The world’s first School in the Cloud opened its doors at George Stephenson High School.

Students designed the interior of this one-room learning lab – which has colourful beanbags scattered throughout and fluffy clouds painted on the walls.

This lab is run by a group of students called The Committee, who manage a schedule to let different classes and groups use the lab in time slots before, during and after school. They also meet regularly to develop a Big Question curriculum to assist teachers across all subjects to deliver SOLE sessions.

Amy-Leigh Hope, Head of Design and Art at George Stephenson High School, was inspired by Sugata’s approach following a talk about his work by their headteacher. After discovering that his self-organised learning methods had not really been tried in secondary schools before, she set about testing them with Year 7 with help and support Sugata, finally extending this up to Year 13.

“The idea of thinking about your subject in ‘big questions’ and letting children take ownership of the lesson really gets them engaged,” says Amy-Leigh Dickinson, Head of Design and Art at George Stephenson High School. “When they work in groups of four there’s less chance to opt out and they naturally self correct each other, helping to develop not only their literacy and understanding but also good social skills.”

The SOLE, which opened in November 2013, is also available for the local community and nearby primary schools to use.


High School | lab | Purpose Built

Partner Posts

Happy 3rd Birthday to the first TED lab!


  Author - Sarah Cossom

  Partner - TED Lab - George Stephenson High School

  Location: United Kingdom



Happy 3rd birthday George Stephenson TED Lab! Time has flown by since the first SOLE research lab opened all those years ago.

We catch up with them in this great video (the lab appears at 2:39mins in, but before and after that there’s the bonus of Sugata Mitra and the Granny Cloud’s Jackie Barrow.) It’s a clip from Pierre Chassa’s 2016 documentary School of the Future,

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Happy 3rd birthday George Stephenson TED Lab! Time has flown by since the first SOLE research lab opened all those years ago.

We catch up with them in this great video (the lab appears at 2:39mins in, but before and after that there’s the bonus of Sugata Mitra and the Granny Cloud’s Jackie Barrow.) It’s a clip from Pierre Chassa’s 2016 documentary School of the Future, kindly reproduced with permission from Update Productions.

Read more