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Leadership webinar: leading creative schools (video and webchat)

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by AndrewFIS, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How can school leaders enable their schools to be creative?

    As part of the TES Leadership webinar series, I’ll be putting your questions to Mike Buchanan, head of Ashford School and chair of HMC.

    We will examine the ways in which schools can encourage a creative mindset into their school.

    Post your questions below now - and, if you can, join in our live webchat on November 16 at 4.30pm.

    Before that, you can watch a video we’ve made in which Mike and I discuss the issues, with key advice for school leaders.


    To access all the videos in the TES Leadership series, plus an exclusive database of grants available to schools, become a TES Leadership subscriber.
  2. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member


    Don't forget to submit your questions below ahead of tomorrow's webchat.

    Thank you.
  3. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    The webinar video will be available for seven days in this thread. If you wish to view the webinar after 22nd November or to access all the videos in the TES Leadership series, plus an exclusive database of grants available to schools, become a TES Leadership subscriber. You can find out more information here.
  4. missjkd

    missjkd New commenter

    I've found that students tend to be quite creative naturally, but teachers are so wary of change. What strategies would you suggest that a school should employ to encourage teachers to be creative with pedagogy?
  5. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Good afternoon and welcome to today’s webchat.

    The TES Leadership webchats give you the opportunity to put your questions to industry experts about key school management and operational issues.

    In a few moments I will hand you over to Andrew, who is editor of FIS, who will be hosting this week's hour-long webchat.

    Andrew and this week's guest, leadership expert panel member Mike Buchanan, head of Ashford School and chair of HMC, who will be available for the next hour to answer your questions.

    If you have any questions please submit them below. Don't worry if we run out of time, any unanswered questions will be responded to and posted on this thread later this week.

    I'll now hand you over to Andrew.

    The content of, and information provided in, the TES Leadership webchats and their associated materials (including information posted in these forums in connection with the webchats) (the “Content”) is provided for general information purposes only. Any use you make of, or reliance you place on, the Content is entirely at your own risk. Professional or specialist advice, tailored to your specific circumstances, should always be obtained before taking (or refraining from) any action on the basis of the Content.

    Whilst TES Global and the panel of leadership experts make every effort to ensure the high quality and accuracy of the Content, TES Global and each leadership expert makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) concerning the Content. Neither TES Global nor any leadership expert will be responsible for any damage or loss related to any use of the Content.

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  6. Mike_Buchanan

    Mike_Buchanan New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    I agree that pupils are naturally creative when given the opp. The main barriers are fear of teachers and Heads.
    A strategy I have found to work is to model for my colleagues risk taking and be really explicit about why you are doing it. e.g. learning alongside pupils to play an instrument or learn a new skill; asking questions you genuinely don't know the answer to. It's a combination of a risk taking culture and a no blames culture.
  7. missjkd

    missjkd New commenter

    thanks, I really liked the idea of learning an instrument presented in your video and thought it might even be extended to academic subjects like learning a language or mathematics. I can see how that would have a positive impact, but how do you get staff to opt in to schemes like that?
  8. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Hello and welcome to this webchat on the head as CEO. Joining me is Mike Buchanan, who is head of Ashford School and chair of HMC. For those of you following this thread, please feel free to post your query. Remember to refresh your page to see the updates as they appear.

    Apologies for the delay in starting this webchat -- tech difficullties!

    Thanks for joining us, Mike.

