Many fans of creative spark

11th July 2003 at 01:00
When we launched the TES primary campaign, Target Creativity, two months ago, we didn't know what would happen. But we knew it was right. The time had come for schools to take back more control and to provide the education they believe is best for their pupils. Soundings from the chalkface suggested that the mood was changing.

We were amazed by the size and enthusiasm of the response. The TES campaign helped to crystallise opinion about the changes needed in primary education and became a focal point for sharing creative ideas. Most of the response, which continues to flow in, has come from teachers and heads themselves, and has revealed how much innovative work is actually going on in schools.

One example is Ridgeway primary in Croydon, which built its curriculum and methodology from the school's own values up, rather than from Government diktat down (see page 18). The result is highly creative and self-motivated pupils and a deeper level of learning. The Government also responded to our voice, among others, in its primary strategy document, Excellence and Enjoyment, announcing compromises on targets and key stage 1 tests.

Education Secretary Charles Clarke replied personally as well, writing in The TES on May 23 that he is "passionately committed to creative teaching in schools", but disagreed with the idea that creativity is diminished by having high aspirations, "which is what targets are all about".

It is right to have national standards. But high aspirations take many forms. The dominance of narrow external targets must not be allowed to undermine schools' ability to set goals based on their own values. The TES campaign, readers are telling us, has shown teachers that their concerns and their professional expertise are being listened to. It has helped teachers believe in their own judgments. As the campaign carries on through the summer, with an eight-week Target Creativity series starting this week (page 26), we hope even more heads, teachers and governors will be brave and trust their own professionalism.

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