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Moves to smaller scale - home bases, schools-within-schools (SWS)

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

STRUCTURES – 'Place, space and human being'

Staff who joined Bishops Park early on were able to watch as the new building grew just across the playground. It was an awe–inspiring experience. From the futuristic look of the building (one member of staff likened it to 'teaching in the Starship Enterprise') to the cleverly designed grounds with their pastel 'seaside' colours and textural pieces of artwork, Bishops Park College was a building of which its students (who had had considerable input at every stage of the design process), and the community of Jaywick could be justifiably proud.

It succeeded though, on far more levels. Inside, there was light and space, which created a sense of openness and wellbeing. Each of the three 'Schools within a School' (SWAS) was centred around an atrium, high and airy, which formed a central meeting space for the mini-school which could be used both formally and informally. There were classrooms which themselves could be changed by folding back a dividing wall from a small classroom to a much bigger teaching space, key for the team teaching which was Bishops Park's signature style, and finally, a degree of visibility which did away with any of the dark corners which allow opportunities for bullying or other undesirable behaviour.

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


Case Study: Stantonbury Campus, Milton Keynes (1985)

STRUCTURES – creating 'schools' within the school

The school, because of its size, was divided into five Halls. Four Halls for years 8-11 comprising 500/400 students and one Hall for years 12-14. Each Hall was based in its own building and joint Halls shared a Science, Design Technology and Computer block. The leadership team of each Hall comprised a Head of Hall, two Team Co-ordinators, responsible for the overview of their paired year teams both for curricular and Personal, social education, and Curriculum Co-ordinators who had responsibility for their curriculum within the Hall. Approximately thirty staff belonged to the Hall. Each Hall was supported by its own secretarial staff. Students stayed in their Hall for Integrated Studies, Languages, Maths, Art, Music and Drama. They went outside of the Hall to their shared Block for Science, Design-Technology and Computer Science. The Halls became small schools within the whole school. All Halls followed the same curriculum and had Hall Student Councils. They shared the Central Resource Area and Library as well as the Theatre and Leisure Centres, sports fields and dining rooms.

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


Case Study: Madeley Court School (1977-83)

STRUCTURES – Minischools or Schools within a School (SWAS)

Ownership, the sense of a shared life and the development of co-learning grew from the positive teacher-pupil relationship that was the intended outcome of the mini-schools system introduced in 1977. The school was broken up into six mini-schools of about 100 children each in the first three years; this then flowed into 'learning communities' in Years 10 and 11 each numbering half the year group and geared more to blocked subject faculties.

Each mini-school had four core teachers of Maths, Science, English and Social Science who formed the 'base' and two tutors from 'out base' subjects – P.E., the expressive arts etc. This territory or base was the children's own and everything for the child began and ended up in the base. The school, a traditional three-decker box shape, housed two mini-schools on each floor. Each was accessible by its own staircase and was not a through way to anywhere else. Each had four linked open plan areas, a small science lab, a parent-teacher office and toilets. When a child comes to school it is to his or her own small school which they help to maintain, decorate and run – each mini-school had its own weekly Student Council - and was in effect theirs.

Each mini-school school has its own headteacher and each mini-school team stayed with their group of children for the whole three years to ensure continuity and lasting relationships. The purpose behind the mini-school concept was to develop close and positive relationships between teacher and taught and thus render unnecessary the traditional and artificial divide between academic work and pastoral care. It also gave the 'base' teachers the ability to teach in teams across the specialist subjects and promoted collaboration and community. In fulfilment of these aims mixed ability teaching was practised throughout the school.

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


Case Study: Stanley Park High School (2015)

STRUCTURES – A move to a schools-within-schools empowerment, whereby every child is known and valued

Stanley Park High School operates a four small schools model, each located around a central learning space that is vibrant at all times, and very much the heart of the school. Resultantly, there has been a move to flatter leadership and management structure within each of the schools. Each school has a community of approximately 350 students, enabling human scale relationships to grow and develop. Students view them very much as their 'home school'.

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

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