Creativity in schools needs to be taken "far more seriously" if it is to avoid being squeezed out of a crowded curriculum, says a report from MPs.
Schools need to be funded to take creativity seriously, say MPs
The Commons education committee warns that creativity is a "second-order priority" in England's schools.
The MPs say creativity should be a fundamental part of learning and should receive adequate funding.
"Successful schools are creative schools," said the committee chairman, Labour MP Barry Sheerman.
Creativity - in the form of the arts, music and thinking more imaginatively about subjects - are an important part of an all-round education, says the select committee report.
But there have been fears that schools, under pressure to focus on academic standards, could be neglecting such areas.
And the report by MPs concludes that more should be done to protect these areas of creativity.
"The Department for Children, Schools and Families [DCSF] gives the impression that these issues concerning creativity are peripheral to their core responsibilities in education and children's services.
"We believe that the best education has creativity at its very heart," says the report.
The MPs said that the funding structure "suggests that creativity is a 'second-order priority'" for the department.
And it urges the government to consider changing its Every Child Matters agenda so that "creativity becomes a fundamental part of every child's education".
The MPs also suggest that there should be an assessment of creative skills alongside academic tests.
Mr Sheerman said schools were enthusiastic about the benefits of creativity - but the government needed to acknowledge its importance and to examine ways of changing the curriculum to make space for it.
"Our inquiry found a high level of support for creative approaches to teaching and learning in schools, with many practitioners clearly convinced of the positive effects on a child's learning and development," said Mr Sheerman.
"It is not always clear that the DCSF is similarly convinced - it needs to take this issue far more seriously with active support for creativity in schools. Creativity should be at the very heart of teaching and learning."
An Ofsted report last year concluded that creativity could help improve how pupils behaved.
Pupils who had worked with creative people such as writers and fashion designers were more punctual, better behaved and worked better, said Ofsted.
It said pupils developed skills such as improvisation, risk-taking, resilience and collaboration.