Jannath mentioned that she had been successful in getting FOSIL included in the wording of their recently updated “T&L [Teaching and Learning] policy and curriculum planning],” which highlights an important way of effecting change, and one that would benefit from further discussion.
I will start with progress that we have made so far.
FOSIL has been included in our public-facing Curriculum Policy (authorised in September 2022 and due for revision in September 2024) in relation to curriculum design (1.2), content planning (2.3) and the learning experience (2.8). FOSIL is also included in the medium-term [unit] plan proforma (Appendix 1 and see below) and the individual lesson plan proforma (Appendix 2).
The inclusion of FOSIL in the unit plan proforma is particularly significant, because this is the consequence of work done with Heads of Departments and Subject Leads on framing the curriculum through essential questions (see here for PPT presentation and accompanying handout on discipline-specific entry question(s), topical essential questions, and overarching essential questions). See also our subsequent whole-school INSET presentation on Signature Work inquiry.
For an example of our use of the unit plan proforma and linking to specific FOSIL skills from within individual lessons, see Year 12 (Grade 11) Interrobang!? Inquiry Course @ Blanchelande College. This topic is also an example of how we are using the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) to effect broader change, and from next year the Higher Project Qualification (HPQ).
FOSIL is also inlcuded in our imminent policy on stretching all students, and is central to our academic integrity policy (a work-in-progress, but I am reflecting on it as I go in ChatGPT et al).
I am now approaching the end of my second year at Blanchelande – it feels like yesterday that we moved over! – and am due my appraisal, for which I have just submitted my self-evaluation form. The self-evaluation form for all teaching staff includes the following:
5. Inquiry-based learning: Give an example(s) of how you have enabled, or plan to enable, pupils to practise inquiry-led learning using the FOSIL framework and explain how the pupils benefited from this.
This, combined with developments in the post above, is leading to some very exciting conversations with colleagues across subjects and year groups, for example:
Year 7 (Grade 6) Maths: “Can maths help me get better at art?” (Fibonacci Sequence, and the Golden Ratio and Golden Spiral – see Year 7&8 (Grade 6&7) Maths Inquiries), opening the door next year to an interdisciplinary collaboration with Biology centred on our emerging Nature Trail
Year 8 (Grade 7) Maths: “Is maths a universal language?” (ethnomathematics – see Year 7&8 (Grade 6&7) Maths Inquiries), opening the door next year to other topics in Maths, for example, rotations and reflections and/ or bases, and opening the door next year to an interdisciplinary collaboration with Languages
Year 10 (Grade 9) GCSE English: “What is the greatest modern film or stage production of (or based on) ‘Romeo and Juliet’?” (see also Romeo and Juliet Inquiry Journal in Resources)
Year 12 (Grade 11) Psychology: developing effective entry questions in relation to topical and overarching essential questions
As it would be impossible, and undesirable, for the Library to run all of these inquiries, this highlights both the need for and value of INSET (see FOSIL Presentations, in terms of both education and training (CPD for teachers being one of the core instructional activities of the librarian as outlined in the IFLA School Library Guidelines).