Government's response to the Eleventh Report from
the Education and Skills Committee, Session 2006-07
The Government attaches great importance to creativity
in the curriculum as a means of supporting children and young
people's personal development and achievement. We agree that creativity
is not just about the arts. It is about problem-solving, exploring
ideas, making connections and being imaginative and innovative.
And it applies across all subjects. Creativity in science and
maths is just as important as in English and art. We recognise
that creativity is one of the 'soft' skills which employers and
HE providers value.
Creativity has featured increasingly in the Government's
schools policies. The current education and childcare system delivers
opportunities for children and young people to develop their creativity
at all ages, both within and outside the curriculum. Creativity
and creative skills are a key part of the curriculum from Foundation
Stage right through to secondary education. They are not about
placing an additional burden on schools and teachers but about
using the opportunities schools already have to develop creativity
through teaching and learning; this is what good teachers are
Creativity is embedded in the new secondary curriculum,
within the personal learning and thinking skills framework, and
as a key process across a number of subjects. The QCA is providing
guidance and support to schools and their staff to develop a curriculum
that supports creativity. The scope for supporting creativity
in the primary curriculum will be considered in the primary curriculum
review led by Sir Jim Rose. The review will look at promoting,
assessing and recording creativity through the proposed primary
A range of other work led by the DCSF supports
the creativity agenda. This includes the drive to make the teaching
of science and maths in schools more engaging and interactive;
and the programme of work to encourage young enterprise. Investment
in initiatives such as the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto
and the setting up of extended schools enables extra activities
to pupils, including creative and arts activities in schools and
outside school hours.
Partnerships with creative individuals and bodies
are important, but they are not the only way in which schools
can develop pupils' creativity. Some schools are already exemplars
of effective practice in developing pupils' creativity and we
want to spread excellent practice to all schools.
We will communicate clearly to school leadership
teams and governors, local authorities and others, to support
them in making a reality of the creativity agenda. We will
consider how best to do this in consultation with partners and
stakeholders including QCA, Ofsted, TDA, and SSAT.
Recognising that for many children and young people
the first chance to develop their creativity comes from engagement
with the arts and culture, the Children's Plan makes a commitment
to developing a 'Cultural Offer'. This will ensure that all children
and young people, no matter where they live and or what their
background, can get involved in high quality cultural activities
in and out of school. We will work towards a five hour offer to
match that for sport. The aim will be to give young people the
chance to develop as:
- informed spectators (through
attending top quality theatre and dance performances, world class
exhibitions, galleries, museums and heritage sites); and
- participants and creators (through learning a
musical instrument, playing and singing in ensembles, taking part
in theatre and dance performances, producing an artwork, making
films and media art, or curating an exhibition).
A series of pilots will look at different approaches
in different parts of the country, and we will establish a Youth
Culture Trust to run these and promote cultural activities more
widely. There will be an emphasis on young people working with
the very best of the professional cultural sector. Where young
people show particular talents in an area we will ensure that
they have the opportunities to develop this and, where appropriate,
progress into careers in the cultural and creative industries.
We will shortly make a further announcement about
the cultural offer and the future of Creative Partnerships and
provide more information in the Creative Economy Strategy Document
'World's Creative Hubs: Challenges for the Creative Economy'.
In the meantime, below is our response to the Select
The Select Committee's recommendations are in bold
The Government's response is in plain text.
Some of the recommendations and responses have been
1. Most now appear agreed on a definition of creativity
which goes beyond the expressive and aesthetic arts, and agree
that in educational terms creativity should extend right across
the curriculum. In practice, while there are clearly examples
of Creative Partnerships-funded work involving those from sectors
other than the creative and expressive arts, such as industry,
science and design, we nevertheless consider this to be an area
in need of further development.
2. A closer relationship between Creative Partnerships
and bodies such as the Design Council and the Royal Societies
would ensure that creativity in all professional domains could
be used to stimulate creativity in schools, and would firmly embed
the notion of creativity as a process rather than a preserve of
'the arts'. Additionally, consideration should be given by the
Government to whether the patronage of the Arts Council, with
its very particular remit, is still appropriate given Creative
Partnerships' wider ambitions, and whether the current make-up
of the Creative Partnerships board adequately reflects the full
range of professions to which creativity is key.
The majority of Creative Partnerships work has been
with creative practitioners and cultural institutions. While
there will always be scope for collaboration with other sectors,
both Departments consider that Creative Partnerships' principal
focus should remain on arts and culture. Over the next three
years the programme will continue its excellent work but will
be rolled out to more areas, more schools and more young people.
