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Products specifications
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Size297 x 240 mm
PublishedNovember 2023

Forewords by Professor Dame Alison Peacock and Andreas Schleicher. 

Written by an internationally renowned team of thought-leaders, researchers, writers and facilitators, Creative Thinking in Schools: A Leadership Playbook is a practical and interactive guide that draws together understanding about school leadership with a deep experience of cultivating creative thinking in all aspects of school life and promoting creative learning habits in the classroom.

This leadership playbook has been published to coincide with the global release of the first PISA test results on creative thinking, the Creativity Collaboratives under way in England and the growing importance of creative thinking in countries across the world. Creative Thinking in Schools focuses on how school leaders can create capacity among their staff to embed creative thinking in every aspect of school life. It offers a framework for improving creative thinking based on the widely used Five Creative Habits model developed by the Centre for Real-World Learning. The framework focuses on developing learners who are inquisitive, persistent, collaborative, disciplined and imaginative. 

Underpinned by research and analysis of practice in hundreds of schools across the world, and more recently by an in-depth study of fifty schools in England, Creative Thinking in Schools provides a range of accessible resources, planning tools and practical examples. These support leaders to reflect on their core purposes, understand the changes needed to embed creative thinking, develop leaders across their staff, facilitate the development of their teachers, plan, teach and assess creative thinking, and work with external partners, all the while developing a vibrant professional learning community.

Complemented by a dedicated website which contains additional downloadable materials and case studies, the playbook brings together a community of leaders and teachers around the world to connect with each other and share their own experiences in order to develop, spread, extend and evaluate creative thinking within and across schools.

Creative Thinking in Schools will support a professional learning community of leaders and teachers who see creative thinking as a core purpose of education and are interested in making it a priority in their school. It will encourage pupils to develop their creativity in the classroom, allowing future generations to thrive in a world that is increasingly complex. 

Creative Thinking in Schools: A Leadership Playbook has been supported by the Mercers Company, Creativity, Culture and Education and the Arts Council of Wales.

Suitable for school leaders and policy makers who see creative thinking as a core purpose of education.

Picture for author Bill Lucas

Bill Lucas

Professor Bill Lucas is Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester and, with Ellen Spencer, the originator of a model of creativity in use in schools across the world. A global thought-leader, Bill was co-chair of the PISA 2022 test of creative thinking and curates the Creativity Exchange website.

Building Learning Power with The Learning Organisation.

Read Bill's article in FE Week.

UKEdChat Podcast - Episode 13 - Teaching Creative Thinking.

Click here to read Bill Lucas' interview in Nursery World.

Click here to read Bill Lucas' article - Teaching creative thinking: Advice and examples'.

Click here to read another article by Bill Lucas - Why knowledge isn't enough'.

Read Bill's article in TES An open letter to Nick Gibb: 5 myths about creativity

Picture for author Ellen Spencer

Ellen Spencer

Dr Ellen Spencer is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Real-World Learning and, with Bill Lucas, author of Teaching Creative Thinking. Ellen is also a Researcher for Arts Council England's Creativity Collaboratives, a three-year project to test a range of innovative practices in teaching for creativity in schools..

UKEdChat Podcast - Episode 13 - Teaching Creative Thinking.

Picture for author Louise Stoll

Louise Stoll

Dr Louise Stoll is Professor of Professional Learning at the UCL Centre for Education, IOE and an international consultant, focusing on how school and system leaders create capacity for learning. Louise is a former president of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement and has worked with the OECD on several initiatives. She has co-developed many materials supporting leaders to connect research evidence and practice.

Picture for author Di Fisher-Naylor

Di Fisher-Naylor

Di Fisher-Naylor is the Director of Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE), the UK based international creative learning foundation. She is a specialist in programme design, implementation and quality assurance and in professional learning for school leaders, teachers and creative professionals. Di has supported creative learning programmes across the world. Di dropped out of school early and is passionate about the importance of developing creative thinking skills in all children but particularly those from socio-economic disadvantaged families.

Picture for author Sian James

Sian James

Sian James manages a national creative learning programme with the Arts Council of Wales and has supported over 700 schools and their teachers to explore innovative pedagogy and prepare for the introduction of a new expansive curriculum. Having gained her Masters at Trinity College, Sian started out as a television researcher, going on to spend over a decade working within Communications for the Arts and Heritage sector in Wales. Sian is passionate about the arts, and the sector’s positive engagement with education.

Picture for author Nia Richards

Nia Richards

Nia Richards has been designing and supporting professional learning in creativity since 2015, firstly, as Regional Lead for a national programme in Wales and currently as Programme Manager for Creativity, Culture and Education. She was a classroom teacher for 13 years in secondary and further education, she also has an MA in Practitioner Research

Picture for author Katy Milne

Katy Milne

Katy Milne is Programme Manager at CCE (Creativity, Culture and Education). Katy has cultivated educational practice through an enquiry-based approach to creative learning and personal development, which has had a positive impact on learning outcomes across schools and networks internationally. Previously Cultural Programme Officer for South Tyneside Council and Director of Arts and Creativity at Greenfield Arts for 16 years, Katy has a Masters in Education and a PGC in Innovative Curriculum and Pedagogy which informs approaches to developing creative learning.


  1. Creative thinking is a core purpose in education from preschool to high school and beyond. Thoroughly 'user friendly' in organization and presentation, Creative Thinking in Schools is especially and unreservedly recommended for classroom teachers, school administrators, school board members, and education policymakers.

