Creativity in the UK

Image by Lee Fenner*

A recent article in British newspaper The Guardian by Nosheen Iqbal quotes Sir Ken Robinson as saying, “Creativity is not an exotic extra for education. Like literacy, it should be at the heart of national education priorities.” Robinson’s influential 1999 report, “All Our Futures,” led Arts Council England (ACE) to form Creative Partnerships, an arts education program to integrate “creative learning” into schools by having “creative agents”—artists of all kinds—work with teachers across subjects. The September 14 Guardian article deals with the fact that Creativity, Culture, and Education (CCE), the charity that now runs Creative Partnerships, expects deep cuts in the annual funding it receives from ACE. The bittersweet irony of this arises from the extremely positive findings of a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which estimates that for every £1 invested in Creative Partnerships, the program delivers £15.30 to England’s national economy; this adds up to £4 billion! (The calculation was derived from data showing that students in Creative Partnership schools score, on average, 2.5 grades higher than their peers on standardized tests.) Despite such impressive figures, which align with LCI’s belief in the broad efficacy of imaginative teaching and learning, proponents of this approach to education still face challenges in convincing others of its effectiveness. Iqbal writes, “Alison Peacock, head of Wroxham primary school … agrees that applying creativity in education can’t be a woolly or vague notion but must be rigorous.” Eric Liu and I think so, too: we argue in Imagination First that institutions must “routinize imagination” (203). It sounds like Creative Partnerships is doing just that in UK schools.

*There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image.

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