A Snapshot of Fostering Creativity in England

Recommendations of valuable reports, organisatioins, events, and books
In England, creativity is fostered in schools through a combination of national curriculum standards and individual school policies. While creativity is not listed as a subject on school timetables yet, there have been extensive discussion in England that encourages teachers to foster creativity in the classroom.
A milestone was the NACCCE report. In 1999, the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE) published a report on the importance of creativity in education. The report argued that creativity should be seen as a key aspect of learning, and recommended that schools focus on developing students’ creativity through a range of approaches, such as project-based learning, cross-curricular activities, and partnerships with arts organizations.
There have also been several important research reports on fostering creativity of students in England. Here are a few notable ones in recent years:
  • Enhancing Creative Education – this report was published in Janruary, 2022 by the PEC with researchers from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), together with Arts Council England, which illustrates the value of a creative education for all children. The report is based on a new survey of over 7,000 secondary school teachers which found that creative subject teachers (for example art, design and technology) are the most likely to provide ‘live’ industry experience for their pupils.
  • The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education is a collaboration between Arts Council England and Durham University that aims to identify ways in which creativity, and specifically creative thinking, can play a larger part in the lives of young people from birth to the age of 19, both within and beyond the current education system. The Commission advocates that “Teaching for creativity should be practised across the curriculum and accessed by all.” It published its first report in 2019 and the second report in April 2021.
  • The Times Education Commission’s powerful report “Bring out the Best: How to transform education and unleash the potential of every child” was released in June 2022, following a year-long review chaired by Rachel Sylvester and took evidence from more than 600 experts across fields including business, the arts and education. Its offers a rich collection of recommendations to transform education and assessment in the UK, including a 12-point plan, where reports encourage a “New cadre of Career Academies” with “a new focus on creativity and entrepreneurialism in education to unleash the economic potential.”
Those passionate about encouraging creativity in education may dive into these reports above, which have led to extensive debates on the topic of reshaping education and assessment around the country.
Support for Promoting Creativity in English Schools
There have been many schools and educational settings in England that seek to prioritise creativity in education. Some have implemented project-based learning, where students work on creative projects that integrate multiple subjects, where others have developed partnerships with cultural institutions, such as museums and galleries, to provide opportunities for students to engage in creative activities. To seek professional support, here is some of the initiatives shaping a powerful network of advocating for creativity on campus.
Creativity Exchange

Creativity Exchange is an online community where school leaders, teachers and those working and interacting with schools can embed teaching for creativity and learn from each other. It shares an inspiring range of content in the Ideas Hub to support you to think about how to develop teaching for creativity across the curriculum – including practical ideas, blogs, case studies and book reviews. So, make sure to bookmark the site to stay up to date with latest research activities on the important role creative thinking plays in education

Rethinking Assessment

Rethinking Assessment is a coalition of school leaders from across the state and independent sectors, joining leading researchers, key policy-makers, employers and higher education representatives in order to broaden and modernise assessment to fully and fairly prepare young people for a dynamic world. The movement is coordinated and managed centrally by Rosie Clayton (Head of Rethinking Assessment) and Fran Wilby (Project Manager, Lead for school pilots), with support from colleagues across Big Education, the Edge Foundation, and the Advisory Group.

Creativity Collaboratives

Creativity Collaboratives is a new iniative announced by the Arts Council England, which aims to fund a network of schools to trial innovative approaches to teaching for creativity. The project will receive £2,780,000 in funding, supported by the Freelands Foundation, and will involve eight lead schools, each of which will work with at least eight additional schools. The pilot will run until July 2024, during which time the networks will explore and evaluate teaching methods that help children and young people to develop their creative capabilities. The hope is that the approaches developed can be implemented more widely throughout the education system.


A NEW DIRECTION is an award-winning not-for-profit organisation generating opportunities for children and young people to develop their creativity. Its work covers mainly four areas, namely 1) ulture, helping cultural, arts, and creative organisations in London develop their work with children and young people, 2) Education, working with teachers & schools to provide students with high-quality creative opportunities, 3) Employment & Skills, supporting young creatives into employment within the creative industries, and 4) Place, creating strategic local partnerships to increase young people’s engagement with arts and culture.

Professional Learning on Creativity Development
Increasingly now, educators recognise the crucial role that creativity plays in preparing students for the future workforce and in fostering innovation and problem-solving skills. Teachers are now seeking opportunities to enhance their own creativity, as well as their ability to teach creativity effectively in the classroom. This may involve training on creative thinking techniques, strategies for incorporating creativity into lesson plans, and approaches to providing feedback and assessment on creative work. By prioritising professional learning on creativity development, some English schools are increasingly equipping teachers with the skills and knowledge necessary to inspire and empower the next generation of creative thinkers and problem solvers.
Creativity in Education Events in England
There are several events in England that celebrate creativity in student development and discuss how to foster creativity in schools, bringing together educators and policymakers to share ideas, best practices, and innovations related to fostering creativity in schools.
  • Creativity and Wellbeing Week held annually in London. The event is organised by London Arts in Health Forum, which is a network of professionals who are committed to promoting the use of arts in healthcare. The event brings together artists, healthcare professionals, and the public to explore the role of creativity in health and wellbeing. The week-long program features a range of events, including workshops, talks, exhibitions, performances, and screenings. This year it is from 15 – 21 May and more information can be found here at – https://creativityandwellbeing.org.uk
  • EdTech World forum 2023 features keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops, providing attendees with a variety of opportunities to learn from experts in the field and share their own experiences and perspectives. In addition, the conference includes an exhibition area showcasing the latest EdTech products and services. It is being held on May 17th and 18th in London and more information can be found at – https://edtechconferences.london
  • Museums are often seen as places that put creativity on display, whether that is art, design, music, writing, or science. But museums are also engines of creativity, offering audiences opportunities to make, learn and collaborate. The Creative Museums Summit organised by MuseumNext brings together museum professionals from around the globe to share case studies, actionable strategies, and new ideas on creativity in museums. MuseumNext’s recent events can be found here: https://www.museumnext.com/events/
Books on Fostering Creativity in England
Here are several books on fostering creativity in schools in England specifically.
  • Teaching Creative Thinking: Developing learners who generate ideas and can think critically by Bill Lucas. This book provides practical strategies and techniques for teaching creative thinking skills in the classroom, including brainstorming, mind mapping, and concept development.
  • Sculpting New Creativities in Primary Education by Pamela Burnard and M. Loughrey. This book introduces the new term ‘creativities’ with cutting-edge examples of creativities research that has influenced the thinking and work of teachers and school leaders in their practice.
  • Creative Schools: Revolutionising Education from the Ground Up by Sir Ken Robinson. This book explores how educators can create a more innovative and creative education system by fostering creativity, imagination, and curiosity in students.
  • Creative Learning in Higher Education: International Perspectives and Approaches edited by Linda Drew and Rowena Murray. This book explores the role of creativity in higher education, and provides insights into how creativity can be fostered in disciplines such as art and design, engineering, and business.