While Creative Partnerships is a major initiative
in this area, it is by no means the only one. The Government supports
and values the work of a number of agencies, such as QCA, NCSL
and NESTA, which are making significant contributions to this
field. Through a number of organisations, schools are engaged
in a wide range of enterprise, active learning and partnerships
programmes which develop creative learning opportunities for young
An example of a successful programme is the Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics network's (STEMNET) Science
and Engineering Ambassadors programme. Ambassadors are individuals
from a wide variety of backgrounds who offer their time, enthusiasm
and expertise to help schools inspire young people. They come
from a broad spectrum of disciplines and careers at all levels,
including marine biologists, mathematicians, aeronautical engineering
apprentices, medical physicists, industrial chemists, electrical
engineers and lab technicians.
Creativity and critical thinking is a key dimension
of the new much more flexible, relevant, and responsive secondary
curriculum that will allow schools greater opportunities to support
creativity. There is more emphasis on using the whole curriculum
to develop general skills such as initiative, enterprise, ability
to work in teams, and the capacity to learn independently. Guidance
on the new curriculum is clear that schools should give pupils
the opportunity to learn in museums, art galleries, sports centres,
theatres, and through fieldwork in different localities and work
with a range of professionals on the school site and in workplaces.
These include artists, scientists, sports people, mathematicians,
musicians and writers, as well as a range of people in workplaces.
3. Our evidence suggests a very high level of
support for more creative approaches to teaching among school
staff and creative practitioners, most of whom are clearly convinced
that a wide range of positive effects follow from involvement
in such programmes, particularly in terms of developing 'softer'
skills such as team-working and self-confidence. This evidence
should not be ignored, but needs to be more systematically collected
and analysed more rigorously. The evidence linking creative programmes
and better attainment remains tentative at best, but this does
not concern us unduly: we believe that creativity has value in
its own right and that improved attainment, while to be welcomed,
should be viewed as an additional benefit rather than the main
purpose of the programme.
4. We note that evidence on the impact of creative
initiatives operating outside of the Creative Partnerships framework
does not appear to have been collated or analysed systematically:
this is a gap in knowledge that should be remedied.
We agree that creativity has a value in its own right,
but offering children and young people the opportunity to develop
their creativity, both within and outside the curriculum, also
benefits them in terms of developing 'soft' skills and raising
There is a growing body of evidence that creative
teaching and learning does have an impact on attainment (for example
the Paul Hamlyn Musical Futures Programme) and on achievement
more widely (Creative Action Research Awards). Ofsted associate
Creative Partnerships with improved literacy, numeracy, ICT, self
confidence, team-working, and an ability to show enterprise and
handle change. An independent survey of Head Teachers (BRMB) found
that over 70% thought that the Creative Partnerships programme
had led to an improvement in attainment. Evaluation studies of
current major creative and cultural programmes such as Museum
Strategic Commissioning and the three Cultural Hubs show that
these types of interventions help young people achieve all of
the Every Child Matters outcomes.
There is also evidence (both international,
for example, and from our own programmes) that active engagement
with the arts can be hugely motivating; promotes self-discipline
and team work; and helps to develop self-confidence and an ability
to actively listen and communicate. The arts can also play an
important part in changing attitudes to learning and improving
behaviour, and offer opportunities to stimulate children's creativity.
As the 10 Year Youth Strategy makes clear, there is international
evidence that participation in creative arts and other cultural
activities can have a significant impact on young people's outcomes
in later life.
Playing for Success (PfS) is an innovative out of
school hours programme that successfully links sport to hard educational
outcomes but does not focus on playing sport. Learning Centres
are set up in sports clubs' venues where sport is used as a motivational
and curriculum tool to improve young people's literacy and numeracy
skills. Centres are staffed by experienced, qualified teachers,
supported by assistants and volunteer mentors and each has developed
a range of creative approaches to inspiring young people to learn.
Evaluation results are impressive. An example is Speedway Racing,
where pupils interview riders and managers. In preparation for
this, students consider appropriate questions to obtain an accurate
profile and compile magazine articles.
DCSF will undertake some mapping of existing research,
to analyse the characteristics and success factors of other programmes
which contribute to creativity in the curriculum and involve school-focused
partnerships or engagement, including areas such as science and
5. Developing new methods of assessing incremental
progress is an urgent priority, but currently no-one appears to
be taking this forward. Existing measures of progress, which focus
on the attainment of Key Stages, are unlikely to capture small
but steady improvements, or progress in areas such as self-confidence,
team-working, and risk taking. The Department for Children, Schools
and Families should lead and own this work, in order to ensure
that it values the assessments that are made as a consequence.
