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MPs call for return to creativity

Creative education has been marginalised and needs to be put back at the heart of schools policy, an MPs' committee has said.

More creative approaches to teaching need to be included in all subjects according to a report by the Commons Education Committee.

Encouraging pupils to be more creative improves their "softer" skills such as team-working and self-confidence, the MPs said.

"The Department for Children, Schools and Families gives the impression that issues concerning creativity are peripheral to their core responsibilities in education and children's services," the report said.

"We believe that the best education has creativity at its very heart. We recommend that the DCSF review policies such as Every Child Matters and personalised learning to ensure creativity is established as a core principle."

The assessment comes in a report into the Creative Partnerships initiative which pays for professionals such as artists and musicians to work in schools.

As well as encouraging pupils to learn in different ways, the scheme provides teachers with new ways to tackle their jobs. It was launched in 2002 following concerns that the national curriculum and the national literacy and numeracy strategies may have limited what children learn, the report said.

Examples include children at Our Lady of Peace Junior School in Slough who worked with an artist to design and create a stained-glass window as a way of improving their maths skills. In Haslingden High School in Lancashire, pupils worked with a poet, singer, artist and dancer for a project on human rights.

There is limited evidence that such approaches improve pupil attainment, the MPs said. "But we believe creativity has value in its own right."

But more training is needed to help teachers use creative techniques. They could be mentored by creative professionals and be given short sabbaticals, the MPs said.

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