This reflective piece – written primarily to provoke discussion – raises some questions about and for the recent 'creativity agenda' in educational policy in England, suggesting that something fundamental is missing. The author argues that 'creativity' has characteristically been defined in recent policy discourse as a set of skills concerned with developing independent thinking, problem-solving and flexible working. 'Creativity' thus turns out to be intimately and explicitly allied to 'employability'. The author believes that creativity, on the contrary, is stimulated by the encouragement of vivid inner lifeworlds, a sense of imaginative interiority and a sensuously-felt subjectivity – as exemplified in S.T. Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan. She argues that these are part of pedagogic responsibility as well as a sine qua non for the work of the imagination. The author is writing in her role as poet (who also leads creative writing workshops, including for teachers), rather than as a researcher.