Posts Tagged ‘schools projects in Newham’

SCEP has had a distinctly different mood about it so far this academic year.

As we are still using the funding left over from the original project we are making sure when the project finally ends that there is a meaningful and ongoing legacy left in its place.

There are several big projects, with deep roots, that I’m hoping will live long past the project’s end.

(1) The Department Store Game. This is in its second incarnation and will continue to be refined until it’s playable within classes or across whole year groups.

(2) The Lend Lease Project. Currently due to run in four schools next term, with a further three awaiting confirmation. This project is not only popular with schools and students, but is hopefully going to lead to the formation of the Lend Lease Students’ Forum which could allow young people to be further involved in Lend Lease’s developments.

(3) See Me Website. This will be ready for populating and testing next term. The concept of which is to allow everyday people to upload their stories and / or advice for anyone not sure of what to do next in their career or life. predominantly for the 15-25yrs age range and will consist of hundreds of short, self-made videos that are searchable and viewable on phones as well as a PC. Lend Lease are looking into being the first company to upload videos. If the website is popular then the project has potential to be independently funded.

(4) Newham Business for Schools (NBfS). Though this is a working title, the idea is to evolve SCEP into a long-term business / schools / Newham forum that can continue to develop projects, make links and be of benefit to all parties.

Full Steam Ahead!


On the 29th June the Department Store Game got its first big outing and major test.

We took it to Sarah Bonnell School and it was run with 180 Year 10 girls then 150 or so Year 9’s. The year groups were split into classrooms and each room had 3-4 groups in with two Game Co-ordinators overseeing and helping out. The Game Co-ordinators were chosen from the Year 10 girls that had seen the game before and were familiar with how it worked. It was a big ask to get these girls to help run the game as they would have to not only remember how it worked, but also take on board the changes that had been made and also be able to help the groups, who were starting from scratch.

I was looking for two things on the day: one was for the Game Co-ordinators to be able to take on the responsibility of their role and assist the groups. The other was for the game to be robustly tested and to gain lots of feedback about teething issues and changes.

Outcome one was really lovely to see. Most of the girls stuck at their task to co-prdinate the game, though they found it harder to manage their own peer group than the Year 9’s that followed. They all got a silver SCEP certificate and they were all pretty proud that they’d stuck it out!

As for outcome two? Well – I got loads of useful feedback from the co-ordinators about the difficulties they had with explaining the game and the stumbling points. The game is by no means ready to take to a wider audience yet, Sarah Bonnells very kindly offered their girls to test it on. I have got a few quite large changes I want to make to it now and we hatched a plan to run the new, improved version in another school – ably assisted by the Game Co-ordinators who were keen to continue to help develop it.

On Friday 27th April Westfield is expecting a very special kind of visitor. A visitor who’s been on longer than average journeys abroad – into space to be precise. His name is Paolo Nespoli and he was in space as recently as May 2011 as part of Soyuz Expedition 27. He is also one of the astronauts responsible for some truly stunning photographs whilst he’s been in space:

Vesuvio, Italia, May 17, 2011

Paolo is part of the brilliant Mission X project that has been running internationally, and across the UK, over the last three months The culmination of the project is a visit to Cumberland School where students will be taking part in events and exercises celebrating the Mission X project completion. Delegates from ten of the other participating countries will be present and Paolo will be taking part in a live NASA webcast throughout the afternoon.

SCEP became involved as part of the tour for delegates included a visit to Westfield to understand about the regeneration in the area and see how the Olympic Park was shaping up. I adapted one of SCEP’s Westfield tours to be suitable for a substantial group of, largely, non-English speaking delegates. I ensured the tour would not only encompass the Olympic Park and the massive regeneration of the area, but also the size and scope of the Westfield development itself and its considerable efforts to be sustainable and energy efficient.

Now – all we need is some fine weather for next Friday and we’re laughing . . .

Chinese New Year Dragon by West Ham Primary School (2009)
I thought you’d enjoy this dragon I found in the Newham archives. I am using it to illustrate today’s story as we had a ‘Dragon’ visit Forest Gate School’s Imagine Project yesterday.
Our Dragon was in fact the rather wonderful Sapphire Gray who not only took the role of ‘interim’ dragon to help our student groups refine and develop their presentations. But she also spoke such words of inspiration that the groups returned from their session with her full of renewed enthusiasm and determination.
Interestingly, in my role of ‘teacher’ my opinion of the students’  ideas had decreasing credibility with them as I was “supposed to think they were good”. And, in a similar vein, some students stated that anyone who agreed to come in to be a Dragon would also automatically say all the ideas were good because that was what they were there for.
As it turned out Sapphire did in fact find a viable aspect in all their ideas. Not because she was expected to, but because the four ideas the students were working on were actually quite marketable. Sapphire then went on to not only explain how they could effectively capitalise on these ideas, but that she would personally support anyone who was interested in taking any of the ideas further. The students were positively buzzing.
A rather excellent session with a rather excellent Dragon methinks . . .

