Town Field Primary is a large Doncaster school with 460 pupils aged three to 11-years in 16 classes. Its teachers have been working with the Cornerstones creative curriculum for nearly three years now.
Here, deputy head Helena Honeybone tells us more about how the Cornerstones curriculum has worked for them. She says the fact that Cornerstones' resources are written by teachers for teachers has made it a big hit with staff on the front line – and the fact that it has introduced dragons, robots and superheroes to the classroom has made it an even bigger hit with pupils & and especially the school's 239 boys!
Q: How would you describe the Cornerstones Curriculum to others?
A: The Cornerstones curriculum is based on four stages of learning & or cornerstones & to engage, develop, innovate and express. Every one of its exciting cross-curricular projects takes children through this creative learning process; gives them the opportunity for first-hand experiences, and is designed to motivate and engage.
Q: What was it about the Cornerstones Curriculum that initially interested you?
A: Its new and exciting learning projects. The flexibility it allows to tailor the programme to meet the individual needs of our school. The many opportunities it offers to engage boys in their learning.
Q: Have you noticed any changes in how your school engages with parents and the community since implementing Cornerstones?
A: Yes, parents are much more interested in the child's learning. And, we have created, through Cornerstones, many more opportunities for both parents and members of the community to come in to school. Feedback from parents in questionnaires has been extremely positive too with comments expressing how much more engaged their children appear to be, particularly the boys.
Q: What do teachers in your school say about using the Cornerstones Curriculum?
A: Teachers have embraced the curriculum. They've ‘bought in' because they can see the benefits in terms of motiving children and developing their curiosity. As a school we have now also built in dedicated Cornerstones planning time, in advance of each new ILP, to give teachers the time to come together, plan and explore shared opportunities for first-hand experiences.
Q: What do the children in your school say about the Cornerstones Imaginative Learning Projects?
A: The children say that they get to do exciting things like design capes for superheroes or go on dragon hunts! We now have much better engagement in learning and children talk about what they are learning all the time. We've also noticed that more children are keen to extend their learning at home with parents & they take great pride in bringing in what they have produced such as powerpoint presentations, video clips and life-size models. All this is on top of any homework we set!
Q: Have you noticed any key improvements as a result of using the Cornerstones Curriculum?
A: All the following have improved, cross curricular learning, writing across the curriculum, standards in general, children's engagement, parental engagement, the creativity of teachers and of children.
Q: Which of the Cornerstones Imaginative Learning Projects has stood out for you?
A: Our favourites so far are probably Robot Rampage, Superheroes, Wild Wood and Orchestra.
Q: Anything to add about your school's Cornerstones experience?
A: Cornerstones has been hugely successful at Town Field Primary because of the way staff have embraced it and used it as a framework on which to develop their own creative and innovative approaches and meet the diverse and unique needs of our school. Crucial to this success has been the additional staff time and financial commitment we've given to planning and making the most of each project. We have ensured that learning opportunities can be explored with funded trips, visitors and activities. We've developed exciting opportunities for staff to work together on joint projects and we have had excellent support from Cornerstones.
See more about Town Field Primary: www.townfield.doncaster.sch.uk