Can #creative #schools get great results? Watch this #video of a fantastic primary and judge for yourself…

Yesterday, I visited Gallions Primary school in Beckton, Newham and was truly inspired by the wonderful work that’s going on there. I was invited to see their work by an organisation called Open Futures, which aims to help primary school children in the UK and in India learn through cooking, growing things, asking questions and making films. The Open Futures organisation, funded by the Helen Hamlyn Trust, does not give money directly to schools, but helps with providing training and offering expert help. These are the organisations that help Open Futures:

As the headteacher, Paul Jackson, explained to me, Gallions has always been a creative school, but has greatly benefitted from working with Open Futures. Having hit a trough with a bout of bad SATs results a few years ago, it is now vastly improved and is one of the most improved schools in the country. I was very impressed by the way in which the school had combined a very creative curriculum with a rigorous academic approach; Paul Jackson explains how this works in the video.

For me, visiting Gallions was a real message of hope: its success shows that getting great results and being creative are not incompatible. It is something I’ve found very hard to juggle in my own teaching, but I think if the full weight of an institution is behind a creative approach then you can really achieve great things. The achievements of Gallions shows that you don’t have to go down the route of draconian discipline, serried ranks and lots of upfront teaching to get good results. Ultimately, the creative approach pays richer dividens because after students have left school they can think for themselves; they have initiative; they are problem-solvers; they’ve learnt the value of enquiry.

Gallions is a local authority school and puts paid to another myth that you have to be an academy or free school to innovate in your curriculum. Headteachers of LA schools have a great deal of autonomy to shape their own ways of thinking. And you could argue that they actually have more freedom than free schools which are part of chains. For example, Steiner schools purport to offer a creative curriculum but they are actually very dogmatic and rigid in their approach, children are subject to many bizarre dictats and are encouraged not to have vaccinations. I thought Gallions showed the way forward for sensible people who want children to be creative in schools in that they achieved a real sense of balance between creativity and meeting various exam targets. Watch the video and judge for yourself…


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About talesbehindtheclassroomdoor

Francis Gilbert was born in 1968 and grew up in Cambridge and outer London. He attended local primaries and the local comprehensive as a child, before being moved to a private school when he was twelve. He read English at Sussex University, achieved a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education at Cambridge University in English and Drama, and an M.A. in Creative Writing, where he was taught by Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain. Since the early 1990s, he has taught in a number of comprehensives in London. He has held numerous positions of responsibility and has taught all ages in the secondary sector. He currently juggles being a parent, partner, writer, teacher and researcher in the east end of London. His latest project is his PhD in Creative Writing and Education that he is doing at Goldsmiths College, London under the supervision of the writer Blake Morrison and Professor Rosalyn George. He published I’m A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here in 2004, which went to become a best-seller and serialised on Radio 4. After that, Teacher On The Run (2005), Yob Nation (2006), Parent Power (2007) and Working The System (2009), and a novel, The Last Day Of Term (2011) followed. Having once been a proponent of “privatising” education, he has changed his position now that a mass of evidence has accumulated showing it doesn’t improve standards overall. He is a founder member of The Local Schools Network, which aims to support and celebrate the achievements of local state schools. His personal blog is: Local Schools Network: Twitter: wonderfrancis Contact:
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2 Responses to Can #creative #schools get great results? Watch this #video of a fantastic primary and judge for yourself…

  1. Reblogged this on Pedagogy on the run and commented:

    This surely is the way forward for our schools in the 21st century?

  2. I am actually grateful to the holder of this website who has shared this
    impressive article at at this time.

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