12 Oct

Graham

It’s been a week where I have had the opportunity to showcase our work.

On Tuesday I travelled down to London to present our iPad strategy to the National Teaching Schools Group. The journey down to London makes for a long day but it does allow me to reconnect with some key players. I had a long conversation with Diane Rochford (Rochford Review) about our schools. I have worked with Diane for a number of years and have always valued her wise counsel and insight. As you may be aware, Diane chaired the (Rochford) Review that was asked to report to government with regards to assessment for our learners.

We are still awaiting final sign off from government as to her recommendations but the message from Diane appears to be clear. There is unlikely to be a ‘universal system’ of assessing progress in our schools as we move forward. All schools need to be in a position to justify progress via a very simple method. We should all be judged on the outcomes for our youngsters.

Our primary schools, within the trust, should assess how well we prepare our children for the next stages of their education. We should be assessing how well they have developed their key skills (literacy, numeracy and living skills), we should be assessing how well the children interact with each other and with the adults around them, we should assess how much fun and joy the children have within our schools (do they enjoy coming to school). All of this needs to be within a school that is safe and secure.

Our secondary schools and post 16 organisations need to build upon these strong foundations and extend learning with a clear eye on being part of communities, volunteering, work, further study (at college or university). Our assessments have to be personalised and relevant. I certainly agree with Diane that measuring children’s progress against some sort of ‘standardised model’ has the potential to move our sector backwards! So, back to my presentation.

I explained that our iPad 1:1 roll out is now properly underway. We are starting at Hollinwood Academy and then moving to Spring Brook Lower, Hawthorns, Spring Brook Upper, New Bridge School, New Bridge Learning Centre, Medtia and then into our post 19 groups. I was able to tell the audience about our ambitions. All children and staff will use their iPads to enhance our curriculum offer. Hollinwood have developed their vision and I’m certain it will be similar in all our other schools:

“Teaching and learning remains our passion and drives our ambition. Technology is readily available to enhance and facilitate all teaching and learning. Technology will always work. We will support all young people, staff and families in their use of technology both throughout the development period and beyond. We will work towards paperless systems that improve the offer for our learners, further develop communication with families and enable staff to be more efficient with their time. We will ensure all young people, their families and stakeholders are fully involved in our journey.”

These are just some of our ambitions:

  • To enhance learning at every level
  • To ensure mobile technologies are totally embedded into our schemes of work and curriculum offers
  • To offer our young people (and their families) a Virtual Record of Achievement
  • To electronically capture all work and achievements and, over time, to store everything within a cloud
  • To use technology to improve communication with families and stakeholders
  • To improve our internal communications, for example by using TrilbyTV – with our very own editing crews
  • To research access arrangements, apps and learning for our learners working at early levels of the curriculum
  • To ensure our schools are seen as centres of excellence, for example by exploring becoming Apple accredited schools, regional centres etc.

As Steve Jobs said, “We’re just enthusiastic about what we do.”

Have a great weekend,

Graham

You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here