Schools creativity push welcomed

Chief recruiters in the design industry welcome the Government’s latest drive to promote creativity and nurture innovation in schools.

There has been a decline in creativity in new entrants to the sector in the decade since the introduction of the National Curriculum, which sets out exactly what children should be taught, say designers.

“In the last few years it has become almost impossible to get creative people. They have Mac skills, but they just can’t think,” says Graven Images co-founder Janice Kirkpatrick.

“I get the impression that the education system stifles a lot of creativity out of [pupils] who feel they have to stick closely to the brief,” says Design Bridge group creative director Rod Petrie.

Jones Knowles Ritchie managing director Nir Wegrzyn backs this up. He joined the design industry three years ago from advertising agency SP Lintas. He laments the lack of good, young talent and says it is a common gripe among design sector heads and the advertising industry.

Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett has put together a 16-strong committee to look at ways of enhancing the development of young people’s creativity. The committee, which includes a fashion designer but no graphic, interior or product designers, will initially address the primary sector and will go on to include higher and further education sectors.

Next week the committee will present outline proposals on how to encourage innovation in schools to Culture Secretary Chris Smith.

“Our aim is twofold: to increase creativity in general, since that makes people better equipped in all walks of life, and to prepare people for the creative industries, which includes design,” says committee chairman Professor Ken Robinson of Warwick University.

Kirkpatrick argues the two are linked and welcomes the move. “This is a good idea without a shadow of a doubt,” she says.

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