Inspired by approaches pioneered in the US, and developed through a partnership between Innovation Unit and High Tech High in California, REAL Projects are now being used by schools all over England. Between 2013 and 2015 the Education Endowment Foundation funded a randomised controlled trial of the approach to evaluate the impact on literacy outcomes. Results of the trial are due in 2016.
The REAL Projects team
Cara Littlefield joined Innovation Unit as a Project Based Learning Team Coach in 2013.
Her role has included managing the logistics of the PBL coaching team, facilitating business development opportunities and coaching schools across the UK as they took on the transformative process of embedding REAL Projects in their schools. As a former Maths teacher, her specialty area is in creating REAL projects that allow students to see the purpose and relevance in their Maths learning. Her master’s topic at High Tech High’s Graduate School focused on how student engagement is heightened by the inclusion of an authentic audience in projects, and she is passionate about bringing this work to her UK based schools.
Before coming to Innovation Unit, Cara worked as a middle school (Key Stage 3) Maths and Science teacher. She began teaching in 1999 in Escondido, CA. While there, she earned her masters degree in Math, Science and Technology in Education. She also served on the school district’s leadership team and as her school’s math coach. In 2009 she was hired by High Tech High and worked there until her migration to the UK in 2013.
As someone who’s made the transition herself from traditional teaching to project based, she is excited to lead other practitioners through the same journey and see’s REAL Projects as the best tool to do that.
John is our Project Based Learning Team Coach working with a wide range of schools in the UK.
John Bosselman has over ten years experience in education, working in public schools, charter schools, university programs, consulting and coaching.
His work is mainly focused in the EEF trial of Learning through REAL Projects as the Professional Development Lead and focuses on the growth of teachers and schools in their development and understanding of project based learning. John has worked in schools across the UK and the United States to support them in curriculum design and school transformation. John also works in school design, curriculum design, and supports schools to develop adult learning communities.
Prior to working with Innovation Unit, John taught Humanities at High Tech High Chula Vista, a charter school in California that works to share and develop project based learning. While there, John helped to develop the four week immersive internship program, senior year individual inquiry projects, the school’s drama program, and led as part of the professional development committee.
You can see work he has done with his students on his digital portfolio at www.johnbosselman.com.
Kay Flewelling joined Innovation Unit as a REAL Projects Team Coach because of her passion for progressive education practices. Her main work with the Innovation Unit is with the EEF trial for Learning with REAL Projects. She acts as a team coach and advocate for education innovation in schools in the southwest of England. She is also the Learning Lead for the REAL Projects team, and coordinates with the team to learn from the work and produce artifacts of our work for communication, celebration, and reflection. .
Prior to joining IU, Kay worked as a Humanities teacher for High Tech High and was one of the founding teachers at High Tech High Chula Vista, a school which specialises in hands-on, community-oriented curriculum driven by projects. She completed her Master’s in Education with a specialism in Teacher Leadership from High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education, and continued on to become an adjunct faculty member with the HTH GSE.
She was a teaching fellow with Teach With Africa for two summers where she enjoyed getting to know students and teachers in a different context, and supporting them in doing project-based learning. She hopes that schools all over the world can engage learners in meaningful and authentic ways, and enjoys supporting teachers, students, and school leaders along in their journey to innovating education.
For more information about the work Kay has done with students, visit her digital portfolio at www.kflewelling.com.
Loni Bergqvist joined Innovation Unit as a REAL Projects Classroom Coach because of her passion for progressive education practices. She brings skills of intuition, empathy, facilitation, and solutions-oriented reflection to her role as a classroom coach.
At the heart of Loni’s work in education is equity. After teaching three years in a traditional public school in San Diego, California, she discovered the High Tech High Graduate School of Education and pursued a degree in Teacher Leadership. Frustrated with the antiquated practices of the school district, Loni became passionate about bringing project-based learning to students who wouldn’t normally have access to innovative pedagogy.
Eventually, she joined the organisation of High Tech High as a classroom teacher and spent four years working in various schools including the founding of High Tech Middle Chula Vista in 2011.
Loni’s passions include incorporating student voice, honouring the talents and strengths of all students and using project-based learning as a vehicle to encourage students to learn and produce more than they thought they could.
David is one of our partners. He is one of our experts on education and leadership, and is involved in supporting the iZone New York and in a range of projects: the Global Education Leadership Program (GELP), Creative Councils, Engaging Schools and the partnership with Human Scale Education.
Until 2009, David was a Senior Associate and worked on projects that introduced new approaches to leadership and governance for school collaboratives, multi-service provision and locality working. David also led the development of our programmes which utilise learning from Next Practice innovation to design, with Local Authorities or school collaboratives, unique solutions to significant local challenges and aspirations.
