Educating for creativity

A New Statesman round table - The role of private-sector business


Creative Partnerships, in association with the Smith Institute, held a round table discussion on educating for creativity. It brought together people who have benefited from, or have the potential to benefit from, the partnerships they have been able to establish between schools and business. Participants discussed the systems that society needs to put in place for these creative partnerships to flourish.


Jennifer Barnes
Director of education, BP

John Botham OBE
Director of education, Apple Computers

Alex Cantrill
Pupil, New Heys Community School

Paul Collard
National Director, Creative Partnerships

Stuart Cosgrove
Director, nations and regions, Channel 4

Vernon Ellis
International chairman, Accenture

Gary Hart
Teacher, New Heys Community School

Janine Jennat
Pupil, New Heys Community School

Sara John
Vice-president, government affairs, EMI

Roy Jones
Regional manager, ScottishPower Learning

Amanda Jordan OBE
Founding director, The Smart Company

Tony Lyng
Headteacher, Brockhill Park
Performing Arts College

Dee Mair
Human Resources Director, IPC Media

Elizabeth Mitchell
Pupil, New Heys Community School

Sue Mulvany
Executive director for children and young people, Lancashire County Council

Kate O'Connor
Executive director, Policy And Development, Skillset

Cavick Parry
Pupil, New Heys Community School

James Purnell MP
Then Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism. Now Minister for Pensions Reform

Nicola Runcie
Assistant Headteacher, New Heys Community School

Matthew Trimming
Director, public affairs, SAP (UK)

Wilf Stevenson
Director, The Smith Institute

Professor Helen Storey
Founder, Helen Storey Foundation

Sheelagh Whittaker
Director, Imperial Oil

Dr Chris Yapp
Head of public sector innovation, Microsoft

Wilf Stevenson

Our aims today are to explore private sector expectations of young people's creative skills, the role that the private sector could play in assisting creative education and the extent to which Creative Partnerships is perceived to be delivering a valuable service in educating for creativity. The minister, James Purnell, is going to say a few words to get us started.

James Purnell At the Department for Culture, Media and Sport we are developing a new policy framework for the creative industries, which account for 10 per cent of the British economy. These industries are something Britain is good at and they are serving markets that will grow around the world as people get richer and spend more of their time on leisure.

The creative economy programme is developing policy and looking at the factors that influence how the government supports these industries. Education is absolutely key to this. As you may know, we commissioned Paul Roberts to review educational creativity and that report will be out soon. We are also working closely with the Department for Education and Skills on that. We are looking at a range of factors, such as how we give businesses support when they are starting up and how our higher education institutions give people skills so they will be able to set up their own companies. We are finding out whether higher education institutions are giving people the right technical and creative skills, and whether people have the right pathways into these industries.

I am interested in hearing what employers around the room want from employees of the future, and how the education system is matching those needs by delivering people who are creative enough. Are they ready when they join a company or are there particular things that people need to be trained for? We are also interested in the relationship between investment and the creative industries. The creative industries are highly profitable but find it harder to attract investment than other parts of industry.

We have worked closely with Creative Partnerships, and are proud of the work they have done. We can learn a huge amount from them about going forward with the programme, and about the education system.

Paul Collard Creative Partnerships was launched in 2002. We are focused on schools in the most challenged and deprived communities in England. We launched 16 Creative Partnerships area offices in 2003, nine in 2004 and 11 in 2005. In each area, we start by working intensively with a small group of schools and, as they begin to adopt the practice we encourage, we begin to disseminate that practice across a wider group of schools. We are working intensively with about 1,100 schools in England and, by disseminating the practice to another 4,000. So, about one school in five in England has had some contact with Creative Partnerships.

Our challenge is going from innovation to scale. How much further should we be going and how much do the creative industries, and industry more generally, value what is happening in this area?

We are focused on putting creativity at the heart of schools, helping teachers teach more creatively, developing creative skills in young people, and using creativity as a motivator. We all know that, if we are engaged in creative projects, we work much harder with much more enthusiasm. We want to transform the attitudes of teachers, and to raise the aspirations and achievements of young people. We want to prepare individuals and companies in the creative and cultural sectors to work in schools, to form long-term relationships with the schools and the pupils within them. Tony, Sue and Helen are going to say a few words about their experience with the scheme so far.

