Cultural Learning Alliance

From our first consciousness until our last, we should sing every song and dance every dance from every part of the world as we go on our journey to become the men and women we are

David Lan
Artistic Director, Young Vic


Hours of arts teaching and number of arts teachers fall in England’s secondary schools

Published 12 May 2014

Department for Education figures released last month show that since 2010 the number of hours the arts are taught and the number of arts teachers in schools have fallen by up to 11%. 

In comparison the EBacc subjects of History and Geography have seen rises in number of teachers and of hours taught of between 7% and 12%.

Even bearing in mind that the number of pupils in secondary schools is falling – pupil numbers have dropped by 68,365 or 2% since 2010, the arts are experiencing a disproportionate decline in provision.

  • Design and Technology is experiencing the greatest decline with 11% fewer teachers and hours of teaching.
  • Drama teacher numbers have fallen by 8% and the hours taught by 4%. These hours include teaching time from non-specialists.
  • Art & Design teachers have declined by 4% with a reduction of 6% in teaching hours.

Music is the only arts subject to have seen a decline in numbers similar to the decline in pupil numbers with 3% less teachers and 2% less teaching hours.

The decline of arts subjects in England’s schools is especially worrying given the wide ranging transferrable skills children gain from studying the arts. These skills have been identified as important for success in the 21st Century by reports from the CBI, OECD and Pearson.



Figures are drawn from data in the Department for Education School Workforce in England and Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2013 statistics. For the full data tables download the PDF version of this article.


Interesting that the stats come from DFE. They know that opportunities in the Arts are being marginalised but continue to publicly deny this. These stats support our advocacy and showcase the issue in real terms.
Susan Coles 23 May 2014
Our Year 8 students have chosen their subject options for Year 9 through GCSE. We have gone from a full year cohort of 162 Year 9 students taking Art, which is 6 groups, to one pitiful group of only 14 students So that's the maximum we can have in that GCSE group. Of course it is also all we will have to take through to A Level. Why? You can't get a job in Art - no matter how much we explain the value for many directions, there's a poison of fear about jobs, even when they are only 12 years old!
Anne-Louise Quinton 24 May 2014
Year 9 are having their curriculum time halved next year to make more time for Maths. The messages the students are getting from the media and other sources about the value of art has already reduced our normally overflowing art GCSE groups. As a Head of Art, I will be spending much of my time next year justifying and marketing my subject. What makes art any less valuable than History? I really don't get it.
Pauline Astle 04 June 2014

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The Michael Tippett School, the first BSF school in London © Tim Soar
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