The Marsh Academy

Where people shine

Project Based Learning

Department Name:

Project Based Learning


Miss S. Cavanagh

Department description:

In Project Based Learning (PBL) students study English, History, Geography, ICT, RE and Citizenship through themes, allowing them to make valuable links between subjects and ensuring a smooth transition from KS2. The subjects are taught by a specialist team of teachers who plan together to ensure that knowledge and skills are built upon across subjects and throughout the KS3 experience. Projects are designed to meet the needs of the National Curriculum and to be creative and academic, whilst also preparing students with the necessary life and study skills required to ensure a smooth transition into KS4 and beyond.

PBL provides a fantastic stepping stone from the wrap-around primary school setting to the larger scale secondary setting as students are challenged academically and supported pastorally through the PBL Team. The supportive environment allows students to explore a range of learning experiences and trail new ways of think and working. They are encouraged to learn from their mistakes and take risks, making alterations or trying new methods in order to improve outcomes. The use of ICT is integral to the department and students use technology widely to aid their learning. The department has an interactive central area for team teaching and breakout work and the PBL library hosts students weekly to develop their enjoyment of reading.


In Year 7 students study the period from the Roman Empire through to the English Civil War in History, developing source analysis skills and the ability to consider historical significance. In Geography they develop map and atlas skills, as well as graph analysis and comparative writing skills while studying topics on Africa and Extreme Environments. In English students write autobiographically in the first term before extending their writing skills in response to a number of texts including Love Albury, Shakespeare’s Macbeth and a range of poetry. Students have the opportunity to use a range of programs in ICT, including Microsoft Publisher and Kodu, as well as developing their understanding of databases and programming. They are taught the importance of e-safety both at school and beyond throughout the course. In RE pupils are taught the importance of tolerance by comparing a number of religions and creation theories. In Citizenship they have the opportunity to develop group work skills to raise money for charity through the Christmas Fair as well as learning about the political system in the UK and the countries of the Commonwealth. All students in Year 7 have the opportunity to participate in a number of enrichment activities including a residential trip to an outdoor activity centre.

In Year 8, teaching and learning in PBL builds on the previous year and extends learning by developing students' abilities to rationalise, make judgements and justify their opinions using evidence. In History they work chronologically from the French Revolution to Victorian Britain, developing their ability to build balanced historical arguments in response to sources. In Geography they consider the future of the planet, the country of India and the geography of conflict, augmenting their analytical skills and researching topical events. In English pupils have the opportunity to write creatively as well as studying texts from authors including Charles Dickens, Shakespeare and George Orwell. ICT programming introduced in Year 7 is developed through the use of Photoshop, Prezi and Scratch, ensuring that they are producing work against success criteria and suitable for the audience and purpose specified. In RE further religions are studied and compared and links are made to religious beliefs and the environment. Year 8 pupils also participate in fundraising for the Christmas Fair in Citizenship and are taught about the justice system in the UK and the operation of Parliament.

At the end of Year 8 students PBL studies are celebrated through a graduation ceremony where pupils are awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze recognition based on their achievements throughout their time in Year 7 and Year 8.