    What should a creative school look like?
  9. Mike_Buchanan

    Mike_Buchanan New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    So, I offer to pay the cost of tuition for learning an instrutment. You can start at any level. I started with £3,000 and now spend £7,000 each year. The payback in terms of staff engagement is well worth it and much more that many courses that people go on. Start small and build up. Start with your enthusiasts and use them to spread the word.
  10. Mike_Buchanan

    Mike_Buchanan New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    I guess our typical picture of a creative environment is somewhere between the pristine, playful offices of Google to the mess that is most artists’ studios. Actually, I think a creative school is seen not in the physical environment but rather in the behaviour and attitudes of the people; adults and staff. I see people at the most creative when there is a sense of joy in the air. I think joy and exploration go together. By joy I don’t necessarily mean fun. Learning needs to challenge rather than entertain. So creativity shows itself in the display of artwork around the school, the eagerness with which pupils seek answers to “big” questions, the openness and breadth of discussions, the willingness staff to explore without knowing the outcome, the ability and opportunity of the pupils to do the same. If you’d like to learn more I can recommend Will Gompertz’s book “Think Like an Artist and Lead a More Creative, Productive Life” – some really simple illustrations and ideas and a great philosophy. All schools should be art schools!
  11. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How can a school leader transform their school to be like this?
  12. Mike_Buchanan

    Mike_Buchanan New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    There are some simple quick wins such as making sure creative endeavour is up front and obvious in all areas of the school. So artwork is an easy win because it’s readily available. So to, film. I encourage colleagues and pupils to take short (max 3min) films that we can post online of what they are doing; exploring tricky maths problems, dissecting a heart, rapping in German, producing dramatic dialogue in drama, sport practices, ensemble rehearsals etc. Anything that elevates creative endeavour to a high value activity in school. It’s better if these short clips are rough and ready as that further illustrates and models the point that creativity is a messy business. Doing these simple things creates a culture ie exploring ideas and ways of working is natural, you will not get blamed if it does not work, ambiguity and uncertainty are part of life.

    My mantra is that unless you have failed you probably have not challenged yourself.
  13. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Is the rigidity of following a national curriculum a barrier to being creative?
  14. debbiehicks5

    debbiehicks5 New commenter

    Not sure that filming a heart dissection shows creativity? Maybe filming the cardiac cycle using a plasticine 3D model of the heart made by pupils?
  15. Mike_Buchanan

    Mike_Buchanan New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    What is a barrier is that belief that you cannot control your own world because of external accountability measures of requirements. Creative thinking means finding ways of doing what’s right rather than simply what’s expected. The NC is a framework, a core entitlement. How you bring it to life is up to you and your imagination.

    Lots of Head Teachers do what is best for their pupils and this includes supporting the “creative subjects” to keep them at the centre of pupils’ experiences. Is it easy when there are diminishing resources? No, of course not! That’s why we have to be creative in finding solutions from partnership working with other schools or organisations to seeking funds beyond those supplied by government.

    The alternative is that barren landscape that is emerging in some schools where Art, DT, Music & Drama have disappeared from the curriculum. This is not a risk; it is a current reality.

    The liberal arts are under attack and their survival relies on us being creative thinkers.
    debbiehicks5 likes this.
  16. Mike_Buchanan

    Mike_Buchanan New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Agree. Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes so I wouldn't be limited by the examples here. Whatever works for you!
    debbiehicks5 likes this.
  17. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Should schools set up their own curricula to match the needs of their pupils (assuming they don't think that this is offered via GCSE/A-levels)?
  18. debbiehicks5

    debbiehicks5 New commenter

    Very refreshing to read the first paragraph regarding the ability/ responsibility to bring the NC to life. This is so true and is not limited to traditional creative subjects nor does it necessarily require extensive funds. Also agree with the value (and expediency) of collaboration with others.
  19. Mike_Buchanan

    Mike_Buchanan New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Why wouldn’t you, assuming you have the resources and can do it well? My youngest daughter studied WW2 in history from aged 14-18 because that’s what was required. Her history teacher is a world expert in medieval economics. How much more interesting might have her experience of history been if we had freed her teacher to range widely across periods and themes?

    It's equally relevant for children of all abilities, I my view.

    Academies have the freedom to innovate in terms of their curriculum. How many do so? Do you know of any good examples?
  20. missjkd

    missjkd New commenter

    I think learning walks can be excellent way for a leader to get a sense of what is happening in their department or school, but if perceived as an evaluative exercise, they can create a fear of failure and stifle creativity. Are there ways to mitigate this?

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