The Evidence of Impact of Creative Schools on Learning

October 7, 2020
Lamis Sabra

The Art of Learning: What is Creative Schools?

Creative Schools is up and running in classrooms across Western Australia for our third year.

For those new to the concept of Creative Schools, it’s a FORM dreamt and designed program built on the powerful idea that incorporating creative learning practices into education unlocks the true potential of students and contributes to their academic, social and emotional wellbeing.

The initiative partners teachers with creative practitioners from a diverse range of artistic disciplines to deliver the Western Australian curriculum of selected subjects in highly engaging and imaginative ways.

Each year demand for the program grows, with 17 creative practitioners paired with 31 teachers from 16 metropolitan and regional schools to fulfil projects that will engage nearly 1,000 students in Creative Schools 2020.  

This year Creative Schools is cultivating curious classrooms at Bob Hawke College, Boyare Primary School, Brookman Primary School, Donnybrook District High School, Ellenbrook Christian College, Glencoe Primary School, Glendale Primary School, Governor Stirling Senior High School, Melville Primary School, Merriwa Primary School, Mosman Park Primary School, North Fremantle Primary School, Spearwood Alternative School, Scotch College, St Mary’s Anglican Girls’School and Wembley Primary School.

Creating Change in School Communities

A huge congratulations to Elizabeth Phillips on a well-deserved inclusion in The Educator's annual Hot List, which recognises those who represent the cutting edge of educational excellence in Australia! Lizzi leads an inspiring arts program and coordinates Creative Schools across Governor Stirling Senior High School. We’re so privileged to be able to work with education leaders like Lizzi - she is truly a phenomenal ambassador for creative learning in Western Australia.

Elizabeth Phillips at a Creative Schools PD day

Last year, the Creative Schools program was evaluated by independent researcher Mathilda Joubert, Director of Excellence & Innovation at Sheridan College.

Evidence of a direct impact on learning was observed throughout school communities, with Governor Stirling Senior High School (SHS) embracing Creative Schools as a vehicle for driving a school-wide shift in pedagogy.

“Creative Schools is offering our school an opportunity to effect change in a meaningful, real and actionable way. Using creativity at the centre of teaching and learning practices as a whole school focus is a fundamental shift for our school. - Elizabeth Phillips, Program Coordinator, Governor Stirling SHS

The school actively created opportunities to augment the work that was taking place in two project classrooms. FORM was invited to present a whole school Professional Learning session on Creative Learning and the program was promoted through the school newsletter.

Creative Schools Coordinator Elizabeth Philips also initiated a Creative Learning Professional Learning Community(PLC). Up to 40 teachers participated regularly in voluntary weekly meetings that focused on integrating creative practices across the curriculum. Two project teachers and the creative practitioners they had been partnered with for Creative Schools, conducted 20-minute creative learning activities in the PLC meetings. Teachers were also provided with a suite of warm-up activities, and creative learning strategies to test out in their classrooms. The format of staff meetings at Governor Stirling SHS also changed, instead using the structure of a Creative Schools lesson with a 5-minute warm up activity at the start and a reflection at the end.

Many teachers are inherently creative, sometimes they just need reminding. At Governor Stirling SHS, Creative Schools became the catalyst for developing a whole school culture of creative learning due to the passion and dedicated efforts of inspiring leaders like Elizabeth Phillips.

Creative Schools at Governor Stirling SHS
“We want to empower teachers to remember they are creative at the core; then give them strategies and a toolkit. These whole school approaches are ensuring creativity becomes part of everybody’s practice, making sure it becomes part of the school’s culture and language.” - Elizabeth Phillips, Program Coordinator, Governor Stirling SHS