Monday, 24 January 2011

It's a shame that...

I was very sorry to read that one of Knowsley's Centres for Learning is due to close after just two years due to poor student recruitment. The issue appears to be the fact that it is a joint faith school, in a strong area of religious identity. According to news stories parents are choosing to send their children to single faith schools a short distance away. Despite what some sections of the press are discussing about 'trendy schools' and PFI, the fact is that students were making significant progress. That's what schools are about!

The Centres for Learning are based on new small Home Base designs providing a number of agile learning spaces, for students to work in small learning communities in a variety of ways using a range of technologies.

Even the fairly negative media story was forced to acknowledge that the school has achieved good results with an increase in the number of pupils achieving at least five good GCSEs including English and maths from 20 per cent in 2009 to 35 per cent last year. This is a really significant improvement, especially in Knowsley and beats any other improvement in the area in recent times. The agile learning spaces must have helped contribute to the efforts of students, leaders and staff.

The decision to replace all the secondary schools in Knowsley with the Centres for Learning was a brave and trend setting decision... many schools all over the UK and globally are taking many aspects of their design and incorporating them into new learning environments. I still think that they are fab designs.... it's just a pity that a school that was actively helping students do better has had to close before it really achieved it's potential!

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