This paper is based on a presentation given by Jean Edge to the March 2008 Tide~ conference Global learning in primary schools.
Jean Edge is Headteacher at Apley Wood Primary School in Telford. These ideas have been used as a focus for planning for change in her school, which has prioritised work on pupil voice.
“Success is a journey, not a destination” Ben Sweetland
Jean suggests four questions as a focus for building on the best of what the school has already done, and developed a shared understanding, vision and expectation in relation to global learning.
Creating real change which takes global learning as a focus requires shared leadership and a real sense of the school as a learning community, where everyone has a voice, a clear role and a responsibility.
For Jean, this means a voice for staff, pupils, parents, governors and the local community. Prompt questions such as those above offer opportunities to raise ideas with these groups, and start to identify priorities for short and long term action. As these plans come into place, finding opportunities to celebrate even small successes along the journey helps to build confidence and a sense of shared achievement.
Addressing change also means acknowledging realities: that this may be viewed as ‘yet another initiative’, the pressure of SATs, demands on staff workload, time and resources. In balance with these pressures are opportunities: a sense of what is important for the school and the future of the children and the community; opportunities for high quality curriculum development, involving cross curricular, real life learning which is fully integrated into planning; a positive Impact on standards arising from increased pupil motivation and engagement.
At Apley Wood this has particularly involved opportunities for building on the School Council, Eco- Committee and ongoing consultation with children, to create new opportunities for engaging Pupil Voice. Pupil Learning Walks have found children exploring the school site and suggesting changes. Steps are being undertaken to engage children in curriculum planning at a classroom level, and – in time - through Curriculum Development Groups.