Wizard-themed lessons are just one of the techniques woven into the curriculum at Robert Mellors Primary School, in Nottingham. Children dress as their favourite Harry Potter characters, chant spells and use their wands in maths classes.
Robert Mellors has gone from being in the bottom 25% of all schools three years ago to the
top 25% and recently received a glowing report from Ofsted inspectors.
Inspectors judged maths lessons to be "outstanding", saying: "Subtraction was seen as a
spell by Harry Potter."
"Behaviour in lessons was of the highest standard and reflects pupils'
enjoyment. Pupils enter the school with standards well below average. Over the
last three years, standards and achievement have improved greatly."
Headteacher Donna Chambers,
who has been known to dress up in Harry Potter costume herself, said: "We
are just a little school who let the children decide how they want to learn.
Other schools do topic-based learning, but not to the extent we do. With
maths, the teacher will say 'today we are learning how to do inverse
operation'. They put on their Harry Potter hat and wands, and work it out in
The school is divided into four houses, named Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin after the houses at Harry Potter's school, Hogwarts.
In English, pupils are creating a screenplay from a chapter in Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone. In physical education they have practised balancing in a way that would
allow them to climb on to a broomstick.
"Historically, the school had a really bad reputation, which is why I applied for the job
here," Mrs Chambers said.
"We are getting 90% of children at level four. This is a very challenging catchment area and the
achievement and progress the children are making with us is outstanding. But
(the success) isn't just down to the creative curriculum. This wouldn't happen
if the staff weren't on board, prepared to take risks and step out of their
comfort zone to really inspire the children.
"They (the pupils) have studied the history of flight, written scripts and really believe in what
they're learning about. They don't realise we're ticking boxes in the national
curriculum as well."