All Our Futures
Ken Robinson et al.All Our FuturesReport to
the Secretary of State for Education and Employment
the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport"Introduction and Summary
The Purpose of this Report
i. In 1997, the Government published its White Paper Excellenceiii. Our report develops five main themes:
in Schools. It described education as a vital investment in
Ôhuman capitalÕ for the twenty-first century. It argued that one
of the problems in education is the low expectations of young
peopleÕs abilities and that it is essential to raise morale,
motivation and self esteem in schools. The main focus of the
White Paper was on raising standards in literacy and numeracy.
But this will not be enough to meet the challenges that face
education, and the White Paper recognised this. It also said:
Our aim must be to create a nation
where the creative talents of all the
people are used to build a true
enterprise economy for the twentyfirst
century Ñ where we compete on
brains, not brawn.
The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon
Tony Blair MP
If we are to prepare successfully for the twenty-first
century we will have to do more than just improve
literacy and numeracy skills. We need a broad,
flexible and motivating education that recognises
the different talents of all children and delivers
excellence for everyone.
It emphasised the urgent need to unlock the potential of every
young person and argued that BritainÕs economic prosperity
and social cohesion depend on this.
...we cannot rely on a small ?lite, no
matter how highly educated or highly
paid. Instead we need the creativity,
enterprise and scholarship of all our
Rt. Hon David Blunkett MP,
Secretary of State for Education and
ii. This report argues that a national strategy for creative and
cultural education is essential to that process. We put the case
for developing creative and cultural education; we consider
what is involved; we look at current provision and assess the
opportunities and obstacles; and we set out a national strategy.
By creative education we mean forms of education that
develop young peopleÕs capacities for original ideas and action:
by cultural education we mean forms of education that enable
them to engage positively with the growing complexity and
diversity of social values and ways of life. We argue that there
are important relationships between creative and cultural
education, and significant implications for methods of teaching
and assessment, the balance of the school curriculum and for
partnerships between schools and the wider world.
We must change the concept of
creativity from being something that
is Ôadded onÕ to education, skills,
training and management and make
sure it becomes intrinsic to all of
Rt. Hon Chris Smith MP, Secretary
of State for Culture, Media and
What is this Report About?
The Challenge for EducationEducation faces challenges that are without precedent.Meeting these challenges calls for new priorities in education,Introduction and Summary NACCCE report 6including a much stronger emphasis on creative and culturaleducation and a new balance in teaching and in the curriculum.Creative Potential
Creativity is possible in all areas of human activity, including
the arts, sciences, at work at play and in all other areas of
daily life. All people have creative abilities and we all have
them differently. When individuals find their creative
strengths, it can have an enormous impact on self-esteem and
on overall achievement.
Freedom and Control
Creativity is not simply a matter of letting go. Serious
creative achievement relies on knowledge, control of materials
and command of ideas. Creative education involves a balance
between teaching knowledge and skills, and encouraging
innovation. In these ways, creative development is directly
related to cultural education.
Young people are living in times of rapid cultural change and
of increasing cultural diversity. Education must enable them
to understand and respect different cultural values and
traditions and the processes of cultural change and
development. The engine of cultural change is the human
capacity for creative thought and action.
A Systemic Approach
Creative and cultural education are not subjects in the
curriculum, they are general functions of education.
Promoting them effectively calls for a systemic strategy: one
that addresses the balance of the school curriculum, teaching
methods and assessment, how schools connect with other
people and resources and the training and development of
teachers and others.
Who is this Report for?
iv. Formally, our report is addressed to the Secretaries of State,
and many of our recommendations do call for Government
action at various levels. But education concerns everybody:
children and young people, parents, employers, those in
Introduction and Summary NACCCE report 7
work, out of work or in retirement. Consequently, our report
is also written for a wider audience:
· for parents, who want education to offer the bestAbove all, our aim is to urge the need for a national strategy
opportunities for their children;
· for teachers and headteachers who see the potential
range and vitality of young peopleÕs abilities;
· for school governors, who want their schools to be
alive with energy and achievement;
· for other organisations who see themselves as
partners in the education of young people and who
want to find better ways of engaging with them;
· for business and union leaders who recognise the
need for new approaches to preparing young people
for the changing nature of work.
which engages the energies of all of these to provide the kind
of education, in substance and in style, that all young people
need now, and to enable them to face an uncertain and
v. There are great opportunities now to promote young
peopleÕs creative and cultural education:
· The Government is committed to promoting theThe opportunities are considerable: and so are the difficulties.
creative abilities and cultural understanding of all
young people through education. At the same time,
it is introducing new patterns of funding to support
extended curricula, specialist facilities and
· The business community wants education to give a
much higher priority to promoting young peopleÕs
creative abilities; to developing teamwork, social
skills and powers of communication.
