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Creative visualisation is a powerful tool that brings a school's ethos and sense of belonging to life. By engaging our learners, staff team, and our wider school community in a collaborative process of visualising the school's values and identity, we are actively creating a living, shared vision that fosters a strong sense of belonging. In other words, how tro #BeMoreBob


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

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Target group
October 2023
We are seeing a huge increase in learner engagement across the school, with families (even grandparents) now involved in setting our curriculum as it evolves. Sharing ideas and opinions is strong in our learning community as the barrier of committing ideas to paper or through a poll have just gone. We talk, we are together and we respect everyone's ideas and opinions. And attainment is up too!

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Building a lived ethos that is ever-evolving and truly represents the learners, families, and staff at Dounby School requires ongoing commitment, collaboration, and adaptability. Ownership and belonging are core to everyone in our school and we needed a way that we could visualise where we were so as to move to what we can be and evolve to become.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Creative visualisation scaffolds our educational environment where metacognitive skills are nurtured, active participation is encouraged, and learners are empowered to shape their educational journeys. This approach prepares everyone across our learning community for success in learning, life, and work, while fostering a strong sense of ownership and belonging within the school community. Our curriculum has no ceiling, our learning community exudes endless possibilities and our learners truly lead.
We use creative modelling to physically represent our ideas and opinions about an area for development, then envision and build a shared understanding of this can become. We focus on not only the tangible elements but also the emotions, leading to shared presentations of the symbolism and meaning behind their creations. This actively facilitate an open discussion where everyone can ask questions, provide feedback, and explore common themes to generate innovative improvement steps.

How has it been spreading?

We are now mentoring 2 schools in our local authority and 8 across Scotland, with partnerships within the Creative Learning Network and beyond. We link with everyone we can encourage to be part of our journey, from the National Galleries in Edinburgh, to our very own Bob journeying around on a Grand Tour of Scotland to promote creativity and creative thinking (https://dounbycommunityschool.blogspot.com/2023/07/national-galleries-of-scotland-2772023.html).
At the National Galleries, we have spoken to teachers from as far away as Canada to people visiting from Africa. We are supporting this through our school's website, Twitter and other social media accounts. Our exhibition of how Bob became Dounby and Dounby became Bob has had more visitors to date than the Grason Perry exhibition!

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Be brave, make time, have conversations, create and just give this a go! Come and visit Orkney and see just how by making a wee model of what our learners felt about their school has turned into something that is beyond out wildest beliefs!
Check out our website (https://dounbycommunityschool.blogspot.com/) and our Twitter (https://twitter.com/SchoolDounby) or just pick up the phone!

Implementation steps

Select an area for improvement that you want to discuss with your learners, families and staff.
Put out items, anything you like, that can be used to create a real life model of what your improvement area looks and feels like currently for those involved. (This can also be used for creating a model of what you want to see happen once you put improvement steps in)
Really take the time to discuss each element of the creative visualisation that is made. What is the part there for, what does it mean, where will that little bit of new knowledge take us? Here is where you can brainstorm, create action research cycles, bring in others to review what has been made and really bring everyone in to the next steps processes of what you now should know is the outcome for your improvement step. (Please look at our website for photos of this in real life!)
Use what you create to bring that 3D visualisation into reality. Action the steps you discuss, make the hard decisions, let the right person for the task lead (an that for us is always our learners), find new audiences to share what you have found out, celebrate and build on what you have. You will never get better buy in to school improvement - ever!
And all of these steps will bring around such owned change, inclusing improvements and a real and exciting way to make sure the way in which your school works really is to the learning benefot of all. Your lived school ethos and just how if feels to be in your school will change beyond anything you can imagine.

Spread of the innovation

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