As part of your Camden Learning membership, you will hopefully have received the March Bristol summaries this week, which are always an interesting read and an insight into the research associated with topical education issues. One of the articles on ‘Closing the regional attainment gap’ caught my eye and encapsulated much of what we do in Camden in order to mitigate that gap and reduce the variability that exists in and across the education system. The research summarises that the attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their better-off classmates is substantial, across a range of different measures, and widens through the school years. Nationally, at GCSE level, there is evidence that the attainment gap is narrowing, but very slowly.

The report focusses on 3 key areas which emerged from the evidence presented, namely: the role of place and community; the importance of teaching along with ways to encourage good teachers into areas of deprivation; and the role of collaboration between schools. We often acknowledge the importance of sense of place and Camden exemplifies this point, where the research spoke of the need to go beyond school-to-school collaboration and to engage with local businesses. Interestingly, like Camden, many of the opportunity areas intend to work with local business to ensure that they have a strong post-16 plan in place.

Dame Sue John outlines the importance of networks and support for teachers, which were a key ingredient of the success of the London Challenge and continue to be significant feature in our own schools and networks. The research evidence cited the importance of school level collaboration. This type of collaboration can take different forms. Research schools share evidence about good practice along with materials and training courses, this is certainly a feature that Camden presents strongly, and our collaboration is recognised as a strength; most recently in a Headship recruitment that I have been involved in, where potential candidates from outside of Camden, enviously reference the work our schools lead on. I have attached the Bristol Summary below for your perusal.

Talking of collaboration, I had the pleasure of attending the half-termly Deputy and Assistant Heads breakfast meeting this week, hosted by the inspiring Primrose Hill Primary school. A session on parental engagement was led by the two hugely impressive Assistant Heads at the school, Laura Beeson and Syra Sowe, who shared the range of activities and engagement events with parents/ carers that are on offer. Also, on the agenda was the next Deputy and Assistant Headteachers conference, which I am pleased to confirm will be taking place at the Harbour Hotel, Brighton on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th November 2019. Please be sure to put the date in your school diaries, we will be finalising the programme in the coming months.

On Thursday this week, our hub leads met for the termly update; where we had a really engaging peer-to-peer session using the self-evaluation matrix we have devised, to look at how our hubs are developing and the effectiveness of their delivery. There is most certainly some strong practice being shared across our schools and affected change taking place as a result of the participation in our Hub programme.

As a reminder, next week we have the secondary leadership briefing on Wednesday 3rd April at 8am at the Crowndale Centre and the primary leadership briefing the following day, Thursday 4th April at 5PS room 11.10-for the usual swift and deliberate delivery of what is current news in education, reminders, updates and research, bundled into one exciting hour! See you there.

Finally this is the last bulletin for this term, do not forget hub applications and Youth Safety Taskforce expressions of interest need to be in by the Friday 5 April 2019. Have a wonderful Easter break and well deserved rest.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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