News

Hours of arts teaching and number of arts teachers in England’s secondary schools mostly stable but not recovering after years of decline

09 October 2020

Department for Education figures published in September 2020 show that in the last two years the number of arts teachers fell by -4%, and the number of hours the arts were taught fell by -3%. The number of children in England’s secondary schools went up by +5% over the same period.

  • Design & Technology is experiencing the greatest falls of -19% in teacher numbers and -17% in hours taught.
  • Music hours taught have fallen by -1% in the last two years.
  • Drama declines have stabilised with limited change in teaching hours and number of teachers over the last two years.
  • Art & Design teaching hours have increased by 1% and teacher numbers by 3% in the last two years. We have been told by Art & Design colleagues there has been an increase in Art teachers being asked to teach Design & Technology (D&T) courses, which could account for these recent increases and the number D&T hours not falling as sharply as D&T teacher numbers.

These changes need to be seen in the context of rising student numbers. Between the 2017/2018 and 2019/2020 school year the number of children in England’s secondary schools increased by +5% (from 3,258,450 to 3,409,277). 

It is also worth noting the EBacc subjects of History and Geography have seen rises in the number of hours taught of +4% in the same time period, on top of existing increases in teacher numbers and hours of up to +25% since 2010.

All data is from the Department for Education School Workforce in England statistics, which is recorded in November and the school census data recorded in January of each year.

Headcount of teachers by subject

Recorded in the November of each year

2010

2017

2018

2019

Percentage change 2017 to 2019

Percentage change 2010 to 2019

History

15,000

16700

16,855

16,919

+1%

+13%

Geography

13,500

15600

15,807

15,774

+1%

+17%

Design and Technology

15,000

 10,200

 9,010

8,312

-19%

-45%

Music

7,500

6,500

6,525

6,543

+1%

-13%

Drama

11,100

9,000

8,899

8,963

0%

-19%

Art & Design

13,200

11,800

11,874

12,112

+3%

-8%

All arts subjects

46,800

37,500

36,308

35,930

-4%

-23%

Hours taught by subject

Recorded in the November of each year

2010

2017

2018

2019

Percentage change 2017 to 2019

Percentage change 2010 to 2019

History

153,400

185,700

190,873

192,708

+4%

+26%

Geography

138,700

172,700

176,241

179,547

+4%

+29%

Design and Technology

119,900

76,300

68,126

63,056

-17%

-47%

Music

92,700

80,200

79,305

79,633

-1%

-14%

Drama

95,000

80,800

80,819

81,068

0%

-15%

Art & Design

159,800

133,500

133,713

134,985

+1%

-16%

All arts subjects

467,400

370,800

361,963

358,742

-3%

-23%

Data for Dance is not available in the released DfE figures.

Download this briefing: Arts teaching hours and workforce 2020.

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