‘School of the future’ in Glasgow makes its mark on Danish education experts

Visiting delegation aim to adopt Kelvinside Academy's 'creative' approach to equipping students with essential entrepreneurial skills 

A DELEGATION from one of the world’s most vaunted education systems has been taking lessons from a school in Scotland.

Last week, a delegation led by John Klesner, an advisor to the Ministry of Education of Denmark, visited the “school of the future”, the UK’s first innovation school at Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow, Scotland.

The day began with 35 School leaders from Favrskov Municipality touring the school, meeting pupils and seeing the technology, before they worked alongside students to build a prototype for an indoor air quality monitoring system, led by Glasgow design agency, Filament PD.

Danish teachers who formed part of the visiting delegation said they can learn a lot from the principles of Kelvinside Academy, a school at the forefront of change, which continues to lead by example.

Morten Lyhne Lodberg Sørensen, Head of School Department at the Favrskov Kommune, said: “It’s really inspiring to learn about the policy, the values, the way to lead and the structure of the school, particularly its approach to innovation and entrepreneurship and encouraging pupils to think about this at a young age.

“We’re hoping our trip gives us hands-on experience to bring something structural back to the Danish school system, maybe not adopting it like for like, but adapting it in another useful way.

“Denmark is in a period where schools have an opportunity to become more independent and I think we can learn a lot from how Kelvinside Academy incorporates creativity and innovation into its culture.”

Meanwhile, Frank Kejlberg, a Deputy Head Teacher from the Favrskov Kommune, says he and his colleagues will return to Denmark with new ideas on how to prepare pupils for the real world, by giving youngsters the tools to be comfortable and confident they can learn from mistakes when they make them.

He said: “If you look at the adult world and the employment situation, we come into work every day where we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know the problems we’re going to face. We don’t know the solutions. We don’t know who we’re going to try and find the solutions with.

“So that’s one of the challenges we face, getting students to improve their ability to solve real life problems in a creative, innovative environment, rather than reading a book and getting the answers.

“For me, it’s about thinking about the kids’ future and making the school look like the future they’re getting into.

“And I think we can take inspiration from our visit to Kelvinside Academy to tackle this challenge from different angles.”

Earlier this year, Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrats leaders visited the UK’s first innovation school amid discussions on education reform. Kelvinside Academy has written several letters to Scottish Government’s Education Secretaries and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon inviting them to learn about how the school’s new form of education could benefit Scotland’s young people. 

Rector Dan Wyatt said: “We are always looking to expand our field of vision to learn from the very best examples of education around the world – we are very pleased that our friends from Denmark share that approach.

“It was a pleasure to welcome them to our Innovation School, and to see that word is spreading about the positive impact we are making.

“We are committed to creating an environment that provides the most well-rounded and  future-focused education possible. The positive feedback from our visitors was very well received.

“We have a firm belief that Scotland’s education system needs to change and look not only around the world but also at what’s happening here at Kelvinside Academy for examples of what’s possible when teaching is more centred on practical experience.

“We want to work with the Scottish Government to help transform the country’s education system. Pupils face an uncertain future and we believe young Scots need an environment where they can learn the skills needed to develop into entrepreneurs, experts and innovators and be agents for change in their communities.

“Not all young people learn the same way. This model could transform Scotland’s education system for the better .”

Kelvinside Academy has an exclusive partnership with the world’s leading innovation school NuVu – Boston-based education pioneers who are at the forefront of creative learning in the US.

The organisations are working together to challenge the boundaries of traditional education.

The £2.5million purpose built NuVu campus, which opened in 2019, provides pupils with a unique learning experience centred around creativity and enterprise. State schools such as Balfron High School, East Dunbartonshire and St Luke’s High School, and Mearns Primary School in East Renfrewshire have already undertaken CPD courses with NuVu Innovation School staff.

Speaking about the ‘inspirational’ morning working alongside students on their nooku project, Filament co-founder and design director, Danny Kane, said: “It was a pleasure collaborating with the staff and pupils of Kelvinside Academy’s NuVu Innovation school.

“They have been invaluable in helping us design and validate nooku, our family focused indoor air quality monitoring system.

“We are firm believers in the Human Centred Design Process and it was refreshing to see those values of curiosity, iteration and creativity shown by the pupils during our workshops.

“It’s exciting to be a part of a unique learning environment that’s inspiring the next generation of designers, engineers and innovators who will help shape the future of humanity.”

Rather than taking a grades-based approach to learning, students engage in hands-on problem solving and collaborative projects to solve real-world social and environmental problems, developing a portfolio of work to present to potential employers and further educators. 

Find out more about innovation at Kelvinside Academy here

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