Creating the new Conran

10th November 2006 at 00:00
Trainee work placements will help teachers bring creativity into the classroom

Pupils will find it easier to be creative if their teachers have done work experience in industries such as music, design or architecture, the Government has said.

Ministers have called for trainee teachers to spend time in creative work environments as part of the response to Nurturing creativity in young people, a report commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

David Lammy, culture minister, told The TES: "Creativity has to be part of our young people's education. So it's right that young teachers get that experience of rubbing up with creative industries, not just once they're fully fledged teachers but also while they're training."

The report said that creativity is not merely found in industries connected with media or the arts, but also plays a vital role in science, technology and policy-making.

Sebastian Conran, of Conran and Partners, agreed. He said: "Creativity exists in lots of businesses. You can be socially creative, artistically creative or entrepreneurially creative. To witness that happening is probably extremely helpful."

Staff at Pool business and enterprise college, in Cornwall, have spent time shadowing professionals in aquariums, armouries and construction companies.

Helen Field, who organised the scheme, said: "You need to be working with other people to get the creative juices flowing. Teachers can't work in isolation."

The report highlights the ways in which creativity already forms part of school life. It suggests that after-school science clubs can encourage risk-taking, with pupils designing their own experiments.

It said: "Creativity thrives where it is embedded in the ethos of the school, and a range of creative experiences within and beyond the national curriculum is a normal expectation of teachers and young people."

Mr Lammy said that an emphasis on creativity is not incompatible with the Government's equal emphasis on standards. "Schools are deploying a range of methods to raise attainment," he said. "I hope that this debate about arts being on one side and standards on the other might finally be settled, and we'll see that they're both on the same side."

An advisory board, to include Paul Roberts, the report's author, will be set up, initially for a year. Its members, including children and parents, as well as education and culture representatives, will ensure the proposals are put into practise.

The board, which will meet for the first time in January, will also work to guarantee that creativity has a role in existing school policy.

Mr Roberts said: "We need to make sure that this report leads to action, momentum and real achievement. It's an exhilarating task: like walking up a hill, when you know the view at the top will be rewarding."

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