Arbourthorne Community Primary School

Arbourthorne Community Primary School

'... a place of joy, inclusivity and learning' OfSTED 2022

Arbourthorne - Sheffield's first Maker School in partnership with The University of Sheffield


During the last two years we have worked closely with Dr Alison Buxton and other experts at Sheffield University to become Sheffield's first Maker school, leading the way in curriculum design and content for future employment and innvation! 

A growing movement internationally, maker education provides children and young people with the skills, knowledge and habits of mind to make projects in relation to real world problems using both high- and low-tech tools, materials and technologies. Makerspaces encourage children to not only develop the knowledge and skills to create, make and mend things, but they also support the development of 21st century transferable skills such as creativity and critical thinking through nurturing a maker mindset.
Although closely linked to STEM subjects, making can enhance all areas of the curriculum and provides an interdisciplinary practice at the crossroads of every subject.


Our model of maker-centred learning puts the child at the centre of making. Developing as a maker is more than simply learning the skills and knowledge to manipulate materials, use tools, and code software. It is important to start with the characteristics we want to nurture. Learning to ‘think like a maker’ is encapsulated in the Maker{Mindset}. Wrapped around the development of the maker mindset are maker-based skills and knowledge. Within the Maker{School} approach, this is a learning by doing, enquiry based approach. Maker skills and knowledge is done through a three stage process; Exploration, Skill builder and Tinker time.

The key skills and knowledge needed as a young maker have been divided into five areas: 
• Materials & tools
• Computing, coding & robotics
• Digital literacy
• 3D/digital design and fabrication
• Electronics.

All pupils at Arbourthorne have collaborated with colleagues to design their own classroom Maker Spaces, where they regularly apply the skills and knowledge they have gained through 'Exploration' and 'Tinker Time' to problem solve and develop their own ideas across the curriculum. 

Families here at Arbourthorne have played a major part of our Maker journey this year. Many families have engaged with Maker projects at home - where resources are provided from school and families 'Make' together at home, communicating their achievements using platforms such as 'Whatsapp' and 'FlipGrid'. Our families have taken part in after school events where they have the opportunity to 'Make' as a family unit alongside University of Sheffield colleagues, Jayne Cooper our Artist in Residence, and colleagues in school.  

Where next for Arbourthorne as a Maker School in 2022-2023? 

Learning together to continue our journey as Sheffield's first Maker school continues and builds on our skills as Makers, practising through our Tinker Time and applying our skills and knowledge when solving problems. Children work through a progression of skill building as they move through school. Colleagues at Arbourthorne continue to work closely with University of Sheffield colleagues to further develop the Maker Curriculum. Arbourthorne Community Primary School, working in partnership with the University, will train other schools to also become Maker Schools. 

A partnership with the Architecture department at the University of Sheffield will enable us to provide a community 'Maker Space', where families can come together to use facilities on site to apply their own 'Maker Skills' to mend, design and create.