Ignoring the arts won’t prepare pupils for employment

The Telegraph is reporting that a leading headmaster is warning that “questionable” reforms to GCSEs may not be developing the qualities valued by employers…

Michael Windsor, headmaster of Reading Blue Coat School, will say that ‘soft skills’ sought by businesses, such as creativity, critical thinking and social confidence, can be advanced by involvement in the creative arts…

Mr Windsor, who is Chairman of the Society of Heads – a group of leading independent schools – is set to outline his concerns in a speech at the society’s annual conference next week.

In his speech he will highlight the importance of a creative arts education, saying that the “inestimable” benefits can be seen on a daily basis in schools, and should be an “integral part” of learning to equip students to be “successful and happy adults”.

According to Mr Windsor, the benefits of studying the creative arts include: “the growth in confidence that comes from performing in front of an audience of any size; the opportunities for collaboration and working as a team; the need for concentration and discipline and to escape from distraction; taking risks … and learning to cope with the inevitable failures and false starts that are part and parcel of the creative process.”

Citing a recent CBI survey, Mr Windsor will say that the qualities that employers value the most are “the very qualities we might list as being developed by involvement in the creative arts…”


Do you agree with the arguments put forward here by Michael Windsor? Would you say it is also possible to develop these skills without studying creative arts? Please give us your insights in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Employment and Secondary.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove GCSE reform is focused entirely on climbing OECD/Pisa league table positions, not educational arguments. Sad reflection

  2. KateMrsnash

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Most private schools I know value the #arts – one reason why pupils from those backgrounds do better?

  3. andylutwyche

    KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove Fair point. I think private schools will see business pick up hugely with constant govt tinkering in state edu

  4. KateMrsnash

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove quite – we have more applications than ever atm despite recession. Lots of ppl making sacrifices to pay for ed

  5. andylutwyche

    andrew_1910 KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove It seems a sensible study which automatically means that it’ll be ignored by policy makers

  6. andrew_1910

    andylutwyche KateMrsnash SchoolsImprove Depends who gets behind it. Labour are making noises about diminution of arts.

  7. andylutwyche

    “spsmith45: andylutwyche MichaelRosenYes SchoolsImprove You said reform just about PISA. I don’t agree.” Ok – we’ll agree to disagree

  8. KateMrsnash

    andrew_1910 andylutwyche SchoolsImprove yes I’ve read the Warwick Commission – excellent. Only UKLabour talking bout it as far as I see

  9. andylutwyche

    KateMrsnash andrew_1910 SchoolsImprove UKLabour Indeed – but everything Labour say smacks of desperation for votes rather than substance

  10. MichaelRosenYes

    spsmith45 andylutwyche SchoolsImprove GSCEs have become more reliable and less valid. Prediction:10 yrs time,16+ exams abolished.

  11. spsmith45

    MichaelRosenYes andylutwyche SchoolsImprove i hope so, if we can broaden post 16. CAs are a real issue for reliability and validity.

  12. abbeygreen29

    SchoolsImprove MrKeithPortman Excellent. Not all children are academic but creative arts give everyone a chance to shine and communicateU0001f44dU0001f600

  13. porees

    andylutwyche thosewhoCran When 14 of kids chosen to do PISA test at my school found out they wouldn’t be told scores, they wrote nothing.

  14. andylutwyche

    KateMrsnash andrew_1910 SchoolsImprove UKLabour Fair enough. I find it tough to believe any politician pre-election to be honest

  15. BrigidineSchool

    SchoolsImprove ‘Culture is as vital to a nation’s success as pretty much anything else’ Volpe in letter to Arts Council Boss Darren Henley

  16. andylutwyche

    “KateMrsnash: andylutwyche andrew_1910 SchoolsImprove UKLabour I have to have some hope or I’ll go mad!” Understandably so

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