Derbyshire Primary School Headteachers launch BEST Education Event– and urge all Headteachers to follow their lead

Miss Fiona Cowan, Headteacher of Bolsover Infants and Pre-School, and her headteacher colleagues have thrown down the gauntlet to all Headteachers to follow their lead by running their own BEST Education Events within cluster groups of schools in their local area. To not only fulfil the Department for Education’s Best Practice Initiative but to share the secrets of their success and raise education standards in schools throughout the country.

The Executive Board of BEST, explains the premise of their initiative, “The original geographical cluster of Bolsover has worked successfully for many years as part of an Education Action Zone, and then an Excellence Cluster, as well as meeting and working as the local area cluster of Bolsover schools. The cluster has evolved over the last few years and has grown into a collaborative group of schools with a common set of values, principles and a joint purpose. The school list has changed, and has increased, over the years as personnel have moved on to new schools and have continued to value the work of the cluster. This has evolved to become the group that will now become part of BEST.”

260 staff from across 10 schools will join together at The Hayes Conference Centre, in the heart of Derbyshire, on Monday 29th January. This conference has been born out of true systemic practice, joint working and a truly collaborative approach to education.

This year’s inset continues to focus on the issues facing BEST as a group of schools, and the communities served. The guest speaker and the workshops have been designed around common needs, data intelligence and identified focus for the year. The Executive Board are keen to share that this inset is not about telling teachers what the solutions are to the issues faced in their own schools and classrooms. It is about sharing practice, expertise and learning collaboratively in order to offer the very ‘BEST’ practice to the children of Bolsover and surrounding areas.

The Guest Speaker, Isabella Wallace, is supporting BEST in developing pedagogy around the following points: Being a responsive teacher – tailoring your teaching to the needs of every learner; Ensuring participation and progress from every learner especially disadvantaged children, children with additional needs and children that have the capabilities to exceed expectations for their age.

The Executive Board hope this will lead staff seamlessly into phased workshops which focus on common areas and issues facing all of the schools in the cluster (as identified from school improvement and Data analysis across the cluster). They hope the day will allow everyone to share what is working well and learn from the fantastic practice that exists across all of our schools. These workshops are being delivered by other educational professionals who work within the schools, or schools in similar circumstances, within the local community.

The market place will also offer staff the opportunity to meet and interact with a range of services which have been drawn from the experiences of the cluster. These are groups, services, and businesses that are already servicing BEST schools well. Only the very BEST have been invited and so staff can be assured they are of a high quality. For example, Bolsover Infants and Nursery Pre-School have successfully delivered an innovative new Handwriting Scheme which includes training staff how to assess handwriting and the potential barriers to learning to write well, with Miss Sarah Cooper, Literacy Lead and Early Years Team Leader, now trained as a Handwriting Specialist Teacher, the first in the County. She says, “We want to share with the Headteachers and teachers attending this event, the powerful results achieved by delivering this Handwriting Scheme, as the raising of attainment throughout our school is a testament to its Method.” The Handwriting Scheme and the eLearning Handwriting Match Fit Assessment Training Course for teachers is available from YPO

Each participating school will end the event with an opportunity for all staff to work in focused year groups, sharing year group or age specific items, ideas, opportunities which have been of great benefit. These sessions will be led by the headteachers, but the content will come from the staff across the cluster.

The executive board have invited the very best Programmes, Providers and Schemes to attend our BEST event, giving all the teachers present an opportunity to meet with them and to ask questions pertinent to their own needs. To have them all in one place at one event is how the executive board have envisaged all schools sharing Best Practice in the future. This is what the Department for Education want schools to do and what we believe schools should be doing because we need to share what works well in our school, so that other schools with similar needs to ours have confidence signing up to Schemes that deliver proven results. This is done best when schools in similar circumstances work hard together for the community in which they serve.

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Harwood Education has teamed up with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to develop and deliver an innovative Climate Change Education Programme for primary and secondary schools in the UK. This ambitious multi-annual project will seek to develop a comprehensive package of interactive classroom materials on climate change for school teachers and children:

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