Tony Lyng I am a physicist. I am not an artist, although I am head of a performing arts college. I have been a headteacher for 14 years and have seen many projects come and go. Headteachers seize projects and use them to promote their vision but then the projects stop and they have to readjust and find some other way to do it. This project should not stop. It may need to change, but it is vital that it be sustained.

A number of key areas should be considered. The first is impetus. Most schools embrace change. There is a real desire to move into the 21st century, to move away from the 19th-century-factory model of education to something that reflects the society we live in. Creative Partnerships gave us something to hang the change around but also it gave us the impetus to sustain the change. It gave us the courage to make the changes through providing challenge and support. It was a different kind of challenge. It was encouraging, motivating. Creative Partnerships asked us: "How can we support you with this?" We were asked forceful questions about what "learning to learn" or "assessment for learning" meant and how they meshed into developing appropriate skills that students need. This provided opportunity for developments and also gave teachers something that they felt they could take risks with. Teachers are conservative because of the accountability culture that they have lived in for the past 18 years, so to ask them to be creative beside targets and the prescribed curriculum is difficult.

The second important idea for me is networks. The 21st-century model of education has to be built on networks and federations of schools working together to share expertise, working with the community and with business, to enable the education of the individual within the community. Creative Partnerships enabled us to establish networks with partners we had never considered working with before and all parties gained. We are developing dance and creative science in a grammar school in Kent. It is interesting for a comprehensive school to work closely with a grammar school, and that link has been developed through Creative Partnerships.

I would like to focus on how the school has changed. It has transformed. I do not get Buildings Schools for the Future money for another three years, which is frustrating because the buildings are wrong for what we are trying to deliver now.

I am delighted to see students here today because what underpins this is the development of a student voice. That does not mean just having a school council where students can come and say a few things. It means involving them in deciding what takes place in their learning, researching it and coming up with ideas. It is their school. Creative Partnerships enabled us to establish student research teams and groups that could really put the student voice into its proper context.

My school is in a challenged area. One of the huge issues for us is developing self-esteem, self-awareness and self-respect. By having this total creative approach through all subjects in the school, where students are valued and are using their voices, we have improved the way young people feel about each other and the community they are in. It takes away many of the barriers to learning that exist in those communities. You cannot learn if you do not feel good about yourself.

What does business get out of all this? It gets young people who emerge from the school system with transferable skills that they would be able to apply to a wide variety of situations; they are adaptable, flexible and natural learners. They have the confidence to take risks and to ask questions. They have had experience of, and have been developed through, innovation techniques. They are good at problem solving. They are becoming critical thinkers. Critical thinking is a crucial feature in all of this but it is not yet high on the educational agenda.

Above all else, these young people are able to work in teams based upon respect and tolerance, so they can see the value of being a team follower or team leader, depending on whether their skills are needed either as a leader or follower. You cannot have leadership without followership.

The final competence I wish to refer to is that they develop transactional skills. They can represent their viewpoints, themselves and their beliefs in a way that is non-threatening, non-aggressive and wins the day.

Perhaps this sort of stuff would have happened without Creative Partnerships because the germ of the idea already existed, but I suspect that it would have taken 25 years instead of four. It needs to be sustained and developed nationwide.

Sue Mulvany As I come to the end part of my career and to the latter quarter of my life, the question that motivates me is: when we die, what kind of people do we want to inherit the Earth? My remit as a director of children's services is to safeguard children and young people from risk of social exclusion through new ways of working in education and social care. The main way of achieving this is to drive forward a culture of collaboration, to forge partnerships and to establish Children's Trusts, to achieve the five outcomes of the Every Child Matters agenda. These are that children and young people feel safe: that they be healthy; that they enjoy their lives and learning; that they achieve and make a positive contribution to their communities, societies, their region and the world; and that they achieve economic well-being.

Education in its broadest sense should be the development of self-esteem and a real sense of efficacy. When I look at the brief of Creative Partnerships, I can see the value such creativity has brought into schools, where senior staff have said they are excited. To hear the word "excited" in education is brilliant.

