Newcastle primary accredited as a ‘Mantle of the Expert’ training school

St John’s Primary School has just been Quality Marked as a Mantle of the Expert training school, one of only four in the country and the only one north of Birmingham.

Mantle of the Expert (MoE) was developed by Dr. Dorothy Heathcote in Newcastle, where she was an academic at Newcastle University until her retirement in 1986.

It is a method by which children can understand the curriculum through taking on the role of an expert team responsible for carrying out important commissions set by an imagined client. These commissions are both the way of accessing the curriculum and the tensions which add complexity to the learning, keep the tasks interesting and promote new tasks for further learning.

The MoE approach places the child at the centre of the learning process, but it is far from being child-led, as the teacher’s role is a crucial part both in and outside the drama.

St John’s Primary School has developed a number of scenarios to help children learn about science, important events/periods in history and key figures:

1. Scientists investigating a mysterious island and the animals there

2. A team helping Florence Nightingale during the Crimean war

3. Archaeologists investigating Anglo Saxon finds at the site of a new hospital

4. Archaeologists investigating a Roman box

5. A team researching the lives of women in WW1

6. And finally, a group of battle re-enactors asked to demonstrate the Lindisfarne Viking raids for English Heritage.

Ian Gorman, teacher at St John’s Primary, told SCHOOLS NorthEast: “the children know it isn’t real, but invest in it as though it is.”

He added that they now welcome short visits from schools, but will be running official training days starting December.

If you are interested in finding out more about Mantle of the Expert visit www.mantleoftheexpert.com .

Further reading:

Dorothy Heathcote’s Mantle of the Expert approach to teaching and learning: A brief introduction (Study by Viv Aitken, Associate Professor and Programme Co-ordinator for the Bachelor of Training Primary at EIT, New Zealand).

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