· Many professional and other organisations are keen
to develop innovative partnerships with education,
through visits, residencies and liaison schemes.
· New technologies are providing unprecedented
access to ideas, information, people and
organisations throughout the world, as well as to
new modes of creativity, personal expression,
cultural exchange and understanding.
vi. Issues of creativity and of cultural development concern the
whole of education. They are influenced by much more than
the shape and content of the formal school curriculum. These
influences include methods of teaching; the ethos of schools,
including the relationships between teachers and learners; and
the national priorities that underpin the education service.
Our consultations suggest some tensions in current provision.
· Many of those who have contributed to our inquiry
believe that current priorities and pressures in
education inhibit the creative abilities of young
people and of those who teach them. There is a
particular concern about the place and status of the
arts and humanities. There is also concern that
science education is losing its vitality under current
· Many schools are doing exciting and demanding
work but often they see themselves doing this in
spite, not because, of the existing climate. This may
be more a problem of perception than of fact. There
is no comprehensive evidence available either way to
us nor to the Government. Nevertheless, the fact of
this perception, and how widespread it is, is
evidence of a problem in itself.
· Outside organisations Ñ museums, theatres,
galleries, orchestras and others Ñ have a great deal
to offer the formal education sector. Many already
have education and outreach programmes. There is a
compelling argument for closer working partnerships
and we have found considerable enthusiasm for
them. Many say they are poorly funded for
educational programmes and that such work still has
· There are concerns about the supply of teachers and
the extent to which current training takes account of
the importance of creative and cultural education.
vii. The key message of this report is the need for a new balance
in education: in setting national priorities; in the structure and
organisation of the school curriculum; in methods of teaching
and assessment; in relationships between schools and other
agencies. Over a number of years, the balance of education, in
our view, has been lost. There has been a tendency for the
national debate on education to be expressed as a series of
exclusive alternatives, even dichotomies: for example, as a
choice between the arts or the sciences; the core curriculum or
the broad curriculum; between academic standards or
creativity; freedom or authority in teaching methods. We
argue that these dichotomies are unhelpful. Realising the
potential of young people, and raising standards of
achievement and motivation includes all of these elements.
Creating the right synergy and achieving the right balance in
education is an urgent and complex task, from national policy
making to classroom teaching.
Structure of the Report
viii. The report is in four parts. In Part One, we set out our
definitions and framework for creative and cultural education.
In Part Two, we look at the implications for the school
curriculum, for teaching and for assessment. In Part Three, we
argue for a broad base of partnerships between schools and
other agencies and consider issues of resources and training.
In Part Four we present a series of detailed recommendations
as a framework for a national strategy. The arguments of the
report are as follows:
Part One: Facing the Future1. The Challenge for EducationEducation throughout the world faces unprecedentedchallenges: economic, technological, social, and personal.Policy-makers everywhere emphasise the urgent need todevelop Ôhuman resourcesÕ, and in particular to promotecreativity, adaptability and better powers of communication.We argue that this means reviewing some of the basicassumptions of our education system. New approaches areneeded based on broader conceptions of young peopleÕsabilities, of how to promote their motivation and self-esteem,and of the skills and aptitudes they need. Creative andIntroduction and Summary NACCCE report 10cultural education are fundamental to meeting theseobjectives.2. Creative DevelopmentThere are many misconceptions about creativity. Somepeople associate creative teaching with a lack of discipline ineducation. Others see creative ability as the preserve of agifted few, rather than of the many; others associate it onlywith the arts. In our view, creativity is possible in all areas ofhuman activity and all young people and adults have creativecapacities. Developing these capacities involves a balancebetween teaching skills and understanding, and promoting thefreedom to innovate, and take risks.3. Cultural DevelopmentCulture too is often associated with the arts. However, werelate the arts to a broader definition of social culture whichincludes the impact of science and technology on ways of lifeand the increasing interaction between cultures. Young peopleneed to be helped to engage positively with cultural changeand diversity. The dangers of cultural intolerance make thistask a particular priority. We argue that creative and culturaleducation are dynamically related and that there are practicalimplications for the curriculum and for the classroom.4. Meeting the ChallengeIn this section, we draw together our arguments for creativeand cultural education and show how in principle theycontribute to meeting the challenges for education that wehave identified. In Part Two we move from principles topractice.Part Two: A New Balance5. Developing the School CurriculumThere have been many benefits in the introduction of theNational Curriculum. There are also difficulties for creativeand cultural education in the existing rationale, structure andlevels of prescription. These