Headmaster of Kew House School, Mark Hudson defends the importance of a creative education

I am told that I am rare. A design and technology teacher who has become a headmaster. I am also frequently congratulated on the facilities and provision for the creative subjects at Kew House School. So why do I believe that D&T, art, food technology and drama are so vital as subjects taught in schools?

Firstly, they are exciting, fun and require inventiveness. These subjects teach problem solving, apply the concepts taught in maths and the sciences and provide solutions. They develop interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. They are in essence about making things that work, look good and make a difference to people’s lives. All require research, analysis, team work, planning and evaluative skills. They invite students to ask, “what if…?” and “why not?” and they inspire our future entrepreneurs, engineers, designers and creative adults. There has never been more need for a generation able to optimise resources, to develop sustainable and circular economies. No other subject area will equip our students with these skills.

This county holds a significant amount of the world’s intellectual property in the design and creative fields. We are the envy of many countries. China is working with the UK subject association to introduce creativity into its school system. It is easy to see why and yet it is a subject area that is undervalued, especially by government here in the UK.This is evident in the failure to include any creative subjects in the Ebac portfolio upon which all state schools are judged. This has triggered a significant decline in the number of schools offering these subjects and in GCSE and A-level entries.

The independent sector remains a stronghold for these areas of study, developing them and enriching the students in our care. This is quite a responsibility. We are able to prepare our students to play an active role in the technological and creative society they have been born into, to become discerning customers, critical consumers, creative practitioners. Our economic future needs to be driven by young talented, imaginative people able to design and manufacture exciting, innovative sustainable products.

I am always pleased at the reaction when I show parents and prospective students the facilities here at Kew House. A food technology room full of busy students, an art room full of inspirational work, drama students gaining confidence and developing valuable skills for life. This area of the curriculum grabs the attention of children and parents alike; they see the potential for imagination, for fun, for innovation and the facilities to enable it to happen. The future of the creative subjects at Kew House is safe. It is my sincere hope, as a devotee of the subject, that students and future citizens educated in modern schools do not become as rare as D&T headmasters. 


Further reading: Things to consider before choosing a secondary school