Following is a summary of the project proposals that is a result of the collaboration between the Initiative and the Headteachers of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
Projects fall into four main groups though several schools are working in more than one of these areas.
- Changing teaching and learning strategies to raise the achievement of children. Five projects have been designed to use a number of strategies to raise the achievement pupils, particularly those who are EAL. Schools may begin with a common test to give a baseline. Strategies will differ between schools with common threads between some. Outcomes will be shared as will some of the curriculum development work. The ideas will be informed by the ideas of the 21st Century Learning Initiative, projects already in place such as thinking skills and by experiences of the Core Studies Unit in Birmingham with schools which have begun to improve their pupils’ learning through changes in teaching strategies. Projects will target a small group in each school but will hope to extend successful practice to more children and across the group of schools at a later stage. There will be concentration upon staff development, raising expectations through a deeper understanding of how learning happens. One school will identify goals and erect relevant scaffolding to progress to a stage where the process of weaning can begin for EAL and other under achievers. Another will target small groups for an intensive short period of specialist support. In a third there will be an emphasis on the use of ICT. Some of the schools will involve parents. All will concentrate on “brain friendly approaches”. Schools included: Fulham Primary School, New Kings Primary School, Normand Park Primary School, Queen’s Manor Primary School, Melcombe Primary School.
- Developing the curriculum to widen the range of experiences of the children beyond the area of core skills. A special school will use dance and movement to reduce stress in non-verbal pupils, stress which is holding them back from making progress. In a nursery children, parents and staff will work together, researching, designing and creating their own learning environment which widens their range of curriculum opportunities. In “real” project understanding their own learning, metacognotion, will be a strong theme. Other schools are going to use a Reading Garden (library), a Millennium tapestry, and a range of creative experiences to enhance oracy, vocabulary and story telling, tolerance and social interaction. Schools included: Queensmill Special School, The Vanessa Nursery, St John’s Primary School, Holy Cross Primary School.
- Projects to build upon what the children bring from their backgrounds and to help parents to play their role in the child’s development. These projects are working with parents from the enrolment of the children, helping them to understand the importance of their contribution to their child’s learning. This will be beyond supporting school and will show how parents can induct children into “real world” experiences. You don’t have to be advantaged to be able to give your children a good start in learning for life. Schools included: Pope John Primary School and The Good Shepherd Primary School as well as Fulham, Holy Cross, Vanessa Nursery St John’s and Sulivan.
- Projects to develop the effective use of ICT. These projects are looking at the effective use of ICT to enrich the curriculum and learning opportunities for children. “Learning at a distance” which goes beyond the mere “down loading of lumps of information”. One school will involve parents and emphasize the importance of learning outside school. All will aim to produce independent learners. Schools included: John Betts Primary School, Larmenier R.C.Infants School, Sulivan Primary School and Normand, Queen’s Manor , St John’s and Vanessa Nursery