The Enquiring Minds research programme

The materials in this guide have been developed from a three-year research and development programme funded by Microsoft’s Partners in Learning programme.

This means that the guide is based on an intensive period of development and experimentation in two schools. We established student research groups in both schools who provided details about their own experiences and advised on what a curriculum that started from their concerns would contain. At the same time, we worked with a group of 10 teachers to explore what an approach that started with students’ knowledge and ideas would look like in schools. The teachers experimented with different approaches and we produced a ‘curriculum framework’ for a year’s work in classrooms. Teachers trialled the approach in classrooms during the school year 2006-07. As researchers, we observed these lessons with the aim of understanding the challenges involved, as well as what worked and what didn’t. We interviewed teachers and students about their experience of the Enquiring Minds approach.

We are aware that the vision of Enquiring Minds is ambitious, and requires significant changes in the ways that school curricula are organised, and the nature of classroom relationships. However, we are convinced of the potential of the Enquiring Minds approach to make a difference, and part of our role as researchers in the project is to understand how the approach impacts on students and teachers. This is why, along with this guide, we are publishing an interim report on the project’s work in two schools. This is available in the reports and papers section of this site.