Priory Church in Wales Primary, Powys
School name: Priory Church in Wales Primary School
Headteacher: Sam Greasley
Number of pupils: 165
A POWYS school has become the first in Wales to be able to lead training events and support other practitioners in adopting the Mantle of the Expert (MOE) approach to teaching and learning.
Priory Church in Wales school recently received a quality mark for introducing and developing the holistic pedagogical approach, where the class does all their curriculum work as if they are an imagined group of experts.
MOE 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 1980s.
Headteacher Sam Greasley said: “They might be scientists in a laboratory, archaeologists excavating a Roman villa or a rescue team at the scene of a disaster. They might be running a removal company, a factory, a shop, a space station or rescuing an injured orang-utan.
“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.
“Through activities and tasks, the children gradually take on some of the same responsibilities, problems and challenges that real archaeologists, scientists and librarians might do in the real world.”
The leadership team of Priory were eager to put in place a curriculum approach that fully engaged, respected and challenged all learners.
Initially the approach was researched and trialled by the Deputy Head, Lynsey McCrohon, in one year group.
The school undertook a series of comprehensive monitoring activities and observed higher levels of pupil engagement, a huge improvement in behaviour and rich opportunities for cross curricular links and implementing the LNF.
As a result stakeholders made the decision to fully implement this approach to teaching and learning.
Leading the way
For the following two years MOE took priority on the school development plan; this involved visits to training schools, staff attending residential courses, national trainers working alongside pupils and teachers, and the development of peer support across the school.
In the Summer term of 2015, six teachers were awarded Lead Practitioner Quality Marks in recognition of their knowledge, understanding and application of this approach.
In addition to this two members of staff were awarded a Quality Mark recognising their impact across a key stage and the whole school.
As a result, the school is now the first in Wales to be able to lead training events and support other practitioners in adopting this approach to teaching and learning.
“Stakeholders firmly believe that MOE has had a positive impact on attendance levels, standards across the curriculum (in particular Oracy), behaviour, quality of teaching and enjoyment of Learning,” said Sam Greasley.