OUR VISION                                                                                                                                


The National Students’ Art Exhibition is an annual exhibition open to all state secondary and special schools in England, to provide their students with the opportunity to have their work selected by an expert committee of practising artists, and if successful, to see it exhibited to the public in a prestigious London gallery. The exhibition is in its 16th year, and the motivational effect of participation (both for students and schools) cannot be over-estimated.

The aim of the exhibition is…

“… to send out the strongest message possible, to all our young artists, that our society needs creative people who will enrich the fabric of our culture… “

James Horton, MA, PPRBA


Over 500 schools submit their students’ best work and aprroximately 500 art-works are selected for exhibition, making it a truly national event. Exhibits are selected by a selection panel of professional artists. Over 1,000 copies of the colour catalogue are distributed and a professional video of the event is produced to encourage and inspire future participants. The exhibition, at the Mall Galleries in London, is open to the public with thousands of people attending each year.


The NSAE strives to reward the highest quality, so rather than assessing work from photographs, all 2D work is assessed physically (practical considerations require 3D work to be submitted via photographs prior to physical selection). The selection panel has found that this process identifies the very best work in whatever medium and of whatever scale. Many students have gone on to pursue a career in the visual arts.


The organisation of this event is undertaken by a small team of volunteers, but funds are needed for the hire of the gallery, the production of the catalogue/video and handling of the huge number of exhibits. The NSAE recognises that schools are under tremendous financial pressure and is committed to making no charge for submitting work. The future development of the NSAE will look at employing a dedicated assistant to build on the already succesful reputation of the event by focusing on marketing through the website and social media.

Although the NSAE is well known amongst school art departments, the NSAE has never received sufficient funds to promote the event and to give it the public profile it deserves. The organisers recognise that a higher profile will encourage even greater participation and are now approaching private and public donors for their support. Partnering the NSAE will provide patrons with the most direct way of stimulating student art and an association with the nation’s most important school art initiative.

Our History

2017 NSAE – interviews and gallery overview

2016 NSAE - interviews and gallery overview

2014 NSAE - interviews and gallery overview

Meet the Team

Chris Russell


Rebecca Tolhurst


Jack Ockhurst

Administrative Coordinator

Intent to Submit

Teachers, please submit the form 'Intent to Submit' if you wish your students to take part in this exhibition.