Congratulations to the BCPS Chess Team! In a hard fought competition, they came second in the under-9 team event and third in the under-11s. Special congratulations go to Esther for winning the Under-9 Girls trophy! The whole team played to a great standard with some great debut performances. We are looking forward to competing in the Delancey National Schools Championship and also running our own ‘BCPS Open’ in the new year.
40 Children from Year 3 & 4 competed in a cross country competition at Killerton this afternoon. They ran 1500m against another 160 pupils from schools around Exeter and all finished in brilliant times. Special congratulations to Harriet who came in 1st to take the Gold Medal in the girls race and Joel who came 7th in the boys race!
We now wait for the whole school results to see which schools participants had the fastest average time! Check back to... see the results of that in the coming weeks.
Well done to all the children who raced today, you competed fantastically!
Broadclyst Community Primary School recently hosted Decoding the Future, an event focused on the role of technology to deliver a modern curriculum to prepare pupils for their future lives. Laura McPhee was there
Recently we have seen growing speculation and scepticism in the national press on the use of technology in the classroom.
The chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has expressed concern over the use of mobile phones, while behaviour expert Tom Bennett has been commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to lead a review into tackling poor behaviour in the classroom, focusing on the potentially disruptive influence of SmartPhones on learning in school.
But what does the research say? And how are schools innovatively using technology to promote learning?
In the OECD’s latest report on education, its director for education and skills, Andreas Schleicher, suggests that: “It is vital that teachers become active agents for change, not just in implementing technological innovations, but in designing them too.”
Broadclyst Community Primary School in Exeter is among those leading the way in this challenge. Broadclyst, rated outstanding by Ofsted, was founded in 1810 to serve children within the local community. One of the first five primary schools in the country to become an academy (in September 2010), it has developed a national and international reputation for its innovative use of IT and digital media, offering its 450 pupils one-to-one access to computers and a range of technologies.
Acknowledged by the schools minister as being in the top 250 schools in the UK for pupil achievement and progress, Broadclyst was selected by the National College for Teaching and Leadership to become a national Teaching School in 2014.
As a National Leader of Education, headteacher Jonathan Bishop is dedicated to sharing best practice and the Cornerstone Teaching School Alliance held its first conference at Broadclyst in September. Entitled, Decoding the Future, the event examined the application of technology in the classroom and what this means for today’s learners.
Anthony Salcito, vice-president of Microsoft Education, was the first keynote speaker of the day, challenging the audience to “Expect more, do more, be more”.
He explained: “When learners find themselves in troubling environments they don’t expect limitless horizons. As practitioners we have a responsibility to globally raise expectations.
“However this global expectation and power to change the future ... starts from within. It starts with our own expectations and exists in spite of any cynicism about school systems or infrastructure.
“Do more ... create curiosity and connections beyond the immediate school community. Root your actions in the notion that we can help pupils to be more.”
Mr Salcito urged leaders to foster employability through developing a skills-based curriculum rather than an exclusively content-based curriculum, and suggested technology as a tool to facilitate this exciting curriculum.
The next keynote speaker was Mr Bishop himself, who told the conference: “Sustainability in school leadership has been achieved, not through chasing SAT results, but through seizing the opportunity to explore the curriculum freedoms available.”
As a result, Broadclyst has adopted a number of new practices and reviewed procedures including:
Mr Bishop and his team endeavoured to create not just a virtual school, but a digital learning environment. He continued: “At the heart of this mission was the desire to develop creative thinkers and avid problem-solvers. If children can’t see purpose in what they are doing it leads to underachievement.”
Ambitious about the way in which real distance learning can transform critical-thinking, Mr Bishop is keen to stress that the role of the teacher is one of mediator and facilitator. Perhaps one of the most striking examples of this is the Global Enterprise Project.
Broadclyst has run a business enterprise project with its year 6 pupils for eight years. Motivational for the children and exciting for teachers to deliver, the enterprise project incorporates business skills including product design, market research, manufacturing and marketing.
The project successfully encompasses many different elements of the curriculum while offering a real-life context and purpose to the children’s learning.
Mr Bishop took the Broadclyst enterprise project concept to a global level during the recent Microsoft in Education Global Forum. In a Dragon’s Den style pitch against ideas from schools around the world, he put forward the idea of taking the existing project and transforming it into a Global Enterprise Challenge. This was the winning pitch and Broadclyst was awarded $25,000 to turn the plan into a reality.
During the challenge, 32 schools across 20 countries connected to run international companies, each with 10 regional office/teams. Each company was awarded £30 ($50) per school. The teams then competed with each other to become the most successful company globally.
This extraordinary challenge connects schools, uniting children from across the world into one global education project. Mr Bishop explains that as a result of taking part, pupils have increased awareness of cultural diversities and have gained an understanding of world currencies, as well as honing their entrepreneurial skills and economic awareness.
He added: “Through this creative way of working that was supported with technology, the children’s communication and collaboration skills and problem-solving skills improved.”
So, how does this application of technology support attainment and progress at Broadclyst? This year, the school won two SSAT Educational Outcomes Awards for the outstanding progress and attainment made by its pupils. The awards recognises pupil achievement in the top 10 per cent of primary schools nationally for value-added, and in the top 10 per cent for attainment.
