Barry Island Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan has been working with the Cornerstones curriculum for two years and teachers and pupils have plenty of positive feedback.
The primary school also has a particular focus on technology in all its forms, and helps its 222 pupils aged three to 11 years-old develop expertise in handling a wide range of ICT tools, digital resources and online platforms.
Here, headteacher Ty Golding tell us a little more about the Cornerstones creative curriculum supports the school's dynamic culture and outward looking philosophy.
Q: What was it about the Cornerstones Curriculum that initially interested you?
A: We were attracted by the bright, colourful, all-encompassing topic content and the innovative and creative pedagogy at the heart of the whole scheme.
Q: How would you describe the Cornerstones Curriculum to others?
A: The first thing I'd say is ‘Wow'. It's meaningful, vibrant, interesting, relevant and fun. It is also versatile and supports us all from the most inexperienced of NQTs to the most innovative and experienced of teachers. It helps all professionals ensure learning is creative and productive.
Q: Have you noticed any changes in how your school engages with parents and the community?
A: We have a very active commitment to online and social media at our school and Cornerstones creative learning gives us plenty of fantastic experiences to share via the school website, blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Parents, local businesses, partners and friends love to see what we get up to with Cornerstones and have become much more engaged with our children's learning as a result of our dynamic learning opportunities and our outward looking approach.
Q: What do teachers in your school say about using the Cornerstones Curriculum?
A: Thank you!
Q: How has learning changed through using Cornerstones Imaginative Learning Projects??
Learning has always been designed to be innovative and creative at Barry Island, however, since working with Cornerstones we've been able to provide a much more secure level of consistency and continuity of learning opportunities as children progress through school. It takes the onus off individual teachers' research and creativity and instead provides everyone with the foundation to ensure the learning is always engaging and relevant to the curriculum.
Q: Which of the Cornerstones Imaginative Learning Projects has stood out for you and why?
A: We particularly like the outcomes that emerge from Electric Rainbows, New Visions, Summer Festivals, Blitz, Global Gourmet and Scream Machine. We always try to ensure our outcomes lead to real products. We've made short films which we upload to our school YouTube channel and presented performances and slide shows to parents. We've put on an art exhibition at a local gallery and held a ‘Scream Machine' inter-class competition to design the best marble run. We also loved the Cornerstones' ‘Flight Engineers' ILP. You can see some of the kites the children designed and flew on the beach as part of this project & and the learning outcomes attached to this activity – here.
Q: Has the Cornerstones curriculum been cost effective and helped you achieve educational aims?
A: There is never enough time in the day. The Cornerstones curriculum helps us make the very best of our time. It puts teachers ahead by providing a solid platform for learning, with research and planning against schemes of work already done for each project. It then gives teachers plenty of learning possibilities which they can adapt and develop as they decide. It is not an ‘off the shelf product' which you have to follow rigidly (these often end up left on the shelf gathering dust). It is flexible, saves time and gives all teachers the confidence to be innovative and creative. We use Cornerstones because it helps us achieve high standards of cross-curricular learning & and deliver an exciting education for children.
Q: Any other comments you'd like to make about Cornerstones in your school?
A: Cornerstones is awesome. I am a big advocate. We have an excellent relationship with the Cornerstones team too and feedback ideas for development of units which support the additional work we do in school with Lego, Mobile Tech and other technology and community projects. They are always good to talk to with a high level of professionalism and enthusiasm for the creative curriculum.