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Investigating learning environments at Bexhill High

Students and teachers from Bexhill High collaborated with practitioners from a range of disciplines to redesign the ‘Discoveries’ curriculum, a cross curricular approach comprising science, maths and technology, and explore the potential of a new, state-of-the-art KS3 learning environment organised into 90-student learning pods. The work culminated in SpaceLab 2011, an interactive sharing event attended by 300 parents, staff and other community members.

Who was involved

  • 12 ‘Discoveries‘ teachers from Bexhill High along with 300 year 7 students
  • Creative practitioners: Ivo Rousham, product designer, Kenton Lowe, artist and structural engineer, and Chantal Cooke, environmental journalist

Enquiry

How can we model creative behaviours in the learning pods, and evidence students’ learning outcomes in ‘Discoveries’ through creative activities?

Objectives

  • To investigate the creative potential of learning environments, testing KS3 learning in new learning pods
  • To explore creative approaches to the design of a new cross-curricular faculty, ‘Discoveries’, comprising maths, science and technology

Outcomes

The project laid the foundation for experimental approaches to creative learning in the new school environment, particularly in relation to effective team working in the pods. Teachers are especially positive about the impact of involving students in planning large scale curriculum focused events.

There are plans to share practise through CPD and work with creative practitioners in the future to introduce similar models of creative learning in other faculties.

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Learning to work together on this project has taught us both academic and life skills.

Student

I found myself explaining everything to guests without really thinking about it. It was only afterwards that I thought, hey, I didn’t have to learn what to say, I just knew what to say.

Student

This project encouraged [the students] to review, reflect and improve on their work… The amount of learning in maths and science has been phenomenal.

Teacher

The project has definitely enabled me to be more creative. For example, having decent speed trials made the work with the buggies more relevant.

Teacher

It’s so rewarding when you tell a student something, and the quality of questions coming back show they have ‘clocked’ it. I didn’t know that would be such a buzz.

Practitioner