Creativity And Critical Thinking National Curriculum

Critical and creative thinking is essential for students to become successful learners. 

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This general capability has 4 main parts:

  • posing questions, gathering, organising and processing information and ideas
  • imagining possibilities, suggesting alternatives, seeking solutions and putting ideas into action
  • talking about and giving reasons for their thinking and applying knowledge in new situations
  • applying logic and reasoning, drawing conclusions and designing a course of action, and evaluating procedures and results.

During their primary and high school years, students develop critical and creative thinking as they imagine possibilities, consider alternatives, and create innovative solutions. They apply logic and reasoning to develop a course of action, and weigh up the consequences.


For example, in design and technology, year 9 and 10 students analyse social, ethical and sustainability factors that have an impact on their designed solutions, including the production processes involved.

Another example is in the learning area of humanities and social sciences, where students consider social, environmental, economic and community issues and make plans for personal or group action. For example in geography, year 7 students think critically and creatively to propose actions to create future water security.

In mathematics, students learn that there is more than one way to approach mathematical problems, and develop and use a range of different strategies for problem solving. Students pose questions, and organise and summarise data sets. They interpret their results and draw conclusions based on the evidence. For example, in year 5 students may collect and analyse data about traffiic around their school which might inform the local council about the need for a school crossing.

Helping your child

You can help your child develop critical and creative thinking by:

  • encouraging them to explore, be curious, come up with questions and investigate how things work
  • asking them to think of different ways to solve problems
  • providing choices of activities that involve planning and decision making
  • asking them to describe their thinking and give reasons for it
  • showing them it is OK to make mistakes
  • sharing your mistakes and what you learnt from them
  • valuing their ideas and efforts.

Rationale and Aims


Responding effectively to environmental, social and economic challenges requires young people to be creative, innovative, enterprising and adaptable, with the motivation, confidence and skills to use critical and creative thinking purposefully. Explicit attention to and application of thinking skills enables students to develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the processes they can employ whenever they encounter both the familiar and unfamiliar, to break ineffective habits and build on successful ones, building a capacity to manage their thinking.

Thinking that is productive, purposeful and intentional is at the centre of effective learning and the creation of new knowledge, with the progressive development of knowledge about thinking and the practice of using thinking strategies fostering students’ motivation for, and management of, their own learning.

Critical and creative thinking are strongly linked. Students require explicit support to develop the breadth and depth of their thinking and to take intellectual risks. This attention to thinking helps students to build self-awareness and their capacities for reflection. Developing critical and creative thinking capability is an essential element of developing successful, confident and innovative members of the community.


Critical and creative thinking capability aims to ensure that students develop:

  • understanding of thinking processes and an ability to manage and apply these intentionally
  • skills and learning dispositions that support logical, strategic, flexible and adventurous thinking
  • confidence in evaluating thinking and thinking processes across a range of familiar and unfamiliar contexts.

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