Tests are a timely target

16th May 2003 at 01:00
YOUR Target Creativity campaign is timely. A finding from my research suggests a gradual, but significant decline in creative qualities takes place between children's early education and the time they commence or finish sixth-formfurther education.

The research, arguably the largest empirical study into creativity in the 16 to 19 curriculum, involved 10 sixth-form and general further education colleges in London, south-east, east, and north-east England. Eight hundred full-time vocational, applied vocational and academic students completed a questionnaire.

The students' perceptions of their creative attributes across the six measures of originality, flexibility, curiosity, risk-taking, imagination and humour were analysed.

Students strongly believed that they are creative, but their creative attributes differ significantly across these measures. Originality is the least perceived creative attribute - a talent that children in early education have been reported to show and which they are expected to develop as they progress in their education and career.

This result underlines the peril of the Government's penchant for targets in primaries, which often crowd out classroom creativity. It also underlines the critical need to nurture and develop creativity of pupils and students across the three sectors of English education.

Dr James Ogunleye School of education and training University of Greenwich Eltham, London SE9

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