Opening Minds

Rationale

Young people today face a wide range of environmental, technical, social and economic challenges which go far beyond the scope of the National Curriculum. They also have to cope with a rapidly increasing volume of information in a fast-changing world.

A curriculum which focuses only on subject content cannot provide students with the skills and abilities that they will need if they are to make a success of their future lives.

"Your mind is like a parachute . . . It works best when it is open.”

Syllabus

Opening Minds lessons in Years 7 and 8 present the pupils with a series of challenges, in the form of projects, that focus on finding a ‘solution’ to a key question.

Year 7

  • Our Learning Journey.
  • Heroes and Inspiration.
  • Community and Citizenship.
  • Saving Planet Earth

Year 8

  • Changing Times.
  • ‘Solutions for the Planet’ Competition.
  • Healthy Lifestyle.The Future of Work.

The course is designed to build the ‘learning power’ of the pupils through the 4 R’s of:

  • Resiliency
  • Resourcefulness
  • Relating to others
  • Reflecting on their learning.

Staff

A team of committed staff from across the curriculum contribute their expertise as subject specialists to producing the integrated projects and thereby model the importance of showing the connections between subjects and ‘thinking-outside-the-box’.

Teaching Area

Lessons take place across the school site in response to the learning needs of a team of pupils and the particular project they are investigating.

Resources

The projects are well-established with good stocks of resources, ranging from art materials to ICT equipment. Increasing emphasis is being placed on the effective match between project based learning and mobile technology.

Extra-Curricular

Many pupils spend their time at lunch and after-school working on their projects. We have also taken pupils on visits during the last two years to the Galleries of Justice, the Royal Armouries, The National Media Centre, Whisby Nature Reserve and Waters Edge.

Successes

Ofsted Inspections have praised the ‘Opening Minds’ curriculum for developing pupils as independent learners. Three Year 8 teams in the last two years have won through to the finals of the ‘Solutions for the Planet’ competition in the Palace of Westminster in London.