play a key role in schools in disadvantaged areas.'

'...we would also review the EBacc, to make sure that it’s not side-lining any subjects from the curriculum. We believe that creativity must be at the heart of the curriculum, and reviewing the EBacc will ensure that arts aren’t side-lined from secondary education.'

Many NSEAD members and supporters took part in a discussion which included debating the impact of funding on the curriculum, the proposed Pupil Premium and performance measures. Natalie Bennett, the former Green Party Leader, 2012-16 outlined the Green Party's proposals on education to include a focus on health and wellbeing, schools working together and the abolishment of SATs.

This was followed by an insightful, knowledgeable and frank presentation by Carolyn Roberts, head teacher, Thomas Tallis School, London. Carolyn explained that her school's motto is 'Education to understand the world and to change it for the better' and that her school's arts-rich inclusive curriculum helps her school tin this endeavour.

Four teenagers (ages 12-13) from Cambridgeshire went on to present a film and to share their new campaign and competition 'Be a creative producer'. Keen to encourage peers across the country to become more aware of how they ‘consume’ the digital world, and how they can take the first steps to becoming creative contributors, the team explained how they have worked with Access Art, their campaign aims and hopes for the future.Their presentation was a delight and a privilege to see. Learn more here.

The last presentation: 'Misrepresentation of art and design and inequalities in current teacher recruitment policies, was given by Dr Rachel Payne, President-Elect, NSEAD. Rachel's incisive presentation shared the research and a subsequent letter from NSEAD's Special Interest Group's for Initial Teacher Education in Art, Craft and Design, to Damian Hinds MP, (23 October 2018). Read the letter here.

To close the meeting Sophie Leach and Sharon Hodgson, shared both Lesley Butterworth's appreciation of the work and advocacy of the APPG, and the APPG's gratitude and appreciation of Lesley's work. This was followed by and Michele Gregson, General Secretary Elect, vision for NSEAD and our APPG.

On behalf of all our members we wish to thank, all the presenters and attendees who joined us. The meetings reflect a growing interest and understanding of the value of art, craft and design in education. We thank all our members, peers and MPs who are allow NSEAD to provide the secretariat for this much needed and increasingly influential APPG.

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