From Aycliffe to Argentina

It was delightful to have Sugata visit recently even though his planned visit had been cut short because he had to fly to Argentina to speak with the government about his SOLEs work.

Aycliffe to Argentina all in a day!

We had two primary schools visit that day – Byerley Park Primary and Etherley Lane Primary.

Byerley Park met Sugata. They were a class of 10 year olds who have been carrying out Self Organised Learning for over 9 months.  They are brilliant!

Sugata gave them a real challenge and asked an A Level Humanities question….!

The question was “Explain why traditional measures of economic activity such as GDP do not reflect the quality of life in a country.”

That is a very BIG question.

You could see it was a big question on some of their faces!

Look at this wonderful photo that Sarah Cossom from Newastle Uni captured. 

The group nominated “professor Harrison” to be the class rep and to help organise things if needed. He decided how the groups would give feedback at the end of the session and selected one person from each group to share their findings.

Some of the findings were fantastic. They really helped me understand the issues the question posed. 

“Wealth is controlled by the top and sometimes wealth can be used for their own good and not for the health of a nation or the greater good. GDP stand for Gross Domestic Product and there is a forumla that countries use to work it out. Some countries are poor and people are unhappy but people in richer countries can be unhappy too.  It is unequal and even in rich countries but they still use GDP anyway.”

The group were asked what they think of Self Organised Learning and how it works for them.

“teachers don’t decide for you”, “you can change groups any time”, “You can get different ideas from others”, “you can walk around and see other peoples answers”, “it’s all about trust”

What is bad about a SOLE?

“if you are stuck you can’t ask the teacher but then you just get your heads together”

“sometimes you pick the wrong group but a group of 3/4 works really well”

It was a great session and their new teacher seemed very encouraged by the Self Organised Learning.

It was really nice to have some younger ones from Etherley Lane in the afternoon work with me and explore the question ‘why is the River Nile so important?’

They were beginning the topic of Egypt and their brave and bold teacher and head teacher are really keen to use SOLEs in their school. 

Looking forward to going to their school soon and seeing what other big questions they are getting their teeth into because the children gave me so many big question ideas before they left, we could be busy till at least next year just answering those great suggestions alone. 

Well done everyone. 

Brilliant Byerley Park Primary

Byerley Park Primary have some brilliant staff and students who are a pleasure to work with.

We have been working with Mrs Pattison for the past few terms and her fabulous year 5 class. They became very adept at working in a SOLEs way and it was wonderful to see how they delved deeper with the answers they explored. They didn’t need an adult at all by the end of last term, they just got in room 13 and got on with the big question!

Mrs Pattison is brave and bold and although doesn’t always necessarily find it easy to step back and work in this way has given it a try over time and allowed her students the space to flourish.

It was therefore really exciting to see her and her new class of year 5s this term book Room13 for a SOLE session straight away this term.

What a wonderful way to start the topic.

We are very excited to work this term with a number or Mrs Pattison’s colleagues who have also booked sessions in Room13.

I’m looking forward to observing the changes and developments with new groups of students working in a self organised way.

New Zealand

It was a delight to welcome visitors from New Zealand and their UK colleagues to Room 13  and to have exciting debate about learning. 

The visitors already have a curriculum that develops independent learning and have spaces in their schools (which are independent schools across New Zealand and all over in Europe too!) called learning centres where young people work by themselves or with others in a way that suits them. Our colleagues were looking for something that would develop this and encourage learners to set their own enquiries and be less reliant on following a teacher brief. 

I received some lovely comments from our visitors about their visit and our discussion. Thank you. It was a really enjoyable morning were there was a real passion and enthusiasm for a different kind of learning.

Look forward to hearing how things develop with our colleagues. (you never know, maybe even seeing how they develop across in New Zealand. How amazing would that be…?!)

Lunchtime SOLE

I was excited to have a group of young people come to use Room 13 at lunchtime to do a SOLE just before the end of term.
They were year 6 who were with us for the day who are coming in year 7 and had signed up to do a SOLE lunchtime drop in.

They thought about inventions and which invention has had the most impact on our lives. 

There was lots of debate which was great and some really clever understanding about how it’s hard to have one thing without the invention and the connection to everything else. 

There was debate about Tarmac, electricity, technology, transport and how everything is interconnected. 

The group decided you can’t have just one answer as they all affect each other. 

The group enjoyed me setting the scene via the robot and coming in part way through with a little question or wondering. 

Hope to have more young people self organising themselves to come and self organise if you know what I mean! Great they opted in to Room 13 without a teacher deciding to bring them in. 

Our 15th Birthday Bash

Greenfield Arts is 15 years old!

We had a party in June to celebrate all of the wonderful achievements, collaborations and developments of the past 15 years and to look forward to more with many of our partners, friends, colleagues, community and fabulous young people.


The engine heads and some more of our fantastic young people, who called themselves the party poppers, worked with the amazing Ruth Johnson to develop alongside us the birthday bash concept and event. Our cree men volunteered to help us and created stunning birthday party candles and helped in the set up of the event.




We had over 100 guests, party jokes, the conga, party balloons, party games, cake, confetti, music, dance and beautiful lights that made our hall look magical thanks to the, generous to a fault, Richard Agar.



It was a fantastic night and i was so proud of everyone who was involved and so proud to celebrate the work we have created and of everyone who has had been a part of our story over the past 15 years. Wow! Can’t wait for what else is possible…

As part of the celebration event the engine heads and party poppers led guests around our gorgeous spaces with birthday themed activities. One group shared our work in Room 13 and explained the learning we are exploring. They generated brilliant big questions together. The guests were very impressed and have left us some really special messages. Thank you.