Children’s laureates join forces to campaign for creativity in schools

Nine award-winning writers and illustrators to tackle issues together

Chris Riddell, the children’s laureate, has called together a ‘Laureate’s Assemble’ to stand up for the arts in schools.

Mr Riddell, who is the ninth children’s laureate, reportedly held a initial meeting with all eight former children’s laureates, including Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake, earlier this month.

By working together, Mr Riddell is hoping the group of award-winning writers and illustrators may bring more weight to issues that concern them.

“The falling value of creativity is a big problem,” he told the Observer newspaper, which suggested that fears about the impact of the English Baccalureate on arts subjects were a key concern.

“I felt that since I was appointed last year, I have relied heavily on the credit of the people who have gone before me … but I wondered if I could now make it a collective thing. Could we all get together and tackle some of the issues?

“When you have someone like Jacqueline Wilson involved, or Michael Rosen, I feel we could get somewhere.”

The group of award-winning writers and illustrators have campaigned on various issues individually during their tenures – from the role of libraries to more diversity in books.

Mr Riddell, who won the Kate Greenaway Award earlier this week for his illustrations in The Sleeper and The Spindle written by Neil Gaiman, has spoken out against excessive testing in schools.

Last month, he told the TES that a culture of testing at an early age causes a lot of “unnecessary tension and problems for both teachers and pupils”.

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