We had a very interesting ‘visit’ from Lord Sugar in the Imagine project last week.

Did Lord Sugar really come to Forest Gate?

The class were discussing success and what forms it could take, critically not always financial. Then discussion moved on to who, in their eyes, was successful and in what kind of ways. Taking the list of people this discussion generated I asked which person would be the most useful to have in the room for the Imagine project.

The class decided that a visit from Lord Sugar would be useful as they could ask questions about their ideas for Stratford City. And, as if by magic, Lord Sugar appeared . . .

Well, actually, he was admirably channelled by a young guy called Lekan, who immediately assumed the gravitas and stature of Lord Sugar. It was a very entertaining twenty minutes whilst the class basically badgered him for money and he responded by asking what it was for and why should he give it.

The basis for this type of exercise is from a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique called modelling, when you assume the essence of someone who you think would be useful to have with you. I used this technique some years back when I was being ignored in a Currys Electrical store (that’s how long ago that was!) and decided that Carol Vorderman wouldn’t tolerate it. So, assuming her expectation of being served, I strolled up to some nearby chatting staff and sweetly requested their attention. It worked a treat.

Try it next time you’re not sure how to proceed with a situation. Conjure up the entrepreneurial essence of the late great Anita Roddick, the self-promotion quirkiness of queen Lady Gaga, the determination of Lance Armstrong, the business eyes of any of the Dragons or the humble compassion of Mother Theresa . . .

Next week a group of students from Rokeby School will be visiting Westfield at the as part of their GCSE Geography coursework. They will be there to make comparisons between the Stratford Shopping Centre and Westfield, observing the how each serve the needs of the local population. Should make interesting reading!

I was unable to accompany the tour but put together some materials to allow them to do a self-tour. As I walked through the proposed tour last Tuesday I thought I’d take some photos to illustrate the various points. Looking back on the photos as I put the tour together I laughed as it was so dreary, rainy and dark that day.

Not the best day for a photoshoot!

I think I should nip around again when the weather is a bit brighter so that at least the tour photos will be cheery whatever the weather on the day of the tour.

I will add the tour materials to this blog under Projects above.

Today I am looking at generating ideas – or rather what tools are available to assist creative thought.
The Imagine project will soon be launching in Forest Gate Community School and the students will be required to think creatively. Not only just about their topic but also about how they organise themselves and where to find help. By typing ‘creativity’, ‘generate’ & ‘ideas’  into Google I came across loads of websites and blogs listing the many different ways to widen and deepen creative thinking. Much of which I’d come across before in some shape or form, but there’s always something to be learned from other people’s interpretations.
I also came across some great new stuff – like the random phrase generator below:
What I generated!

Have a go at Creativity Tools – this exercise was also interesting seeing how the constituent parts of an English sentence are put together.

I have used similar tools pretty much all my life. As someone who started off at the age of eight wanting to be an illustrator, then a graphic designer, then off into architecture, silversmithing finally heading into schools as an art & technology teacher you might assume that I would be more interested in a career that allows my interest in visual creativity to be expressed. Not necessarily so. I found something even more exciting: the creativity of business, the creativity of self employment and even the creativity of survival itself!

These days I feel it’s vitally important to equip our young people with resources and tools to help them whatever their futures hold. Employment choices, self employment options, running their own business / corporation / multi-national could all be in store for our young people – and that doesn’t even touch on the multitude of applications for creativity outside of their working lives. I feel creativity tools provide options and strategies, which, the more times they are used the more naturally creative thinking becomes. In this rapidly evolving world such solution based thinking could prove very useful for getting our young people into what they want to be into – and, critically perhaps, out of what they want to be out of . . .

With plenty of razzmatazz, the much awaited Westfield Stratford City opened last week. And has been quite a talking point ever since.

And now, for SCEP, the real business of making Westfield a valuable resource for schools and colleges in  Newham begins. We can use a visit to the centre in many ways:

  • As a study in Careers Education Advice, Information & Guidance (CEIAG) to understand all the different careers and jobs associated with a large retail development.
  • To investigate tourism by recording how Westfield brings tourists from all over London, Britain and abroad.
  • As a live resource to see marketing in action, from Westfield its self, to the individual shops and also the day-to-day ‘pop-up’ exhibitions and stalls.
  • As a study in transport and town planning noting how the centre works logistically.

And probably another 101 reasons to go and see this amazing development in action.

Oh and a bit of shopping too . . .