Wales is two years into an ambitious national initiative to improve education outcomes by embedding creative approaches to learning in schools. Nick Capaldi reports on progress so far.
“Aneurin Bevan, that most quotable of Welsh politicians, could usually be relied upon to force our gaze above the humdrum and the predictable. So when he said in conversation that “any fool can see that two and two make four, but it takes a real capacity to stretch it to five, or better still, six or seven,” he was merely acknowledging the importance of imagination and creativity in helping us to see beyond the obvious.
This spirit of ambition was much needed five years ago as Wales digested the disappointing results of its schools’ performance in the international PISA league tables. New thinking was needed and, as part of a series of initiatives, an independent report was published in September 2013 as the culmination of a year-long review of arts and education in the schools of Wales.
Creative learning plan
Commissioned by the Welsh Government, the report was written by Professor Dai Smith, former chair of Arts Council of Wales (ACW). The Welsh Government accepted all of the report’s recommendations and Creative learning through the arts – an action plan for Wales was published in March 2015. The plan set out an extensive programme of activity, to be jointly funded by ACW and the Welsh Government to the tune of £20m over five years.”