If you remember, when Camden Learning formally launched at The Crick, back in February 2018, Christine Gilbert unveiled the opportunity for Camden Schools to make bids to a bursary fund, which was designed to provide schools with some growth funding to develop innovative classroom practice. Four schools were successful in their bids and have been working away over the last nine months, developing the scope and reach of their projects. Last week, I met with all four schools, who presented their findings and learning, which proved to be productive and hugely insightful.

Sarah Lester from Acland Burghley School shared her project evaluation on the work around the ‘Reading Project’ where the focus was on embedding literacy skills across the curriculum, by upskilling teachers (across faculties) so that they see and implement literacy as an integral part of learning and teaching. Sarah shared some of her learning from the project including the feat of choosing an appropriate and engaging text for a whole year group and then getting them to read the book together in two weeks. Sarah also mentioned the challenge of supporting teachers’ own anxiety and ability in reading aloud (those not English specialists) and facilitating a discussion. It was discussed that perhaps some more cross phase collaboration between primary and secondary schools could be developed to support this.

Katy Forsdyke from Christ Church NW3 further developed their very impressive Happiness Project, by working with Fleet Primary School, to raise awareness of mental health issues, helping children and adults to maintain positive emotional well-being and ensure everyone knew where to seek help. The project was independently evaluated, but one parent’s comment provides the best description of impact, ‘It has given pupils a vocabulary and way of expressing their feelings with far greater nuance’.

John Hayes, Clare Reynolds and Nathan Passey from Gospel Oak Primary School have been trialling with other schools Flipped Learning, which is a unique, digitised learning platform, which is tailored, made to meet individualised learning needs of students either in their homes or at school. The idea behind the project is to introduce the concept behind flipped learning, the benefits of it, as well as the necessary tools to be able to create and develop flipped learning for schools. The school have a large bank of pre teaching short films about new maths concepts, handwriting and an impressive approach to art, which was reminiscent of Art Attack (if your remember that far back)!

Finally, Syra Sowe from Primrose Hill Primary School shared the learning from their project on Video Enhanced Reflective Practice (VERP), which involved videoing the professional (staff in school) in practice and then exploring edited clips of this video with a guider, a process known as a ‘shared review’. The initial outcomes from this academic year included positive feedback from the training input, getting to know the principles of attunement and developing the confidence in applying the principles and reflecting on their own practice and the role of supervision.

Congratulations to all of our four bursary schools, who contributed to a very rich evening of sharing new and innovative practice, which we are going to capitalise on. Each project will be captured as a case study, as we look to reinvigorate the best practice website, as well as being included in our CPD offer for the next academic year, under new and innovative learning. Finally, on the back of the success of this bursary cycle, Camden Learning will be inviting schools to apply for the next academic year, where we hope once again a little funding can help to propel an idea forward in school and across schools. Further information and invitations for expressions of interest will be communicated in the September bulletin.

Last week, was also the week when KS2 SATs results were shared with our primary schools. Overall, Camden primary schools performed well at KS2, with a 1% increase on last year’s combined results, which positions us well above National. KS1 results were slightly down by 1% at the expected levels, but delighted to see increases in all three subjects at greater depth. 73% pupils in LA maintained schools in Camden achieved a good level of development, this represents a 2% improvement, consolidating on the gains made last year. Well done to our Primary pupils and their schools.

Please find attached below the slide decks from this week’s Secondary and Primary Leadership briefings. I have also attached the Better Schools for All publication from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and UCL, which I referred to in the sessions, really worth a read.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

Click here to download

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