Authors: Tami McCrone
Researchers conducted a study of real-world learning (RWL) in School 21 in Stratford, East London and XP School, in Doncaster, to examine the theoretical thinking, the common practices used and assess how well the model works.
The NFER researchers identified several common characteristics of the two schools:
- An overarching whole-school ethos valuing authentic work relevant to the real world
- An emphasis on the development of young people’s character, especially their communication skills
- Open-minded, creative and collaborative leadership
- Development and delivery of a broad curriculum via projects/expeditions
- Awareness of and involvement with the local community
- A strong emphasis on CPD with additional days for planning.
The report acknowledges that both School 21 and XP are new and small schools which lend themselves to the design principles of RWL, but make recommendations to senior school leaders as to how some elements could be transferred to other schools.
- Reflect on school characteristics and values and embed any revised principles and values
- Encourage risk-taking – by students and staff
- Consider how change could be progressively introduced eg by year group
- Explore opportunities for external partnerships and real-world learning
- Dedicate senior leader and staff time to build and nurture local employer relationships so students feel part of their local community and can see where their education fits into the working world
- Expand time allowed for progressive CPD programme based on ‘teachers as learners’.