Placing Students at the Heart of Creative Learning: how schools are ahead of the political game

After two years in the making, here it is. Finally.

Placing Students at the Heart of Creative Learning shows teachers of key stages 2 and 3 how to introduce creativity into what is often seen as a prescriptive and stifling curriculum, and addresses the tensions that can exist between the requirement to follow the curriculum and the desire to employ innovative pedagogies. It offers readers a range of practical and realistic ways that curriculum changing ideas can be applied to individual projects, classrooms and even entire schools.

This book tracks the imaginative initiatives undertaken by six schools as they have worked to change their curriculum and teaching in order to put student experiences at the core of the learning process. Stating its observations and suggestions in a refreshingly straightforward and practicable manner, this book explores:

  • Why a new creative curriculum is needed for the 21st century
  • How to encourage teachers and pupils to ‘own’ the curriculum
  • The role that pupil voice plays in a creative curriculum
  • The environment needed to creatively manipulate the curriculum
  • How to introduce innovation to teaching practice
  • What actually works – considering the limits and possibilities of creative pedagogy

Providing case studies and examples of the ways in which teachers have delivered the curriculum in a creative way, Placing Students at the Heart of Creative Learning is an invaluably beneficial guide for all those involved in engaging and teaching young people in key stages 2 and 3.

Fascinating stories of challenge, change and inspiration are found throughout the book.

In Chapter Two, Fulbridge Primary School in Peterborough has developed a local, vernacular curriculum which takes as its starting point local histories, geographies and resources as the means to galvanise children’s learning. This work is based heavily upon Kolb’s model of learning from experience and particularly demonstrates how different mediums, such as sculpture, film, animation and drama can be used to explore curriculum links with writing.

In Chapter Three, Dale Primary School in Derby have looked to early years practice of the town of Pistoia, Italy, as a means of providing immersive learning experiences which are engendered through their approach to ‘slow pedagogy’. Theirs is a stance on personalised learning which allows for engagement in a curriculum which is driven by constant formative reflection, a profound knowledge of children’s progression in skills and learning which is fired by children’s curiosity and questions.

In Chapter Four ‘real world’ learning is demonstrated by Old Park Primary School in Telford which particularly focuses on Learning to Learn (L2L) strategies and connects its work with that of Guy Claxton’s Building Learning Power programme as part of its bigger commitment to the Personalised Learning Agenda.

In Chapter Five, Belfairs Media Arts College, a secondary school in Southend demonstrates how focusing on children as independent thinkers and learners identifies a number of strategies which encourage young people to think about, and learn from, their own learning styles. In addition to the L2L programme, the school also focus on and embed a particular cluster of thinking skills across the school curriculum.

In Chapter Six, Kingstone School in Barnsley adopts a thematic approach to teaching to collaborate in order to develop cross curriculum projects that are taught to Year 7 students in a way that bridges the pedagogical gap that exists between the high schools and their feeder primary schools.

Available now from

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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