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Studying Craft

Studying Craft 16 presents a picture of a sector at risk, facing an unsustainable model for educating and training our current and future makers.

Studying Craft 16

Studying Craft 16 is the third in our research series, Studying Craft: trends in craft education and training, first published in 2014. The findings provide a comprehensive review of contemporary craft education in England, to enable policy makers, programme designers, educators and makers to understand the risks facing the long term future of craft education and training. 

View the animated report 



The findings present a picture of a sector at risk, facing an unsustainable model for educating and training our current and future makers. Detailed findings for each stage of education are set out in the report. The following points stand out in particular:

  • Schools: the number of students studying craft GCSEs has fallen by 23% since 2007/08 (compared to a fall in all GCSE student numbers of only 6%), with those taking Design & Technology GCSEs falling at a much faster rate (41%) than those taking Art & Design.
  • The number of sixth formers studying craft continues to fall, although the Year 13 A Level cohort is slowly increasing again since 2012/13, suggesting that there may be fewer students giving up craft subjects after AS Levels.  
  • In Further Education (FE): there is significant growth over the period of the study in student numbers taking Entry Level and Level 1 courses. However, the increase in participation in the last two years is mostly in non-regulated courses (courses not accredited by an external awarding body).
  • Higher Education (HE): Craft students and courses are declining rapidly. There is an increase in higher education courses in further education institutions but the overall number of craft-related courses HE courses has, however, declined by 50% between 2007/08 and 2014/15. Overall numbers are now slightly lower than they were in 2007/08.  There is a significant increase in the proportion of students from overseas, yet, with the abolition of post-study student visas in 2012, there is a greater risk of this talent leaving the UK 
  • Diversity: there is a welcome growth in apprenticeships, albeit small in number, since 2007/08 with most of this growth occurring in 2013/14. This reflects a shift in funding policy, with a greater focus on apprenticeships and a move away from other work-based learning. 

The findings should be read alongside our earlier reports in the series, studying crafts 1 and 2, that set out a full description of the context, analysis and methodology for the studies. 

Read the full report

Julia Bennett, our Head of Research and Policy has blogged on the Education and Employers website about the findings and how making skills boost employability.

Read the data workbook

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