Equally passionate about technology for teachers, and the professional development opportunities that this offers, Mr Bishop explains how video technology allows for deeper self-reflection. Advocates of the technology agree that the benefits of this way of working include:
Dr John Stephens joined delegates as the penultimate keynote speaker and welcomed the debate initiated by Tom Bennett and the DfE.
Dr Stephens joined the National College as director for school improvement in February 2012, and is now leading on Teaching Schools and system leadership in the new National College for Teaching and Leadership.
Inspired by developments in technology, Dr Stephens encouraged leaders to adopt a fresh perspective, quoting Proust as he explained that “the real voyage of discovery consists not of seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes”. Perhaps sometimes what is required is not always new technology or pedagogical approaches, but to look at our existing landscape through a new lens.
A clear strategy was laid down by Sir David Carter in the final speech of the day. The Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West outlined a plan for schools locally aspiring to a world-class education system in which there would be an increasing role for multi-academy trusts and free schools.
Sir David emphasised that a supportive network of schools will help to raise standards nationally, irrespective of their governance structure.
What can we learn from our colleagues and what are the recommendations? There is consensus that technology is not a substitute for poor teaching, but it can support the development of quality first teaching.
Innovation requires us to marry the accuracy and precision demanded from mastery of the curriculum, without dampening the tenacity that stems from creativity. Can we embrace technology using a skills-based curriculum, complemented by a content-based curriculum to develop learners with transferable skills and a global appeal?
On our fourth day at Gutenberg Primary School we were able to observe the Grade 3 class carrying out group and independent project work. Over the past few weeks they have been learning about the life and work of the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt and today they have been applying their knowledge to various different tasks. Some of the children were creating artwork both using the computers and paint, using a scraping technique and concentrating on effects of colour and perspective. Some of the children were using the iPads to recall learned facts about the artist whilst many of the children were immersed in cross-curricular activities such as biographies, geographical knowledge of Europe and matching games.
The children are responsible for their learning and have to manage their own time and task list. Their knowledge of the artist Gustav Klimt was very impressive and the level of engagement amongst the children was very high. We are very much looking forward to returning to school and sharing the work of this artist with our pupils.
Our Table Tennis Squad travelled to Eggbuckland College, in Plymouth on 11th November, for our first ever Table Tennis Tournament. We took a squad of four boys – Jack, Sam, Ethan and Lucas– and a squad of four girls – Jess, Talia, Charlotte and Chloe, who have been getting increasingly involved in Table Tennis within the school. They played against four other primary schools, who even had some children in National Table Tennis teams.
It was a very difficult competition for our squad and the tournament provided them all with the opportunity to really improve and develop. As the day progressed they began to win more sets and even some games against opposing schools. Their continual progression over the day resulted in the boys’ squad drawing against their final school, Stover, and the girls’ squad winning against St Peters.
On the second day of our visit, each school had prepared a lesson to teach to the four grades about their country. We introduced the children to Broadclyst Community Primary School and showed them a video as well as lots of photos. The children were fascinated by the range of sports that the children in year 5 and 6 take part in, as well as the amount of technology we have.
As Volksschule only has 58 pupils, with around 14 in each class, the children were also astounded by the amount of children in each class. We then talked about the UK and the children took part in a quiz to test their knowledge. Miss Farrant and I were very impressed with the amount of English the children knew; with the help of the Austrian teacher’s translation we were able to teach the children one of our Harvest songs.
Class 4LL had recorded ‘Do the Dough’ from this year’s Harvest Performance and the Austrian children joined in with actions. We are very much looking forward to Wednesday when we will have the opportunity to job shadow the Austrian teachers, and watch the art lessons which we will be bringing back to Broadclyst.
Bye for now!
Mrs Lees and Miss Farrant
After travelling from Vienna to Graz on Sunday, we met with the teachers from Austria, Denmark, Finland and France in the evening and got to know one another.
On Monday morning we made our first trip through the beautiful Styrian countryside to the Volksschule in Gutenberg. We had a welcome from the children from each of the four grades. They performed songs and dances and read in English to welcome us. There was also a boy from the third grade who played the accordion, which was fantastic! After this, we went to each of the classes and spoke to the children; they had made gifts and were very excited to have all of the different teachers in their school. The school day begins at 7.45 and finishes around 2.00. They have a similar structure to our day, however they go home for their lunch instead of having it at school. The school has 58 pupils in four grades and also has a large kindergarten. The pupils range from 6 to 10 years and all come from the surrounding countryside, in the village of Gutenberg. After meeting each of the children and spending time in their classrooms we then had a project meeting, to discuss how we would share findings and information from the project with other teachers in our schools.
On Monday afternoon we had a guided tour of the city of Graz, which is around 20 minutes from the school. The tour was fascinating and explained how the city had changed over the past 800 years. The city lies in a basin, surrounded by mountains, and there was once an important castle controlling the area. However, during the French revolution, Napoleon ordered the castle to be taken. With its high position over the city it was very difficult to attack and over 500 French lives were lost. When the castle was eventually taken, Napoleon decided, in revenge, that it should be destroyed. After paying a huge amount of money, the people were allowed to keep just the clock tower and bell tower, and this now remains.
We found the day fascinating and gained a real insight into both the school day and structure and also the local area. We are looking forward to the rest of our week!
Here is the video blog to accompany Day 1: