Welcome to the Expansive Education Network 



The Expansive Education Network

is a professional learning network for teachers - an approach to teaching

that focuses on developing dispositions that help young people to be fulfilled and successful in their lives


Putting creativity at the heart of schools

Last month Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), launched the latest publication by Prof Bill Lucas, Creative thinking in schools across the world: a snapshot of progress across the world, at the OECD in Paris. The event was the first World Creativity in Education Summit and was coordinated by the Global Institute of Creative Thinking (GLoCT).

Writing in the Foreword Andreas says:

Creative thinking is not a magic power, though, it can be learned and it can be taught. Every individual, to a greater or smaller degree, has the potential to think creatively. It is therefore unsurprising that school curricula around the world seek to give creativity greater emphasis, both within and across subject disciplines.

Over the last decade there have also been encouraging attempts to assess creativity in schools, looking to evidence progress in the development of creative skills.

Key messages for teachers when designing curriculum

Increasingly the teaching profession is realising that creativity can be learned and can be taught. But it is not a subject in the way that, say science or history are. It needs to be intentionally embedded in every aspect of the curriculum and calls for a different approach to curriculum design. Four key messages are emerging from schools across the world in this area.

1. Creative thinking starts from real problems and inevitably takes time

There is growing evidence that the fundamental curriculum model for effective teaching of creative thinking is problem not subject-based, enabling the development of divergent thinking across subject disciplines. One strategy used by some secondary schools is block scheduling with fewer, longer lessons during any week. The report notes that problem-based learning needs especially careful planning with time given to teachers to plan together.

2. Creativity is largely social

While it is possible for individuals to exercise their creative thinking alone, it is much more common that the creative act is a collaborative or group endeavour. It has been argued that, even, when we are alone, and especially in a world of the Internet, we are really exercising creative collaboration. In schools valuing collective acts by students has always been a challenge, except, perhaps, on the sports field or in artistic performances. For seen through the lens of public examinations which are based on individual performance, some will see only a thin line separating collaboration, sharing and cheating.

Read more....

Creative leadership to develop creativity and creative thinking in English schools - part of a larger project on developing leadership in secondary schools

This review forms the initial foundation for a piece of work commissioned by  the Mercers’ Company designed to help school leaders in secondary schools in England make creativity central to their students’ lives. Across the world the importance of creativity is increasingly acknowledged in education systems. But though leadership in schools is well-researched in general terms, leadership for creativity is not. In this review, we chart the establishment of a robust definition of creative leadership in schools, summarise the case for its importance today, and illustrate what it looks like in secondary schools. The review builds on the first report of the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education in 2019 and research by the OECD published in the same year by analysing the opportunities and challenges that secondary school leaders face if they truly wish to focus on developing the creativity of their students. From our reading of the literature, both scholarly and ‘grey’ sources, ‘creative leadership’ is the term we believe best encapsulates a kind of school leadership that explicitly develops the creativity of all of its members, staff and students alike. The concept of creative leadership and research relating to it is underdeveloped in education, while in other fields there is more consensus. Our understanding of ‘creative leadership’ in its broadest sense suggests that it is a helpful way of capturing the essence of school leaders’ role, and a starting point for considering how the sorts of challenges identified by the Durham Commission might best be met. Our review of the literature suggests that we need to reimagine the kind of leadership that will develop creative students (and creative staff) at a theoretical level, as well as clarifying the practical implications for leaders’ practices. Creative leadership will explicitly seek to cultivate creative habits in teaching staff who can, in turn, model these with their students. Creative leaders ensure that there are multiple opportunities for developing the creativity of all young people while at the same time recognising that for a school truly to be a creative organisation then developing the creativity of its leaders and staff is important both as a means to an end and as an end in itself. Leading for creativity is likely to mean setting an agenda for change that involves prioritising practices that develop creative leaders through collaboration within and across professional communities, that promote the development of creative cultures and structures and that utilise creative pedagogies....... 

S1E4: Rethinking Assessment

Edge Foundation is proudly supporting the Rethinking Assessment movement which brings together a wide coalition of state and independent schools, Multi-Academy Trusts, FE Colleges, academics and employers to push for change to our old-fashioned exam system. In this episode you will hear from:

  • Rachel Macfarlane, Director of Education Services at Herts for Learning, sharing her perspective on why the current system of high stakes written exams isn’t working for students, teachers or employers.
  • Professor Bill Lucas, Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at Winchester University, sharing international examples and models of how assessment can be done differently.

Welcome to The Creativity Exchange | ACE

Curated by Bill Lucas, the site is full of useful ideas for expansive educators.  

The Creativity Exchange is a space for school leaders, teachers, those working in cultural organisations, scientists, researchers and parents to share ideas about how to teach for creativity and develop young people’s creativity at and beyond school.

As part of the implementation of the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education a new online platform, #CreativityExchange has been launched   https://www.creativityexchange.org.uk/

eedNET Blog 

Thinking Like an engineer

Engineers use their creative problem-solving skills, their understanding of systems and their ability to work collaboratively in teams to solve the world’s great challenges such as climate change, feeding an ever-expanding population or developing clean fuels, and the world needs them now more than ever. Engineering is a fascinating, well-paid career with jobs at the cutting edge in machine learning, artificial intelligence and gaming, as well as the more traditional areas of construction and transport, but many countries around the world are finding it challenging to recruit young people to it. For a whole host of reasons, it seems that too many young people are put off studying relevant subjects such as science, computing, D&T or maths at school.

Read the full blog post here

Zest for Learning Authors: Prof Bill Lucas & Dr Ellen Spencer 

Zest for Learning: Developing curious learners who relish real-world challenges

Zest for Learning: connects the co-curriculum with the formal curriculum, building both theoretical and practical confidence in the kinds of pedagogies which work well. It draws together a far-reaching literature exploring zest and zest-like attributes, offering schools and organisations working with schools a model of how it could be at the heart of children’s educational experiences.

Zest for Learning: is a call to action for school leaders to broaden their horizons of what school can be and to take heart from the ideas which others are already using. It is the third book in the Pedagogy for a Changing World series, which details which capabilities matter and how schools can develop them.

Read full press release

2023 upcoming events

to be confirmed



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