The useful expertise from the special schooling sector in developing
assessment methodologies of this kind should be capitalised upon.
6. One area which should be better developed is
the systematic collection of students' own views and experiences
of creative learning programmes. In our recent report on Citizenship
Education, we were strongly supportive of moves to increase the
student voice in schools; closer relationships between Creative
Partnerships and school councils could contribute to both of these
We agree that assessing progress is a key area to
be investigated. DCSF will map work currently being undertaken
on developing an approach to the assessment of creativity by QCA,
Creative Partnerships and others. QCA have recently commissioned
a mapping exercise to analyse and compare a number of existing
approaches to assessment of personal skills and competencies (Futurelab,
2007). This provides a useful starting point, and emphasizes the
interrelationships between assessment, curriculum, pedagogy and
7. Extending creative approaches beyond a particular
activity and firmly embedding them in the wider curriculum remains
a key challenge for schools and also for Creative Partnerships
as an organisation. The National Foundation for Educational Research
is due to publish research identifying the factors which are associated
with creativity becoming firmly embedded. Their findings need
to be widely disseminated, in a form accessible to school staff.
Ofsted should also continue to focus on the extent to which the
lessons from creative activities have been embedded into other
8. There are clearly many who believe that the
National Curriculum, particularly at the primary level, is still
too narrowly prescriptive and constrains the development of a
more creative approach. Nevertheless, our evidence demonstrates
that there are schools and settings providing inspiring, creative
learning while fulfilling National Curriculum requirements. This
is an issue we urge our successor Committee to investigate furtherin
particular, to establish whether the solution simply lies in giving
schools greater confidence and encouragement to adapt the curriculum
to their needs, or whether more fundamental changes to structure
and content are required.
Creativity is strongly embedded in the new Early
Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which will come into force from
2008. Creative development is one of six areas of learning and
development. It recognises that being creative involves the whole
curriculum, enabling children to make connections between one
area of learning and another and so extend their understanding.
The EYFS obliges providers to ensure that practitioners extend
children's creativity by actively encouraging curiosity, exploration
and play and units of training under development are designed
to help them do so effectively.
At primary level, creative thinking is identified
as essential to effective learning and opportunities to teach
and learn these skills are threaded through the curriculum. We
will begin a review of the primary curriculum in spring 2008 to
establish the essential knowledge, skills and understanding our
schools will teach all our primary aged pupils for years to come.
Among the key aims of the review will be to provide greater flexibility
and personalisation within the primary curriculum and to provide
a coherent framework to support children's personal, social and
emotional development, including creativity.
Creativity features prominently in our new secondary
curriculum and encourages schools to build creativity into the
school day in a way that reflects the specific needs
and interest of their pupils. Creativity and critical thinking
is one of the cross-curriculum dimensions that provide a focus
for work within and between subjects and across the curriculum. To
develop creativity and critical thinking pupils should have opportunities
to engage in creative activities in all subjects, exploring links
between subjects and wider aspects of learning.
The proposals for the cultural offer, as outlined
in the Children's Plan, will give children and young people the
chance to learn through cultureusing engagement with the
arts and other activities to boost creative skills, attainment
and personal development.
The NFER evaluation of sharing practice within Creative
Partnerships (published September 2007) contributes to a significant
body of research about embedding innovative approaches to teaching
and learning in school settings. In 2005 NCSL analysed practice
in primary schools which had achieved high attainment levels as
well as providing a broad and balanced curriculum for children.
The findings were published in a report and practical toolkit,
Developing Leadership for Creativity in Primary schools NCSL
DCSF will collate the key findings of existing evidence
drawn from Creative Partnerships and wider practice within settings
across all phases and make this available in an accessible format
to schools, and share it with key agencies such as Ofsted, NCSL
9. We agree with Creative Partnerships that continuing
professional development is of fundamental importance to embedding
more creative approaches to teaching and learning, and should
be seen as the core of the operation. We also encourage Creative
Partnerships to consider ways in which mentoring of teachers by
creative professionals, and of creative professionals by teachers,
could be further encouragedfor example, through the introduction
of short, structured sabbaticals for teachers.
We agree that CPD is of huge importance. Research
on the CPD opportunities provided by Creative Partnerships from
Oxford Brookes was very positive. Creative Partnerships is also
working with other providers such as the Museums Libraries and
Archives Council to develop tools to support placements of student
teachers in creative, non-school settings so that trainee teachers
are aware of the range of cultural opportunities available to
young people, and are confident in accessing these throughout
their careers. We will build on this work over the next three
years. DCSF will also work with Creative Partnerships to analyse
the CPD programmes which it has supported to help develop replicable
DCMS will support Creative Partnerships in developing
approaches to professional development of personnel from the creative
and cultural sector in collaboration with the education sector
and the relevant sector skills councils .
