The business highlight of the week was the first Camden Learning Annual General Meeting, which was hosted at the magnificent Camden School for Girls (Thank you Elizabeth Kitcatt and Rosemary Bradshaw). It was a really pleasing turn out with a majority number of Head teachers and Chairs of Governors attending, staff from Camden Learning and the board itself. Christine Gilbert, our Independent Chair summarised by recognising the progress and success of the first year, whilst acknowledging the terrific work of our schools. She defined the priorities going forward and recognised there was still plenty of room for improvement across our system. Professor Dominic Wyse from the IOE delivered the annual lecture, grounded on his research and teaching of writing. It was a fascinating journey through history of writing, connected to Dom’s own learning; delving into the works of John Dewey and Donald Graves, who researched the craft of writing and pioneered the process approach to children’s writing. We considered the experiential approach to writing and the importance of also just simply allowing young people to use their imagination and to daydream, stimulating those rich ideas. I am pleased to attach the Annual Review for 2017-18, for those that were not able to attend yesterday’s meeting.

Last week, Camden Learning joined Eleanor Palmer Teaching School at the IOE Primary PGCE Recruitment Fair, where we spent a frenetic three hours speaking to potential NQTs and selling our Camden schools. I would unbiasedly suggest that our Camden stall was the busiest, with a constant flow of potential new teachers for Camden-we managed to capture the contact details of 186 hopefuls. I mentioned last week the development and near completion of the Camden Learning job’s board, where we want to sign post Camden school posts. This will also work for NQTS, we wrote to all 186 students we met, following up on our initial encounter and provided information about the NQT offer and Camden Learning. We have indicated to them that each time we receive a notification from a Camden school about an NQT vacancy; we will alert our student contacts as part of that sign posting, so fingers crossed this becomes a useful channel for new and emerging talent into our school system.

Finally, I attended the secondary CPD leader’s session at William Ellis School on Tuesday, where we discussed the usual agenda items, thought about current learning hubs and the potential ideas for the next hub cycle. We spent the majority of the session developing our thinking about how our schools meet the needs of boys. It was a really decent session, where we considered the data, which indicates a growing gulf between boys and girls at the end of KS4. We also reflected on some of the research by Steve Biddulph who asserts that after parents, the next biggest influence on boys’ lives is the world of the school; also Rollo Browne who suggests that schools play a vital role in challenging and shaping boys’ understanding and experience of masculinity. My thanks go to both Sam White and Izzy Jones for also allowing us as a group to visit a number of lessons to observe teaching/ learning, speak to boys about their learning and to look at their work. It was an absolute privilege and insight, and really fuelled the debate that I know a number of schools are grappling with; it also begins to help us think about how we take this piece of work forward

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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