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.
Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan have come and gone but the impact of successive Secretaries of State for Education on examination reform may only just be becoming apparent to parents and pupils. GCSE reforms have been introduced piecemeal and it is now the responsibility of schools to navigate a clear path for pupils through the still choppy waters of curriculum change.
New linear GCSEs in English Language, English Literature and Mathematics were introduced in September 2015. The new syllabuses for the remaining GCSE subjects (with the exception of Design Technology, Latin and Classical Civilisation) will be first taught in September 2016. Many schools, particularly independent schools, will continue to offer IGCSEs, some graded 9-1 and some A*-G.
Like once comfy woolly jumpers accidentally sent through a hot wash, the catchment areas for the best primary schools have been shrinking at a disconcertingly rapid rate.
As National Offer Day approaches on 18th April 2016, newspapers publish with gleeful relish ever more dramatic stories of catchment areas which have shrunk to a handful of city streets.
In 2015, ‘The Telegraph’ ran a live ‘As it happened’ blog giving the allocation of primary places to half a million infants coverage akin to that afforded to the Football Transfer Deadline Day, helpfully reminding already anxious parents that ‘experts are warning of a “crisis” in primary school places.’ Frequently quoted as the most dramatic example of the squeeze on admissions for top state Junior Schools is that of the sought after Fox Primary School in Kensington and Chelsea. The school, which numbers Darcey Bussell and Nathaniel Parker amongst its famous alumnae, last year took most of its intake from within a 300m radius of the school’s entrance. So competitive is the entry that parents are expected to send copies of Land Registry documents to prove ownership of their home when they make their application.
The excellent ‘Your Life’ website pursues its mission to encourage all young people to choose STEM subjects with a refreshingly direct approach.
‘If you want to ensure you will get a job that is exciting, well-paid, allows you to travel and offers amazing opportunities to shape the world, choose Maths and Physics at A Level.’
For all the articles that have been published in the educational press on the subject of girls and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), the topic has only become headline news thanks to poor, beleaguered Tim Hunt.Read more