Manchester Museums and Galleries Partnership in Education Programme ran from 2004-2010. I first came across this project from Twitter and asked to be kept in the loop when the final report was completed. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, or to be remembered but luckily, Louise Sutherland @lsutherland, the Learning Development Manager for Manchester City Galleries (Renaissance) didn’t forget.
The 23-page comprehensive report shows a progressive, successful link between Manchester Children’s Services, local schools and cultural organisations. It proves that these links can and did work in not just improving relationships between the agencies, but more importable it improved the children’s attainment while given the teachers the tools to make them more comfortable to work deeper into the curriculum (thinking outside the box).
The bottom line? It worked.
Why? Collaboration and allowing pupils to explore a topic for more than 15 minutes burst.
The file can be found at the end of this document but I’m going to write about what I found important.
The pupils learned more from attending the museums and galleries AND they enjoyed it.
Pupil attainment in writing was 35% HIGHER than nationally expected. But it didn’t stop there. Improvements were also seen in emotional and social skills AND positive attitudes to learning. Speaking and listening skills, along with concentration levels were all improved.
Majority of the Head teachers felt it led to more cross-curriculum teaching. For me, this is a huge bonus as I personally feel the current national curriculum is too rigid and doesn’t allow for pupils to really absorb any subject properly.
Outside the school hours, parents and families also seen the benefit. Families and extended families (grandparents, etc) got involved via volunteering for the trips and by cheerleading the learning at home.
“As a result of this initiative, parents have developed both in confidence and in their commitment to using visits at weekends. Museums and Galleries are now enriching the lives of our school and the wider community.” ~Head teacher
Another key element was the collaboration and expansion of the core project with other third-party people. One in particular I really thought was brilliant Initial Teacher Training (ITT) project that linked literacy specialist student teachers with the project within MAGPIE schools. For me, it was enabling new teachers with this flexible, fun and different way of teaching which hopefully they will continue to use and take to whatever school they get placement in and spread the good practice.
MAGPIE also worked on a KeyStage 3 project linking with Manchester City Football Club museum to see how MAGPIE could work with their venue.
The pilot scheme was started with a core group of schools (113 school, 106 Primary and 6 Secondary) and whilst the model used throughout the programmes run was pretty much the same as the original, they did make slight modifications along the way to ensure feedback provided was adhered to. One key element was ensuring all involved (including Teaching Assistants and student teachers) were allowed to contribute to the model and ensuring everyone involved knew what their role was in the project.
The main goal was for collaboration to develop pedagogy, ensure long term use/planning in classroom and to make sure the experience for the pupils was worthwhile.
Essentially, the model was a simple one:
- Hold meetings with the key people to ensure objectives, delivery, evaluation, review and sharing of good practice.
- Professional Development.
- Teachers and cultural people collaborate on schemes of work etc
- Pre-visit meetings to ensure all involved know what is expected and best practice/approach to achieve the goals.
- Classes visit the cultural venue.
- Classes visit the cultural venue again
- Post-visit work in school
“… we are now taking a whole school approach to developing creativity. This will involve, staff meetings to share good practice, asking museums and galleries to come to school and help with the planning of the curriculum… The MAGPIE project has not only had an affect on the class involved, but this is being sustained and is becoming an integral part of our school.” ~Head Teacher
How brilliant is that? Integrating museums and galleries into the school curriculum because they seen its benefits. How can we get more Partnerships and Councils involved? Talk to them. Get the people (schools, museums, etc) talking to each other and use this report as the basis for discussion. It proves this style of teaching and learning CAN work.
Hear that Gove?