SHAPE - Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy - is a new, collective name for those subjects that help us understand ourselves, others and the human world around us. They provide us with the methods and forms of expression we need to build better, deeper, more colourful and more valuable lives for all. These subjects teach us to analyse, interpret, create, communicate and collaborate with rigour, clarity and energy – crucial skills for today. And together with STEM subjects, they help us make innovation work harder for the benefit of everyone. At the same time, they bring colour, texture, opinion and perspective to our everyday.
The SHAPE initiative was launched in 2020 by the British Academy, Campaign for Social Sciences, Arts Council and others.
Here Philip Avery, Bohunt Education Trust reflects on this new initiative:
A global pandemic, the highest CO2 figures ever recorded, unprecedented wildfires, the Black Lives Matter movement and widespread economic woes have highlighted global interconnections and global histories, but also the importance of the local.
In education, the nature of the challenges our young people face requires a multidisciplinary approach to learning; during lockdown we've used creative journals, built nature-noticing apps, developed 'game-changer' resources and involved our young people in authentic events such as a Virtual Climate Change Conference.
As we look ahead to next year it is critical we continue to refine the intent and implementation of SHAPE subjects (Social Science, Humanities and Arts for the People and Economy) to help students reflect on now, come to a shared understanding and collaboratively act for a better future.
To do this, our close-knit family of schools within Bohunt Education Trust will go through the same process - reflect on our curriculum, understand how to make it relevant to our students and act with them in a coordinated way.
Director of Education
Bohunt Education Trust
Employment rates for Arts, Humanities and Social Science (AHSS) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates
Qualified for the Future. British Academy (2020)
You can also read more about the relevance of SHAPE to education in this TES article:
SHAPE subjects are crucial for meaningful catch-up by Rebecca Sullivan CEO Historical Association and Steve Brace Head of Education Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
[In-person] Award-winning filmmaker, James Levelle, shares stories from his 9,000-mile emission-free odyssey from the UK to Chile to champion young voices in the climate crisis,.
19 February 2023
Learn more about how young people manage sibling caring responsibilities following their parent’s death
We visit the University of Birmingham to speak to Professor of Atmospheric Science, Rob MacKenzie and Professor of Life Sciences, Jeremy Pritchard
This module, comprising of six lessons, or half a term’s work, will focus on mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes
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