About the Network
The West Midlands Mantle of the Expert Network exists to support teachers and practitioners. It offers special events, projects in schools, and coaching and mentoring. Schools we have worked with include: Chilcote Primary; Penn Fields; New Invention Junior; Highters Heath Primary; George Dixon Academy; North Birmingham Academy; Calthorpe Academy; Al-Hijrah School. We have run Mantle of the Expert projects in a range of subject areas, including English, Maths, Science, History and PHSE. A number of our projects were created in collaboration with Dorothy Heathcote, who devised the Mantle system. The Network is led by an experienced team of teachers and practitioners, who all have recent CRB checks.
Here are some recent Mantle projects by the West Midlands Network. Click on each title for more details.
How children from poor families in Victorian Birmingham were given the chance of a 'day out'
A verse drama by David Calcutt, about the ancient origins of the city of Birmingham; performed by local school children.
A schools project on the myths and legends associated with the Cherokee homeland
A local history project with Professor Carl Chinn, looking at the story of the anti-slavery campaigner Joseph Sturge.
The Chainmakers of Cradley Heath
The famous strike by women chainmakers in 1910. A local history project for schools with Professor Carl Chinn.
Who we are
Dr. David Allen is Artistic Director of Midland Actors Theatre. He has published numerous articles and books including Performing Chekhov and Stanislavksi for Beginners. He undertakes regular schools projects with a particular focus on drama and history. He has been the team leader on three Erasmus+ Plus KA201 projects , working with partners across Europe, and looking at innovative drama methods in education: “Mantle of the Expert”; “Breaking Down Barriers” and “The Commission Model.” See: www.midlandactorstheatre.com and www.breaking-down-barriers.org. He also runs the Facebook group, “The Commission Model of Teaching.”
Iris Bertz is an artist with wide practical experience across the creative, education and business sectors, developing strategies not only to share skills and knowledge but also to forge links across sectors and across cultures. Iris has been a project developer and mentor for many artists and young people. She runs a successful and well-respected programme working with German businesses and organisations to offer vocationally qualified young people the opportunity to work in a huge range of UK industries. At the heart of her work is the dedication to the idea that everybody can be inspired to access education and training, maximise their opportunities and contribute to society. See the website www.irisbertz.co.uk
Zak Hamza is currently Assistant Digital Producer at Channel 4. He was previously Digital Content Producer at Eureka!, the National Children’s Museum. He is experienced in digital media production, editing, and the creation of organic and paid advertising for social media and marketing channels. He previously ran his own production company, "OLV Films." He has produced numerous films for the Mantle Network.
Richard Kieran is in his 28th year of teaching. Fourteen of these have been as a Head teacher. He currently leads Woodrow First School in Redditch, serving an area of profound disadvantage. The school is acknowledged for its work using Mantle of the Expert. Richard has worked with teachers and children in schools across UK, Europe and the Middle East as well with ITT students in Birmingham, London, Leeds and Worcester. He has led teacher education exchange projects in Palestine and taught for four years at a Summer School for drama teachers in Jordan. He is at his happiest in the classroom asking questions he doesn’t know the answers to, constructing narratives and stories with children as well as working alongside the incredible team at Woodrow.
Iona Towler-Evans is a National Trainer in Heathcote’s pedagogies with over 30 years’ experience teaching with drama in schools. Over a twenty-year period, Iona planned and worked closely with Dorothy who assisted her in devising and reviewing (and occasionally teaching alongside her), as Iona taught using both the Commission and Mantle of the Expert approaches. More recently, in addition to leading training with teachers and writing, she has been researching and evaluating these approaches in schools. In particular, she has used the Commission Model in long-term projects in Wales in both primary schools and in a further education college.