- Almost a quarter (24%) of students’ enjoyment of secondary school is being negatively affected as they are unable to develop their creative skills.
- 18% believe this is also impacting students’ mental health.
- More than 1 in 10 think it is damaging the culture within schools.
Around half of secondary school teachers in England have warned that students’ morale and wellbeing will suffer if they don’t have opportunities to learn creative skills as part of their education.
This is just one finding from a survey of 4,000 secondary school teachers that has been published in a new report, Democratising Design: How To Deliver A Creative Education When Budgets Are Tight from Serif, whose Affinity creative software is used in education and workplaces.
Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of teachers believe students’ enjoyment of secondary school is being negatively affected as they are unable to develop their creative skills, while 18 per cent say this is also impacting students’ mental health and 14 per cent believe it’s damaging the culture within schools.
It comes after pressures on creative subjects have been mounting in recent years due to a combination of tighter budgets and a greater focus on STEM subjects.
Ofqual data reveals the number of students taking arts subjects at GCSE dropped between 2021 and 2022 – with entries for Design & Technology down by 5 per cent and Arts & Design falling by 1.8 per cent.
Paul Carney, an art consultant for schools and a contributor to the report, believes the loss of creative skills in schools could have wider implications. He said:
“Recent education policies have prioritised building knowledge to the detriment of teaching creativity – but we need to learn creative processes too.
“Creativity encompasses many things – it is about knowledge, but it’s also about invention and imagination; play and experimentation; problem solving and the freedom to be spontaneous. When it’s neglected in schools, there are repercussions not just for individuals but for society as a whole.”
Almost 1 in 10 secondary teachers surveyed by Serif said a lack of creative skills for students will have negative effects on the diversity and success of creative industries.
Si Beales, who set up Future Skills Club (FSC), which aims to build vital life skills like creativity and collaboration for young people – believes that creativity needs to be encouraged both inside and outside the classroom.
He said: “Creativity is about being curious, challenging, and disruptive. It’s impossible to teach when it’s regulated, conformist and uniform. It should be about questioning stuff, believing that everything can be improved and actively seeking out and solving problems – students need to have the freedom to think creatively in this way both inside and outside the classroom.”
Commenting on the survey findings, Ashley Hewson, CEO at Serif, said:
“When creative subjects are eroded from the timetable or scrapped completely at GCSE, the impact is felt by all students. This was clear from our survey of 4,000 secondary school teachers who raise concerns about students’ enjoyment of school and mental health. But there are reasons to be optimistic.
“Through our software and support for creative initiatives around the country , we have seen first-hand the exceptional standard of work students can produce when they are given the freedom and support to explore their creativity. Through collaboration and with the right partnerships and access to affordable resources, teachers can empower students to develop their creative skills.”
Download your free copy of Democratising Design: How To Deliver A Creative Education When Budgets Are Tight here; https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/education/democratising-design/