Creativity is Crucial in the Classroom with Lizzie Clancy – PP141

Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne
Ollie Frith
Ollie Frith

We were joined this week by Bigfoot Arts Education’s Creative Director, Lizzie Clancy. Lizzie is a passionate advocate for creativity in education but that doesn’t mean just the arts subjects. She believes that creativity should pervade everything we do in schools.

How important is creativity in the education system?

Lizzie thinks that creativity should be a core part of all teaching and learning. By creativity, she means providing young people with the opportunities to question, to explore, to imagine and to experience. This means they will be involved in every part of their learning – which helps nurture and create responsive individuals, not just those who can regurgitate facts.

We want them to be able to share opinions with their peers, to work together to find solutions to problems – to be the next generation of scientists, carers, shop assistants, all sorts!

Lizzie is concerned that the teaching some children receive doesn’t actually encompass them all the skills needed – the skills are which are inherent in creative teaching.

Does creativity improve employability?

Creativity isn’t confined to certain subjects – it means being able to be a critical thinker, to work as part of a team, to think of different ways to solve problems – which are crucial for all kinds of work.

What stops schools from getting it right in creativity?

Lizzie believes there is still a misunderstanding of what creativity is.

It’s not about arts and crafts, cutting and sticking, putting on a play, dancing or acting.

Too many teachers think they are ‘not creative’ when, in fact, all good teachers are inherently creative – they make their lessons engaging and exciting.

Lizzie Clancy
Lizzie Clancy

You don’t have to be the best actor, the best musician or the best dancer to be able to facilitate a child’s learning so they are really actively engaged.

Teachers just have to be able to set up tasks which allow students to use their imagination and creativity.

Is the EBacc damaging to creativity?

Lizzie thinks the EBacc is very damaging to creativity and the arts. There is so much emphasis on those core subjects that it sends a clear message that the arts have no place in this system. She asks what is says about those whose talents and skills lie in those other arts subjects. They are academic subjects requiring special skill sets from talented individuals.

Lizzie feels it is sending a shocking message about how we treat the arts in this country – and at the same time we celebrate the arts as one of our biggest exports.

Top tips for creativity in the classroom

  • Always question whether the lesson plan you are creating is active – which doesn’t mean moving about necessarily – it’s more about students talking and investigating for themselves
  • Ask yourself, ‘What can I do to bring it off the page?’
  • Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to focus on high order thinking
  • Use your students as a resource

For lots more including Lizzie’s utopian view of what arts education and creativity would look like in a perfect world, take a listen to the whole episode!


(Creative Commons Sound clip by Johnny Pixel Productions, Inc. –

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