In Brief

8th October 2004 at 01:00
Developing Creativity for Learning in the Primary School: a practical guide for school leaders

By Keith Lloyd and Peter Smith; National College for School Leadership; Pounds 5. Download order form from: www.ncsl.org.ukresearchpublications

The rediscovery of creativity is a bewildering phenomenon for those many heads and teachers who've been battling to keep it alive in the teeth of a chill authoritarian wind.

Still, it doesn't do to carp. The priority is to seize the day, and this publication from the National College for School Leadership provides incentive, ideas and examples.

One of the NCSL's strategies is to bring together heads of schools that have demonstrated good practice, giving them time to develop their ideas in ways that can help colleagues. It's one of those simple but brilliant ideas, and this publication is an example of what can emerge.

The worry for many teachers - particularly those trained in more recent years -is that what looks like a "loosening up" of the curriculum might damage achievement. The thought is neatly put here by the head of Michael Faraday primary in the London borough of Southwark: "The headteacher described the school as having 'lots of creativity but not enough learning', when she took over in the mid 1990s." The point being that "creativity" isn't just letting your hair down and doing lots of singing and dancing.

Much of the work described here would pass, at a glance, for the derided "project work" left behind when sterner times arrived. The account of Michael Faraday primary tells us of "A project on the Tudors", and from Hook CE primary in Goole, North Humberside, we read that "role play and drama were used to help pupils understand what life was like in Ancient Greece".

There is a difference, though, in that learning in these schools is planned and assessed where once it might just have been assumed to happen.

Important, too, is the development of pupils as independent learners.

This is a practical resource for heads and teacher who believe this is a tide they have to catch but are unsure of just how to do it.

GERALD HAIGH See Creativity for Control Freaks, page 13 in this week's Teacher magazine, free with The TES

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