Innovation Unit: Spring News

21st Century Schools 
You will also be able to download a copy of this newsletter from the  website

The Innovation Unit is working with WCL and Lewis Live to support the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ (DCSF) nine regional events and one national consultation event on the vision and implementation of 21st Century Schools. Each event will have about 100 representatives from the school and wider children’s workforce, and will involve children and young people. The Innovation Unit’s role is to develop the thematic and issues frameworks for the events and to write the report of the consultation. Among the themes to be covered will be:

  • personalised learning and parental engagement
  • partnerships between schools and with other organisations
  • early intervention
  • the school as a community resource
  • accountability
  • leadership and workforce
  • funding and resources

To find out more details on the regional events and how to register click here.

DCSF’s current thinking on a 21st Century School System and the headline questions for consultation can be found here. The Innovation Unit’s work is being led by Ruth Kennedy.

If you are interested in developing 21st Century Schools – schools which avail themselves of the opportunities, respond to the circumstances of children and young people, and address the challenges of the 21st Century – and would like to discuss how The Innovation Unit could support this work,please e-mail us.

To find out more details on the regional events and how to register click here.

DCSF’s current thinking on a 21st Century School System and the headline questions for consultation can be found here. The Innovation Unit’s work is being led by Ruth Kennedy.

If you are interested in developing 21st Century Schools – schools which avail themselves of the opportunities, respond to the circumstances of children and young people, and address the challenges of the 21st Century – and would like to discuss how The Innovation Unit could support this work, please e-mail us. 
Learning Futures: Next Practice in Learning and Teaching 
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) Trustees are funding this programme of support for innovative schools keen to build on their work to transform learning and teaching for the 21st Century. Last year, The Innovation Unit, in partnership with PHF, published a pamphlet putting the case for tilting the balance towards a more social constructivist model of pedagogy in schools. This model highlights the power of engagement and integration in the design of learning experiences. The project team published a report scanning the horizon for interesting and successful examples of such work, worldwide.

We are pleased to announce that the project steering group will comprise Baroness Estelle Morris, Mick Waters, Vanessa Wiseman, and Professor Michael Fielding.

In January a series of briefing seminars was held to brief schools on what would be involved in joining the programme. Further details and the application form can be downloaded at Learning Futures Application. The closing date for applications is 2 March 2009 and schools will learn the outcome just after Easter.

We believe this programme is an immensely exciting opportunity for schools to work together to develop models of learning and teaching which release the energy of young people to be the powerful learners they were meant to be. For further advice on the application process or any other issue related to the programme, please contact
Applied Next Practice (ANP) Service 
ANP is what it says it is: applied work programmes for which The Innovation Unit is contracted (usually by a Local Authority or group of schools) to bring the tools, frameworks and expertise from Next Practice strands of work to bear on local challenges.

The Innovation Unit is currently doing work with Local Authorities and groups of schools to support the implementation of ambitious local solutions in the following areas:

  • Locality approaches to school and wider service delivery – click here to read the story of the first phase of our work with Milton Keynes.
  • Support for Multi-school Trusts, usually applying 0-19 models – click here to read the story of one family of schools in Sheffield.
  • Implementation of radical 14-19 or BSF visions across groups of secondary schools.

At its heart the ANP work involves sustained support for the implementation of dynamic new forms of collaboration, system leadership and governance. One of the tools used is the ANP Framework itself supported by the Bridge Change Leadership Framework, developed in partnership with Bridge and NCSL.

Should you be interested to discuss your own local ambitions, please contact us.

On the theme of collaborative solutions, the Innovation Unit partnered with Demos and NCSL to publish The Collaborative State (PDF download, 1.01 MB) in March 2007, which offers some useful case examples both from Britain and internationally. 
Communities for Learning 
‘Communities for Learning’ is a Next Practice project run by The Innovation Unit and funded by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA). It comprises eight field trial sites and 44 schools, all working creatively with the wider community to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to engage in deep and authentic learning through a co-design process with their communities. These schools specialise in unlocking a paradox of 21st Century learning which is if we want to make the learning and development of every individual child matter, schools need to pay more attention to accessing and leveraging the collective resource of their communities and partners.

 An emerging framework on Creating Communities for Learning is being co-developed with practitioners across the eight field trial sites. This detailed Practitioner Guide to Communities for Learning will be available at the end of March 2009. If you would like a free copy of this guide sent to you please e-mail us and we will e-mail a copy when available.

On 27 March 2009, the eight field trial sites are joined by DCSF policy leads, TDA sponsors, Innovation Unit colleagues and a number of national agencies and partners to share the learning from this project and to consider its legacy for the system.
Open Source Alliance for 21st Century Education 
The Innovation Unit has been working with other organisations including Paul Hamlyn Foundation, RSA, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Oxfam, Edge, DEA and Futurelab to support the creation of an Open Source Alliance for 21st Century Education.

