The educationist Sir Ken Robinson, proponent of the encouragement of creativity among children, who has died aged 70 of cancer, was largely ignored by politicians of both main parties as he insisted that the policy of successive UK governments, that literacy and numeracy should predominate, was a false priority. As he told interviewers: “That’s like saying let’s make the cake and if it’s all right we’ll put the eggs in.”
Reputedly one lesson can change the course of a pupil’s career – Robinson became an exemplar of the much rarer idea that one speech can change a teacher’s whole trajectory. It was an off-the-cuff, 19-minute address without notes entitled Do Schools Kill Creativity? at a TED (technology, entertainment and design) educational conference in California in 2006 that propelled him to something approaching worldwide celebrity within and beyond education.
His wry and witty extempore style, honed in Liverpool, was characteristically engaging.