10. It is regrettable that a more systematic and
co-ordinated approach has not been taken in respect of creative
partnerships work in extended schools. Given the importance the
Government clearly now attaches to involving parents in their
children's learning, and to providing opportunities for parents
in difficult circumstances to develop their skills and confidence,
this is a significant missed opportunity.
11. More generally, we are not convinced that
there is a coherent view on creativity's place in wider policy
of children's services at the national level. The obvious links
between creativity and other priorities such as Every Child Matters
and the personalisation agenda, as well as with extended schools,
are under-developed: currently, the appearance is one of creative
partnerships as a rather separate entity which nevertheless shares
common ends with many of these other programmes of reform.
12. The DCSF gives the impression that these issues
concerning creativity are peripheral to their core responsibilities
in education and children's services. We believe that the best
education has creativity at its very heart. We recommend that
the DCSF reviews policies such as Every Child Matters and
personalised learning to ensure that creativity is established
as a core principle in learning and development.
Our education and childcare system delivers opportunities
for children and young people to develop their creativity at all
ages, both within and outside the curriculum. Creativity has featured
increasingly in the Government's schools policies. Creativity
and creative skills are a key part of the curriculum from Foundation
Stage right through to Secondary education.
Creativity is strongly embedded in the new Early
Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which will come into force from
2008. The new secondary curriculum gives creativity far more prominence
than previously. It will allow schools greater opportunities
to support creativity. Schools are encouraged to build creativity
into their curriculum in a way that reflects the specific needs
and interest of their learners.
Personalising learning means actively engaging pupils
in learning and helping them to reach their full potential. This
includes using curriculum flexibilities to engage with individual
interests and needs; ensuring all children have equal access to
cultural and enrichment opportunities; helping them to discover
or develop new interests and talents; and developing 'soft' skills
that employers value, such as communication and working in a team.
Extended schools are helping to make personalised
learning real. Through their core offer extended schools deliver
a coherent package of support to children and young people. This
includes a focus on a wide variety of opportunities for learning
beyond the classroom, making full use of other providers within
the community. Our investment in the extended schools programme
will allow children to try new activities that support their learning,
and provide opportunities for young people and those working with
them to be creative in more informal learning environments. It
will enable schools to offer extra activities to pupils, including
creative and arts activities.
There are no statutory requirements on schools to
develop extended services and the Government does not prescribe
the particular activities and services that schools should offer.
This is a decision they need to take for themselves, based on
consultation with pupils, parents and the wider community which
enables them to establish local need and demand and subsequently
shape provision around those needs. Schools will be planning and
developing extended services so that they are integral to their
school improvement plan. Guidance encourages schools to develop
creative activity as part of the range of extended activities
and services on offer within and beyond the school day. Some schools
have already developed a range of extended activities which focus
on arts and creativity.
We want all schools to offer access to extended services
by 2010, providing a core range of activities, with at least half
of all primary and a third of secondary schools doing so by 2008.
The growing enthusiasm for extended schools is demonstrated by
over 8,400 schools in England (1 in 3) now offering access to
the core offer of extended services. Around 72 per cent of schools
in England are already offering some extended provision. The Government
has invested £680 million to deliver the vision for extended
schools, and we made a commitment in the Children's Plan to a
further £1.3 billion over the next three years.
In setting out a long term vision for children
and children's services the Children's Plan builds on the reforms
introduced by Every Child Matters, and particularly its holistic
approach to childhood and children's outcomes. The Children's
Plan affirms that 'Participation in cultural activity is enriching
and contributes to the Every Child Matters outcomes.' The
development of a cultural offer will help take this vision forward.
13. We agree with the Government that Ofsted should
be required to look for evidence of creative approaches and opportunities
during its subject studies, and not solely when a school refers
to creativity on its Self Evaluation Form. As has happened with
other new curricular developments such as Citizenship, we would
also urge Ofsted to carry out regular thematic reviews on creativity,
which would prove useful for assessing progress over time at the
The new Self-Evaluation Form (SEF) for schools from
September 2007 includes a reference to creativity in the section
on quality of provision. It asks about 'the extent to which learners
have opportunities to develop creativity'. We will discuss with
Ofsted how they can assist in the ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness
of schools in embedding creativity as part of improving outcomes
for their pupils.
