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The Pretoria Pit Disaster

Embedding Culture and Creativity in the Curriculum

1st January 2010 - 30th April 2010

The Using Cultural Organisations to Raise Levels of Attainment (UCORLA) project based on the Pretoria Pit Disaster aimed to provide year 5 and 6 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, History, Geography, DT, Art and PSHE lessons. As part of the project, Bolton Library lent the school fiction and non-fiction texts based on the themes of “The Victorians”, “Mining” and “The Pretoria Pit”. They also lent the school a class set of the text “The Street Child” by Belie Doherty. Bolton Library also delivered a workshop at Westhoughton Library that focussed on the artefacts from the Pretoria Pit that are displayed there and the children visited Smithills Hall to take part in the “Victorian Experience” workshop. In addition, Artists in Schools delivered two half day performance poetry workshops and Activ8 delivered a drama workshop that focussed on exploring the lives of the miners who worked in the Pretoria Pit. The teacher stated that the children continued to develop the drama work in subsequent lessons and she added that it had a great impact on the children as they were able to remember the information about the characters they portrayed. Furthermore, The Phoenix delivered a poetry writing workshop and they also delivered a photography workshop, which provided the children with the opportunity to learn how to effectively use a camera and these skills in taking photographs of their peers performing the poetry.

Being able to work with other professionals who were able to bring another dimension to the learning.

- Teacher at The Forward Centre

 The teacher expressed that the children responded well to the opportunity to interact with the cultural and creative organisations and acquired knowledge of the topic that they had not previously known. She added that the pupils enjoyed the practical activities and the opportunity to work with other professionals. The teacher also stated that the impact of the project is evident in the children’s written work, models and art work as well as their oral responses to the events and activities. In addition, the teacher conveyed that the children were now more aware of cultural and creative organisations and were encouraged to visit to the organisations in their own time. Furthermore, the parents of the children were also encouraged to visit the cultural organisations, particularly the library and the museum.

The teacher expressed that the project had enhanced her understanding of learning could connect with cross-curricular themes, particularly with regard to writing opportunities across the curriculum. She added that she was able to build on the activities delivered by the cultural and creative organisations in subsequent lessons.