What comes to mind when you hear the word “creativity”? Many of us view creativity as a kind of “gift” enjoyed by a talented few. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone has the potential to express themselves through activities such as writing, painting, drawing, or making music. Creative expression isn’t about becoming the next James Baldwin or Frida Kahlo – the creative process alone can help young people grow and develop into well-rounded citizens.

How do creative activities benefit pupils?

Encouraging pupils to take part in a diverse range of creative activities can help them develop skills such as:

  1. Emotional intelligence: Creative activities help young people articulate their thoughts and feelings. In the long-term, this can strengthen their sense of identity, boost their self-esteem, and teach them how to listen to and empathise with others.
  2. Problem-solving and resilience: Activities such as painting, dance and writing stories support children to perfect technical skills, experiment, take risks, and revise and review their work to the highest standards.
  3. Collaboration: Encouraging young people to work together on creative projects is an enjoyable way to develop their team working skills.
  4. Ingenuity: Creative tasks help children look at the world in a different way and think outside the box. In later life, these skills will help them to drive positive change in their careers and change society for the better.

How can governors facilitate high-quality creative opportunities?

Governors play a fundamental role in assessing the quality of creative opportunities in schools. During board meetings, you may wish to question senior leaders about the types of creative education available to pupils. Questions could include:

  1. Is there a range of options to suit all ages?
  2. Are opportunities accessible to all learners, regardless of background or disability?
  3. Do pupils have the option to pursue a variety of creative paths, such as story writing, drawing and painting, playing a musical instrument, or performance?
  4. Is the school involved with any organisations that can provide specialist creative experiences?

There are many charitable organisations across England and Wales offering life-changing creative programmes for pupils. One such charity is First Story, whose Young Writers Programme offers pupils in under-resourced communities the opportunity to participate in writing workshops facilitated by acclaimed authors, poets, and playwrights. At the end of the programme, students’ work is published and celebrated in a printed anthology.

Antonia Byatt, Chief Executive of First Story, says: “We exist because access to quality cultural education is not distributed equally across the country or in educational settings. We work with teachers and professional writers to address this disparity, offering opportunities for under-served young people to participate in enriching creative writing activities.

“Governors should be ambitious when it comes to promoting such programmes in schools, as creativity is key for developing the whole child and building cultural capital – as noted in the Ofsted Framework 2019. Supporting children to develop their own authentic voice gives them agency, confidence, and self-efficacy in the long term. Governors should also share in celebrating the successes of these programmes by attending book launches, performances, and feedback. Not only is this hugely supportive of students, but it also raises the school’s profile within the wider community.”

As you can see, there are plenty of ways for governors to influence creative education and enrich the lives of pupils across the country. For more information about First Story, head to their website.

Apply to be a governor today!

Are you passionate about boosting enrichment opportunities for young people? Perhaps you’re looking to give something back to your local community? Volunteer as a governor today and we’ll match you to a school that will benefit from your skills.