The "justification" coin has two sides. If we do not focus initiatives like this on areas of deprivation, we will end up with a sector that is disengaged, does not enjoy and achieve, is not healthy and does not feel safe. The economic well being of the country will be more secure if we have really creative and brave new thinkers rather than automatons.

Helen Storey Since I have known Creative Partnerships, my role has become one of trying to develop content that brings something alive in the eyes of the kids. I was a fashion designer for 13 years. I was fortunate enough to win an award, put together by the Wellcome Trust, which brought scientists and artists together. The idea was to explore the space between the two disciplines to see if a conversation could be had. Out of that I stumbled upon the idea that the educational potential in between subjects was huge. I met with Creative Partnerships and we tried to build an environment where the excitement created by such a development could be sustainable. The creative laboratory we developed was in a school on the point of closure. We put in a series of works as stimulus. Primitive Streak depicts the first 1,000 hours of human life in textiles and fashion. I was curious about what would happen if kids could touch what would normally be considered untouchable, whether a new kind of learning could happen. In fact, they responded well to doing that, to spending time making mistakes and not having to produce anything in particular. Moreover, so did the teachers. We had teachers coming in to discuss all kinds of things, such as the new building of their school and matters they could not discuss in the staff room. We realised that it was a necessary environment and that it would be wonderful if all schools could have a creative laboratory.

Another thing we put in was a giant book called Amygdala. It has 1,700 pages and it contains everything from expressions of fear to grief and creativity. It is something like an emotional confessional, if you like, whereby you can meet the secrets and the inner thoughts of our children. It is a way of working through things such as bullying, racism and transfer to other schools. "Me Kits" were the idea of a headteacher who had difficulty saying goodbye to children. Me Kits are transferable kits that children put together during their last lessons or activities before going off to secondary school. They tell the new teachers about the nature of each child and the way in which he or she learns. They contains comments from mentor figures and parents. The kits are something they can take on the first day to their secondary school. They are an alternative resource for teachers to learn about the child.

Perhaps the most exciting feature to come out of this lab concept was the teacher exchange. Two teachers came from another school. The science and art teachers said that they would like to swap disciplines. It took an awful lot of organisation but some really strong features came out of it. The science teachers, particularly, saw sides of children in the art room that they had never seen flourishing in science. Throughout the school swaps, are taking place now and it has resulted in whole-school change.

Children crave doing things that have relevance to real-life situations. When it comes to business, I am beginning to hear the names of the people they would like to meet and the things they want to know, but they are not getting the kind of skills they want from the curriculum. Working with Creative Partnerships gives them space to be able to bring these important things together.

Sara John It is great to hear creativity being taken seriously. It is important for business to have people coming from school who are good at creative things and who feel just as valued as the people who are good at academic things. From a business perspective, it is also important to teach children that creativity is worth something. Every child should be encouraged to put a copyright notice at the end of his or her work because it is theirs and because it is valuable.

As an employer in a creative industry, we are also looking at the other end of the spectrum, at what we need and how we need to create pathways into the music industry. At EMI, we have analysed how we are recruiting and we are working with CC Skills, our skills council. I advertised for a PA recently and had 157 people, all graduates, applying. This is great but it means that applicants for jobs at EMI tend to be aged 24 or older, whereas most of the people we are selling music to are quite a lot younger. So we have decided that we need to create pathways into EMI for younger people, and also from a more diverse range of people. Although we are not working with Creative Partnerships, it is the same principle. We are pilot testing a scheme called Creative Apprenticeships, which is really work-based learning. We are working with the University of North East London, the Chocolate Factory, and other people who understand how to create work-based learning that teaches transferable skills. We may not necessarily have jobs for these people at the end of their apprenticeships, but we want to give them skills so that they can work in other parts of industry too. We want to work with different institutions to find ways in which we can stimulate creativity in schools, particularly through music education. We want to help to create new pathways into our industry.

Roy Jones I work with a number of schools, and one of them is New Heys. When I go into the school, it has a bit of a buzz about it.

