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Enhancing creative education

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Creative education, which covers a wide array of subjects, from art and design, to media, dance and music, plays a crucial role in preparing the next generation of innovative workers.

This report published by the PEC with researchers from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), together with Arts Council England illustrates the value of a creative education for all children. The report is based on a new survey of over 7,000 secondary school teachers which found that creative subject teachers (for example art, design and technology) are the most likely to provide ‘live’ industry experience for their pupils. 

On top of this, creative subject teachers were found to be more likely than other teachers to support industry awareness across all eight measures including; ‘providing employer encounters and inspiration schemes’, ‘industry focused projects, competitions and prizes’ and ‘industry career talks in schools’.  

Despite the challenges faced during the pandemic, there has been ongoing innovation in creative education, with teachers demonstrating resilience and creativity in redeploying resources and adopting digital technologies to support learning in schools.

The promotion of creativity in educational settings can help young people build entrepreneurial skills and improve their future employability, both within and beyond the cultural sector. This report shows the overarching benefits of enhancing the value of creative education in secondary schools, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic which had a significant negative impact on both teachers and students. 

The creative education sector faces important challenges which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including unequal funding and persistent inequalities disproportionately affecting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Effective strategies focusing on providing students with ‘live’ industry experience, local collaboration, and leadership have the potential to resolve lingering issues and improve the quality of today’s creative education. 

The report calls for consistent investment and resources to better support the universal delivery of creative education in schools across the UK. 

The research has found that:

  • 99% of creative subject teachers in UK secondary schools felt that teaching was disrupted during the pandemic, 4% higher than other teachers from varying disciplines. 
  • 88% of young people aged 11+ report considering a creative career, or the possibility of exploring one more, after direct engagement where they were given the opportunity to learn about the panoply of jobs existing within the UK’s creative industries.
  • 93% of 16-18 year olds report that creative education fostering self-expression, teamwork and empathy, positively impacts on their mental health and wellbeing. 

The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. 

Please reference this paper as:

Williams, J., Pollard, E., Cook, J., Byford, M. (2022) Enhancing Creative Education. Multiple: Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre and the Institute for Employment Studies. Available from:

This research report is published by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC). All PEC research reports have been peer reviewed prior to publication. In keeping with normal academic practice, responsibility for the views expressed in this research, and the interpretation of any evidence presented, lies with the authors. These views and interpretations do not necessarily represent those of the PEC or its partner organisations.

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