Thursday, 27 May 2010

Pupil voice leads to Scalextric-themed curriculum

So how does Scalextric fit into the primary curriculum? And why did it start with pupil voice?

Well it didn't really begin with pupil voice; our story began with a silly decision I made over a year ago when I bought the Scalextric4Schools kit because it seemed cheap. What I didn't realise was that the project was for older secondary school children and involved 3D computer modelling using a specific software package called Pro Engineer by PTC. 3D CAD is really a bit advanced for most primary school children.

So I left the box in my office. But it looked untidy. So I moved it to the DT store cupboard and there it stayed. For a while.

Meanwhile in Summer term 2009 Paganel was gearing up for it's big Shine Day event celebrating the first year of being on the Creative Partnerships Change School Programme. The day involved 6 different creative practitioners working with groups of children on a wide range of different skills. The idea was that each group would take their experiences back to their class, share what they had learned and evaluate whether they would like to do similar things in the future. The class would then plan with their teacher for next year and see if any of those things would fit into next year's curriculum.

One of the creative practitioners was Craig Stephens from Stan's Cafe. They had brought some of their own Scalextric track, some audio equipment and enabled the children to race their cars whilst commentating on the races.

Quite a few children who had experienced this wanted to do more next year. Quite a few children who hadn't experienced this wanted to have a go at this next year also.

It was pupil voice. The problem with pupil voice is that there needs to be someone to listen to it...

At the same time the deputy head had identified that developing speaking and listening skills would be a key driver for raising standards over the next few years and had written that into the school development plan.

That left me thinking:
  • there are children who want to do Scalextric;
  • there's a plan to develop speaking and listening;
  • there's a creative practitioner who combines Scalextric and commentary
  • there's a load of untouched Scalextric equipment upstairs.
And it was just at that time that I attended the Technology Tree conference and met Val from Frankley City Learning Centre. Where they were already doing Scalextric 4 Schools.

So a rough plan was born:

Autumn Term: Design and make the cars, with support from Frankley City Learning Centre
Spring term: Race and commentate, with support from Stan's Cafe
Summer Term: Present what we did.

In my next entry I'll describe how the Autumn term panned out.


  1. Looking forward to conference on 19th June!

  2. Sorry, still logged in as Arthur when posted last, and this message - It's Marcus who's coming to conference!