Key Stage 4 research

The Arts Council commissioned the Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) to undertake an independent consultation (November 2013 - February 2014) with the sector to design and refine CFE's draft Programmes of Study (see below) with teaching practitioners, creative sector professionals and arts education stakeholders, as well as making recommendations for assessment, delivery (including non-statutory guidance) and CPD requirements.

Download Consultation report on CFE Research: Arts Subjects at Key Stage 4

We are using this report and the report by CFE in our work with the Department for Education, Ofqual and Awarding Bodies to ensure this work informs the development of new programmes of study and assessment for arts GCSEs. We will seek to play a significant role in gathering and reflecting sector views, building consensus and considering effective delivery of the new qualifications.

Creative & Cultural Skills, on behalf of Arts Council England, commissioned independent research agency CFE to undertake this work between April and October 2013. This involved gathering the views of:

  • 912 school staff in England currently involved in the management or teaching of arts subjects at Key Stage 4 and 5 and above
  • 526 students in England who are either currently studying for an arts GCSE or who have studied one in the previous two years
  • 32 school staff who teach arts GCSEs and equivalent subjects at Key Stage 4 and 5, and industry representatives, all through in-depth interviews
  • five focus groups, which were used to validate survey findings, and to understand some of the key issues arising in the course of the research

CFE used this research to produce a report that provides:

  • an evaluation of current GCSEs in Art & Design, Dance, Drama and Music, including an exploration of the views of teachers at Key Stage 4 delivering the qualifications, teachers of Key Stage 5 students who have taken these GCSEs, and perceptions of wider groups of individuals such as headteachers, staff at further and higher education institutions, and industry employers
  • an understanding of decision-makers' and students' motivations for promoting or choosing arts subjects at Key Stage 4; and
  • draft Programmes of Study for each arts GCSE under investigation, to be designed and refined with teaching practitioners, creative sector professionals and arts education stakeholders

Download Arts Subjects at Key Stage 4: A review of current GCSE provision and the development of proposed programmes of study

The draft Programmes of Study reflect the findings of the research detailed above. They have been produced by an independent research agency, and not by the Arts Council or CCSkills. Those that participated in the research (including representatives from Arts Council) were not asked to endorse these draft Programmes of Study.