We will work with Ofsted in drawing together examples
of how schools have provided evidence of effective work in relation
to creativity across the curriculum.
14. We welcome the confirmation that reductions
in Creative Partnerships funding are not foreseen over the next
Comprehensive Spending Review period. However, the imbalance in
levels of funding for the project between the two Departments
does little to allay perceptions that creativity is a second-order
priority for the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
As we have previously suggested, we also feel that the DCSF could
do more in terms of offering non-financial supportfor example,
by developing a system in which improvements in soft skills can
be assessed and valued equally alongside more quantifiable achievements
in terms of SAT scores.
DCSF funding is increasingly devolved to schools
to give them the freedom to meet the needs of their pupils and
local community. Schools can access creative practitioners through
other avenues, either because Creative Partnerships are not active
in their area or because, as autonomous institutions, they prefer
another approach. A number of local authorities (for example Leeds
and Warwickshire) have teams dedicated to supporting schools to
work in arts partnerships.
As already mentioned, developing creative skills
has featured increasingly in the Government's schools policies.
Key features of personalised learning include developing
pupils' skills of working independently and in groups,
exploring ideas and reflecting on learning, and a curriculum that
takes account of prior learning and experiences, tailored to motivations
of different learners.
More flexibility in the curriculum will give teachers
greater freedom to use their professional judgement to decide
how to assess their learners, taking into account the personalisation
agenda. They will also be able to help learners recognise the
progress they are making within, across and beyond subject disciplines,
broadening the measures of success.We will map work currently
being undertaken on developing an approach to the assessment of
creativity by QCA, Creative Partnerships and others. The cultural
offer pilots will also be relevant here.
15. At its best, when Creative Partnerships starts
with a school development plan and builds a strong relationship
between teachers and creative practitioners it can significantly
expand the capacity and ambition of a school to teach creatively.
We are aware of research currently being conducted
on behalf of Creative Partnerships by a team from Nottingham and
Keele universities to analyse the impact of Creative Partnerships
on whole school change. The analysis of the Creative Action Research
Awards (October 2007) suggests that enquiry based partnership
between teachers and creative practitioners has a significant
impact. We will draw on the evidence from these and other reports
to prepare accessible guidance for schools on approaches to supporting
16. We accept that funding levels may never be
such that all schools can access individual, tailored support,
and that funding for Creative Partnerships as a supporting organisation
may be time-limited. However, we do not believe completely devolved
funding would be appropriate at the moment, when much still remains
to be done to embed creative teaching and learning. A priority
now for Creative Partnerships and its two sponsoring Government
departments in planning for the future should be to produce replicable
models or templates, which can then be used and adapted to initiate
work in other schools. This would act as a means of ensuring that
all schools could benefit from the investment made in Creative
Partnerships, even if they have not participated directly to date.
If creativity is at the heart of every successful school, it is
essential that all schools have access to the necessary resourcessuch
as external co-ordination, creative professionals and continuing
professional development for teachersto enable it to become
established through the school system.
Recognising that, as stressed by Ofsted in its report
on Creative Partnerships, schools require different levels of
support depending on where they are in their creative development,
from 2008 two distinct tiers of schools programmes are being considered
by Creative Partnerships. The Change Schools programme will allow
schools with significant challenges to engage in an intensive
three year programme that supports the creative development of
the whole school. Enquiry Schools will allow any school to engage
in shorter creative learning programmes targeted at a specific
group of pupils and teachers.
Creative Partnerships is already developing tools
and templates which schools can use themselves. Creative Partnerships
has developed a 'Creativity' self evaluation form to be used by
schools alongside their standard Self Evaluation Form. It is intended
to help them analyse how they are working to ensure that
creativity is at the heart of learning, teaching and school organisation.
Creative Partnerships has also made available to all schools a
useful publication about setting up creative partnerships: 'Building
creative partnershipsa handbook for schools'. It provides
practical guidance to any school that wishes to work with external
partners to broaden and deepen its cultural and creative offer
to young people and to inspire learning.
We are committed to ensuring that all children benefit
from creative and cultural activities, and have the
opportunity to discover and pursue their particular interests
The Creative and Cultural Education Advisory Board
that we set up has done useful work in bringing forward the commitments
made in the Government's response to Paul Roberts' review of creativity.
The Board, chaired by Paul Roberts, has helped us bring together
the cultural and education sectorskey to the development
of a longer term cultural offer that we announced in the Children's
Plan. DCSF and DCMS are working together to develop the cultural
2 For example, Champions of Change Research: Impact
of the Arts on Learning: http://www.aep-arts.org/files/publications/ChampsReport.pdf Back