Select Committee on Education and Skills Eleventh Report

2  Background

A new priority for creativity?

The NACCCE report

6. In 1998, the then Secretary of State for Education and Employment, the Rt. Hon David Blunkett MP and the then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt. Hon Chris Smith MP invited Professor Sir Ken Robinson to form a Committee to investigate how young people's creativity could be better supported through formal and informal education. Two main considerations appear to have motivated the commissioning of this review:

7. In May 1999, that Committee published its report, All our futures: creativity, culture, education.[2] It offered the following definition, now widely adopted, of what creativity might mean: "Imaginative activity fashioned so as to produce outcomes that are both original and of value."[3] This report was widely seen as providing the impetus for the development of the Creative Partnerships scheme, which we describe below.

Development of Creative Partnerships and other schemes

8. Creative Partnerships was first established as a two-year pilot scheme in 2002 in 16 local areas. It was rolled out nationally from 2004. It is funded mainly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and also receives a contribution from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). In 2006-07 this was £34 million per annum and £2.5 million per annum respectively.[4] The scheme is led by Arts Council England.

9. Creative Partnerships brokers relationships between creative practitioners, schools and early years settings—especially those in deprived areas. In the case of schools, the starting point is the School Improvement Plan from which a programme is developed. Creative professionals then come in to schools on either a one-off or ongoing basis. Alternatively, students undertake activities outside the classroom. The aim is not to facilitate one-off events or extra-curricular activities but to transform teaching and learning in the school as a whole into a more creative process. Creative Partnerships also supports Initial Teacher Training and some training for in-service staff, focusing on the development of more creative teaching methods and increasing the capacity of teaching staff to liaise with creative professionals.

10. The two examples below give an idea of the kind of projects that Creative Partnerships undertakes:

Our Lady of Peace Junior School, Slough:

"Stained Glass Window Project

Unusually for our school this project was aimed at a specific, small group of pupils (16) in Year 4 (8/9 year olds). These pupils had received Springboard Maths boosting because of underperformance/under attainment but their maths had not moved. Working with a creative partner, an artist, who works in glass, these pupils supported also by a teacher and an LSA estimated, designed, measured, ordered materials and created a stained glass window which is a permanent feature of our school. They worked to a budget and faxed orders to the glass suppliers. The project lasted 4 weeks and pupils kept records. The increased self esteem and pleasure in maths these pupils had as a result of this project is palpable. We are now tracking these pupils maths progress but the effect of the project has spread beyond Maths. As a final celebration our Bishop blessed the window."

Haslingden High School, Lancashire

Title of project:  Human Rights

Curriculum area:  Humanities

Target group:  Year 9.

Outline of project:

The project brought together the diverse elements of the Humanities curriculum across RE, Geography and History to focus on issues of Human Rights, with both a historical and current emphasis.

The project was launched by 'Amnesty International' in an assembly. Over two days students worked with a number of creative practitioners (a poet, an African storyteller, a singer, a visual artist, a dancer and a drama practitioner). By exploring issues through these creative means students were made aware of how people whose human rights are exploited often turn to creativity as an outlet (slave songs, rap etc). Historical reference to human rights was deepened by personalisation of similar issues in the students' lives through drama, dance and storytelling. Current human rights issues were explored and reflected upon by students who responded to the practitioners and their work with respect and sensitivity appropriate to the subject. The School's Arts Council have created DVDs and PowerPoint presentations to give to their individual year groups.

Evaluation and assessment of creative partnerships


11. In September 2006, at the request of Creative Partnerships, Ofsted conducted a review of the organisation's work in schools. The resulting report concluded:


12. Also published in 2006 was a further Government-commissioned report compiled by Paul Roberts, to look at creativity in education in the future. This review had a broader focus than Creative Partnerships as an organisation and key findings included that:

  • There was a "rich array of creativity work in pre- and main-school activity strongly, but not systemically, supported by the many creative programmes, projects and agencies."[6]
  • Developments in the education policy context (commissioning, autonomy, personalisation) offered opportunities to embed creativity more firmly.
  • There was a need for a stronger connection between existing "creativity work and the emerging policy context in education and children's services [which] would produce a 'win-win'—creativity embedded in these developments and, reciprocally, these developments enhanced by the impact of creativity. This would provide a more secure, valued and cost-effective framework for the further development of creativity, both in its own right and as a support for economic growth, with better outcomes for children and young people."[7]
  • A more coherent 'creativity offer' was needed, which was then "actively managed/ brokered into the new context of school and personal autonomy".[8]

2   National Advisory Committee for Creative and Cultural Education, All our futures: creativity, culture, education, May 1999.  Back

3   ibid., p 30  Back

4   HC Deb, 7 Nov 2006 : Column 1094W. Back

5   Ofsted, Creative Partnerships: initiative and impact, September 2006. Back

6   Paul Roberts for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Nurturing Creativity in Young People. A report to Government to inform future policy, July 2006. Back

7   Paul Roberts for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Nurturing Creativity in Young People. A report to Government to inform future policy, July 2006. Back

8   ibid. Back

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