issues need to be tackled toallow more initiative to schools within a clear framework ofpublic accountability. All schools should review theirIntroduction and Summary NACCCE report 11provision for creative and cultural education within andbeyond the National Curriculum.6. Teaching and LearningCreativity can be ÔtaughtÕ. Teachers can be creative in theirown teaching; they can also promote the creative abilities oftheir pupils. The roles of teachers are to recognise youngpeopleÕs creative capacities; and to provide the particularconditions in which they can be realised. Developingcreativity involves, amongst other things, deepening youngpeopleÕs cultural knowledge and understanding. This isessential both in itself and to promote forms of educationwhich are inclusive and sensitive to cultural diversity andchange.7. Raising StandardsAssessment and inspection have vital roles in raisingstandards of achievement in schools. But they must supportand not inhibit creative and cultural education. There is a needfor a new balance between different types of attainmenttarget in the National Curriculum, and between the differentforms and criteria of assessment and inspection. Raisingstandards should not mean standardisation, or the objectivesof creative and cultural education will be frustrated.Part Three: Beyond the School8. Developing PartnershipsSchools are now able to work in partnership with a widerange of individuals and organisations to enrich provision forcreative and cultural education. The benefits of successfulpartnerships, and the roles of various partners in creative andcultural education are different, but complementary. There isa great deal of good practice, but there is an urgent need toestablish better systems of funding, training and qualityassurance of the effectiveness of partnerships.9. Funding and ResourcesLocal management of schools has reduced many services andfacilities that were once provided by local educationauthorities to support creative and cultural education. Coordinatedaction is needed to provide these services in newIntroduction and Summary NACCCE report 12and imaginative ways in the short and longer term. There arealso many new sources of funding available to schools andorganisations through a wide range of schemes and initiatives.New patterns of partnership are needed between governmentdepartments and funding agencies to make more effective useof resources.10. Training PeopleThe new provisions in initial teacher training present seriousdifficulties to the future of creative and cultural education.Urgent action is needed to ensure a continuing supply ofappropriately trained teachers. We also see new roles forcontinued professional development and the need to reviewthe priorities for funding. New training strategies are neededfor specialists other than teachers. Action is needed toimprove the quality of training for youth workers to promotethe creative and cultural development of young people.Part Four: A National StrategyWe welcome the governmentÕs commitment to developing thecreative capacities and cultural understanding of youngpeople. We recommend that it should now co-ordinate anational strategy to promote higher standards of provisionand achievement. This strategy should include action by thegovernment itself and by the national agencies for the schoolcurriculum, inspection and teacher training. It should alsoinclude action by local education authorities and schools andby other national and regional organisations. Throughout thisreport we make a wide range of specific recommendationsthat provide a framework for this strategy. In Part Four, wedraw these recommendations together, indicate how they arerelated and the time scale over which some of them should beimplemented and by whom. All of these recommendations areaddressed to three principal objectives.
How important is this?
a. To ensure that the importance of creative and
cultural education is explicitly recognised and
provided for in schoolsÕ policies for the whole
curriculum, and in government policy for the
b. To ensure that teachers and other professionals are
encouraged and trained to use methods and
materials that facilitate the development of young
Introduction and Summary NACCCE report 13
peopleÕs creative abilities and cultural
c. To promote the development of partnerships between
schools and outside agencies which are now
essential to provide the kinds of creative and cultural
education that young people need and deserve.
If these objectives were achieved the benefits would be felt
by all young people, the education sector and by society as a
ix. There is intense concern with raising standards in education,
and schools and the education sector in general are already
deluged with reports. How important is this one? For some
people, the very theme of this report may seem a distraction
from the main business of raising standards. We do not think
so. Our concerns are the same as everyone elseÕs. How can
education enable our children to make the most of themselves
and take the best advantage of the opportunities and
uncertainties that they face in a fast changing world? Let us
anticipate some of the legitimate questions that might be
asked of this report.
1. IsnÕt an emphasis on creativity and culture aLooking Forward
distraction from the core concerns with literacy
We are not advocating creative and cultural education as
alternatives to literacy and numeracy, but as equally relevant
to the needs of this and of future generations. We support the
need for high standards of literacy and numeracy. These are
important in themselves. They can also enhance creative
abilities: equally creative teaching and learning can enhance
literacy and numeracy. These are complementary abilities,
not opposing objectives. The Government and the vast
majority of people in education recognise this.
2. How are creative and cultural education
relevant to raising academic standards?
