The Learning Futures programme funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Innovation Unit, is rethinking and modelling what goes on in our schools. After spending a day with the school teams recently, hearing how the early days of their initiatives are going, this is definitely a stream to track. Hugely energising to engage with some of the most forward thinking school leaders in England!
Here’s the project summary, starting with a spot-on quote from the Open U’s Chancellor. Good also to see the emphasis on open source and Open Educational Resources.
Learning Futures Summary from Paul Hamlyn Foundation
“It is time to hold up our hands and admit that our education system just isn’t working well enough. Our emphasis needs not to be on proving the residual value of outdated curricula, tests and league tables, but on inspiring and challenging children so that they in turn can inspire and challenge us.”
The Learning Futures programme is a collaboration between the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Innovation Unit with a simple aim: to have more young people actively and positively engaged in their learning, achieve better outcomes and retain a commitment to learning beyond school.
The £1.2m programme has grown out of the extraordinary success of its predecessor, Musical Futures. This radical innovation in teaching music in high-school has grown from less than 20 participating schools, to almost half of all high schools in England, and pilots in numerous other countries.
A number of success factors were identified in re-energising young people’s motivation:
- Co-constructing curriculum and pedagogy with students;
- Integrating the informal out-of-school learning which motivates students, into the more formal context of the classroom;
- Making the learning processes and content more relevant to young people’s lived experiences;
- Changing the learner-teacher mix – utilising students as leaders, teachers as students, through coaching, mentoring and the use of experts in business and the community.
We believe that radically re-focusing teaching and learning in high schools is possible through a rigorous and disciplined approach to innovation in these four areas. But we also believe that, for innovation to scale-up, materials and tools must be developed which are ‘open source’: freely available for adaption and adoption by other schools and practitioners. We are therefore working with 40 schools (across 15 ‘sites’) in England over the next two years to trial, test, and document successful innovations across our four key areas. Our goals for the next phase of the project (2011-13) will be to:
- Make freely available tools for change;
- Evaluate the impact;
- Support the scaling of Learning Futures practices across the country
- Exert policy influence to support educational change