We supported New Heys to adapt their resource centre with a specialist school bid so that we could share our resources and expertise to make a state-of-the-art resource centre. Then we got linked in with Creative Partnerships. It brought a New York designer to work with the pupils to give them the opportunity to design it themselves, to get the experience of going round to see best practice and to make the decision and understand that it is their centre. That approach gives pupils the opportunity to experience the world of work and move pupils to a situation where they are so motivated and creative that, when they come to us for an interview, they are excited about moving from education to employment itself.

One of the other schemes that New Heys has been involved in is the house system: it has the Marriott House, the Jaguar House and the Scottish Power House. That brings those companies into the schools so they get an understanding of what education today is all about. After the young people go on a programme which we deliver, the schools see a difference in those young people.

Today is about understanding what creativity and innovation are for the young people of the future and not ourselves as employers. We are excited that we can work with Creative Partnerships and with the schools and then use the best practice from some of those schools. It is about taking what works best and transferring it to other schools.

Kate O'Connor I want to specifically mention the development of a new curriculum and qualifications to be introduced for 14- to 19-year-olds in 2008, including the new creative and media diploma. In some ways, the development goes against many comments this morning, formalising creativity, assessing it and producing qualifications labelled "creativity and media". However, we have been told by employers to use the opportunity to build in skills that will develop confident creators, reflective learners and a climate for innovation. Employers are asking for new diplomas to reflect general skills that will support and develop creative people in the future. Reassuringly, all our counterparts in other sectors, such as the built environment, social care, IT or engineering, are asking for the kind of content we are developing for our creative and media diploma to be imported into their developments. We hope the outcome will be a vehicle for delivering a new type of qualification that is a pathway to take young people into all sorts of industries.

These new qualifications and curriculums cannot be successfully implemented without the support of organisations like Creative Partnerships.

Stuart Cosgrove Channel 4, unlike the BBC, works much like a magazine would do, commissioning content, often from people outside the company. In our case, it is largely independent production companies, scattered across the UK, with the heaviest concentration being here in London. I am keen on the ways in which we can get young people to become more self-confident about building businesses, whether in the creative sector or in other sectors. How do we, as a nation, raise people in areas of low self-confidence to consider themselves able to set up a business and take the necessary risk?

James talked about the exponential growth in the creative industries in Britain, and one of the areas of success has been the rise of our independent production sector. We have created a whole set of new technologies and media experiences that can offer self-production opportunities. In the case of EMI, that might be the uploading of musical content that could be downloaded elsewhere. Sometimes I feel that, in Britain, we put out massively mixed messages about new media. It is interesting that, on one hand we say: "Here is a minister who wants to encourage economic growth in the creative industries, using mobile technology, internet technology, games creativity and interactive PC entertainment." Yet, on the other hand, we demonise precisely those things, banning mobile phones from school environments. I would like to take some of those mixed messages out of our society. They can do inordinate harm.

Something Sue said touched on the whole question of social exclusion. I came from a relatively ordinary background in Scotland and I enjoyed access to higher education, funded by the state. I came from a single-parent family and my mother could never have afforded to put me through college and university. Nowadays, there is almost an oversupply of talented people who want to work in the creative industries, with great qualifications and fantastic CVs. However, particularly within television, the tendency is for companies to move in the direction of lower pay. For all sorts of reasons, some people are willing to work for a year with no pay in order to get a foot on the ladder in this industry. If you have just completed a period of higher education lasting three or four years, you are likely to be carrying a student-loan debt. If you are then expected to work for a year for no pay, or low pay, the obvious outcome is that the industry will not be as diverse and socially exciting as it could be.

Sue Mulvany On transferability of skills, "skills" is too confining a word. Creativity is about being as brave as you can be. The opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them is important if young people are to grow confident and achieve.

Wilf Stevenson I am conscious that we are doing exactly what we should not be, which is talking about the students who are with us today, and not hearing from them directly. We are coming to you soon, so perhaps you could get yourselves ready.

John Botham As a headteacher some time ago in the 1990s, I was asked by the then incoming government to join a group to help develop a strategy for English and mathematics that later became the literacy and numeracy strategy. Unfortunately, I look back on that time with some horror at its prescriptive development.

