Why creativity in schools should be encouraged

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The importance of creativity

Creativity is an integral part of success. ‘Success’ – what even is that anyway? We are all working our way up the academic ladder to ‘success’, Alan Watts explains it perfectly in one of his lectures. We go to pre school to prepare us for high school, we pass exams to prepare us for college, we pass A-Levels to prepare us for university, we graduate, we get ‘the’ job, we get ‘the’ promotion, we get the pay rise, and so on. When we go into education at the age of 4, this cycle begins. In education, work, and the economy – ‘success’ seems to be standardised to academia:

‘The problem with conformity in education is that people are not standardised to begin with’ Ken Robinson

We are always looking for ‘success’ by way of the system, to get ahead. The ladder and conformity of success and academia is drilled into us so young. What about thinking differently? Standing out? Surely we should recognise the importance of encouraging young people to do both of these things? Creativity is fundamental to innovation. So why is creativity’s role in education a continuous debate? And why is creative funding constantly being challenged? Is it a political misunderstanding about the value and significance of creativity?

Creativity champions innovation and change. It is no longer ‘categorised’ as someone that can draw, perform, or write. It’s proven to have had a vital impact on the economy and humanity, technology, innovation, history, theories, and science. It is as important as traditional academia. ‘We no longer live in a world where academia proves intelligence’, Ken Robinson. Intelligence is no longer about being text book savvy. Creativity is intelligence. It allows room for perspective, opinion and difference and is constantly moving forward. It should be an integral part of every subject.

Yet in schools, we still very much focus on ticking boxes, to try and get the grades (and yes, humans like routine-so a framework to follow can be useful). But this doesn’t mean creativity should be disregarded. It gets to a certain point in a child’s life (normally when they hit secondary school) where they are scared to be ‘wrong’. When they don’t want to be seen to think differently from their peers. Is it the education system that has made us think this way? 

‘Children have enormous capacity for talent and innovation, but the academia of schools can squander this. Creativity is as important as STEM subjects and should be treated that way. If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. The worry is that we are educating people out of their creative capacity.’ Ken Robinson, in his inspiring TED talk Do Schools Kill Creativity

After education, this then gets taken into the workplace. People worry about suggesting ‘stupid’ ideas because they are scared of what others will think. However, as proven, failure is a major contributor to success. Benjamin Franklin said ‘I haven’t failed, I’ve had 10,000 ideas that didn’t work.’ Encouraging and nurturing creativity challenges standardised academia and the ‘fear of being wrong’. It gives students a voice, opening up opportunity. Championing creativity in schools integral to education because it encourages autonomy, diversity and innovation (fuelled by risk-taking). It strengthens the economy and opens up opportunity. The developing world could not be where it is today without creative pioneers that have taken huge risks to invent or prove a theory. Creative thinking allows for experimentation/new ways of thinking, integral to the growth of our economy.

The UK’s creative industry currently contributes 10million an hour to our economy (gov.uk). Creativity is now fundamental to business. If businesses don’t have creativity they are not innovating, and they will not last amongst their dynamic, forward moving competitors.

Creative thinking offers a healthy way to view failure, seeing it as a lesson rather than a negative experience. The lessons learned from failures are far more important than the lessons learned from success, because they highlight potential opportunities that may not have being apparent otherwise.


‘Education needs to nurture creativity and give pupils the ability to see the world from different perspectives.’ TES

Creativity is expression and innovation. A part of humanity, a part of the economy. Thinking differently and creatively should be encouraged and pushed within education. Intelligence is dynamic, creativity allows us to keep up with this by exploring and seeing things differently. It is therefore, invaluable for creativity to have constant emphasis in education, to inspire and encourage the next generation.

To summarise, here is an excellent video ‘England is Creative‘ from Creative Industries UK.

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