The following article comes from Headteacher Sue Hannam, who shares how schools can adopt a creative and innovative curriculum.

Previously, I addressed the prescient nature of the January 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF) report on ‘Future Education’ with regard to its emphasis on global citizenship as an integral part of any plan for future education.  The second strand of their future curriculum focuses on the invaluable nature of creativity and innovation as core skills for current pupils to carry into the future workforce and this is where I now direct my attention.  So here in our school what might this look like?

Well first of all I feel I should declare an interest – sitting here in Staffordshire, known as the ‘creativity county’ we pride ourselves on a rich heritage of creativity and innovation from the numerous potteries, to the design of the Spitfire aircraft.  But in truth, creativity and innovation sit at the fingertips of every schoolchild in every classroom and it is our job in school to enable such skills to blossom.

If we consider the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is exactly these skills of innovation, flexibility and adaptation that have become key drivers of growth.  We therefore must design and deliver a curriculum in school that enables our pupils to be curious, creative, critical in their thinking, analytical in problem-solving and active in their learning. Put simply, passivity and fine words alone ‘butter no parsnips!’ Pupils must be up and doing.

So for our youngest children, playful learning and the freedom to explore, do and learn encourage natural curiosity.  We see this by the bucket load in the EYFS setting where the combination of structures and unstructured play allows learning by trial and error and experience.

In addition, activities across year groups and subjects which enable trial and error and self-guided solutions, all enable and encourage creative and innovative thought.  Thus, it is not so much the nature of the subject that leads to these skills but the manner in which teaching and problem solving around them is addressed.

Similarly, collaboration with people of a diverse background can really help foster innovation and this is where outreach and links with school from other cultural backgrounds really comes into its own.

Clearly, creativity and IT clearly sit together in the future workplace and as such teaching our youngsters about coding through more interactive and playful activities really enhances problem solving skills in this area. We are committed here in school to enabling future innovators, creatives and inventors.  We are mindful of teaching in a coaching model, and building resilient learners with problem solving abilities.

To this end, I would encourage you to look at the work of The Real Play Coalition – a partnership between the LEGO foundation, National Geographic, Unilever, the Ingka Group and UNICEF.  They have produced some splendid, fun resources for playful activities that can be undertaken at home as well as in school.  Activities our young future innovators will love!



Sue graduated from Birmingham University with a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature, which included a one year Erasmus exchange to Austria. After a brief but successful career as a solicitor, Sue’s passion for English and Drama led her to retrain as a teacher, gaining a PGCE from Birmingham University.

Sue first worked in Cirencester, then moved to a school in Warwickshire, progressing to Assistant Head with responsibility for Post-16 education.  Recruited in 2009 to establish a new Sixth Form at Lichfield Cathedral School, Susan was Deputy Head for 6 years before becoming the Cathedral School’s first Headmistress in 2015.

She regularly appears on television and radio (BBC, ITV and Sky and Channel 5) as an expert commentator for education issues and was the Headmistress in the BBC2 documentary series Back in Time for School which examined the way education has changed and evolved during the last 100 years.

Follow Sue on Twitter – @HannamSE.

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