The danger is that the system will get hold of creativity and look at the assessment of it rather than what we are going to do with it. If we are not careful, we will finish up with "39 steps to make Apocalypse Now"; or "16 stages to make a Gorillaz album". That sort of approach does not sit well with me. We are in grave danger of quantifying every bit of creativity into a series of stages.

I was attending a CC Skills meeting recently and we were talking about the IT diploma. That meeting included several employers. We were trying to work out what business would need. As far as I could see (after my one year in business) it is about being able to communicate, being able to talk to people, to absorb information and package it in a different way so that it engages people. That is really what it is all about. We might use a bit of e-mail and the odd spreadsheet here and there but mostly it is about those sorts of things. If we start packaging creativity as another exam to pass and proscribe the 88 steps to get there, we are going to lose that very essence, which is the innovation and creativity.

Chris Yapp The trouble is that we have a deficit model of skills. We look at a particular group and identify what they cannot do rather than what they can contribute. A lot of young people using technology are incredibly creative outside school. The difficulty we have is that school is too conformist. One of the things Creative Partnerships can do is to blend these two aspects so that school is as enriching a part of life as some of the things that pupils do outside the school environment.

On the issue of diversity, look at Bangladeshi women. With their traditions in textiles and embroidery, they are brilliant web designers because they have a strong sense of colour, flair and design, even though they may not be able to speak English. Unfortunately, they are stigmatised and further excluded because they start off with that deficit.

Employers looking at the traditional creative industries have always used the model of one producer, one composer, one writer and one actor and expected the result to be a fortune. But many of these people are "resting", having to work for nothing to get a step on the ladder, or working outside the field of creativity they wish to be in. As we become more media intensive, that pattern has occurred elsewhere. Jamie Oliver's qualifications for being a chef are the same as many others in that field on paper but the others are earning £25,000. Jamie Oliver's creativity and his human characteristics have driven him to the top. The same applies to television gardeners and decorators. That pattern potentially means that we are going to see a much more divided society.

Vernon Ellis In relation to your question of what business needs, I have written down a few comments off the top of my head. One is imagination of what is possible, which is quite important in software design, problem solving, lateral thinking and conceptualisation of ideas. Closely linked with that is the communication of ideas, which requires more use of pictures and metaphors as different forms of communication. The last point on my list is creativity in enterprise - devising new business models, thereby finding new ways to make money. If I look at those characteristics and then think of English National Opera, where I am the acting chairman, the list is very similar. The question of how you become more creative in developing new business models has a strong link to the creative enterprises.

In relation to your question of whether the system is producing enough creative people, I do know that if you look at the psychological profile of the people who join us, they have many excellent attributes. But one's impression is that their experience is less rich than in the past. It is much more focused and narrow.

We can develop some of those skills later, through experience. We have a programme for people to go on volunteer assignments in the developing world and they have a rich life experience. I am sure that experience helps to develop some kind of creativity that relates exactly to those things.

Nicola Runcie The students are going to talk about specific projects they have been doing at school. We did work with Creative Partnerships and we do have a fabulous new Resource Centre but it is lime green and orange! However, that is what the students wanted and that is what they have. Lime green and orange is not quite as bad as it sounds.

Tony referred to creative learning and I have to agree with much of what he said. It is about effective learning. We have gone wholesale on that and our Year 7 curriculum in September is not going to have lessons. The curriculum will all be problem-based and skills-based. It has been a bit of a challenge but we are going for it. This has led us to the same situation Tony mentioned, that our school buildings are now not fit for purpose and we too do not get Building Schools for the Future money for three years.

I am going to hand over to the students now. I hope, you will be able to see the creativity that is there. New Heys is a business and enterprise specialist college, so many of our projects have a business and enterprise focus.

Janine Jennat We have set up five house businesses, which are Marriott, Jaguar, ScottishPower Learning, New Mersey, and Capital Bank. Each house business has a co-ordinator. Each has a different colour stripe in the school tie so that everyone knows which house they are in. The school magazine, New Heys New Horizons, contains a page of reports on the achievements of each house in relation to whatever projects they have taken part in. The merit system that operates in school works with a prize system.

