This week I am not “ranting” but “raving”! (well, ok, maybe a wee rant towards the end!)
We were delighted to receive so many excellent entries for our competition and it is good to know that so many young people are now aware of and looking to set up a business, using the co-operative model. The competition challenge was to write a business plan showing how they could set up and run a successful Young Co-op in their school and community. In true democratic fashion, we had allocated 3 equal prizes of £500 and congratulations must go to the 3 worthy winners of our competition who are:
- Whitehills Primary, Forfar, Angus – Fairtrade cafe
- Hillhead High, Glasgow – Stationary business
- Govan High, Glasgow – Community cafe
They will each receive £500 to develop their co-operative, Well done!
I had the pleasure of visiting Whitehills Primary last week to deliver their prize and have a chat with the talented pupils in P7. I was impressed with the knowledge and understanding they had on a variety of topics relating to the setting up and running of their Fairtrade café. The level of enthusiasm and commitment to this “real” project confirmed, for me, that Curriculum for Excellence, when translated into a inter disciplinary project such as this, has a positive impact on learning.
The pupils who have been involved with the cafe will be moving on to the high school after the summer. However, their legacy of the ground -work in setting up this project will be continued by the current P6. The P7’s have committed to “training” the P6 class in how to run their business and most, when asked, would happily volunteer to come back and help them even after they have moved on to the High School!
Now that the school has had the boost of an additional £500, they are planning to expand the project into growing food in their own garden to sell in their café! This will perhaps lead to forming more community links with the local farmers market and offering different products in their cafe. The possibilities for linking all of this to the curriculum across all stages in the school are endless.
I will at this point out another great TED talk which I believe would endorse this type of learning. He is promoting the concept that learning is organic and not linear and that we need a revolution in education, not just a change, to enable our young people to feel that they can happily and effectively contribute to society.
If schools across Scotland can use this seed of their idea to spread and grow this type of project, then I think they will, like many other primary schools, be embracing organic rather than linear learning. Ultimately, the youngsters in our schools now will be the educators of the future and will no doubt wonder why it took us so long to see the light!
Perhaps the revolution is already underway in Scotland’s primaries? Although I haven’t visited Hillhead and Govan myself, judging by feedback from our director, they are two of the secondaries schools leading the way in implementing Curriculum for Excellence but the process in secondary sector is, for a number of reasons, much slower. However, if the young people moving into secondary now, help to spread the revolution more widely to the secondary sector in the coming years, this may help speed up the process? But only if we empower our students as we have promised!