Humberstone Junior is a Year 3 – 6 school with a roll of around 400 students. We spent the morning visiting classrooms and talking to Sophie (Year 3 Head) about how they did things in their school. In many ways it seemed very similar to a small NZ school with it’s organisation into teaching teams, it’s colourful classroom displays, streaming of Maths classes, dance practise for school production and even the classroom management style of the Kiwi teacher we observed. It’s students were from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. It was different in that class work was very much prescribed by school wide schemes of work that were separated into quite discrete subject areas. There was little ICT in the classroom (except for teacher Interactive Whiteboards). ICT was taught more as a subject in the school’s ICT room. Next year Sophie hopes to lead an initiative in the school to integrate curriculum.
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
We visited Bowbridge School to see a school with a focus on sustainability. Their showcase is a new environmentally designed building. I was surprised to see this school has been surviving for the last 50 years in Army Huts and only just got a new building. The huts after being left by the army were then used by displaced people after the war until a council estate was built. The people moved out into their council homes & the children moved into their school. All Bowbridge’s families come from the council estate with 95% unemployment. Bowbridge has very strong links with the community through it’s adult education programmes. This is one key aspect of all schools we visited – they all offered what was called Extended Services. It could be after school clubs or sport for students or classes for the wider community. Another difference to our system is that schools come under the Department of Children, Schools & Families (which would be like a combination of our MOE & CYFS) and also Local Education Authorities (a branch of local government)
While we were there they were having a ‘Great Outdoors’ Week with students engaged in lots of hands on activities outside. There is plenty around the school that is ‘eco- friendly’ such as it’s wood pellet heating system, playground map made out of recycled jandle plastic, rain water usage monitor, plants growing, amongst other things.
NCSL case study school around the theme of Sustainability.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Today we arrived at the National College for School Leadership in Notttingham, UK.
This is a purpose built facility to provide professional learning pathways for English school leaders & Principals. We are here for three days of pre-conference activities and school visits before we move onto “Seizing Success” conference in Birmingham. This centre not only provides residential professional development, but has a research programme & develops resources to support school leaders. I guess the closest we might have come to something similar in NZ would have been the PDPC which was closed at the end of last year. Leadership development has been identified by the NZ MOE to be an important area with recent developments in the change from LeadSpace to educational leaders website, Kiwi Leadership for Principals
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
From the newsreader this morning:
Not so much disruption for our students who are moving from one elearning school to another. One of our student’s family has just moved farms and schools but she will be able to continue two of her current online classes and maintain contact with her classmates from her old school. This is another positive about flexible, online learning – you can take it with you!