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  • Creative Lab

    A pilot project fostering creativity through curriculum innovation and teacher training

  • 01 Introducing Creative Lab

    To stay competitive in the rapidly changing and globalized world, education communities across the globe have put sought strenuously to equip students with ‘21st Century skills’- in particular, creativity. These communities are dedicated to developing and implementing new curricula aimed at developing the competencies necessary to bring about positive changes in their home country and in the world at large.


    The Creative Lab, an initiative by Professor Xiping TAO, educator, former member of the National Education Advisory Commission and Senior Advisor to the National Education Inspectorate of China, was launched in 2019 after his visit to the UK educational communities. Funded by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission to explore the role and value of creativity and leadership in education, it curates professional exchanges, bespoke training and cultural activities to leaders, educators and learners in China and beyond.


    This chapter serves as an introduction to the ethos, rationale and past meetings of the Creative Lab – in order to explain to the wider world world our success so far in fostering creativity in school curricula. Hopefully, this document will provide useful information that schools may be seeking concerning the enhancement of creativity and innovation in a 21st Century educational context.


    We seek to empower schools to become the right environment for fostering creative teaching and teaching for creativity, helping the younger generation to master creative thinking in order to become future leaders and lifelong learners in the 21st century.


    • Restructure curricula and pedagogies with young people;

    • Support teachers at all levels with the knowledge and skills to facilitate creative teaching and teaching for creativity;

    • Increase awareness through collaboration with students, teachers, schools, and local communities;

    • Encourage constructive dialogues in creative thinking and educational development across borders.

  • 02 Creativity and Innovation

    Key Literature and Academic Support


    Focusing on creativity in education contexts, the Creativity Lab project is proud to work with Professor Bill Lucas as a key academic advisor. Our work draws on his five-dimensional Model of Creativity as well as the PISA 2021 Creative Thinking Framework.

    Professor Bill Lucas is the Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) at Winchester University and serves as Co-Chair of the 2021 OECD PISA Creative Thinking Committee. His model has supported the development of creativity in schools across the U.K., Canada and Australia.

  • Key Definitions


    “The capacity to imagine, conceive, express, or make something that was not there before.” (Durham Commission Definitions, 2019)

    Creative thinking:
    “A process through which knowledge, intuition and skills are applied to imagine, express or make something novel or individual in its contexts. Creative thinking is present in all areas of life. It may appear spontaneous, but it can be underpinned by perseverance, experimentation, critical thinking and collaboration.” (Durham Commission Definitions, 2019)

    Teaching for creativity:
    Explicitly using pedagogies and practices that cultivate creativity in young people. (Durham Commission Definitions, 2019)

    Innovation can be broadly thought of as new ideas, new ways of looking at things, new methods or products that have value. Innovation contains the idea of output, of actually producing or doing something differently, making something happen or implementing something new. Innovation almost always involves hard work; persistence and perseverance are necessary as many good ideas never get followed through and developed. (Chapter 4: Innovation and creativity - Cambridge International)

  • 03 Current Activities

    Since its inception, the Creative Lab is dedicated to offering curriculum reform consulting, teacher training and bespoke support to leaders, educators and learners from China and beyond. Pilot projects on curriculum innovation are now being run in over 60 state schools in Shanghai.


  • Curriculum Innovation

    Curriculum reform
    Academic research
    Course design
    Project-based learning
    Digital learning

    Staff Capacity Improvement

    Leadership program
    Headship training
    Senior management training
    Middle management training
    New teacher training

    Creative Culture Building

    Infrastructure Development
    School pairing
    Creative thinking
    Cultural events

  • 04 Resources​

    The Creative Lab takes full advantage of its wide-range of resources and partnerships in the U.K. - established and carefully maintained in the last few years. This allows us to bring together the best efforts in the global educational community, including state schools, independent schools, universities, government-licensed teacher training schools, and local governments.

  • Strong Networking Capacity

    • INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS: Connection with the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) and its membership schools
    • STATE SCHOOLS: Grammar School Heads Association and Odyssey Teaching School Hub
    • GOVERNMENT: Connection with both UK Department of International Trade and Shanghai Education Committee.
    • HIGHER EDUCATION: Our executives are personally connected to a number of top U.K. universities including the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford

    Odyssey Teaching School Hub

    In the past three years, the Creative Lab has been working closely with Odyssey Teaching School Hub, formerly known as Odyssey Teaching School Alliance, to provide bespoke training sessions to our teachers in Shanghai from over 30 schools on the creativity, leadership, and curriculum design. Odyssey is a licensed teacher training hub authorized by the U.K. Department of Education to provide expert provision of ITT, ECF, NPQs and CPD across 140 schools in Gloucester, Tewksbury and The Forest of Dean.

    Pate’s Grammar School​

    The Creative Lab has been working with Pate’s Grammar School and a number of other state and independent schools to curate creativity-related teaching and training opportunities for teachers from China. With strong ties between the heads and teachers in the China and the U.K., the Creative Lab empowers and encourages best practice learning: that translates into feasible and customized local action plans at schools.

    Bryanston School​

    Bryanston is one of the UK's leading independent boarding schools for boys and girls aged 13-18. It supports the Creative Lab with an overarching aim of demonstrating how the School develops creativity in its pupils, thanks to its outstanding reputation for creativity.