This book is about a unique school. It is a school that, despite the increasing pressure put upon it by changes in the curriculum and the organisation of education, has managed to successfully maintain the creative values that have won it international and governmental recognition.
Written for teachers and headteachers who want to encourage creativity in their schools and classrooms, the book describes:
- the school's culture of holism
- its use and appreciation of its grounds and environment for learning
- its innovative approaches to curriculum organisation
- its appropriation of national initiatives such as the literacy and numeracy hours
- its creative teaching and learning through the eyes of observers, teachers, children and parents.
The success of Coombes School shows that it is possible to combine externally imposed prescription with a set of personal beliefs and values - making a real difference to the quality of teaching and learning. This is a truly inspirational read.
TES Book of the Week
'The best feature of the story told in this book is that it has been written up for others to read. The worst is that a book defending creativity had to be written at all. The demand for "compliance" has taken such a stranglehold on education that an account of a school that was not prepared to bend the knee is refreshing ... This book is more than just a rehash of 1960s creativity ... It shows how a group of determined and imaginative people can rescue teaching and learning from the voracious flames of bureaucracy and control.' - Ted Wragg, TES
'Deserves to be on every staffroom bookshelf.' - Junior Education
'In this text children, teachers, parents, governors and those involved from the local community talk directly to the reader, sharing their ideas, motivations and experiences - what delights, what dismays, what works. There is a clear description of how Coombes have developed a child centred learning that with teacher guidance is autonomous, individual and independent. At all stages we are given a careful analysis and description not just of what is done at Coombes but also how and why.' - British Journal of Educational Studies
'At a time when the edges of accountability and professional autonomy blur and our own sense of what we know a teacher to be begins to waver, this book reminds us of the power of human agency, enabling us to move beyond assumptions and normative practices that evolved from unproblematised understandings of what it is to be a good teacher.'
'This is an interesting book ... [It] is recommended reading for head teachers of schools who may wish to pursue alternative approaches and also teachers of primary-age children more generally. For teachers there are many ideas in the book for making the curriculum more interesting.' - Catherine Farrell, Educational Review