Real world learning duo helps teachers get creative in the classroom

11 Jul 2023
Professor Bill Lucas and Dr Ellen Spencer

Two academics from the University of Winchester are among the authors of a groundbreaking new resource aimed at revolutionising education, titled Creative Thinking in Schools: A Leadership Playbook. 

Professor Bill Lucas and Dr Ellen Spencer from the University’s Centre for Real-World Learning have co-authored the playbook, which offers a comprehensive guide to fostering creative thinking in schools, a crucial skillset for success in today's rapidly changing world. 

It is geared towards education leaders at all levels from policymakers and academy trust CEOs to teacher leaders with specific responsibility for creativity. 

The Playbook provides a versatile toolkit of learning materials and approaches to facilitating professional learning.  It draws inspiration from sports playbooks and the metaphor of plays, to provide practical research-backed strategies to help school leaders transform their institutions into vibrant hubs of creative learning. 

It builds on the Five Creative Habits framework, developed by Winchester’s Centre for Real-World Learning and published in Lucas and Spencer’s Teaching Creative Thinking. 

This globally-recognised framework provides a structure for nurturing creative habits, including inquisitiveness, imagination, persistence, collaboration, and discipline. 

“The five-dimensional framework of creative thinking habits that teachers can develop in pupils that Bill and I developed here with Professor Guy Claxton is now being used across 35 countries,” said Ellen. 

“This new book now goes a step further, looking at how to embed teaching for creative thinking across the school by taking a leadership focus, which hasn't been done before.” 

The playbook moves from classroom to school-level, enabling leaders to activate change in ten key areas, including curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment. 

It is divided into two parts – "Warming Up" establishes foundational concepts and activities and sets the stage for subsequent activities in "Playing the Whole Game of Learning,". 

Each activity provides a clear purpose, identifies the creative habits it nurtures in leaders themselves, outlines timings and resource requirements, and offers guidance and reflection questions. 

"Our aim is not to impose strict rules, but to inspire creativity and adaptability. We encourage educators to personalise the plays and develop their own school playbook," said Dr Ellen Spencer. 

As a companion to the book, the authors are launching an online platform ( offering a regularly updated range of curated resources. They hope this platform becomes the “definitive hub for educators seeking to nurture creativity in their schools”. 

Creative Thinking in Schools is published by Crown House Publishing, an independent publisher based in Wales, which specialises in books for teachers written by teachers.  Find out more at 

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