Alex Cantrill Each house has done quite a few projects with the companies concerned, one of which is the Mini Master Chef. Selected students in Marriott House have training in how to be a chef. One focus for all house businesses is the young managers' project. The young managers course lasted five days. Selected pupils were able to work in and out of school with representatives from the house businesses. They try to develop a variety of skills. The course was split into five parts with one each day. The first day is the introduction, where you go through the aims of the course and have a look around the premises of where you are doing the course. You also find out what you will be doing for the rest of the course. The second day is about communication skills, how to communicate to other people and which are the best ways of communicating. The third day is about presentation and we work in teams to prepare presentations. The fourth day is about team building and helping people to understand the importance of team-building skills. The fifth day is putting all your skills to use with a variety of problems and activities to test what you have learnt.

Cavick Parry We have a student management board made up of about 20 members who bring up subjects, talk about them and put them into action sometimes. In Liverpool, there is a babies' hospice called Zoe's Place and one of our projects was to get sponsorship for activities that we were going to do for the hospice. The idea was that the five house business teams would get a group of 10 people from the year group who would take part in a sponsorship event, hauling an aeroplane a short distance at Liverpool [John Lennon] Airport. If you raised more than £10, your name was put into a hat and, if your name was picked out, you were one of those chosen to pull the plane. The event was a success and a lot of money was raised for the hospice.

Nicola Runcie They raised £2,000.

Elizabeth Mitchell At New Heys, pupils can choose to pick business studies as an option for Key Stages 4 and 5. The curriculum includes schemes for work and assignments in partnership with national and local businesses. In the first year, we study two businesses, Jaguar and Riverside Housing. Later on in the course, you get to visit the businesses and look around and find out more about that particular business. When we get back to school, we have a discussion on what knowledge we gained from visiting that business. That is what you do throughout the course. Then we have visiting speakers from those businesses telling us about their main functions to help us with our assignments. In the second year, you study the Marriott and you also do finance, which is a one-year unit and there is an exam on that as well. We go to visit the Marriott and they come in to talk to us so that we can find out more about the business. We do assignments on that, which get marked. We learn new skills in business studies, such as presentation skills, and we go on enterprise days throughout the year so we can learn different skills, including communication.

Wilf Stevenson There cannot be much wrong with a system that can produce presentations as good as those. Thank you very much. What do you think of what has been said so far? Does it make any sense at all?

Cavick Parry Too many big words.

Janine Jennat Assessment should not be based on one day. One day determines everything. What you are and what you do should be based on other qualities.

Wilf Stevenson You think you want a much broader assessment of what you are capable of rather than just the one mark. So a lot of what we have been saying fits in with what you would like to see happening?

Janine Jennat Yes.

Paul Collard At Creative Partnerships, we try to involve young people in all our meetings and discussions. One of the frequent comments young people make is that we use jargon in our discussions a great deal and it becomes a barrier to them engaging in those discussions when we do not need to make them that complicated. One of the reasons I was anxious to have people from New Heys attending this round table meeting was because it represents the point that Helen Storey made, which is that what private companies can do as a result of having long-term relationships with schools is to bring the "real" into schools. We put an artificial barrier around schools. On the other hand, the more porous schools are and the easier it is for pupils to move in and out of their spaces into the real world, the more motivated, interested and committed they become to their learning. The model of New Heys, with these five companies engaging on an almost permanent basis with the school, is a model that we should see applied in far more schools around the country.

Wilf Stevenson It is a form of corporate social responsibility.

Matthew Trimming I am with SAP, the world's largest business software company. One of the reasons we have been successful during the past 30 years, and the same will apply to Apple, Microsoft and many of the other businesses represented around this table, is that we have been agile in a Darwinian sense. In today's world, it is not the survival of the fittest but the survival of the most agile. Having just gone through a whole bunch of recruitment exercises myself for our sales force, absolutely the last thing I looked at was people's educational qualifications. What I wanted to create was a networked, multi-disciplinary team that could work co-operatively, partly because those are the characteristics that best help SAP address the challenge of co-innovating with other businesses. For example, SAP has recently co-developed a new product, together with Microsoft, called Duet. Because of the constant forming and reforming of what consumers want, you are forced to co-operate in a different way, which is why colleagues with strong networks who can contribute effectively within multi-disciplinary teams are critical to SAP's ability to innovate and grow.

