Two years ago we radically changed how we teach KS3. We went to a 2 year programme of study and implemented a project based approach, taught exclusively by the form tutor (OK, they get specialist maths, language, PE, DT and some science) – but the majority of their curriculum is taught by their tutor.
Now, our Year 7 and 8 don’t get specialist English, Art, Music, RE, Geography, History lessons. Instead, it’s all rolled into a series of projects.
It’s been hard to plan for, hard to manage the assessment and keeping track of who is where has been a real headache. However, the learners and staff all love it; standards have risen and it has contributed to a step change in pupil engagement / positive behaviour.
Great – so why not extend it to KS4
Project Based KS4
I appreciate before I launch into any discussion over this at KS4, you can cry “specialist knowledge”, “exams” and “preparation”.
As a Science teacher I find myself teaching maths and english on a regular basis. I suspect that my colleagues from Core subjects equally spend some time discussing each others subjects – no big deal. So why not formalise it?
I can imagine a KS4 project titled, say “The sustainable Earth” in which the students study:
1) Fossil fuels, crude oil, green house effect, pollution (Science)
2) Factual / persuasive writing, oracy / presentation skills
3) Data gathering, estimation, graph drawing and algebra
This could be taught by a single teacher – after all, we all need Science, Maths and English at GCSE C+ to teach in the first place.
As a Scientist, I’m not precious about my subject. Good teachers can teach most (any??) things.
Nowhere else in daily life do we think – “Oh, I’m only using Maths skills now”. Reading a recipe and baking a cake, involves comprehension (English), numeracy skills (Maths) and following a standard procedure (Science) and I reckon that if Nigella can produce a blended curriculum, so can we.
Has anyone got experience of a project based KS4?
Will it work?