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Promoting creativity

OVER the next three years the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority will be producing practical material to help teachers develop the arts and creativity. This material will be based on the findings of two current projects that explore the contribution of the arts and creativity to pupils' education.

One project focuses entirely on the arts and is investigating issues surrounding their implementation in the national curriculum. The other focuses on creativity and includes the arts in exploring ways in which pupils' creativity can be promoted across the curriculum.

The projects draw on related research and government initiatives, including the report of the National Advisory Committee for Creative and Cultural Education and the recent report 'Arts Education in Secondary Schools: Effects and Effectiveness' by John Harland, jointly funded by the National Foundation for Education Research, RSA, the Arts Council and the Local Government Association.

A key focus for the project on creativity is the practical investigation carried out by practising teachers in selected schools. So far, more than 50 teachers have agreed to collect examples of work across the curriculum that will help us describe what is meant by creativity. Work is taking place in music, art and design, dance, drama, English, mathematics and design and technology. Other subjects will be added in later years. The results of this investigation will be available on the QCA website so that those who are interested can become involved in the work as it progresses. The first materials will be placed on the web around April 2001.

The need to find effetive ways of raising the profile and status of the arts in education has been identified by QCA. That this is a global challenge was highlighted during an international seminar held by QCA in July. The seminar brought together representatives involved in policy-making for the arts from a range of different countries including Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and England. It explored issues surrounding the implementation of the arts within a range of cultures.

What was interesting was that all countries see the arts as an essential part of an entitlement curriculum. The seminar identified common objectives for future work: the need to develop and provide a clear rationale for the arts, to monitor the extent to which this rationale is being fulfilled and to identify essential conditions for providing high quality education in the arts. A report of this seminar has been compiled by the NFER. From the end of November it will be available on the INCA web site, which is produced as part of an International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks by the QCA and NFER. The INCA web site can be found at:

QCA is also working closely with other related projects and initiatives and we would be particularly pleased to hear about other pieces of work that may be exploring similar areas.

Tony Knight is principal subject officer for music, the arts and culture at the QCA, 83 Piccadilly, London W1J 8QA. Tel: 020 7509 5555. Web: further information: Tony Knight or Lucy Walters, tel: 0207 509 5566

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