Comino Foundation

Comino Foundation (group photograph)

“The creative cluster has taken time and energy to build. The key to its success is the innovative teachers who are prepared to take risks and make sure creativity isn’t squeezed from the curriculum.”

Pat Walters, North West manager

What IF creativity finds strength in numbers?

That was the question we asked when we joined forces with The Comino Foundation to run workshops and share ideas with schools across the NorthWest. The answer was a resounding ‘yes’.

Four schools. Two Foundations. One college: an inspiring collective

We’re working with Falinge Park in Rochdale, Ambrose Barlow RC in Salford, Abraham Moss Community, The Derby in Bury and Manchester College. And we’ve set our own curriculum to bring digital and creative skills into the classroom and get students out into the world of creative work. Here are just a few of the projects we’ve worked on:

  1. Getting better GCSE English results with Recall
    We’re testing whether taking a more immersive approach to poetry – using music, film, art and theatre can help students remember their GCSE poetry texts.
  2. Giving students a taste of the creative life in our Summer School
    Once a year, a local ad agency opens its doors to our students and gives them live briefs to work on.
  3. Giving students a taste for coding (and code breaking) at Bletchley Park
    We’ve been taking our students on field trips to Bletchley Park to visit World War II codebreaking huts and explore the coding that went into the Enigma machine. And we’ve invited mathematicians and IT experts into our classrooms to give students their own codes to crack.
  4. Getting students into work with an Employability Boot Camp
    We’ve been pairing school leavers with creative mentors to help them get work experience and placements in local creative agencies.

And teachers tell us they’re learning lots from the partnership, too

We rely on teachers to back our projects and inspire their students. And they never let us down. Many teachers in our collective are also involved in their own research as part of professional development networks like the Expansive Education Network. It keeps their thinking fresh and brings new ideas to their classes.

Bounce ideas off a creative partner

In the creative world people often work in teams to come up with or test their ideas. If you don’t want to go it alone, here are three ways to work with a creative partner.

  1. Talk your way through a creative block
    If you’re feeling stuck, sometimes talking to another person will help you find the answer. Saying things aloud is a great way to get a fresh perspective on your problem.
  2. Boost brainstorms by saying “Yes, and”
    When you’re thinking up ideas with a partner or group, be open to everyone’s suggestions. Say “Yes and” to build on each new idea, and beware of the word ‘but’, which can close things down.
  3. Come up with ideas separately, then swap them
    Sitcom writers often divide their workload by each taking a scene or episode to own, then swapping first drafts with a creative partner. If you’re nervous about sharing your ideas, doing a draft on your own first gives you a chance to think things through before you get a second opinion.
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