Some initiatives supported in the recent past:
The Wigan Comino Centre was established in 1999 in association with the Wigan Education Business Partnership, using an approach called Classrooms in Companies. Supported by Comino funding for over ten years, the Comino Centre helped to develop these innovative classrooms. More than ten Classrooms in Companies were established with sponsorship from organisations representing utilities, sport, farming, local government, construction and the environment.
Each Classroom in Company was located outside school and within a company. They offered a unique learning experience, with activities designed to develop skills linked to creativity, enterprise and employability delivered by staff from industry and education, working in partnership. When the Classrooms in Companies were fully established, 15,000 young people were visiting them on an annual basis – each visit typically lasting for one day. Company staff were trained in using the GRASP process, in order to help young people to translate their learning experience into “getting results” in other areas of their lives.
Over the years, Classrooms in Companies became the test bed for numerous educational initiatives that influenced both local and national policies. They won several awards, and in May 2010 Her Majesty the Queen opened a Classroom sponsored by Leigh Centurions Rugby League Football Club. Comino Foundation funding ceased once the Classrooms in Companies approach had been firmly established.
The Comino Centre based in the Centre for Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University. From 1990 to 2013 this Centre developed a range of ways in which children can be helped to develop generic personal skills and capabilities, such as teamwork, self management, creativity, communication, problem solving, tenacity and a positive self image. This work was designed to take place in the mainstream STEM curriculum and was supported by research which demonstrated how young people, even at primary school stage, can learn to observe and identify the personal capabilities they are developing. Encouraging children to engage in various forms of self and peer review prompts them into growing self-awareness that helps them become more responsible for their learning. Some of this work was developed in partnership with Huthwaite International, using the approach Verbal Behaviour Analysis which Huthwaite pioneered for use in business.
In 2007, the Comino Foundation also funded the Sheffield Comino Centre to develop a qualification in leadership, based in the STEM curriculum, which became the EdExcel Leadership Qualification at BTEC levels 1 and 2. This STEM Leadership qualification was launched in September 2008 with several centres being established to train teachers to deliver the qualification in secondary schools and academies.
From 1997 to 2009 The Comino Foundation provided funding for the PACE Centre (Positive Achievement inspired by the principles of Conductive Education) in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. PACE is recognised as a leading institution for conductive education. The Foundation’s support has enabled PACE to expand but an important focus was to train representatives from other institutions to use conductive education both in the UK and internationally. In partnership with the Foundation, PACE developed innovative approaches to learning designed to improve the development of children with motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy. This led to the development of effective training programmes for staff, which combined practical know-how together with programmes in the theory and practice of conductive education.
The Ideas Foundation was established in 2003 by Robin Wight CBE, then President of the communications agency, Engine Group. Its aim was to inspire creativity in young people by giving them a chance to work on real-life marketing briefs with leading figures in the creative industries. Sir Mike Tomlinson, then a Comino Foundation trustee and Chairman of the Learning Trust for Education in Hackney, introduced the Foundation to the Ideas Foundation. The Comino Foundation recognised that the aims and approach were in line with its own and decided to support the work, which was initially based solely in London. The two foundations still have a close working relationship, particularly in the North West, where the Ideas Foundation is one of the partners collaborating with the North West Comino Consortium of schools, whose work is outlined on the Social Opportunity page.
The Winchester Comino Centre (now supported as the Centre for Real World Learning) was first established at King Alfred’s College, Winchester, where it worked on a number of government funded projects, including Enterprise Awareness in Teacher Education and contributed to the work which led to the College achieving university status in 2005.