This is relevant to education because the importance of networks between business and education for driving innovation is undervalued. It has been fantastic to hear about the school house system and the links with Jaguar and Marriott, but these are massive global brands which, while good at providing scale and replication of innovative ideas, are not tremendously innovative brands in themselves. They are mature brands that have a market to defend. Where real innovation comes from - and this is true for any of the businesses that I have ever worked for - is from small start-ups. Three or four years down the line, these start-ups get bought by a Marriott or a Jaguar to reinvigorate their own businesses.

My plea is for schools to look at the entrepreneurial side of businesses in their areas and get some of those in as well because those smaller firms, employing four or six people, contain people who have the guts to go out and do something different and to build something. That is where the really exciting innovation and creativity will come from.

Nicola Runcie We went to big companies because of where they are based. For September, we are starting an enterprise academy, which is all about students setting up their own businesses. So they will come to New Heys and do an NVQ in business start-up and they will develop their own businesses. We already have a group of boys in Liverpool coming to us from another school in September. They won an Enterprise Olympics competition based on the Capital of Culture, which will be Liverpool in 2008. So we do small as well as large.

Roy Jones With the Enterprise Olympics, the winners will be linked with some young, creative entrepreneurs from the city to give them mentoring and peer support. Our pupils will be able to look at those young entrepreneurs who have made a success of themselves in the city and say: "I can do that as well." That is the link they have with entrepreneurs.

Sheelagh Whittaker I have heard important terminology about a successful society, by which I mean one that encourages critical thinking, teaches people how to work in teams, challenges conventional wisdom, develops the ability to be flexible and takes risks. These are all vital components. What I found disappointing here was that we were focusing that terminology on underprivileged people at the margins or people with less opportunity and not focusing on the mainstream as well. Although the underprivileged and the marginalised are important, their bosses are going to come from the mainstream and their bosses will need to know how to value and exemplify these characteristics.

Right now, in the mainstream, the teaching system is traditional. I am suffering through the common entrance exam with my 13-year-old and I absolutely hate it. One of the reasons I hate it is that everything is done by rote. Most of it is memorising. What we need in business and society is the notion of education through life, having different careers, moving back and forth, wondering which is the best way to do things and not demonising television or the internet. I guess my pitch to Creative Partnerships and to the government is that we have to think about how to get creativity into the mainstream. It does not serve us well to think about creativity as arts or as marginal.

Amanda Jordan We have heard some excellent examples of how business is engaged and I was wondering what else Paul thinks business can do and what sort of attempts you have had to engage business? Has it just been at the local level or has it been a more strategic thing as well?

Paul Collard We have brought 3,500 creative practitioners into schools and into long-term, sustainable relationships. Most of those are small entrepreneurial companies. They are a different set of organisations from those that the Arts Council has traditionally worked with because they come with a private-sector ethos. They are working with us on contract, on commission, because it is interesting and they do not want to become what we call "regularly-funded organisations", to live on a subsidy in the long-term. They want to dip in and out.

However, we have reached a stage in our development where we now want to engage with business more strategically, which is why we want thinkers like the people here today to come together, for us to begin a dialogue so that we can come back to you and say, "We have heard that. We want to do more of this. Do you want to be involved and can you help?" and particularly broaden the reach of what we are doing.

James pointed out that the creative industries in Britain are a success story. Loads of people are coming out of education, going into them and doing well. I do not accept that there is a general crisis in education. Thousands of schools are providing a first-rate education to hundreds of thousands of young people. But what I can see is that a whole section of our community does not have the skills of their young people developed in the same way and, unless we do it for them, they will inevitably be marginalised as adults. I have four children, all of whom display the characteristics that Sheelagh describes. They are critical, they challenge conventional wisdom, they are risk takers and they have the confidence and social skills to pull it off. But when I visit the schools we work with, I see young people with none of those skills and no chance of getting them unless we intervene.

