Rise of Initial Teacher Training places for arts subjects

12 November 2014

October brought us some really good news from the Department for Education: a large rise in the number of teacher training places for specialist arts teachers in Dance, Drama, Design and Technology and Art and Design. We are delighted that the government has listened to the sector on this issue and has implemented these changes - as the decline in the supply chain was a major concern for the CLA and our partners.

This post gives the details, the issues and recommendations for further action.

Here are the numbers:

Design and Technology

  • places 2014/15: 991
  • allocated places 2015/16: 1306
  • percentage increase 2015 on 2014: 24%

Art and Design

  • places 2014/15: 494
  • allocated places 2015/16: 844
  • percentage increase 2015 on 2014: 41%


  • places 2014/15: 541
  • allocated places 2015/16: 562
  • percentage increase 2015 on 2014: 4%


  • places 2014/15: 89
  • allocated places 2015/16: 143
  • percentage increase 2015 on 2014: 38%


  • places 2014/15: 245
  • allocated places 2015/16: 447
  • percentage increase 2015 on 2014: 45%

Are there any issues with this?

As always, there is more that the government could do to support the development of great new arts teachers, and we do have some significant concerns that a disproportionate number of these new places are for teachers to be trained exclusively in school settings.

Although some schools offer brilliant learning opportunities to teachers, provision can be patchy and University courses are key providers in this landscape. During our recent research into GCSE delivery our experts touched on the issues of teacher recruitment and specialism. It was felt that, in some cases, exclusively school-based ITT can be limited. For example, arts teachers supporting ITT in schools often have specialisms in just one area e.g. photography or fine art. In these cases, school-based teacher training can expose the initial teacher trainees only to the specialisms of teachers in that school, limiting the practice of these individuals. University based ITT courses have the ability to expose students to a broader range of specialisms.

What more can the government do?

In our recent submission to the Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training we flagged up the following recommendations – as well as making the point that continuing professional development is central to the success of initial training. We’d be really interested to know from you what you think would work and what else is needed in this area:

  • Primary Initial Teacher Training add-on modules to be developed and rolled-out for all arts subjects.
  • All ITT providers of Primary Training and of Secondary Teacher Training in Arts disciplines should be required to publish a list of their arts and cultural sector partners.
  • All Primary ITT Providers, Teaching Schools and equivalent early years training settings should offer comprehensive training in using the arts and culture across the curriculum, in addition to tailored and excellent training for specialist arts teachers.
  • A number of Teaching Schools and equivalent early years training settings should be designated as specialist Cultural Learning Teaching Schools. These should be charged with developing innovative partnerships with specialist HE partners and the culture and creative industries, and with developing and disseminating new models of training.
  • A number of Teaching Schools and equivalent early years training settings should be designated as specialist STEAM Teaching Schools and pioneer the training of their teachers in a STEAM approach.
  • Teachers of Arts Subjects should be given further support in delivering appropriate, up to date careers advice as part of their ITT.