This alliance will exist to support the development and spread of innovative practices in education in order to equip all young people for success in life and work in the 21st Century. It will do so by bringing together and making available all outputs from various innovative affiliate programmes and initiatives (e.g. Learning Futures, Opening Minds, Communities for Learning) to increase the collective reach and impact of innovative education practitioners’ work. The Alliance will support all schools, institutions and key stakeholders who sign up to the Charter for 21st Century Education. For more on the Charter click here.

The Open Source Alliance are currently recruiting for the position of Alliance Leader on a 12 month contract. Although the application deadline is the 23 February, late applications as a result of this enewsletter may be considered. For more information e-mail
Supporting Excluded Young People: Innovation Exchange’s Next Practice Programme 
Building on learning about stimulating and incubating innovation from the Next Practice in Education programme, The Innovation Unit, in partnership with ACEVO (the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) and Headshift, is running Innovation Exchange.

Innovation Exchange exists to support and grow innovation from the third sector. It is funded by the Cabinet Office, with sponsorship from NESTA – the UK’s innovation agency – and the Department of Health.

Through our new Next Practice Programme, Innovation Exchange is working with outstanding third sector projects which support excluded young people. These range from innovative start-ups to well-established organisations who are realising new ambitions. Some are demonstrating the potential of an innovation in a single area, while others are building on successful early results, spreading their work to other parts of the country. 
Got a compelling social challenge? Have a Festival of Ideas 
Innovation Exchange has developed a sophisticated event format designed to connect third sector innovators, commissioners and investors around compelling social challenges. Festivals of Ideas bring the right people together in the right way to grow much-needed innovation.

The third and public sectors are teeming with great ideas, but too few of them change the world. Innovators, investors and commissioners often lack each others’ phone numbers and the capacity and incentive to collaborate. As a result, innovations may get a start, but struggle for the connections and resources to sustain or scale.

Festivals of Ideas exist to tackle this problem. They facilitate new connections, build alliances around ideas and create tangible next steps towards solving a problem.

Innovation Exchange is looking for regional partners. If you work for a Local Authority, a Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership, a Primary Care Trust or similar and you would like to partner with us for a Festival for Ideas on the issues that matter to you, contact Raj Cheema. 
Addressing Young People’s Challenging Behaviour: A Festival of Ideas in Leeds 

On 24 March 2009, Innovation Exchange and Education Leeds will host a Festival of Ideas to improve responses to young people’s challenging behaviour in Leeds and neighbouring authorities.

The Festival will bring together a select group of people to address the challenging behaviour of young people aged 14 plus, through to post-16 provision.

If you are a commissioner of public services, a social investor or third sector innovator interested in contributing to this Festival please click here.
Innovation Catalyst 
The Innovation Catalyst supports leaders in local government to innovate. Our current programme focuses on reducing youth crime. We have been working with Essex, Knowsley, Sheffield and Westminster Councils to develop a range of innovations including: developing new alternatives to custody as part of the ISSP programme; reducing fear of crime and improving adults’ perceptions of young people on an housing estate; ways of improving the way staff work with families who have more than one child in the criminal justice system; and new ways to identify young people at risk of offending.

The Catalyst provides research, coaching, consultancy support and advice to leaders and managers in councils helping them to run innovation projects. Research involving offenders, families, practitioners, and magistrates is currently underway. The design phase starts at the end of February, concluding in a presentation of proposals at the end of March 2009. The Catalyst hosts learning events, bringing the four local authorities together to share their learning about youth crime and how to innovate in local government. The most recent event was held in Manchester involving experts from local Universities and the Prison Service. The Innovation Catalyst is a partnership between The Innovation Unit, Young Foundation and IDeA. For more information about the programme contact Matthew Horne.
Futurelab has just published a new report on primary learning spaces that will aid those involved in the redesign of educational learning spaces, particularly the PCP and BSF programmes, and FREE copies are available on request (while stocks last).

Reimagining Outdoor Learning Spaces aims to inspire and provoke creative thinking regarding outdoor learning and play spaces. It urges those involved in redesign to be innovative, radical, pioneering and to rethink the possibilities offered by this once-in-a-generation opportunity to help reshape and improve the broad educational experience for all young people – outdoor space is a vital element contributing to any child’s development and educational experiences.

To view the publication online and to request a FREE copy, please visit Futurelab’s website.

If you would like to request multiple copies to distribute to a network or at an event, then please e-mail Claire Denney at Futurelab.

For those interested in the redesign of learning spaces the following online report (on a project where learners were co-designers of an outdoor interactive water fountain) may also be of interest. 
Innovation Unit Publications and Toolkits 
A wide variety of publications and toolkits are available to download from our website for free

You will also be able to download a copy of this newsletter from the  website

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