David holds the unfailing belief that, through bold and radical innovation, public services (and education in particular) can achieve transformative outcomes for users (young people).
David began teaching in 1971. For 14 years, until 2000, he was headteacher of Sharnbrook Upper School and Community College, which was one of the country’s most innovative and successful schools during his time there.
In 2000, he was appointed Director of Research and School Improvement at the National College of School Leadership (NCSL) – now the National College for Schools and Children’s Services. In that role he oversaw the development of New Visions, now the national program for England’s annual cohort of 4,000 new headteachers. In 2002 he became the Director of NCSL’s Networked Learning Group and a Strategic Director of the College. David has taught on Leadership Masters programmes at the Universities of Cambridge and Nottingham, and on Cambridge’s International MPhil programme in Educational Reform and Teacher Development.
Angela is one of our Senior Associates and has worked as a Leadership Coach on the REAL projects programme. Her former school was a pilot for this programme. She is also Executive Director of Eos, one of our partner organisations. She has taught in schools for over 30 years with over 20 years in Senior Leadership, 11 years as Head Teacher.
Angela left headship to follow her passion to really make a difference to all learners through ‘system transformation’. She believes that we need to radically change how we deliver education to enable all young people to have real choice in their futures in a global economy. She believes that we need to develop a ‘World Class’ education that is ‘fit for purpose’, engaging and relates to the real world whilst preparing young people to aspire to be the best they can be! She also believes that we need to learn from jurisdictions across the world in order to do this.
Angela began her career as an English Teacher in 1979. She has always worked in schools in challenging circumstances and sought to make a real difference to the lives of young people. She was part of the senior leadership team that led, under the government’s ‘Fresh Start’ initiative, a school in Sheffield from ‘failing’ to ‘outstanding’. As head teacher, she had a real vision for ‘0-19’ years curriculum and worked collaboratively with the ‘Family of Schools’ to produce a skills framework that gave a common language for learning across all schools in the family. The Yewlands’ Family of Schools received a national award for this work and became a ‘next practice’ site with the Innovation Unit. Angela’s school was also part of the ‘Learning Futures’ programme with the Innovation unit and the school was selected to be a case study.
She has visited schools internationally, including High Tech High in California and Kunskapskolen schools in Sweden. She is constantly learning and excited by the forward thinking practice she experiences both internationally and in the UK.
Chris is a leadership consultant who has undertaken work for a wide range of clients including the Department of Education, the Innovation Unit, the National College for School Leadership, IQEA, CEA, the Design Council, Government Office Yorkshire and Humber, both local and diocesan authorities, primary and secondary schools and school networks.
As a consultant at NCSL he was a co-designer of the New Visions Programme for new headteachers and presented papers on this topic at ICSEI in 2003 and 2004. His other work for NCSL included the design of the Established Leaders and the Collaborative Leadership Programmes. Later he was part of the Network Learning Group based at Cranfield University and worked with networks of schools across the north of England. As a consultant for IQEA he worked on long term projects with primary and secondary schools in South Wales, Durham and Telford and with the Government Office Yorkshire and Humber on the Prevent agenda. He played a leading role in the development of coaching for school leaders as part of the 14-19 Education and Skills initiative.
Until recently Chris was the managing director of an educational services company, which incorporated a teacher recruitment and employment agency based in Yorkshire. Previously he had taught in schools on Merseyside, in Monmouthshire, West Yorkshire and the Rhondda Valley, before he became principal of a large values-led 11-18 catholic comprehensive school in West Yorkshire.
His education interests and areas of particular expertise are in the fields of leadership, leadership learning design, school improvement, values and the professional development of teachers and school leaders.
Dr Jan McKenley-Simpson is a Senior Associate at Innovation Unit and works as a Leadership Coach on a range of educational and social care programmes.
Jan is a qualified teacher, researcher and coach. She was a lead HMI for LA and School Inspections, a London Challenge Adviser and Civil Servant. She is a Director of Public Service at Heart and has worked extensively with school leaders and teacher trainers. Jan has designed and delivered leadership development programmes for clients including the National College for School Leadership, the National Union of Teachers and various local authorities, specialising in programmes to develop black and ethnic minority school leaders.
Jan is a social historian involved with the University of Sussex, the British Library and the Black Cultural Archive. She live on the Mendips in Somerset and lead ‘walk and talk’ activities as part of my executive coaching practice.
She is currently working with Innovation Unit on REAL Projects in partnership with the Education Endowment Fund and High Tech High, US. She works on the DfE Children’s Social Work Innovation Programme supporting a number of projects which are looking at new ways of working with adolescents on the edge of care.