Why creativity in education is more important than ever

Posted on 1st Oct 2015 in Prep Schools Guide, Curriculum

Trevor Richards, of All Hallows Preparatory School, on the benefits of enhancing creativity in education

“You were probably steered benignly away from things at school when you were a kid – things you liked – on the grounds that you would never get a job doing that: ‘Don’t do music, you’re not going to be a musician. Don’t do art, you won’t be an artist.’ Benign advice — now, profoundly mistaken.”
Ken Robinson, How schools kill creativity

The Department for Education has come under fire in recent years for belittling the importance of creative subjects in the curriculum, at a time when the Creative industries are positively booming. Many leading figures have questioned the wisdom of this. 

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson is a key figure challenging the way we are educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Sir Ken Robinson argues that we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies – far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity – are often ignored or even stigmatized in schools, with terrible consequences. It’s a message with deep resonance. 

New figures published by government confirm that the creative industries are outperforming the UK economy as a whole and official statistics, published by the Department of Culture, Music and Sport, show that the creative industries are leading the UK economy in terms of employment, GVA and exports.

‘The concept of ‘the creative and cultural economy’ is growing around the globe as the interface between culture, economics and technology. Our world is increasingly dominated by images, sounds, symbols and ideas that are creating new jobs, wealth and new culture.’
The British Council

Increasingly, the world will be dominated by a ‘fusion’ of disciplines. The ability to think creatively and to think ‘outside of the box’ will become increasingly important in the workplace. Interestingly, large banks are increasingly looking towards graduates with more creative degrees as they recognise that they need these skill sets within their business environments. Schools should ignore this ‘shift change’ at their peril. It is vital to understand current and future trends and to ‘get on board’, ensuring that education is relevant. This is particularly important in Preparatory schools, which are tasked with preparing children for the future world they will live and work in, and contribute to.

A leading Preparatory School in Somerset recognises this and has embraced the economic trend with fabulous results and believes that more schools should be doing the same. All Hallows Preparatory School Director of Learning, Trevor Richards, explains why: “There are many paths to a happy and fulfilled life. At the heart of All Hallows ethos has long been a desire to truly prepare children for the world they will inhabit and contribute to. The industries with their roots in culture and creativity are an important and growing source of jobs and wealth creation. All Hallows intends to be at the forefront of Prep School education in terms of preparing children for this future job market.”

All Hallows has invested heavily and opened a new and exciting Creative Arts Centre (pictured below) enhancing the excellent Art and Ceramics already on offer. This new centre offers many new design and technology based opportunities. It is an inspiring space that feels more like a London Design Studio than a classroom. It houses cutting edge CAD/CAM technology, facilities for coding, Laser Cutting and 3D printing, Animation, Digital Photography and much more. The uncluttered, ‘blank canvas’ feel spaces also act as a superb base for subjects such as critical thinking and mindfulness.

The Centre has delivered a number of benefits. As well as providing hugely engaging lessons, enrichment clubs and activities for the children, the Centre is also serving as a driving force to enhance creativity throughout the already innovative curriculum on offer at All Hallows. Teachers are inspired by the new opportunities for bringing the curriculum to life and for increased cross curricular activity. Head of Creative Design, Berin Nelson, explains: “We are really ‘fusing’ the disciplines to demonstrate to the children that ideas can be brought to life in a number of ways with the help of technology and creativity. This approach has also had an immensely positive impact on children who can struggle with more traditional approaches to learning”

It is also the intention that the All Hallows Creative Centre forges and maintains strong links with the ‘real’ Creative World, Berin explains why: “We are committed to ensuring that the opportunities offered are current, relevant and exciting and that the curriculum evolves continuously to keep pace with the real world and we aim to enlist the help of specialists along the way to inspire the children. It is important within a Prep School environment that children feel there are some ‘grown up’ spaces and some strong links with the real world so that they can fully appreciate the relevance of their studies and of the skills they are acquiring”

On looking at the vision, you can’t help but believe that this is a school truly looking to give the next generation the opportunity to develop the imagination and skills that are vital to our future. James Dyson would certainly agree: “The teaching of quality design and technology in our schools is a vital requirement for the country’s future in the 21st Century.” 

Trevor Richards is Director of Learning at All Hallows Preparatory School. 

For more information about All Hallows Preparatory School, visit its profile on School Search.