Learning Futures ran from 2007 through to 2012. It sought to build on the success of Musical Futures by developing and trialling innovative methods of teaching and learning to increase students’ engagement with their learning across the wider curriculum. We worked in close partnership with the Innovation Unit.
We spent two academic years trialling approaches in a network of 60 partner schools. We published a clear set of practical pedagogical and wider organisational recommendations to enable other schools to learn from and implement the Learning Futures approaches.
These approaches – Project-based Learning, Extended Learning Relationships, School as Base Camp and School as Learning Commons – are described in a set of publications:
- Learning Futures: A Vision for Engaging Schools
- Work That Matters: The teacher’s guide to project-based learning
- The Engaging School: A handbook for school leaders
This latter resource sets out some key implications and resulting recommendations, relating to wider issues of school organisation, structure and culture, to maximise engagement. This approach, we would argue, needs to balance the traditional dominance of curriculum subjects as the main basis for organising the school. The recommendations also warn of the invisibility of professional practice in some schools, which greatly limits opportunities for teachers to learn in a sustained way from each other’s teaching or collaborative reflection.
Key findings from Learning Futures have gone on to underpin the Innovation Unit’s REAL Projects (Rigorous Engaging Authentic Learning) initiative, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (2013-15).