Education and Culture Secretaries Speak Out on Imagination and Creativity [added 5/8/03]
"Creativity, imagination and innovative thinking should be at the heart of children's experience at school…….", Charles Clarke at a recent conference to encourage collaboration across schools and cultural organisations.
It is hard not to be cynical as reports continue to come in showing the UK's school children to be the most tested to in the world, one listens to Philip Pullman bemoan the restrictive creative writing task that children sitting Year 6 SATS had to fulfil this year and teachers continue to struggle with target setting and form filling: however at the same time the talk continues. " Creativity isn't an add on. It must form a vital and integral part of every child's experience at school. Research has shown that, if it does, it can contribute to improves learning and increased standards across the school as a whole'"(Charles Clarke, op sit ). Whilst Tessa Jowell announced a further roll out of Creative Partnerships (see website) to a further 20 areas with a budget of an additional £70 million. The DfES' new strategy for Primary Schools talks of enjoyment and the newly born Innovation Unit within the Department is there to do just that - encourage and develop innovation in teaching.
These are positive signs that in time may fulfil an entitlement for all children to experience the arts as a core experience within formal education. Meanwhile how does all this rub against the current imbalanced curriculum in which the arts are squeezed by the demands of core subjects, ongoing reliance on prescriptive targets and undermined teachers who lack confidence? (See also recent research by National Foundation for Educational Research, Saving a Place for the Arts , at click here or VAGA members may go to the news item on the Education update page within the Members' Area of this site.)