Erasmus+ – Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills
The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship® has earned endorsement for the EU funded Erasmus+ project.
This project provides €423,000 over three years for work in three areas:
- Curriculum research and development
- Professional development and training
- Establishing an innovative qualification pathway at Levels 2 and 3 (equivalent to GCSE and A Level or Baccalaureate qualifications).
Experienced upper school specialists will work in these areas over the next three years. Their task will be to develop an integrated approach to formal, non-formal and informal learning, one that enhances and makes explicit the creative thinking skills so highly prized and sought after at this time.
For a summary of the project please see the Executive Summary below. We have also published a handbook that contains a full outline of the details of the project that you can download here:-
Handbook: Download ACTS-SWSF-Project-Handbook.pdf (779.7 KB)
Report & Meeting: see report on meeting in Finland here
Update: see update here
Supporters: see list of supporters hereUpdate: see update September 2017
ACTS Conference – October 23rd-25th at Michael Hall
Educating for a Creative Future
This was an excellent conference with a substantial attendance. Delegates represented a variety of different schools and organisations from the UK and a number of other countries. This allowed for many different perspectives and demonstrated once again the wide ranging impact of the ACTS project, and its potential to inspire people, be they teacher, parent or student. The programme of activities was rich and varied with speakers representing contrasting traditions within and beyond Steiner education. A wide choice of workshops led by experienced professionals complemented the speakers, allowing opportunities for practical work, discussion and clarification of what exactly ACTS is…and might be. I was delighted to participate in this conference and I very much hope there will be others like it.
Inspiration, creativity and connection at ACTS
Progressive ACTS will bring Steiner education out of the dark ages and into the next century.
If you missed it, quite simply you missed out. The ACTS conference was a brilliantly curated conference for a cosy European and transatlantic crowd, with key talks and workshops from a broad range of presenters across a wide range of subjects. Topics included the future workplace, dialogic learning, working with troubled teenagers and the use of symbol in creative thinking amongst many others.
For those of you with your head buried in other matters – Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills (or ACTS as it is more commonly known), is a rigorous, benchmarked way of accrediting what teachers have known anecdotally for nearly a century: Steiner education works.
For some of you, the topic of accreditation might seem dry. However, what was clear from the conference was that whilst a true delivery of Steiner education remains a dynamic exchange between teacher and pupil and is indeed an art, its output can nonetheless be scientifically measured. Conversation in the breaks and at mealtimes was equally enlivening at the conference – the quality of reflection and expertise in the room was really quite remarkable.
After nearly a century of Steiner education being hidden away in the background, quite simply, ACTS needs you. We find ourselves in an increasingly regulatory and rules based climate that will continue to make increasing demands on our schools. Steiner himself said that we must educate children for the world we are living in today. If Steiner education is to not just survive but thrive into the next century, offering children hope for their education continuing long into the future, you need ACTS too.
The Erasmus+ / Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills Project is open for discussion!
In addition to this handbook we have set up a new area within the SWSF Forum website to explore the concepts of the project further – as such if you are a teacher in a member school or organisation then please do login to the Forum and go to the ‘Erasmus+ / Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills Forum’ to discuss this with your peers from other schools in the UK & Ireland.
N.B. If you are not yet a member of the Forum then please go to the forum registration page here too apply to become registered.
There are five partners working together on this project:
- The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship® (UK)
- Sammenslutningen af frie Rudolf Steiner skoler i Danmark (Denmark) see website here
- Steinerskoleforbundet (Norway) see website here
- Steinerkasvatuksen liitto (Finland) see website here
- Crossfields Institute (UK) see website here
Our project ‘Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills’ aims to contribute to the development of a European area of Skills and Qualifications, thereby raising attainment for all students and reducing the numbers of early school leavers.
We want to facilitate creative thinking and maximise potential in all students through a holistic approach to curriculum development and implementation combining the highly-focused, analytic thinking and memory training involved in formal education with the softer focus, non-verbal, experience of interconnections and context that is often found in non-formal and informal learning.
We have identified a need, raised repeatedly by schools across Europe, for qualifications at Levels 3 and 4 (EQF) that recognise and validate learning gained through an integrated variety of formal, non-formal and informal learning styles. In an increasingly mobile Europe, these qualifications and the elements within them need to be portable.
We recognise that in order to enable the successful embedding of this approach in schools, a parallel activity developing suitable CPD and assessor training will be needed, and most effective if Learning Support specialists are available from the outset. It is in this context that development of Level 2 and 3 qualifications (ENQF) equivalent to Level 3 and 4 (EQF) can be realised.
There are therefore three strands to the proposed SWSF project:
- Curriculum Development
- Upper School Teacher Training/CPD
- Establishing a Qualification on the National framework recognising and validating an integrated approach to Formal, non-formal and informal learning. Also the associated Assessor Training
The methodology for this three year project will be collaborative and involve 4 Project Management meetings to plan and disseminate results relating to:
4 Curriculum Development Transnational Activities facilitated by the Crossfields Institute. These will develop an innovative integration of formal, non-formal and informal learning within school provision to reduce the number of early school leavers, and raise the attainment of all including low and high achievers, by enhancing creative thinking skills. Layers of creative thinking will be studied across the entire curriculum. Qualification meetings will write up the diploma priorities with subject specialists and in a cross curricular context, also in consultation with learning support specialists. The participants will all be experienced teachers, teacher trainers and educationalists.
3 Assessor Trainer Transnational Activities lead by Crossfields will train experts to cascade down the necessary assessment training to teachers in the schools. Assessor training will include holistic assessment using a range of integrated methods, observation skills, working cross curricular, with past, present and future and conscious reflective practice.
An interactive Information Hub website with conferencing and virtual learning facility will be set up.
Crossfields will work collaboratively with the partners on the detailed development of the units including an innovative unit, making explicit the creative thinking skills so valued in Higher Education, employment and business. Once completed, the diploma will be launched at the end of the three year project.
Alongside this, an invaluable overview of approaches, methodologies and case studies discussed at the Transnational Activities will be synthesised into an easily understood and digestible publication suitable for practical use and wider dissemination in the form of the SWSF intellectual output: ‘Creative Thinking: the integration of formal, non-formal and informal learning in schools’. This will be made freely available on the SWSF Information Hub website, along with articles, reports, forums and information about the diploma.
News archive: see news archive here
Experienced teachers from Upper Schools, plus a retired teacher and a parent who is a university lecturer are currently attending the meetings.
Schools participating in the transnational conferences:
- Michael Hall see website here
- York see website here
- Botton see website here
- Edinburgh see website here
- Brighton see website here
- Elmfield see website here
- Ringwood see website here
- Wynstones see website here
FAQs: See ACTS FAQ here