Big bangs, music and £24,000 worth of Lego: University and local school celebrate creativity in education


Birmingham City University recently welcomed children from Welford Primary School to promote creativity in education as part of BCU 175 celebrations, which are commemorating the institution’s 175 years at the heart of Birmingham life.

School of Education and Social Work

Birmingham City University

The day saw 12 children visit the University’s City South Campus in Edgbaston for a number of inspiring activities led by lecturers and students, involving Lego and science with a creative twist.

The children made use of the University’s Primary Innovation Lab, which is home to the £24,000 worth of Lego that the children used to build a Bluetooth controlled, motion sensing cooling fan as they put creative problem solving – a ‘must have’ skill for their future careers - into practice.

They also took part in colourful chemistry activities, learning how to safely use a Bunsen burner to carry out flame tests and vibrant chemical reactions.

This comes as the Cultural Learning Alliance warned that from 2010 to 2018, there was a 35 per cent decline in the number of arts GCSE entries in England.

Dr Victoria Kinsella, Senior Research Fellow at Birmingham City University, said:

“Creativity and cultural understanding are widely recognised as being key to children’s education and a vital feature of a broad and balanced curriculum, but the reality in many of England’s classrooms is very different.

“Challenges are continually posed such as the omission of the arts in school timetables and the continued emphasis on performative measures and assessments, all of which can be seen as indicative of discrimination against cultural and creative forms of knowledge.

With an increasing economic demand for creative knowledge, it is no longer enough for learners to simply pass examinations, they must also be able to draw from a wide range of experiences and be able to apply them in new and creative ways.

“The recent Edge Foundation Report concluded that current education policies do not address the challenges set by employers, the economy and young people, stating that the system is not only failing to meet their needs, but actively accelerating in the opposite direction.

“This is not to say that there are not excellent examples of creative teaching, and excellent teachers, whose work should be celebrated. I have seen a lot of amazing practices over the years, but more needs to be done to encourage creativity and I am thrilled that we have been able to celebrate creativity in education with this event.”

Dr Kinsella’s research focuses on the exploration of creativity and creative process in various contexts including schools, prisons, galleries, arts centres and with educational agencies.

Carol Foster, Head Teacher at Welford Primary School, added:

“Welford pupils were given the opportunity to participate in workshops at Birmingham City University to promote creativity in education.

“The experience included song, dance, chemical reactions and big bangs in science alongside Lego coding for the 21st century. It helped raise aspirations, develop collaborative planning, inspire engagement and enthusiasm, and challenge thinking to deepen the learning experience. We feel very lucky to work in partnership with Birmingham City University.”

Find out more about Birmingham City University’s School of Education and Social Work.

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