On February 23rd representatives of 10 CTSA member schools spent an inspiring and informative day with Luke Abbott and Iona Towler-Evans exploring the Mantle of the Expert approach. Luke and Iona are leading experts in this field and teachers and senior leaders watched as Iona led a class of Year 1 pupils into a scenario in which they explored the development of a centre to deal with troubled and troublesome creatures/animals in a local community and Luke immersed KS2 pupils in a fiction within this context:

“A field once used for pasture has been ploughed with the discovery of a large wealthy Roman villa under the soil. The owner/farmer of the land has agreed with the Essex Archaeology Team (EAT) to stop any more ploughing work until further historical investigations and research is carried out. In the meantime, EAT are to ensure the site is closed to the public and the media by employing a specialist team of security people who have a track record of such work.”

“Mantle of the Expert does not mean the students are magically endowed with expertise. In the real world they are still children.  It is only inside the fiction they work ‘as if’ they are experts. That is in the sense that they take on the powers and responsibilities of a team of experts, working on important assignments, caring about the things they do, and taking pride in their status.” Mantleoftheexpert.com

School participants also had the opportunity to explore the implications for planning and curriculum design. Everyone left full of enthusiasm and plans are now being finalised to enable the participants to access further opportunities to develop the approach in their individual schools, share practice and train lead practitioners who can support schools further across the Chelmsford Teaching School Alliance- and beyond.

If you want more information about this article please contact Tracy Goodway via cpdctsa@newlandsspring.essex.sch.uk