EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS IN ISLINGTON
The Upward Bound programme provides a model for breaking the cycle of low aspiration and achievement in Islington – it is a genuine life-changer. It aims to increase the success of targeted 13-16 year old pupils from the eight state maintained secondary schools in Islington by:
- Enabling the pupils to achieve (at least) five A*-C grades at GCSE.
- Supporting their progression to full-time Further Education or Sixth Form education.
- Helping pupils to obtain a University place.
It provides a programme that runs on Saturday mornings during term time at London Metropolitan University. All students participate in the course for two years allowing them to feel a sense of community and importantly stability. Students also have the opportunity to return to the project as peer mentors once they have completed the project.
The programme provides an alternative learning environment within a university setting, addressing the academic, social and cultural needs of the cohort to ensure that students complete secondary school with a minimum of 5 GCSE A*-C. The exceptional staff of group leaders, specialist teachers, university lecturers, school teachers and undergraduate students from London Met work collectively to deliver an exciting alternative education programme with strong links to the national curriculum, that re-engages learners, builds confidence and motivates the students to achieve.
Music in Secondary Schools Trust
The Music in Secondary Schools Trust (MiSST) promotes the education of young people by providing classical musical instruments, 3 years of group tuition, and performance opportunities to over 3,700 students. The programme aims to improve a range of outcomes. Since MiSST was founded 5 years ago the charity has reached almost 5,000 teenagers.
Students from Islington Arts and Media School participating in the MiSST programme
Guildhall Young Artists Islington Programme
Guildhall Young Artists (GYA) Islington programme is an ambitious bespoke music initiative aimed at improving the equity and standard of music making for primary school children across the London Borough of Islington. Led by a team of teachers and artists from Guildhall School of Music & Drama – one of the world's leading conservatoires and drama schools – the programme provides affordable enrichment and progression for students by providing them with playing and performing opportunities throughout their school life. The programme particularly targets disadvantaged children and young people by removing the barriers that would prevent them from participating.
Based at City of London Academy Highbury Grove, the programme offers 30 sessions a year after school on Wednesdays. Children receive instrumental group lessons, sing in the choir and play in ensembles. Each term culminates in a performance for friends, family and the wider community. It enables Islington pupils to experience the enjoyment, enrichment and social benefits that music making entails whilst gaining culture capital and aims to be the start of a lifelong participation in, and enjoyment of, music.
Company Three (formerly Islington Community Theatre) is one of the UK's leading theatre companies making theatre with young people. They train and support a permanent ensemble of 75 young people from Islington aged 11-19, all of whom are referred to Company Three by teachers, youth workers or social workers as someone who will benefit from participating. Members attend weekly workshops as well as taking part in intensive projects during school holidays. Alongside this core company, Company Three reaches a further 500 young people each year through a programme of satellite projects.
Science for Life
Science for Life is a partnership of a dozen primary schools and two secondary schools in the borough of Islington, collaborating on a common goal: to work together to develop the science capital of the children in the Borough. The aim is to address the problem of limited and imbalanced science aspirations among school children and young people in the UK. Children in Science for Life partner schools benefit from an enriched curriculum, and they are given science leadership opportunities. The project works in three strands:
- Strand A: the Hubs are professional learning communities, through which science leads can collaborate on their own school priorities.
- Strand B: subject-specific continuing professional development (CPD) and resources are developed and delivered to all schools. This includes consideration of how all four dimensions of science capital can be developed and embedded.
- Strand C: opportunities through the network are offered to all schools. For example, they are invited to take part in national and local competitions, training, trips etc.
Pupils from Gillespie Primary School enjoy their experiments
Philosophy for Children
Philosophy for Children, or P4C, engages learners in thought-provoking dialogue in response to intriguing stimulus material, often a picture book, film clip, image or artefact. Children learn to raise increasingly philosophical questions, probing concepts such as ‘fairness’, ‘freedom’, ‘friendship’ and ‘truth’. Regular practice in P4C deepens children's caring, creative, collaborative and critical thinking, and has been shown to accelerate progress in reading, writing and maths—especially for disadvantaged pupils.
Support from the Dame Alice Owen Foundation has brought together eight Islington primary schools in a project to develop P4C within their own classrooms and through inter-school ‘Philosothon’ events. Joint training for teachers and classroom support staff are at the heart of the project, giving thinking time to educators as well as learners as we work together to embed enquiry-led learning through high-quality P4C.
Year 1 at Moreland Primary raising a ‘big idea’ question