Name of lead person: Cogan Primary School
Role of lead person: Mr Steve Birchall
Lead person e-mail address: Class teacher
Lead person telephone number: firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Authority(ies): Vale of Glamorgan
Phase:Primary - KS2
Context and background to case study:
Following analysis of end of year data, it was clear that a disparity existed between girls and boys literacy at lower Key Stage 2. When cross referenced against their ‘Selfie’ assessment scores, a link was identified between comparatively low literacy scores and wellbeing and self-esteem.
Following the success of the School’s Heritage Project and community Heritage Day, that took place during the previous academic year, it was felt that a similar ‘rich-task’ approach to learning would have a positive effect on raising standards in literacy, creativity and wellbeing. Coupled with this, the school had already begun to review and revise its schemes of work, Areas of Learning and Experience, and rich tasks to bring them in line with the Four Purposes of the Donaldson Report.
The success of the project and indeed that of the whole school heritage project from the previous year changed the approach that subject areas and areas of learning and experience are planned, delivered and evaluated. Rich tasks now form the basis of areas of learning in all year groups with children acting as ‘catalysts’ in the direction of topics.
Both KS2 and FP classes now begin their topics with a ‘knowledge harvest’ in which learners will identify what they already know about a particular topic area and what they would like to find out. Children will make suggestions as to how they will find out the answers to their questions. At the end of the topic, children will reflect on their learning and record what they have learnt.
Nature of strategy or activity:
The project started off with a knowledge harvest on the topic of the Tudors in which learners identified what they knew already and what they wanted to learn.
One of the main areas of enquiry to arise from this process was ‘What impact did the Tudors have on Penarth and more specifically Cogan?’. During children’s research they identified that the Cogan Pill House was in fact a Tudor Mansion dating back to the 15th Century, and not a Victorian Villa typical of many houses in in Penarth.
Having unearthed this information, learners were very keen to investigate this further. The class decided to create a timeline and identify how many events we could find between the initial building of the house and today. Considerable research needed to be carried out as the amount evidence available on the origins and historical development of the house was rather limited. Learners researched many pages on the internet which took them to official records and census data of the surrounding areas. Learners were able to discover extracts of information which eventually allowed them to complete a full timeline showing how the house changed over time.
The learning was enriched with pupils making Tudor house models, sketches and diagrams which helped them gain an understanding of what the Cogan Pill House would have looked like. Furthermore, children took the role of Tudor estate agents and served to advertise and market the Elizabethan mansion.
It was decided that the best medium to display and showcase the project was for children to create a film. Following pupil collaboration, it was decided to create a film in the style of “Through the keyhole” which looked back at the various roles and purposes that the house served and the people who lived there. This in itself acted as a springboard for many other areas of learning and focus such script writing, descriptive writing, designing and researching costumes of the era etc.
It also enabled learners to develop their ICT skills using ‘Greenscreen’ software and produce a video themselves.
Impact on provision, teaching and learning and/or leadership:
94% of the class had in increase in their in reading scores between end of year 3 and end of year 4. 100% improved their Salford reading scores between year 3 and year 4. SELFIE results showed a considerable increase in love of school and enjoyment during the year.
Children’s creativity also increased following the project. Indeed, using Guy Claxton’s ‘5 creative habits of mind’ assessment tool , it confirmed that 28 out of 30 pupils had an increase in their ‘collaboration’, ‘persistence’, ‘imagination’, ‘discipline’ and ‘inquisitiveness’ We feel that the project as a whole not only gave the pupils a real focus in their learning but also brought many areas of learning and experience together.
In addition, the engagement of parents became very favourable, indeed, many pupils took it upon themselves to do additional research outside of school. The parents commented that for the first time the children were all keen to talk about things learnt in the school, many of which even visited the Baron’s Court as a family and had their very own personal tour taken by the children.
Where is the effective practice recognised?
The Barry and District Soroptimist Society has recognised the project by awarding in the Heritage schools History awards.
The project has been exhibited and presented at a local history society as a leading example of a how a school explores its local history and how it is used as a vehicle for children’s learning. The project was also held as a good example of how a school could incorporate key messages from the ‘Successful Futures’ report by Professor Donaldson.