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Durham University

Durham Commission on Creativity in Education

Second Report

Since the publication of the Commission’s main report in October 2019, the educational landscape has changed significantly as a result of Covid-19. As a result, the Commission recognised the importance of understanding the impact of the pandemic on children and young people, and to learn how this would affect teaching for creativity.

The Commission and its Advisory Board have been working on making progress with the recommendations of the main report, all of which are still seen as vital. However, the Commission recognised that some of these would need to be refocused in light of the pandemic.

As such, the Commission has sought to identify priority areas of focus in light of the current climate. It has determined its next steps by undertaking further research to understand the impact of Covid-19 on education, including:
• a literature review by researchers at Durham University that focused on the impact of the first lockdown on the education of young people;
• national and international reports on the economic consequences of Covid-19;
• one-to-one and group interviews with senior education staff, young people and policy shapers.


Analysis of this research revealed that:

  1. Covid-19 has shown that creativity and cultural experiences are fundamental to the lives of young people and school culture and should be an essential part of the return to in-school education.
  2. The rapid adoption of digital platforms by schools is an opportunity to increase the understanding and practice of teaching for creativity in schools. The shift to remote working and digital tools has reshaped society and the economy; as such, digital literacy and the creative use of technology are essential skills for young people.
  3. Universal access to teaching for creativity is not possible without addressing the current inequity in digital access which currently only reinforces existing inequalities. Digital skills and access to quality digital devices confer considerable advantage.

The Commission and its Advisory Board have therefore decided to focus in the immediate future on six of its initial 10 recommendations that target: system leadership and collaboration; digital technologies, creativity and education; creativity and the arts in schools; pre-school and the early years curriculum; creative opportunities out of school; and creative opportunities in the world of work.

The full findings from this latest piece of research and details of the recommendations going forwards have been captured in the Commission’s second report.

Read the report in full here.