Creativity Takes Courage

Creativity Takes Courage

Creativity Takes Courage

Henri Matisse said that ‘Creativity takes courage.’ Just as significantly, creativity in the curriculum inspires courage in young learners. In a world where the landscape of traditional professions is set to be transformed by the ever advancing march of technology, we need to enable our pupils to become innovative and creative thinkers, at ease with unexpected perspectives and fresh ideas.

The creative industries contribute almost £90bn net to the UK’s GDP and more than 10% of British workers already work in this expanding sector of the economy. In a complex, unstable, exciting world, it is those young people who are able to blend technological understanding with creative energy and intuition who will flourish in the second half of the twenty first century.

Nonetheless, the funding crisis in state schools has put expensive creative subjects, such as Music, Drama and Art, under pressure. Of even greater concern for those who value the creative arts is the lack of recognition of Arts subjects in the E-Bacc (the Department for Education’s preferred GCSE performance indicator which insists on passes in compulsory ‘core subjects’ – English, Maths, Science, a Language and History or Geography.) Although the government has recently delayed the timetable for implementation of the Ebacc for a further five years, it has simultaneously rejected a proposal to protect Arts subjects by including a compulsory creative subject in the EBacc curriculum. It seems to point to a rather perverse tendency in recent educational policy to undervalue the Arts in favour of traditional subjects or the much promoted STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

As Headmistress of a girls’ school which has won national recognition for its provision for STEM subjects, I fully support the drive to open up the previously predominantly masculine world of Science and Engineering – but not at the expensive of education in the arts. A team of our Y6 Junior School girls recently won the 2017 John Lewis UK Innovation Challenge (taking an extraordinary further 5 of the top 10 prizes nationally.) We would ascribe this to a bespoke Junior School curriculum which abandoned SATs in 2011 in favour of a creative curriculum which nurtures imagination, experimentation, collaboration and intellectual and artistic exploration.

The capacity to collaborate will be prized more highly in the modern workplace than a mere facility with calculation which can be easily translated into an automated function. The Arts, like Sport, are activities which children enjoy precisely because they are a collaborative endeavour. All pupils should enjoy the opportunity for public performance which develops resilience and confidence and the ability to take a risk whether by standing in the spotlight or working behind the scenes. Therefore sport, drama and music more than merit their place in the twenty-first century curriculum.

Angela Drew Headmistress,
Bromley High School GDST
020 8781 7000

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