On the last day of term, our whole school took part in our first ‘Race for Life’.
I was not only amazed at our students’ enthusiasm and energy for such an event, but their creativity. It was a delight to see Noah’s Ark, dancers and even Father Christmas! As I wished Year 7 ‘good luck’ for the event, they had huge smiles on their faces and said that they were going to sing and dance the whole route. What a great way to approach their challenge!
Amidst all this creative energy, it is easy to assume that the future of our cultural and creative life is very much assured. In fact this is not the case. The publication of The Warwick Commission's final report, Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth - found that creativity and the arts are being squeezed out of schools and that cultural experiences and opportunities were being closed off to youngsters. There is a significant decline in the number of schools offering arts subjects taught by specialist teachers. The commission’s chairperson, Vikki Heywood CBE said: "There are major concerns that the educational system is not focusing on the future needs of the cultural and creative industries and the broader needs for innovation and growth in the UK."
As I write, I would like to confirm that this is something that we hope to address at Invicta. It is important that we encourage our students to think creatively and as such, it is part of our ‘Habits for Success’. Students are encouraged to ‘try things in a different way’, ‘generate new and novel ideas’, ‘be original, confident and step beyond their comfort zone’ – we will ensure that creativity is not squeezed out of our school. Similarly, the arts subjects are an integral part of our curriculum and despite budget cuts, we will continue to encourage everyone to take this as an option with the importance of developing creative talent. It is undoubtedly a challenge for our leadership, but equally it is a challenge for our students – one that I know they will embrace with the support of all our staff and parents.
However, we do need to be aware that creativity is required at all levels. There are arguments for more engagement in STEM subjects and I agree with this. But, you can have both! Our students who have taken part in our recent Maths and Science Challenges have all had to be creative problem solvers. In fact, I would argue that our STEM club members are amongst the most creative thinkers in the school. I witnessed this as I wandered the school at lunchtime and saw our STEM group try to build a structure to balance cans in the 'Can of Beans' challenge. They eventually managed to balance 6 cans plus the weight of two more cans of beans on their structure. These students are undoubtedly some of the most creative thinkers of the school!
I personally believe that creativity allows a person to openly express their thoughts. It will take an individual a long way in life. But, if anyone needs convincing of the power of creative expression, then we need look no further to the wonderful way in which our students work together to stimulate and inspire one another. It is a powerful reminder that examinations are important but we can measure the progress of our youngsters in more ways than one! I shall certainly look forward to seeing our ‘Race for Life’ become an annual event with fun, creativity and inspiration at the heart of what we do.