Slow Education Network Project
The Blackburn Slow Education Network Project brings together teachers from six schools within the borough of Blackburn with Darwen over the course of an academic year, to develop teacher-led research and Project-Based Learning across a network of schools interested in supporting each other in creating learning experiences which place depth, understanding and purpose at the heart of education.

CONTEXT
The project has come about through the development of a Slow Education Network in the Northwest and across the UK. Slow Education is a growing movement of teachers, schools, academics and other education providers who believe that passion and curiosity should be at the heart of learning experiences. Slow Education advocates deep learning experiences with outcomes that have real purpose and meaning, in the context of a broad curriculum that recognises the talents of all students. Within this the quality of the educational experience and engagement between teacher and learner is understood to be more important than judging student ability by standardised tests. Slow Education provides a supportive network for those who share these principles.

The project detailed below demonstrates how a supportive network inspired by and committed to these principles, can provide a powerful approach to student learning, teacher learning and school development.

AIMS

  • For the children involved in the project to enjoy the experience of learning through Project-Based Learning (PBL) placing depth, understanding and purpose at the heart of the work.
  • To develop a culture of using educational research to improve teaching and learning within a network of schools in Blackburn with Darwen.
  • To develop a supportive, networked approach to school development which will be able to continue and progress beyond the life of the project.
  • To develop links with creative partner organisations to promote and develop culture and creativity within the schools.

OUTCOMES

  • A group of teachers with practical training in research methodologies able to critically assess the value of project-based and other forms of learning within their school and partners schools. They will be able to conduct, analyse and disseminate research projects within the network and beyond.
  • A publication, co-authored by Dr Phil Wood (University of Leicester), Joe Harrison-Greaves (Slow Education) and teachers within the network presenting the findings of the research.
  • Each school to have developed unique, inspiring work through PBL, in which children will have deep understanding of the process and content of the project, feeling a deep connection with and ownership of their work.
  • Children and staff will have engaged with and valued the work of a creative arts organisation.
  • Through long-term investment in deep learning processes for both staff and pupils, results in standardised national tests would, over time, improve.
  • A hub for teacher-led educational research and support within Blackburn with Darwen, and a Slow Education network able to advocate at a national level.
  • A high-profile event to share experiences and research findings, drawing national media and education sector interest.

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