Dee Mair We have been working with Creative Partnerships. A lot of talented people want to be journalists but it is on the arts side that we need to attract and train new talent. We need designers who can put magazines together, make pictures and words stand out on the page. We started working with some schools in Southwark, putting together a ten-week design programme. A great deal of learning was done on both sides. We learnt from getting our art directors to work with the teachers, to pull together a programme, and with the pupils, who then came to do work experience. We have completed one full programme and are about to start another. The challenge now is to get the elements of the programme embedded in the curriculum. One school is keen to map elements of the programme onto four areas of the curriculum: art, English, design technology and IT. We enjoy running these programmes and we are sure that the pupils get great enjoyment out of them but the question is: how can we get long-term benefit from them?

Also, from an employment perspective, we would like to bring on the talent we identify, but how do we do that? We are working with 14-, 15- and16-year-olds and we would like to find a way to follow through with the ones who show particular interest and aptitude until they are ready to join creative businesses like ours.

James Purnell I would like to go back to the three questions we started with. Our first question concerned exploring the private-sector expectations of young people's creative skills. What the conversation confirms is that those expectations are wider than numeracy, literacy and the fairly traditional fact-based skills that people may have seen as the only purpose of education in the 20th century. It is quite clear that the kind of skills employers require now include disciplines and skills that are much wider, that you could broadly describe under the headline of "creativity".

The way that Vernon and Sheelagh talked about it, it could be described broadly as team working, being able to challenge ideas, to think laterally, to have critical understandings; those are very much the skills that people were talking about Creative Partnerships having developed at the beginning.

Two caveats came out of that. The first was about not trying to overprescribe. If you try to teach creativity uncreatively, if you try to have it down by rote, you will, by definition, have failed. That is something we need to talk about. It is a challenge for government because, if creativity is something we want to encourage, then we need to think about how we can do it and we need to be careful in not doing it in a way that undermines the very goals we are after. We must not throw out the baby with the bath water.

Creativity is an important part of the skills that people want. It is also clear that businesses want people who can add up, spell, turn up on time and be disciplined. So often the debate will get reduced to: "You can either have people who are creative or people who can spell", but this is a false choice and businesses want both. We have to work out how we do that.

The second question was the role that the private sector can play in assisting education. Clearly, many interesting partnerships here go beyond what I sometimes see, which is a token partnership where a business says: "We will give you money". The schools are grateful, the business feels it has ticked off its corporate social responsibility, the school has a bit more money and they get together again for the prize giving. There are, obviously, many more detailed, committed, permanent, and mutually fruitful partnerships here that are encouraging. It shows what business can do.

Helen talked about bringing reality into education but also that business can bring innovation into education. The challenge of Creative Partnerships allows people to rethink the way education is being delivered, right down to getting rid of lessons, which is a pretty radical change. An important part of what the government is trying to do with education reform is to have that diversity as a way of allowing schools to change as quickly as the world is changing, so there is not going to be one single model that is right for every type of community and skills.

There will be all sorts of different models, and we need to create the system to allow that to happen. It is an important role that Creative Partnerships has played.

The final question is the extent to which Creative Partnerships is perceived to be delivering a valuable service in educative creativity. The answer to that is "very much so". We can take two clear features out of that. The first is that Creative Partnerships has helped to take barriers down and allow people from the creative and business sides to have those discussions and to look at the fundamental issues of why we are here, what we are doing and whether are we doing it in the right way.

Second, it is helping to clarify the thinking that there are two different things here: creativity in industries and the creative industries. Obviously, creativity is vital to the creative industries but it is just as vital to physics, software or to any of the work that people in this room do. We want to take both of those fundamentals forward. Creativity in general is slightly above my pay grade, but in terms of the creative industries we want to feed these ideas into the work that we bring forward in the autumn.

An important part of what came out of the discussion today is the hypothesis that, as the creative industries become more formalised and a more recognised part of British industry, they might become more ossified as well and that the routes into them might become too traditional. No doubt plenty of Oxbridge graduates will go into the creative industries, but if the only people we have in the creative industries are Oxbridge graduates then the creative industries will be much the poorer for it. What we can do about that is the important issue.

Wilf Stevenson A criticism I often hear about government is that it rarely comes out of Whitehall and it never listens to real people. We have given the lie to that today, particularly because of the important contribution made by the young people here. We have learnt a lot from what you said. Thank you all for your contributions.

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