Creativity in primary schools: an analysis of a teacher's attempt to foster childhood creativity within the context of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence

Krystallia Kyritsi, John M. Davis

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The importance of creativity in education has been increasingly recognised by policy-makers and, as contemporary research argues, the way curricula are organised and implemented impact on children’s creativity. Scotland has recently introduced a new curriculum, the ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ (CfE), but there has yet been no research on how the implementation of the CfE has impacted on childhood creativity. This paper uses qualitative data (field-notes and interview transcripts) – from a case study conducted in one Scottish primary school classroom with 1 teacher and 25 children aged 11–12 – to explore what cultural and structural issues influence childhood creativity. This paper is primarily based on teacher’s data and also includes data from seven children. The study found that the CfE can be implemented in both rigid and flexible ways and that structural barriers to creativity emerge when, amongst other causes, cultivation of skills within a tick-box system is perceived as more important than exploration and risk-taking, and when teachers are pressured to evidence the outcomes of their work. This paper concludes that the cultivation of creativity requires schools to build participatory frameworks which leave space for reflection and co-construction and which value diversity, equity and collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-61
Number of pages15
JournalImproving Schools
Issue number1
Early online date2 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • curriculum for excellence
  • childhood creativity
  • primary school curriculum
  • primary education

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