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UK schools trialling radical new project-based learning programme

By Innovation Unit on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 10:16 | New Products & Services

The UK is leading the way in conducting a £1million randomised control trial for a radical new method of teaching.

Funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and carried out by Innovation Unit, the trial will test the effectiveness of ‘Learning Through REAL Projects’ in the UK, a model which has been shown in the US to significantly improve student engagement and empower even the most disadvantaged children to flourish.

It is the only programme in the UK to be directly supported by teachers from High Tech High in California, an innovative group of schools whose sophisticated model of project-based learning is an inspiration and benchmark for success in the UK. Despite being a non-selective school with a diverse mix of students, 98% of High Tech High students go on to college, compared to the US average of 72%.

What is the trial?

Innovation Unit are recruiting twenty-four schools to participate in the ‘Learning Through Real Projects’ programme, which will be implemented from September 2014. The trial aims to demonstrate that ‘Learning Through REAL Projects’:

Significantly reduces the progression gap between FSM and non-FSM students, and raises target group attainment at ages 12-14 compared to the control group.

Significantly increases target group engagement, including reducing absenteeism, reducing exclusions and reducing internal behaviour referral compared to the control group.

Why ‘REAL projects’?

‘Learning Through REAL Projects’ enables students of all abilities to achieve academically. The model radically reimagines how students learn, where they learn and who they learn from. Alongside traditional lessons, students learn through rigorous, inter-disciplinary projects, peer assessment and internships to create high quality outputs that are meaningful beyond school, with their products being sold successfully on Amazon or exhibited in public buildings. Teachers design rich and stimulating projects alongside local businesses and cultural organisations, which support students to become independent, confident learners with the skills needed to succeed in life and work.

Schools in the UK are already working with Innovation Unit and High Tech High teachers to implement these new models in their schools, with early successes already being seen. Pilot schools have included School 21, run by Peter Hyman in Stratford, East London and Goole High School in Yorkshire.

Schools interested in joining the programme, or who would like more information, should contact Kim Schilling at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 020 7250 8093.

The deadline for applications is Friday 6 December, 2013.

Innovation Unit

Innovation Unit

We are the innovation unit for public services. As a not-for-profit social enterprise we’re committed to using the power of innovation to solve social challenges. We have a strong track record of supporting leaders and organisations delivering public services to see and do things differently. They come to us with a problem and we empower them to achieve radically different solutions that offer better outcomes for lower costs.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Michelle Langley Michelle Langley Thursday, 15 May 2014 07:21

    Hi there

    We are planning on running project based learning within our curriculum from September and I was wondering if it is to late to join your programme?
    Kind regards
    Michelle Langley - Kingsmeadow School

    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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