Cynefin – Battle of Gower

UWTSD Schools Enterprise Initiative Support at Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles, Swansea, Wales on 29 June 2023. Photo: Adam Davies

Creative Collaboration Brings the New Welsh Curriculum to Life to Celebrate Local Welsh Heritage

Swansea, Wales, July 2, 2023 — Bantani Cymru led a partnership of schools, IICED, UWTSD and volunteers across Swansea, launched an ambitious, creative, shared learning project focusing on local community heritage and culture last Thursday at Oystermouth Castle to research the theme of Cynefin, that is our shared sense of people, place, heritage and belonging. This collaborative initiative, a creative and experiential approach to Cynefin in the new curriculum, Successful Futures, invites pupils to research local life in the 12 th century through the Battle of Gower on Garngoch Common, a pivotal moment in Welsh history that took place on New Year’s Day 1136. Pupils are using what they have learned to teach each other and people in their communities.

As part of the innovative program, pupils will have the opportunity to share their research and learn from each other, creating new knowledge about local Welsh history and fostering a sense of pride, ownership, and responsibility for the Wales’s rich cultural resources. This collaborative approach extends beyond the classroom, involving the wider community, locals experts and enthusiasts, the Council, the Library Service, Friends of Osytermouth Castle and Gwerin y Gwyr, empowering pupils to create sustainable social and cultural value. Head of Penyrheol Primary, Alison Williams, said “we have come together as professional educators to share our experience to create the curriculum we know our pupils need and we are going to collaborate with the Uni and international experts to help us make sure that we deliver powerful meaningful inclusive learning experiences to bring the new curriculum to life. We know we have ambitious capable learners in Swansea and we are developing opportunities for pupils to show just what brilliant enterprising creative contributors they can be. Look at the inspiring views from the Castle – what a fabulous location for a community classroom ”

At the event, pupils and visitors were invited to explore an exhibition showcasing initial pupil research and creativity from the thematic project. Attendees and visitors were invited to provide feedback, fostering an environment of shared learning and improvement. Pupils are encouraged to help each other take their ideas further and expand upon their current knowledge.

“It takes a village to raise a child. In partnership with the Education Department in the Council, the University is mobilising a Team Swansea, Team Wales approach to bringing the new curriculum and four purposes to life,” said Hazel Israel IICED, UWTSD co-ordinator of the initiative and Director of Bantani Cymru. “Our pupils are taking the role of community historians, using their learning to create social and cultural value for themselves, in, with and for their communities. This not only enriches our shared understanding of local heritage but also cultivates a sense of ownership and responsibility for our shared cultural resources and enables learning to use local people and places as resources to make sure our new curriculum in Wales can be the best in the world.”

From ancient blacksmithing techniques to Virtual Reality and solar panel energy warrior capes, the research and event have drawn from subjects across the curriculum, beyond history and geography to include science and technology, and expressive arts. In the next phase of the project, pupils will be able to refine their work and learning displays based on the feedback they received at the event. The final versions will be compiled into a digital book for local libraries to be used in teaching future classes about the Battle of Gower. Pupils at Penyrheol Comprehensive have worked with Gower College Swansea to create a 3D VR map of the Castle enabling people with accessibility issues or unable to visit Wales in person can experience the nooks and crannies of the Castle from their living rooms right up to the sweeping and magnificent views from the castle parapets. Have a look at the what the pupils have created with the help of digital learning staff from Gower College Swansea to help people to learn about and experience the Castle and keep your eyes peeled for the Battle of Gower immersion room experience at UWTSD XXX building and published books containing the pupil learning at a local library near you.

Oystermouth Castle 3D Tour

With thanks to IICED UWTSD, Swansea Council, GCS, Friends of Oystermouth Castle, Gwerin y Gwyr, Bantani Cymru, Awel, Swansea Library Service, Penyrheol Comp, Penyrheol Primary, Pontybrenin, Gorseinon, Casllwchwr, Tre Uchaf, and Whitestone.

For further information about this unique initiative and opportunities for involvement, please contact Hazel@bantani.com.