  2. Bill Lucas and his colleagues have produced a thought-provoking and practically grounded leadership book… The resource material provides a flexible framework that can unlock hidden skills of staff and students at all levels. All leaders, aspiring leaders, school and college governing bodies and sporting coaches should read this excellent book to extend their vision of learning and performance.

  3. In Creative Thinking in Schools, Bill Lucas and his colleagues – from their extensive experience, supplemented by research evidence from active practitioners – have produced a stimulating, thought-provoking and practically grounded leadership playbook. The resource material provides a flexible framework that can be tailored to unlock potential and the isolated hidden skills of staff and students at all levels.

  4. This playbook aligns with the key focus of the Curriculum for Wales on supporting creativity, as one of the skills integral to its four purposes. It will be a valuable resource to help school leaders develop their talents and skills.

  5. Creative Thinking in Schools is an essential resource for anyone who cares about the place of creativity in education, providing accessible yet expert guidance to nurture and sustain creative thinking, creative teaching and creative learning.

  6. This leadership playbook is a really valuable resource for school leaders who want to cultivate the creativity of their students in all subjects by developing the confidence and skills of their staff. It very much mirrors the learning emerging from the eight pilot Creativity Collaboratives across England where early results suggest that teaching for creativity is a welcome and attainable goal for all schools.

  7. I particularly like the way in which the playbook is both soundly rooted in research but also enjoyably creative and playful in the approach to professional learning.

  8. We know that creative thinking is critical for our young people – but too often, our curricula and cultures don't nurture these skills. Creative Thinking in Schools gives practical tools to support all leaders to consider why this work is so important, and how to make it happen.

  9. The playbook deliberately places emphasis on the creative dimension of leadership, becoming comfortable with openness, offering greater trust and developing spaces for new thinking. I highly recommend it.

  10. This playbook has universal appeal across countries. It provides insightful tools for school communities to develop creative thinking, unlocking potential and hidden leadership from everyone in schools. The playbook’s universal usability also makes it a perfect gift for anyone in the international community of creative thinking in schools.

  11. In our ever-changing world, developing creative thinking is essential to help our young people thrive, not only in lessons but also through life. For those leaders with the ambition to build a learning organisation with creativity and achievement for all at its heart, this playbook brings a fantastic collection of information, ideas and practical resources to do just that. It’s a must for those with a wider view of education today.

  12. This wonderful playbook captures the expertise, provocations, lessons learned and insights that a generous community of creative learning experts, researchers, educators and school leaders around the world have shared. Providing a wealth of practical activities and examples in words, diagrams and images, it is a vital resource for any school leader who wants to inspire and coach their team to embed and deliver creative learning strategies across their school.

  13. The authors of this magnificent playbook have created something truly amazing – a highly useable and practical resource for leaders. You will be able to transform your school, your network and your jurisdiction. We cannot wait to provide every network school with this book.

  14. Curriculum for Wales is designed with four core purposes. One of these highlights the importance of creativity; supporting learners to become ‘enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work’ (Hwb, 2023). If our learners are to become independent, creative, critical thinkers, then we need to support our school leaders to develop and enhance their skills as independent, creative, critical thinkers too.

    This playbook is a wonderful resource that will further enhance and enrich the creative learning programme in Wales, inspiring and supporting leaders to explore new approaches to teaching and learning with creativity at its heart.

  15. This is an outstanding resource, founded on deep knowledge and bursting with provocative ideas and playful strategies for making teaching and leading more creative in your school. Here, seven great experts in creativity, professional learning, leadership and change, give you every reason and no excuse for livening up your staffrooms, classrooms and online meetings so that they are more creative in their processes and results. In the playbook’s own words, it will advance ‘creative thinking in all aspects of your school’s life’.

  16. The four purposes of Curriculum for Wales are the shared aspiration for every young person. They provide the opportunity for innovative systems, tools and creative thinking in the education system to create a better future. Creative Thinking in Schools provides a practical resource and complements the Creative Leadership Programme that has been recognised and endorsed by the National Academy for Educational Leadership Wales as meeting the needs of leaders in Wales.

  17. A superb resource for school leaders who wish to support and challenge their teams through active engagement. A unique blend of evidence and activities that promote creativity in action. This is definitely for schools that want to think differently about professional learning.

  18. Creative Thinking in Schools serves as a roadmap to a series of experiences that leaders can use to reinvigorate their own creative muscles and those of their communities. The playbook includes activities designed to help leaders lead crucial conversations on the role creativity should play in their community as well as structures and facilitation guides that will support them in inculcating creativity into their classrooms, learning environments and communities. For school leaders looking to move the needle, embrace and lead change, this playbook will quickly become your go-to guide for leading professional development and designing the learning environment our students most desperately need and deserve.

  19. Never was there a greater need for brave leadership to preserve and promote empowering creativity across the curriculum, as an entitlement for every child from every background. So now, in the age of the robots, let’s celebrate and teach the habits and discipline of creative thinking and of creative working. This excellent playbook will support courageous school leaders to put creative thinking back at the heart of education where it belongs.

  20. All children and young people should have the opportunity to express and channel their creativity throughout their schooling. Any practical resources – such as this exciting new playbook – that can help school leaders and teachers in enabling this to happen are to be warmly welcomed.

  21. In schools we often know why and what, but not when it comes to creativity. This playbook clearly and thoughtfully translates cutting-edge research into practical creative leadership strategies that will make sustainable change accessible to leaders in schools.

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