A manifesto for craft education aims to raise the profile of craft-based subjects in schools, where participation has declined by a quarter in five years.

Photo of teenagers taking place in design workshop

Ewan McIntosh (CC BY-NC 2.0)

“Practical steps to secure the future of craft education” have been laid out in a new manifesto launched by the Crafts Council, including five “calls for change”, aiming to reverse the declining emphasis placed on craft in schools. Although the UK is a world leader in craft, employing 150,000 people, participation in craft-related GCSEs has fallen by 25% since 2007 and the number of higher education craft courses by 46%.

The Crafts Council’s vision is that “every child has a chance to discover their practical abilities, develop their creative talents, and become a maker of the future. This vision is rooted in the knowledge that craft skills lead to diverse careers and creative satisfaction throughout life.” ‘Our Future is in the Making: An Education Manifesto for Craft and Making’ calls for more opportunities for hands-on experience of art, craft, design and technology to be made available in schools, together with investment in teacher training, more enterprise teaching and a greater focus on career destinations available through craft. Particular emphasis is placed on the importance of recognising and showcasing the role of craft within science, technology, engineering, art and maths, as a subject that “bridges creative, practical, technical and scientific disciplines”. The manifesto also proposes that more opportunities should be created for craft businesses and educators to work together, and for makers to have the chance to develop their skills throughout their careers. Investment in cutting edge artistic and scientific research in craft and making is proposed as an important means of supporting the UK’s internationally renowned higher education craft courses.

The manifesto was launched at the House of Commons, at an event hosted by Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt MP. Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director at the Crafts Council, said: “This is a vital moment for securing a strong and resilient future for craft. The UK is a world leader in craft but this will not continue without safeguarding a craft education.”

Liz Hill