Last week at the Bradford ICT Conference I did a ‘keynote’ on creativity in which I pointed out, possibly to the converted, that it was not so much what the tool (hard and/or software) was but it was what you did with it that made its use creative.

This morning I noticed that Mike Baker, in a BBC article,announced the tenth anniversary of Sir Ken Robinson’s ‘All Our Futures’. So in ten years how far have we come. Ken Robinson argued that ‘creativity could be taught’… I am not sure that he is/was right about this but feel that he was certainly ahead of his time in a system that was pushing forward a ‘back to basics regime’ and one where numeracy and literacy were the only things that appeared to matter. I am certain that we should leave enough ‘white spaces’ in children’s education so that creativity can grow and develop. My concept of ‘white space’ is the room needed to allow ideas to mature … it allows for things to go wrong and be re-thought, it allows for experimentation. It does not depend on short term success of simple pre-determined targets.

Innovation comes from creativity and innovation is in the mind’s eye of the creator. It is excellent to read Sir Ken’s books ‘Out of Our Minds’ and ‘The Element’ and to listen again to his TED presentation ‘Schools kill creatvity’ to know that the struggle to embed creativity is still open. ‘All Our Futures’ called for a reduction in the burden of assessment and said the national curriculum should be reduced to take up no more than 80% of the timetable. … white space !

It is worth having a read of ‘Excellence and Enjoyment’, published in 2003, and noting the change of tone. No sign of my sort ‘enjoyment’ here just a focus on standards and the two strategies. the mentions of innovation and creativity come as management tools: Ofsted reports show that the best primary schools combine high standards with a broad and rich curriculum.We want all schools to have this aspiration and to be creative and innovative in how they teach and run the school.

It could all come down to a general election and the issues over implementation of the Rose Review.

Attribution: Original image: ‘Spring Shoots
Spring Shoots
by: Wulf Forrester-Barker

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