Author: Tim Burgess
Institution: National College for School Leadership
Full reference: Research Associate Report
This study focuses on four successful but very different primary schools, each of which emphasises the importance of a creative curriculum. It explores the inspiration, introduction and development of the creative curriculum and what can be done by leaders to sustain the culture of creativity. Key messages and leadership lessons are drawn from the case studies for those wishing to develop a creative approach to the curriculum in their own schools.
The report observes that the concepts of excellence and enjoyment were brought together in these four schools with creativity seen as the catalyst for this. Children and staff reported ownership of the curriculum. Staff were given the freedom to develop and design learning activities that they considered would resonate with the child’s world. The leaders had given them the freedom to do this but it was not the freedom of anarchy, a ‘do what you like’ freedom that abdicates responsibility.
The leaders in these schools had an understanding that creativity flourishes when it is free from fear and set in the context of a school community. They had provided a structure that encouraged and celebrated creativity and teamwork and enabled children and staff to express themselves in an individual way and develop the skills to do that more confidently and effectively.
The author discusses the meaning of ‘creativity’ in an educational context and proposes a working definition arrived at through a review of literature; interviews and discussions with workers in the sector and attendance at a Creative Partnerships conference. He reports on case studies at four schools using a qualitative research approach, encompassing classroom observation interviews and discussion with headteachers, staff, children and governors.