Arts Council of Wales | Ysgol y Cribarth, Swansea

Ysgol y Cribarth, Swansea

A creative approach to literacy and numeracy

Ysgol y Cribarth is a bilingual primary school in Abercraf, Swansea, and became involved with the Lead Creative Schools Scheme three years ago as the school wanted to find creative techniques to improve pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills.

As part of the scheme, South Wales based interactive design and games developers, Ben Cawthorne and Shane Skuse of Thud Media, worked as creative practitioners alongside teaching staff and year six pupils at Ysgol y Cribarth for two days a week over 10 weeks. They worked with the pupils to develop a game project on the topic of ‘Big School’, which involved developing game concepts, pitching, prototyping, coding and bringing the games to life through animation techniques.

Simon Hosking, teacher and project coordinator at Ysgol y Cribarth says it was quite incredible how the project not only helped improve the children’s literacy, numeracy and digital skills, but their self-esteem and self-confidence too. He explains why it had such a positive impact and how they hope to continue this approach to learning moving forward.

"Encouraging children to learn literacy and numeracy skills through traditional paper based teaching methods can be challenging at times, particularly in terms of encouraging them to remain engaged and focused. Working creatively in this way not only taught the children new digital and design skills, but also encouraged them to use problem-solving skills, work as a team, and take the lead in their learning."

"The Lead Creative Schools Scheme has given us the opportunity to look at our teaching methods in a whole new light. Having creative practitioners like Thud Media come into school and work directly in the classroom has not only inspired us as teachers, but also the pupils in terms of raising their aspirations and confidence. Some children came out of their shells and participated in a way I’ve not seen before."

"By focusing on the topic of ‘Big School’, it was something relevant to them so they were genuinely passionate and interested. We have also managed to dispel some of the myths and fears around going to secondary school, whilst leaving a legacy of games about ‘Big School’ for future year six pupils. The effects of this project will be long-lasting at Ysgol y Cribarth."

Ben Cawthorne added:

"We didn’t know what to expect as working with a school isn’t something we’ve done as a company before. However, it was incredible how well the children responded. From the outset, they were really passionate and interested in the subject and what it took to make and deliver a game. For us as professional developers, it felt great to share our skills and knowledge with the pupils and teachers, and to influence the pupils’ development both academically and socially. The Lead Creative Schools Scheme has been a fantastic project to be involved with."

Link to film - https://hwb.gov.wales/resources/resource/98d8dfd4-7e2d-4b56-846f-9e69307c4cc0

Thud Media – www.thudmedia.com

Registered Charity Number 1034245