'Championing the rights of children'

Free school offering 'cross-subject' learning approved by Michael Gove

Garry Thu 23 May 2013 08:59

Secondary school that promises to do away with traditional classroom lessons is among new tranche to open next year.

An unorthodox secondary school offering "cross-subject projects" rather than traditional classroom lessons, is among the latest tranche of free schools to be approved.

XP school in Doncaster is one of the 102 new free schools given the go-ahead to open next year by Michael Gove, the education secretary, a slight decrease on the 109 schools opening this year.

XP's prospective chair of governors, Gwyn ap Harri – a former computer science teacher who went on to start a company selling educational software – says the school's teaching method is based on how learning takes places in the "real world", rather than sitting behind desks.

"We'll be still be teaching the national curriculum, the kids will still be doing GCSEs and A-levels. But the way we deliver the curriculum will be totally different," Harri said.

"If you want, for instance, an investigation into the wildlife in your back garden, there are loads and loads of different subjects you can cover within that. You can do maths in terms of the size of the garden, how many samples you can find, what percentage that is," he said. "Then there's the history of the place, the geography, biology, that sort of thing. So you can learn through a really wide project or expedition."

XP will be unorthodox in other ways too. Admission will be by city-wide lottery, while class sizes will be kept to a tiny 25 pupils, with teachers expected to multitask across subjects. "Teachers want to teach this way," said Harri. "They don't want to just teach GCSE music, they also want to teach art or PE or whatever their passion is."

Read more... (The Guardian - 22 May)