After working well together last year, my colleague, Rosemary Duffy from David Lister School, an inner city comprehensive in Hull, and I thought there was no reason why my relocation to the independent Lincoln Minster School should put an end to our collaborations. We embarked on a joint project with our gifted and talented Year 8 classes, charging them with teaching each other about the English Civil War and the role of Cromwell and Charles I via the creation of a documentary and handout work, which would then be evaluated by the pupils.
Children at both schools asked if they could meet each other and it was agreed that at the end of the project the DLS pupils would come to Lincoln to watch the videos together. First, the classes were split into small groups, each looking at a different aspect of the lives of Cromwell and Charles I. They spent two lessons poring over text books, film and internet sources. The quality of the research formed the basis for some good scripts and presentations.
Some excellent pieces were created, including This is Your Life Charles I, an animation of an interview with a dead soldier, and a debate on Cromwell - hero or villain. A representative from each group then joined a working party looking at different aspects of the film's layout and a fourth group used the research to create a handout.
The day the schools met was a wonderful success. After watching the films, some very successful evaluation occurred, prompted by open questions - backing up our belief in peer and self-assessment. Comments like "As a top set we should do more work like this because it challenges us", and "I enjoyed this project because it was fun and I learnt things - it don't get better than that" made us feel that this project was really worth our efforts.
Headteacher, Lincoln Minster School, Hull