Innovative Schools – what do they do differently?

Last week, we announced the availability of the Innovative Schools video case studies. Although they were on the web earlier in the year, we weren’t ready to tell everybody about them until we’d completed all of the work on the website. But now, that’s been done, so I can tell you all about what’s there...

MSUF_Brett_LowRes Earlier in the year we were asked to produce a series of ‘deep case studies’ for use by schools around the world. The goal was to go way beyond our normal style of case study, which looks at what schools have done, to focus on how they had done things – what were their stories of success and what lessons had they learnt on their journeys.

We identified four UK schools who’d been using ICT in innovative ways, and who had learnt lessons worth sharing. The schools were chosen for their differences – urban & rural, successful & less successful, primary & secondary – to ensure that whatever your situation, you would be able to find things which are meaningful for you. The schools we chose are:

  • Bowring Community Sports College, in Knowsley
  • Broadclyst Community Primary School, in Devon
  • New Line Learning Academies, in Maidstone, Kent
  • Shireland Collegiate Academy, in Sandwell

And then we started work – with a film crew, an education journalist, an education researcher, and a small team from within Microsoft – to record the schools’ stories.

We received fantastic support from the schools, who made available staff and students, and even arranged for parents and governors to be interviewed. We ended up with nearly 40 hours of interviews, and then had to start the hard task of boiling their whole story down into reasonable size chunks – reducing 40 hours to a couple of hours (and even now, I want to find a way to also share some of the things that ended up on the cutting room floor).

One way that you could judge the quality of the result is the words of Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners when he commented in our press release

FirstquotesInnovation is core to ensuring that the UK education system is positioned at the forefront of learning globally. By focusing on the journey made by each school through the eyes of teachers, pupils and parents, the Innovative Schools case studies are an extremely useful tool to excite and inform the education sector about what is possible while providing a forum for the discussion of best practise online. With resources like this, we hope that all schools will be able to incorporate IT effectively, building on the success of those that already do. The four schools being profiled by this programme should be very proud of these achievements and the fact that they will Endquotesencourage others to follow their lead across the world.

MSUF_Barney_LowRes We decided to focus on nine chapters, and each school’s story is broken down in this way to make it easier to use:

  • School Overview
  • Change Management
  • Student Experience
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Parent Experience
  • School Administration
  • Local Government View
  • Use of ICT
  • Where Next?

The results, which you can see on the Innovative Schools website, is a series of videos featuring the voices of head teachers, deputy heads, classroom teachers, students, parents, and local authority staff. It is schools telling their own stories, and sharing the lessons that they have learnt along the way – and their approach to innovation.

Over the next fortnight, I am going to write more about these case studies, and what can be learnt through them, but for the moment, pop over to the website, and take a look at one or two of the materials there.

These stories are good to watch/read if you want to know what other schools are up to, and especially useful if you are looking to convince others in your school of the need for change, or to have a dialogue about what change could look like. There are so many individual interviews that I could pull out to look at, but for the moment, just take a look for yourself. I’ll start pulling out my highlights tomorrow!

Comments (2)

  1. davecoleman146 says:

    Hi Ray

     Do you know if you are going to be running the same deep case studies next year? As i know of a few schools that you may be interested in.

  2. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Dave,

    This coming year the next wave of case studies will be coming from Australia – they are doing a lot in Oz around 1:1 access, and so I’m sure that the case studies will have a lot of useful info for us in the UK.

    Beyond those, we’ll obviously be hoping to get some more UK ones, but no decisions yet…


    PS Very subtle – as an award winning school you were very humble to say "I know of a few schools that you may be interested in."

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