Fundamental role of creativity

25th February 2000 at 00:00
MUSIC and art and design have an important place in the curriculum - their programmes of study will again be statutory in September 2000 - but the roles of drama in English and dance in PE must also be recognised, as should those experiences that occur outside the classroom which can contribute much to the breadth and depth of the arts in the school.

It would be difficult to imagine an exciting arts lesson that did not encourage all children to be creative. Creativity is fundamental to successful learning in the arts and for all children enabling them to make connections between different areas of learning and extend their understanding.

The contribution of the arts to creative development has been clearly recognised in the early learning goals that establish expectations for most children's learning at the end of their reception year. QCA is publishingfurther guidance on this foundation stage curriculum in May. It will include advice for practitioners on how to promote children's creative development.

The national curriculum aims to build on this early learning. In music, theprogramme of study highlights the need to control sounds, create and develop musical ideas, respond and review and to develop listening skills and apply knowledge and understanding.

Art and design requires the exploration and development of ideas, investigating and making, evaluating and developing work, an appreciation of materials, processes and the role of artists in society.

Drama is a key aspect of the requirements for speaking and listening in English and the requirement has been made more explicit, requiring children to work in role, present and script drama and learn to critically appreciate their own, and others' peformances.

The requirement for dance has also been made clearer in the PE programme of study. Pupils have the opportunity to develop their expressive use of movement at all key stages.

A fundamental theme linking all these elements is that the arts are a powerful means of exploring and communicating ideas and feelings and of understanding and appreciating our common and different cultures. Helping teachers to track pupils' creative development and ensure progression through the curriculum is, therefore, vital. From September, music, art and design and physical education will have an eight-level assessment scale, bringing them in line with all other subjects.

Further support for teachers will be available shortly with the publication of schemes of work for key stages 1, 2 and 3 on music, art and design and physical education. QCA has published guidance on teaching speaking and listening in key stages 1 and 2, which provides a comprehensive framework for planning and suggests activities.

Guidance on partnerships between schools and arts practitioners will shortly be sent to schools through a joint QCAArts Council of England publication.

Following the recent national curriculum review, Education Secretary David Blunkett has asked QCA to look at how creativity and the arts can be further promoted. This work will build on the work of the National Advisory Committee for Creative and Cultural Education. QCA would be pleased to hear of initiatives that could help to develop thinking and take forward our work in these areas.

Tony Knight is principal officer for music, the arts and culture for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 29 Bolton street, London W1Y 7PD. Tel: 020 7509 5555

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