Contact Us | About HSE | Trustees | News | Blog | Events | Newsletter | Membership | Training

An integrated, rich-context and authentic curriculum (including PBL and MOE)

The Mantle of the Expert (moe)

What is moe?

A brief overview: The Mantle of the Expert is a dramatic-inquiry based approach to teaching and learning invented and developed by Professor Dorothy Heathcote at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1980's. The big idea is that the class do all their curriculum work as if they are an imagined group of experts.

They might be scientists in a laboratory or archaeologists excavating a tomb, or a rescue team at the scene of a disaster. They might be running a removal company, or a factory, or a shop, or a space station or a French resistance group.

Because they behave 'as if they are experts', the children are working from a specific point of view as they explore their learning and this brings special responsibilities, language needs and social behaviours.

Let us be clear: the children are not putting on a play or running a business. They are simply being asked to agree, for a time, to imagine themselves as a group of scientists, archaeologists or librarians with jobs and responsibilities.

Through activities and tasks, the children gradually take on some of the same kinds of responsibilities, problems and challenges that real archaeologists, scientists and librarians might do in the real world.

For more information go to


DESIGN – Curriculum design - technology on a human scale

The emphasis on technology as a learning tool combined with a personalised curriculum and intensive student/teacher connection develops in most students a questioning and intellectually curious mind-set. Traditional academic subjects are taught through projects which are in themselves imaginative and different but which necessitate the learning of maths or history as well as the use of technology. Projects that students completed in the autumn term 2014 included 'the Pythagoras theorem, the Electricity problem, Physics core fonts, the Khan Academy'.

Students comments:

"Project learning makes the work seem easier. Everything is broken up with self-evaluations and deadlines with your own check answers and we redo things we get wrong"

*see full Case Study in the 'Research and Resources' section

Case Study: St. Nicholas School

DESIGN – an integrated, holistic curriculum:

As the pupils have special educational needs, the curriculum has to be a creative amalgam of a range of resources, approaches and strategies. This means that learning is active, practical, meaningful and developmental. The teaching is multi-disciplinary and holistic and rests upon strong relationships between teacher and learner, and home and school. The school is committed to a range of specialist programmes like MOVE and Active Education which enable wider learning through physical activity as well as music, drama, art and dance.

*see full Case Study in the 'Research and Resources' section

Case Study: Sir William Burrough Primary School (2015)

DESIGN – Curriculum design:

Sir William Burrough uses The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) as a comprehensive, thematic, creative curriculum for 3-11 year olds. It has a clear process of integrated topic-based learning with specific learning goals for every subject, for international mindedness and for personal learning. The IPC takes a global approach; helping children to connect their learning to where they are living now as well as looking at the learning from the perspective of other people in other countries. All this is underwritten by extensive personalised programmes in English and Maths

*see full Case Study in the 'Research and Resources' section

Case Study:Bishops Park College, Jaywick, Essex (2005)

DESIGN – Curriculum Design: The 'Tartan Curriculum'

Bishops Park College devised a 'Tartan Curriculum' to guide its KS3 students towards National Curriculum goals but largely eschewed traditional subject based lessons. Instead, a team of seven or eight teachers within each mini-school devised a scheme of thematic work for each half term, and students worked on this for about three quarters of their curriculum time. The teaching teams used cross curricular approaches to find ways of making coherent links between subjects across a particular theme, so that these were interwoven rather than compartmentalised – hence the 'Tartan Curriculum'.

There is considerable cultural deprivation in the Jaywick community, and the College endeavoured to provide students with opportunities they might not otherwise have had the chance to experience. One afternoon a week, all students from all year groups chose a mixed-age club to join for four weeks. The range of skills on offer was broad and offered the chance to try such varied topics as gardening, textiles, jewellery making, origami, Japanese, rock music composing and calligraphy, among others.

Fridays were given over to Masterclasses. A class of students would work for the whole day with a teacher and would focus on a particular topic, such as building and racing a model car, exploring a piece of literature through drama or creating a foreign language text to submit to a French website through language acquisition games and adaptation skills.

The final component was the notion of Faculty Days. These would run for three days at the end of term, when the College would be divided across year groups and mini- schools, allowing students to work with both teachers and students they did not usually meet in their normal school day. Faculty projects were planned anew each year, and provided a wonderful opportunity for students and staff to be at their most creative and imaginative. Often involving visits away from the College, topics ranged from researching and presenting Clacton in its resort heyday to researching the Norman Conquest and understanding why the Normans won; from creating a performance of Animal Farm from scratch to examining a member of staff's car for traces of forensic evidence and analysing it.

"Music is really good because you're doing things you've never done before. I recorded a CD in there. They've got all the equipment. It's like music heaven!"
"We do things like PE and circus skills. We make posters and masks and things and we're going to do a bit of drama …We do things that are more fun than normal and we get to mix with other mates in other schools."
"I've had more opportunities at BPC, the way we learn. It's not drilled into you. Teachers are more relaxed. They talk to you to help you to learn things."

*see full Case Study in the 'Research and Resources' section

Case Study: Stanley Park High School (2015)

At Stanley Park High School the curriculum, developed over a number of years, enables each young person to develop as an individual within a small community. Much of the curriculum in years 7 and 8 is experienced through the Excellent Futures Curriculum built around integrated deep and authentic Project Based approaches.

*see full Case Study in the 'Research and Resources' section

Back to top