‘I thought the session was great, Cara spoke confidently as normal and it was really interesting to hear her views on the new specification. It was also really useful to find out what other teachers thought about the new specification and to discuss ideas’
K. Dowdeswell, Cotswold school
‘The NQT programme has been great - as a group, we met frequently throughout the year to discuss pedagogy but it was also an opportunity to get advice from colleagues. We also met with NQTs from other schools which gave us the chance to find out how others in our position were getting along. In my department, I had weekly meetings with my NQT tutor who helped me survive the year. I gained invaluable advice about how to deal with Sixth Form students, and how to navigate the wider school system’
S. Load, Balcarras school
On 17th October 2016, the 6th form network met to discuss Level 3 Value Added and the implications of this data for OFSTED inspections in the area. We looked at a full debrief of a recent OFSTED inspection at a partner school, as well as round table discussions on post-16 curriculum design and EPQ delivery. This network is a great chance for all sixth form and post-16 providers in the area to share thoughts, ideas and best practice. An ever growing group has been joined by schools as far away as Bath.
The middle leaders forum met in the spring and summer terms of 2016. During the initial forum middle leaders from both primary and secondary schools decided on their priorities for future meetings and had an opportunity to network across school and phase. The key issues raised were dealing with difficult situations as a head of department and life without levels. The summer forum saw a group of over 20 middle leaders from several primary and secondary schools ask Bob Lacombe, an experienced head of department from Balcarras School, questions about difficult issues they had faced. The group had the opportunity to talk about how they would deal with these situations. A group of middle leaders from Woodmancote Primary School then talked about their experience of life without levels and again the forum had the opportunity to share ideas. In the feedback from these forums the opportunity to find out what is happening both across schools and phase has been highlighted as a real benefit.
A very informative and exciting presentation from Unifrog and FutureLearn explaining the ways in which we can best support our students’ applications to higher education. Sessions were held on personal statements, the right University choice, online courses (MOOCs) and all they can offer, as well as the importance of destination data and the role we can play in collating and storing this.
Fifth Annual Teaching Conference
The fifth annual teaching and learning conference was held on 25th November 2016 at Balcarras School and was attended by nearly 300 colleagues from our partnership schools. Professor Robert Coe started the day with his keynote address What makes great teaching? focussing on what makes great teaching and the use of educational research to improve learner outcomes. Our second keynote address, How do we know that learning is taking place? was delivered by David Didau. David’s keynote covered the debates on learning vs performance, liminality, progress, threshold concepts & desirable difficulties
There were 11 workshops to choose from this year; the organisers attempted to appeal to a wide range of needs so there would be something for everyone to enjoy. The sessions included an EAL workshop, philosophy for children, literacy, seating pupils for progress, primary leadership, autism: the use of practical strategies, primary grammar, the slightly awesome teacher, what makes great teaching and is learning invisible? Feedback from the sessions was extremely positive and it looks like our visitors took something useful away with them to transfer to their classrooms. The sixth annual conference will take place on November 24th 2017, Phillip Beadle and Dominic Salles as our keynote speakers tackling the topic of transformational teaching.
Balcarras as a Teaching School
Balcarras was designated as a teaching school in May 2012. Our aim is to create and develop a professional learning community where teachers from across the partnership feel able to share practice and learn from one another. To some extent this is inspired by the work of Michael Fullan in Ontario, but it also emerges from the considerable partnerships that have been established between Balcarras and other schools in recent years. Our partnership is genuinely cross phase and we have over 30 schools and various other organisations as members.
At the heart of our partnership is a desire to improve teaching through sharing practice, facilitating opportunities for research, identifying common areas for development and acting as a ‘hub’ to tie all of these different elements together. We want to be action centred so that teachers feel that there is a real impact on the ground. We are open to ideas from all partners and see this as vital in establishing a lasting partnership where all partners feel that they have an input to give, as well as receiving tangible benefits from their role in the alliance.
We have already established a number of projects which have impacted on the quality of provision within our schools. Since May 2012 over a thousand people have attended events organised by the partnership. Below is just a flavour of the work we have undertaken so far.
We have networks established in the following areas:
|Jess Heather||Literacy Networkfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Georgina Bruce||Digital Technologyemail@example.com|
|Patrick Sexton||History Networkfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Liz Hunt||Geography Network and KS3email@example.com|
|Catherine Williams||SEN Networkfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Richard Cook||Computing Networkemail@example.com|
|Nicola Masters||Differentiation Researchfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Janine Hockenhull||MFL Networkemail@example.com|
We have run a number of CPD courses in the following areas:
- Aspiring senior leaders
- Improving your teaching
- Leading a department
- Lesson observation
- Literacy in every classroom
- New heads’ training
- Promoting higher order thinking
- Teaching School NQT Programme
- Pastoral conferences
- Improving students’ mental health
- Stretching Gifted and Talented students
|Liz Hunt: Teaching School Cofirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dominic Burke: Headteacher, Balcarras Schoolemail@example.com|
|Roxanne Adams: Assistant Teaching School Cofirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Nicki Harrington: PA to Headteacher of Balcarras Schoolemail@example.com|
School Partnership Contacts
|Andoverford Primary||Lou Bennetfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Balcarras Secondary||Liz Huntemail@example.com|
|Belmont Special||Kevin Dayfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Cam Hopton Primary||Melanie Skidmoreemail@example.com|
|Charlton Kings Junior||Lee Pajakfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Cheltenham Festivals||Phillippa Claridgeemail@example.com|
|Cheltenham Learning Partnership||Kate Shepherdfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Chipping Campden Secondary||Dominic Sallesemail@example.com|
|Dean Close Secondary||Mark Tottmanfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dorcan Secondary||Mrs P Morleyemail@example.com|
|Dormston Secondary||Ben Stitchmanfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Eastcombe Primary||Claire Jonesemail@example.com|
|Farmor’s Secondary||Steve Shawfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Glenfall Primary||Anthony Mitchellemail@example.com|
|Gloucester Road Primary||Gayle Fletcherfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Gloucestershire County Council||Sandra Parker
|Holy Apostles Primary||Gareth Daviesemail@example.com|
|Leckhampton Primary||Sam Porterfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Maidenhill Secondary||Pam Wilsonemail@example.com|
|Naunton Park Primary||Richard Humphreyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|National Centre for Maths||Steve Lomaxemail@example.com|
|Pittville Secondary||Karen Foster||KFoster@pittville.gloucs.sch.uk|
|Ralph Allen Secondary||Sarah Hetenyi||S.Hetenyi@ralphallenschool.com|
|St James’ Primary||Lisa Harfordfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|St John’s Primary||Juliette Moxhamemail@example.com|
|Swindon Village Primary||Johnathan Dyerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Thomas Keble Secondary||Chris Patrick
|University of Gloucestershire||Steve Winstonemail@example.com|
|Winchcombe Secondary||Sarah Teaguefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Woodmancote Primary||Gary Tuckeremail@example.com|
If you would like any information about the partnership please contact us. Several schools have joined the partnership in the last year and we are open to the possibility of new members joining. Equally if any of the programmes we run interest you please do get in touch because several of them have been attended by non-partner schools.
The partnership has its own website which has more detail about our members and our programme.