Recent research from the Prince’s Trust has revealed some alarming statistics about the young people in Britain. Nearly a fifth of young people “think they will amount to nothing”, and 43% of young people don’t feel prepared to enter the workforce when they leave Secondary education. When the research moves to industries, it is evident that 67% of employers don’t feel like school-leavers have the necessary soft skills (communication, teamwork, resilience) to thrive in the workplace.
Most schools use formative assessment throughout the year, and then have some sort of test at the end as practice for SATs. This data-handling may be done via a commercial system, a tracking system they have created in-house, or through one of the paper-based approaches that many schools are still using. It doesn’t matter which method you choose, but it does matter how the data is being used.
Sitting in the department meeting, lists of issues are being fired at you from the usual agenda. Your colleagues’ eyes are rolling, arms crossed and lips pursed in distaste at the never-ending problems. You are sweating! Your cheeks burn and your hands tingle as you choke back the solution you think just-might-work. You can barely hear the rest of the points as you run over and over in your mind, how you might disrupt this meeting with the solution that is buzzing to be heard. If you could just bring yourself to lay the creative idea on the table… or is it a stupid idea? No matter, the meeting is over. It’s just another idea that you didn’t dare share.
Six tech-savvy Primary school teachers will be inspiring their pupils this term after spending part of the summer break at a celebrated teaching event in California. The Discovery Education Summer Institute is held annually in the US, and attracts educators from all over the world. The British teachers - from schools in Birmingham, London and Hertfordshire - were chosen for their enthusiasm in using new technology in the classroom. They were flown to San Diego where they joined over 100 educators for a week of professional development at the University of California.
The BAMEed Network is a movement for all, and its aim is to ensure visible diversity in the education sector. It is a network for support, challenge and advice. The Network held their first conference on the topic of Unconscious Bias in Birmingham earlier this month.
I tweet and blog a lot about my network and how being an outward-facing leader who is connected to a wider educational community fuels me. It the last few years through Twitter, StaffRm, #WomenEd and now #BAMEed, through #TeachMeets, #leadmeets and #researched I have met a plethora of fantastic educational contacts who have inspired me, empowered me and connected me. Through these connections I have ended up meeting brilliant educators and collaborating on some fantastic projects. These collaborations have reignited my passion for my profession.
If you’re a subject leader, you have to make friends in school strategically. If you’re the head of English like me, you firstly need to befriend whoever guards the gate to reprographics needs the bounciest, sunniest, most dribblingly sycophantic version of you that you can muster. We’re talking bottle of wine at Christmas, chocolate egg at Easter, flowers on their birthday. Because they can do something that you could never do since the highest qualification you’re likely hold is in English Literature (or the one pertaining to your subject), a degree that required you to pontificate on postmodernism for 2 hours a week – they can fix the photocopier, a machine so psychopathic, so actively engaged in the utter destruction of your soul, that it makes HAL 9000 seem like a Care Bear. “I’m sorry James, I’m afraid I can’t do that,” you imagine it says as it mangles your Year 10 mock exams in its hot, metal, inky gob.