Staff at Millthorpe School are unleashing their creative sides as they take part in an international project to bring more creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship into their students’ education.


Millthorpe is one of ten partners from five countries participating in the DICE (Developing Innovation and Creativity in Education) Project, an international project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union which aims to foster innovation and creativity in education. The ten partners, based in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and Bulgaria, have received a joint grant of €284,000.


Two members of staff from Millthorpe School went to Spain earlier this year where they learnt about the Creative Platform, a teaching style which encourages students to let go of traditional patterns of thinking so that their creativity is not limited. The teachers were also introduced to LEGO BuildToExpress, a ground-breaking teaching technique which encourages students to build models using LEGO Serious Play, to demonstrate their understanding of various curriculum areas.


Another Millthorpe teacher spent time in a Danish school and at a Danish university to look at ways to implement creativity into lessons and how Danish teachers teach.


The use of LEGO BuildToExpress in Danish schools is hugely popular and has been shown to create more equality in the classroom as each student plays an active role, not just those who are confident to speak up. The use of this teaching methodology has also been shown to really help with children’s education, particularly those with autism, selective mutism or other special educational needs. Having seen the success of the teaching method, the Millthorpe team has purchased a number of LEGO Serious Play sets and using the new skills and teaching techniques acquired through the DICE project, they have already begun to use the tools to encourage students to think and learn in a different way in a number of subjects including Maths, Computer Science and RE.


Millthorpe’s Deputy Headteacher, Tim Gillbanks, is DICE coordinator for the school. He said “As the only UK secondary school involved in DICE, it’s wonderful to be part of such an exciting project.  The new style lessons we have delivered so far using the LEGO Serious Play tools, have encouraged students to think differently, use problem-solving techniques and also more importantly, to realise that it’s OK to try things, take a risk and sometime get things wrong. Students have been really engaged and excited to learn in a new, creative way.


“To get the most from DICE, we are getting as many staff as possible involved so that we can all learn together and bring new techniques and innovation in to the classroom for the benefit of the students. We’ve gained so much from the experience so far and we’re really looking forward to welcoming our DICE partners to the UK later this year.”


Later this year, all the DICE partners will come to the UK when they will spend time at Millthorpe School and with the other British partner, MBM Training & Development, a teacher training agency based in Liverpool. There will then be further visits to Bulgaria and Portugal to complete the programme.