Project update: January 2007

January 2007

About this report

This report is an update on what teachers and children did in the classroom during the first two terms of the school year, September–December 2006.

The full version is available to download (open pdf version of Project update: January 2007 - 10 pages, 173kb), while on this page you'll find the first couple of sections of the report.

Introduction

Since September 2006 two schools in Bristol have been piloting a new approach to curriculum that has been designed to explore how teachers can support and develop children to act as researchers and knowledge-creators. This report is an update on what teachers and children have been doing in the classroom during the first two terms of the school year, September–December 2006. It is a descriptive rather than analytical update on classroom activities and should be read as a report on ‘work in progress’; the project is continuing in schools.

The report has six parts:

Revisiting the aims of Enquiring Minds

In England, the UK government has an ambitious agenda to improve schools, accelerate pupils’ learning and develop creative approaches to the curriculum. Enquiring Minds is an attempt to innovate and experiment with the school curriculum at a time when policy makers, head teachers and teachers are expressing concern that the National Curriculum is too rigid, too full of content, and out of line with the skills that young people will require for the 21st century. This concern is supported by evidence that many students themselves are dissatisfied by their experience at school. In this context, many schools are looking to make fundamental changes to their curriculum, and some are searching for models that may allow them to ‘personalise’ learning.

All this is encouraging. However, there are serious questions about how fundamental curriculum change might be imagined, planned, implemented and evaluated. These are the questions that Enquiring Minds is addressing. The work undertaken to date is based on an extensive review of developments in curriculum and teaching and learning, involves intensive work with teachers and students in two schools, and is making links with a network of schools seeking to develop enquiry approaches to teaching and learning. The unique contribution of the Enquiring Minds project is to provide evidence of how genuine student participation can be made a reality in classrooms, and how that may be used to inform future policies.

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