The Using Cultural Organisations to Raise Levels of Attainment (UCORLA) project based on the theme of the Dinosaurs aimed to provide reception and year 1 children with access to both cultural and creative opportunities, with the support of a range of cultural partners, that linked to their work during Literacy, Science, ICT, Geography, History, DT, Music, P.E., and PSHE. As part of the project, the Schools Library Service lent the school non-fiction and fiction texts about the dinosaurs, and the children visited Bolton Museum for a dinosaur workshop. The facilitator from the museum then visited the school to deliver a second dinosaur workshop. In addition, Artists in Schools delivered a workshop based on creating a dinosaur mosaic and the School Library Service delivered a storytelling session based on the theme of dinosaurs. Furthermore, The Phoenix delivered a visual arts workshop based on creating dinosaur headdresses and a dance workshop that focussed on supporting the children in creating their own dinosaur dance. Finally, a poet from Artists In Schools supported the children in creating their own rhyming poems based on the theme of dinosaurs, and the Phoenix created a DVD of the project.
The teacher expressed that the children gained a lot from the project, which clearly impacted on their learning. She added that they had leant many facts and enjoyed applying their knowledge in all curriculum areas. In addition, they used their experiences to extend their own learning both in the classroom and at home through creating projects, making dinosaur cakes, producing art work and carrying out further visits to the museum. The children were not prompted to do this. The teacher also stated that working with a variety of cultural and creative organisations has made the project fun and has met every child’s needs in terms of interest and learning styles. This has also impacted on the children’s learning as every child was involved and engaged in the project. The teacher also conveyed that the project enabled the children to have the opportunity to experience culture and creativity, which they otherwise would not have had, such as the visit to the museum. The teacher also explained that the middle ability boys responded well to the opportunity to work with the facilitator from the museum, who had a great passion for dinosaurs just like them. These children have gained the most from the project as it has developed their speaking and listening skills, their confidence, their writing and reading skills and their attitude to topic based work.
The teacher also expressed that working with the facilitators from the creative and cultural organisations has given her lots of practical ideas and provided her with many CPD opportunities. The project inspired her to develop ideas further in curriculum lessons and has increased her confidence in trying out new ideas. It has also enabled her to forge links with the cultural and creative organisations. The teacher wished to thank all the people who were involved with the project. She stated that it has provided the children with fantastic experiences that they would not otherwise have had, adding that it was a brilliant success and most of all fun.