School 21 and XP: Real-world learning

NFER, Edge Foundation

07 June 2019

Research report on The Edge Foundation website

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) was commissioned by the Edge Foundation to undertake an independent study of the provision of real-world learning (RWL) in School 21 in East London and XP School in Doncaster. These schools are known to be innovative in taking a whole-school approach to planning and delivery and to value authentic experience of the world of work linked to the real world. Key aims of the study were to: l

  1. Gather information about RWL models and the theoretical thinking underpinning them.
  2. Identify the common elements of whole-school RWL models across the two schools.
  3. Assess how well the model elements are working in the schools.

The methodology comprised qualitative case-study visits to XP School and School 21 to examine their real-world learning provision.

Key Findings

Both schools have taken the core RWL characteristics and embedded them within the schools so that for example:

  1. Young people reported feeling supported, valued and listened to
  2. There was an emphasis on developing and building character and confidence
  3. Young people felt part of the real world; they understand it and expect to find their role in it. They know how to communicate in the workplace.
  4. Teachers felt they have ownership of the curriculum.
  5. The schools have small and supportive classes enabling teachers and young people known to each other well
  6. There is a strong emphasis on, and extra days allocated to, a CPD programme where sessions are linked.

Sponsor Details

The Edge Foundation