Battle for Creativity – Saving the Creative Writing A-Level

A qualification in creative writing is something a lot of teenagers would’ve killed for. Young writers who were preparing for their A-Levels before or during 2012 never received this option, until a year later when the subject was introduced into the curriculum for A-Levels. The course proved to be a success as more students going into sixth form/college were encouraged to take it as a ‘creative alternative’ to English Language and Literature.

However, a ‘reform’ that’s been decided by the government under the Conservative Party has deemed the qualification as being unfit for resubmission into schools and colleges, therefore scrapping the subject from the A-Level curriculum across the country from summer 2018.

Personally, I don’t agree with this decision.

I suspect this change hasn’t been made for academic purposes. In my opinion, the British government decided to scrap MOST creative subjects because they are skills-based and not knowledge-based, and therefore, cannot be fit for examination. Isn’t this an unjust reason to remove such an enjoyable and popular qualification?

Creative Writing is a subject that many young people feel lies behind the boundaries of being just a hobby, and it’s a great thing that children want to explore their own creative routes through education. So, why are we taking away that opportunity for young adults to become more open-minded about the world we live in?

I’m currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative and Professional Writing at university, and I know many school leavers are choosing the exact same route as I have – wanting to develop their writing skills to ensure they make a living from it. The whole purpose of the course is to understand how our writing can shape the world, and spark a reaction from the general public with just one document full of words. It also helps us to take criticism and apply the opinion of others’ to our own work to improve it, therefore allowing the individual to be able to communicate well within a team and working with others. Key skills that we’ve been told are ‘essential’ in life and employment.

These are the reasons why I disapprove of this idea, and what it’ll mean for aspiring young writers:

  • It improves an individual’s English skills, such as spelling, punctuation and grammar. Although spelling, punctuation and grammar (also known as SPAG) is taught throughout secondary school, it can also improve one’s range of vocabulary, and expanding their knowledge of language and communication – no matter whether it’s written or verbal.
  • It allows young people to embrace creativity and imagination, as well as teaching them about the world and why we use fiction to address issues in today’ society. One of the most important aspects of a teenager’s life is having the ability to create. It can also mean learning more about life through the eyes of characters from different age ranges and personal experiences.
  • It’s unique. Need I say more?
  • It’s more subjective than English Language and Literature. In English lessons, you have to analyse and write 4-page essays on what a piece of literature means. However, in Creative Writing, you are only required to let your imagination run wild through the voices of people from all backgrounds, although this could be a difficult decision for a writer to make due to avoiding stereotypes and clichés in their work.
  • Most importantly, it’s enjoyable and can relieve the stress of academic subjects such as Maths and Science. ‘Logical’ subjects such as Maths and Science can overwhelm a student, and cause them to feel stressed about passing their exams and making sure they’ve got their facts right. With Creative Writing, this is not the case. All you need to worry about is making your writing clear and sophisticated.

We have come all this way as a nation to provide our students with a wide range of subjects to choose from, whether it is creative or logical, it doesn’t matter. There is only so much you could do if you take English, but with Creative Writing, the possibilities are endless. Are we really going to take that away from future generations and leave them having to take subjects where memory is prioritised more than imagination itself?

Remember, writing has the ability to change the way a person thinks. It’s everywhere; newspapers, novels, blog entries, diaries etc., writing is all around us, yet we fail to acknowledge it. Science is a factual subject. Creative Writing is an art.

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