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Schools’ showcase to be staged 11 June 2007

A SHOWCASE of the innovative and exciting work going on in the Island’s 40 schools and at the Isle of Man College is set to be staged.

‘Freedom to Learn, Freedom to Flourish’ is the first major exhibition of its kind in the Isle of Man. It will take place on Monday, July 9 and Tuesday, July 10 at the Villa Marina, Douglas, and will be opened by Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK.

Education adviser in charge of the event Martin Barrow explained how it came about, saying:

‘In July 2006 the Department of Education launched its Freedom to Flourish curriculum at a conference for senior managers in the Island’s schools and the Isle of Man College.
‘This curriculum document underlined to those who lead and manage education on the Island that they have many freedoms when it comes to how they design the curriculum for their own particular setting.
‘The document also described the desired outcomes from the curriculum in terms of the range of skills young people need to develop if they are to be successful in the 21st century. These are closely linked to the five outcomes described in the Isle of Man Government’s Children and Young Persons’ Strategy.
‘The showcase next month is a direct response to the challenge that was given to school leaders to use the Freedom to Flourish curriculum to begin the process of shaping a curriculum for their school or setting which meets the particular needs of their pupils and is also engaging and exciting while striving for excellence.’

Mr Barrow continued:

‘One of the ways in which schools have responded to this challenge is by looking for links between curricular areas so that, for instance, skills learnt in English or maths lessons are developed through other areas of the curriculum in a planned and systematic way. Schools are looking closely at the ways in which pupils are taught with a view to developing, for example, independence.
‘Some schools have organised themed weeks, where the normal timetable has been suspended to allow a whole week to be devoted to a single topic – often with many practical activities and visits by experts into schools or by children to other sites.’

Mr Barrow went on:

‘At this showcase event, all 35 primary schools, five secondary schools and the Isle of Man College are presenting a taste of the work they have undertaken.
‘It is designed to give a flavour to parents, partners in education and the wider Manx public of the exciting work that is happening in schools and to underline the quality of that work. We hope as many members of the public as possible take the opportunity to come along and support the event. There is no admission charge.
‘The event will also provide a useful forum for the schools themselves to exchange ideas and learn from each other,’ Mr Barrow added.

‘Freedom to Learn, Freedom to Flourish’ takes place from 1pm to 9pm on Monday, 9 July and from 10am to 8pm on Tuesday, 10 July. It will feature not only static displays but a rolling programme of live performances and DVDs showing activities schools have been working on.

Education Minister Anne Craine MHK said:

‘This educational showcase, the first of its kind, is a great opportunity for schools and the Isle of Man College to share with parents, the public and other schools the wide expanse of topics that they have been able to develop since the introduction of the Freedom to Flourish curriculum.
‘What we will see are exciting areas that each of the schools and the College have developed, taking subjects and exploring them with students beyond the text books and expectations.’

The Minister continued:

‘This is learning at its very best, education through fun, which in turn produces the independent thinker who will contribute to the Isle of Man in years to come.
‘I hope that anyone with an interest in our children and the role of education in the 21st century will visit this event. I am sure that they will be surprised and impressed.’

Contact for further information
Jo Overty, Media and Events Co-ordinator – 686080

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