The Mosslands School: A Technology College, has been named as Liverpool Echo's 'School of the Week'. Want to find out why?
This week Education Reporter Ben Turner visited The Mosslands, an all-boys’ secondary school in Wallasey, which has tailored its curriculum to meet the needs of its male intake and ensure they are equipped for the world of work
IT MAY have celebrated its 100th birthday last year but at The Mosslands in Wallasey the 1,400 boys on roll are being prepared for the modern world.
Results at the all-boys school – which has technology college status – have gone up by almost 20% in the last three years with 60% of students now gaining five Cs or above at GCSE.
And a big part of the school’s continued success is down to its decision to consign traditional teaching to the history books.
Instead headteacher Mark Rodaway deliberately set about tailoring the curriculum and teaching methods to reflect the register, exclusively made up of boys from various backgrounds and abilities.
The school utilises the latest technology to enthral students and works extremely closely with industry to allow pupils to experience the world of work.
Activities as diverse as fencing and workshops with Italian and Japanese chefs also ensure students have the competitive edge and have their horizons broadened.
Explaining the need to deliver a curriculum with a difference, Mr Rodaway said: “One of the big issues for us is enthralling boys so they achieve the same as girl students.
“I took over in September 2007 and one of the first things I looked at was the practical teaching of boys.
“It is important the curriculum is not just about boys sitting down listening to the teacher at the front of the class, passive learning does not suit boys.
“They need a sense of belonging and one of the first things I did was use the technology we have to make the teaching methods more interactive.
Handsets similar to those used on TV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? allow students to answer questions interactively and the school also has wireless technology and ICT suites.
Dispelling the myth that technology is all about oily overalls and heavy machinery, students have access to the latest equipment ranging from laser cutters to computer design technology.
And the headteacher is so hands-on that he thinks nothing of pretending to be part of a circuit board.
He said: “I teach technology and if the students need to learn something about different materials rather than reading something straight from a book, I will ask half the class to find out about plastics, the other half to look at metals.
“At the end of the lesson I will pair pupils from both groups up and ask them to share the basic principles they have learned. One of the things I talked about was the electron flow around a circuit, I’ve taught electronics for 25 years.
“I could just stand up and draw a nice circuit diagrams but what we do is get all kids in a circle to act out the electron flow.
“To show how a resistor can slow the process down I would physically do so.
“Doing it this way means they will remember it, what we call deep learning.” The school is the only one in the borough to offer the Level 2 engineering diploma worth up to eight GCSEs.
The school works closely with industry with students undertaking genuine hands-on engineering placements with Unilever in Port Sunlight and Birkenhead’s Maritime Engineering College North West.
Next on the school’s radar is a detailed examination of the possibility of becoming a technical academy to further its bid to become the best school in the region for engineering, science and technology.
Mr Rodaway added: “Equipping boys with skills and experience to get good quality well paid jobs is fundamental to us.”
The academy would offer accredited apprenticeships based in industry.