Ability comes in many forms and should not be defined only
by traditional academic criteria. Academic ability alone will
no longer guarantee success or personal achievement. Every
Introduction and Summary NACCCE report 14
child has capabilities beyond the traditionally academic.
Children with high academic ability may have other strengths
that are often neglected. Children who struggle with academic
work can have outstanding abilities in other areas. Equally,
creative and cultural education of the sort we propose can
also help to raise academic standards. The key is to find what
children are good at. Self confidence and self esteem then tend
to rise and overall performance improve. High standards in
creative achievement require just as much rigour as traditional
3. What has this got to do with helping young
people get jobs?
We live in a fast moving world. While employers continue to
demand high academic standards, they also now want more.
They want people who can adapt, see connections, innovate,
communicate and work with others. This is true in many
areas of work. The new knowledge-based economies in
particular will increasingly depend on these abilities. Many
businesses are paying for courses to promote creative
abilities, to teach the skills and attitudes that are now
essential for economic success but which our education
system is not designed to promote.
4. Is this committee a lobby group for the arts?
This report does not represent a particular lobby. It
expresses concerns across a wide range of public and
professional interests about the balance and priorities of
education as we move into the twenty-first century. Our
members come from different professions and backgrounds:
including science, the arts, education and business. Creative
achievement is obvious in the arts but it is essential to
achievement in all other fields including the sciences and
5. Is this a return to the progressive teaching ideas
of the 1960s?
No. We are advocating a new balance between learning
knowledge and skills and having the freedom to innovate and
experiment Ñ a system of education that fosters and
channels the diverse abilities of young people and which gives
everyone the opportunity to achieve on their own merits.
Introduction and Summary NACCCE report 15
This is why we link creative education with cultural
6. Teachers are already under enormous pressures.
Are these recommendations going to add to the
Good teachers and many high performing schools are already
doing what we are recommending. We want to emphasise the
importance of their work and to establish national priorities
for creative and cultural education in all schools. The
curriculum is already over-full and we think it should be
thinned out. We want teachers to have more freedom to use
their own creative and professional skills. Greater freedom for
teachers in the classroom will help to promote creative
teaching and this is essential to promote creative learning.
x. The issues we are dealing with in this report are essential to
the overall quality and standards of education. They are also
difficult in terms of definition, policy and practice. We have
found our own debates as a group exciting and enlightening.
We have had an opportunity which is all too rare to meet
across specialisms and to talk from a wide range of different
backgrounds. We continually found that ideas and values that
we thought particular to our own fields are common to us all.
Too often, our own education had taught us otherwise. In
what follows, we have tried to say as directly and clearly as
we can what we are concerned with and what we are
concerned about. We have tried to balance a discussion of
definitions and principles with recommendations that are
practical and feasible. We have not dealt in detail with all of
the issues we raise: we have not done justice to every
subtlety of argument on the way. Our task has been to
balance depth with breadth, theory with practice and detail
with brevity. In publishing this report we believe with even
more strength than we did at the outset, that the tasks we
identify are urgent and the arguments compelling; that the
benefits of success are enormous and the costs of inaction
xi. In his introduction to Excellence in Schools (DfEE 1997), the
Secretary of State for Education and Employment relates the
GovernmentÕs aims for education to five priorities:
· the need to overcome economic and socialxii. We believe that these are the right priorities for education;
· the creation of greater fairness within the education
· the encouragement of aspiration;
· economic competitiveness;
· unlocking the potential of each individual.
and that they are all related. Our aims are to show how these
priorities can be realised through a systematic approach to
creative and cultural education; to promote higher standards
in creative and cultural education in all disciplines; to promote
parity of provision between the arts, humanities, sciences and
other major areas of education; and to stimulate a broad base
of partnerships between schools and outside agencies. We see
all of these as essential to realising the potential of young
people; and to promoting the quality of national life and of
individual achievement that are the ultimate purposes of
xiii. The foundations of the present education system were laid at
the end of the nineteenth century. They were designed to
meet the needs of a world that was being transformed by
industrialisation. We are publishing this report at the dawn of
a new century. The challenges we face now are of the same
magnitude, but they are of a different character. The task is
not to do better now what we set out to do then: it is to
rethink the purposes, methods and scale of education in our
new circumstances. This report argues that no education
system can be world-class without valuing and integrating
creativity in teaching and learning, in the curriculum, in
management and leadership and without linking this to
promoting knowledge and understanding of cultural change
and diversity. The arguments and proposals that follow are to
help set a course for the next century while addressing the
urgent demands of the present.
Professor Ken Robinson; Chairman