“Creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy…”

“Creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy, and I actually think people understand that creativity is important – they just don’t understand what it is.”

Sir Ken Robinson

A high point of this week was a visit to the magnificent Junior School Art and D&T Gallery. All years (and parents) were represented and the work on show was truly uplifting and inspiring. There were some arresting pieces produced on a grand scale and other more delicate and nuanced works that repaid careful examination. Every painting, drawing and sculpture was the product of careful endeavour, and the results are remarkable.

Art is one of a few school subjects that has the potential to spread itself across all others. Increasingly educationalists talk not only of STEM but STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) and those who spent time looking at the go-carts or the fairground rides in the exhibition will know quite how well these subjects fit together.

One particular strength of the British curriculum is the opportunity it provides to pursue art beyond primary and lower secondary. If you are curious about the standard of work produced by our seniors then please do come along to their exhibition later in the year. Engaging in “practical” art gives pupils the chance to look at the world afresh and with a different perspective. I’m sure that messages around environmental stewardship are better understood though art rather than through a (possibly) drier approach. This year’s Davos forum took as its theme Growth. Sadly, my invitation seemed to have been lost in the post, so I have found out about discussions via the magic of the internet. Following on from one of the many discussions that took place two “top ten” documents were published: The ten most important skills in 2023 and The ten skills that will be required in the future. Number one on the 2023 list; analytical thinking. Number two; creative thinking. The emerging skills list put creative thinking ahead of analytical thinking. Of course, creative thinking does not simply mean “doing art” but by doing art we are, on occasion, given new and novel insights into solving problems. If you want to understand a landscape then draw it, if you need to learn the organs of the body sketch them out. Art can provide an opportunity to find a flow state, a chance to lose oneself in a task, a therapeutic action in anxious times. When pupils are challenged to be creative, they learn how to fail fast and how to build on their mistakes; art and other creative subjects improve personal resilience. We may not all be “good” at it, but it is undoubtedly good for us.

We do not often have the chance to meet our creative heroes but next week there is a chance to hear from an author who rightly deserves our admiration as a creative force. Sir Michael Morpurgo is one of the world’s great storytellers and we are fortunate that he will be joining us here in Croissy. It promises to be a wonderful chance to lose yourself in an evening of stories. I do hope that you will come along and hear from the author of War Horse, the international bestselling book.

I do hope that you have a good weekend.

Nicholas Hammond