Creative Learning and Ethical Curriculum Award: Building better futures

Updated: Nov 1

Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do:

Lisa: I’m passionate about the creative arts as a way of connecting and empowering diverse communities of learners! I’m a researcher and lecturer in Initial Teacher Education and Creative Learning at Leeds Beckett University. My practice based research focuses on story making with children to create culturally relevant curriculum opportunities. This centres on active participation, compassion, critical thinking and wellbeing which is the foundation for an Ethical Curriculum- both locally and globally.

I have worked in education for 25 years, as a teacher and senior leader in Primary Schools in Bradford. I am also an experienced drama practitioner working in community arts. I am Director and founder of Story Makers Company, a practice based research collaborative. Our research and practice develops creative learning opportunities with schools and cultural organisations both nationally and internationally.

Kate: I’m a freelance coach and compassionate leader who is dedicated to the development of an Ethical Curriculum: a curriculum that interweaves relevant moral and social themes such as equity & diversity, global citizenship and sustainable living into the education system. This, and supporting others to be the best they can be through coaching and sustainable support, is my soul mission!

I have worked in education for 15 years, most recently as the Co- Headteacher of a Primary School in Oxfordshire. I am also the Network Project Leader for an incredible National Headteachers Network called HeadsUp4HTs which champions the role of headship and provides sustainable emotional support to Headteachers and school leaders across the UK.

What was it that initiated the creation of the Creative Learning & Ethical Citizenship Award?

Kate: As a school leader, I was always driven to design a more relevant, purposeful and ethical curriculum than the one the National Curriculum prescribed. A curriculum that ensured all pupils developed holistically; allowing them to deeply understand, celebrate and empathise with others, empowering them to become global citizens, changing their attitudes and actions to make the world a kinder, more sustainable place to live.

There’s a demand for a curriculum that focuses on learning and enjoyment beyond exams, one that’s ethically informed and develops the skills that students themselves need to thrive in the future.

Lisa: I share Kate’s vision for creating the award. My rationale for creating this award is also driven by the communities of educators and children with whom I work as well as my own practice. As a practitioner researcher, I have been involved in researching with and alongside children, teachers and artists through many projects. This always includes multiple perspectives and ways of knowing. A pattern emerges through these experiences when children often critically reflect on their own perceptions of learning. This includes a greater sense of participation, belonging, emotional literacy and agency.

Within most creative learning contexts, children need to find solutions which are not in textbooks. They need to work as a diverse community of thinkers. This involves taking risks and embracing uncertainty. This type of generative thinking is critical in facing future learning needs as we strive to create a more sustainable world. The award is designed to facilitate a community of practice amongst educators in developing and sharing an ethical curriculum driven by creative learning.

Why is it needed now?