The Priority Labyrinth

18 December 2017

Sarah Davies shares some of the creative approaches being developed through the My Creative School programme to address schools' Development Priorities

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Since November we have been pairing our MCS teachers with creative practitioners and together they have begun the first phases of planning a project which will become a creative catalyst for change in each school, based on one of each school’s Development Priorities (SDP's).

These priorities reflect the challenges experienced by many schools, and the creative approaches that we are starting to develop will, we hope, provide a fresh perspective to addressing the needs that schools have identified. Some current areas being explored include:

  • Writing – A number of our teacher-creative practitioner partnerships are exploring ways of improving writing, inspiring boys, and reluctant writers and sharing writing achievements across the whole school. All are looking at ways to help children develop a joy for writing whilst meeting curriculum objectives in fun and creative ways. For one school, pupils will be developing and placing writing in public spaces. In another, top secret surprises and interventions are planned for their ‘writing week’. Whilst in another they will be exploring the connections between the acquisition of language to the movement of their bodies. In all schools, dialogue and power-sharing will be facilitated so that teachers and pupils will collaborate together on different ideas.
  • Wellbeing – Two schools are focusing on increasing wellbeing as a development priority, one partnership working mainly with their staff whilst the other mainly with their pupils. For the former, this will include finding creative ways of nurturing staff and the facilitation of time and space to interact within a particular artist-inhabited space. The latter school will be exploring how and whether a creative vocabulary might support wellbeing. They are currently discussing how the growth of words, language, and self could be interconnected. Others are looking at the development of the arts in severe learning difficulties settings – exploring the power of the arts to support life skills and wellbeing in particular.
  • Parental engagement – Many schools made mention of increasing parental engagement in their SDPs. Three schools have started to think this through: creating an environment where parents can better understand how and what their children are learning and their role as positive influences in their child’s life at school. In many other cases parental engagement will become a methodology for catalysing change in other school development priorities. For one school it will be an important factor in improving attendance, for another they are discussing setting the parents homework to increase reading at home, supporting the development of vocabulary development at school.
  • Teaching of British Values – What is it about this subject that makes many of us feel so uncomfortable? one school in particular has acknowledged it is challenging and has made it a school priority to improve engagement and understanding of British Values across the school. Their MCS project aims to tackle this tricky subject area and support the teaching of this subject through the co-development of a whole school game with year 3 pupils.

Image credit: Warren Street station maze tiles designed by Alan Fletcher via 150 Great Things About The Underground

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