School trips: few question the wonderful opportunity trips offer students to enjoy a new experience, learn new skills, practice a language, get to know a different culture and so much more. In fact, many teachers, school administrators, students and parents can’t imagine school life without them. But not all trips receive enough interest to go ahead.
During my years as a UK school leader, I’ve seen how education is becoming increasingly data-driven. We have inspections, reports, league tables, audits and internal data constantly flowing within schools. It can feel at times as if we are to be consumed by data. However, good teachers are constantly striving to improve, and they know that it is reliable data which is often key to improvement. Without data we have no proper sense of how we are doing now, and without an objective assessment of how things are, planning future improvements can be wasted.
‘Entrepreneurship’ is an immortal buzzword. A simple online search will provide you with over 146,000,000 answers (and multiple pictures of Richard Branson) of which the first one (by Wikipedia) will give you the following:
“Entrepreneurship has traditionally been defined as the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which typically begins as a small business, such as a startup company, offering a product, process or service for sale or hire, and the people who do so are called 'entrepreneurs'.”
Ayrton Cable, nine-year-old grandson of Sir Vince Cable, has co-founded a new chain of ‘change-maker’ schools in Africa. EnSo is a chain of low-cost private schools in the developing world that will provide high-quality education and affordable essentials (food, water, energy, health and hygiene). The organisation brings together four award-winning and technology-driven companies, already operating in east Africa and other parts of the developing world. Together, they hope to positively impact the lives of 500 million people over the next 25 years.
I often hear and read that being a teacher requires passion (plus a thick skin, a love of paperwork and a longing for constant change while living without sleep or having a social life – only joking!). I also hear that teaching is more of a vocation than a job. After nearly four decades, I would have to agree. Passion for teaching and learning is certainly what provides the energy, the drive to overcome challenges but is that how it starts? For me, it was almost by accident.
Sarah* was born with a congenital limb deficiency, meaning that her right arm was shortened slightly and she had all but two of her fingers missing on her right hand. Her parents loved her and wanted the best for her, and she was fortunate to have been born at a time where she could go to a mainstream Primary school with no problems... no problems other then being bullied and having no positive role models with disabilities like hers. With her self-confidence low and doubt about her future and what she could achieve, Sarah and her mum were scared about what the next few years would bring. Then one day her primary school bought in a visiting speaker.
With Bett taking place this week, schools across the country are once more turning their attention to the opportunities offered by education technology (edtech), looking for the newest innovations in classroom resources to support teaching in the digital age. But behind the excitement of new developments, what are the crucial factors that schools need to consider moving forward with their edtech provisions?
Pupils from a school in Camberwell, London have been taking part in an investigative activity that allows learners to be conservation scientists for the day. The WWT London Wetland Centre is trialling Conservation Explorers, which offers schoolchildren from Key Stages 2 and 3 the chance to to study endangered birds. Sacred Heart School’s budding conservationists have been measuring birds’ preening rates, using digital photography to help identify species on the wetlands and more.
So here it goes. This is my first attempt at writing a blog entry and I am not sure how good it will be, however, I can probably guarantee that it will be better than the average person’s location knowledge of the UK. The number of times I have been speaking to someone living in London and they talk about the fact that they are going ‘down to Newcastle’ or vice versa is enough to drive a Geography teacher mad.