The development of the Education Strategy is building pace, with meetings and discussions around raising awareness of the case for change, engaging with stakeholders to scope the possibilities for further research and encouraging us all to ‘think the unthinkable’. This week, the Strategy Board session was introduced by Professor Qing Gu from UCL Institute of Education, Professor Paul Miller, Leadership Development consultant and Nick Brook from the NAHT; they all outlined the key challenges around education, schools and learning and how they can best be addressed.

Qing Gu spoke eloquently about three key observations based on evaluative work undertaken in an Eastern country along with the work undertaken by research schools, she stated that collaboration and engagement do not happen naturally. Naturally, this raised questions about the current school led education system, which I believe Camden is further ahead of compared with other geographical areas. For me, it raised the question about a rural model v an urban model, as well as the importance of a Camden place based approach. Paul Miller extracted seven key educational challenges and issues, starting with teaching and learning, discussing the teacher supply chain and teacher quality, increased workload and importantly diversity and inclusion. These same themes were reiterated in the section around leadership and governance, where again we debated the challenges around recruitment of head teachers to a profession where a recent survey indicated that ‘heads are on the edge and exhausted’. Themes inevitably overlapped across the presentations and Nick Brook whet the appetite with an imminent publication called ‘Improving Schools’, where working with the School Improvement Commission has brought together leading educationalists and experts to consider how the government can best support all schools to improve. There were three areas that Nick probed into, which included, sustainable improvements in schools, avoiding the drag and drop analogy and one size fits all, the importance of CPD and developing people, also emphasised by Qing, and the recruitment and retention at all levels, across the school system. The board will now think about programme structure and themes, so that work streams can get to work over the next few weeks.

I am excited to announce the second Camden Conversation, which will take place on Wednesday 2nd December, with Natalie Russell from The Black Curriculum and Shalina Patel, Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2019, who recently was the key note speaker at our NQT event in September. Our guests will provide a rich conversation, with Shalina focusing on Ofsted (only slightly) the decolonisation of the curriculum; going beyond the curriculum and absenteeism in the curriculum and the importance of teaching racial literacy. Natalie will be providing an overview of The Black Curriculum and the organisation itself, talking about the young ambassadors programme and the Camden Learning hub which is partnering with TBC. Knowing both Shalina and Natalie, this will undoubtedly be an excellent session, invigorating and thought-provoking, including plenty of ‘take-aways’.

Please save the date – Wednesday 2nd December, 4:30-5:30pm, you will have received an invite from Hana to our next Camden Conversation…zoom link to follow.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director of Camden Learning

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