This week I wanted to start by recognising the amazing job that all your staff in schools are doing, during this really quite challenging time. I want to recognise and thank you all for the extraordinary job you are doing, for your care and compassion, whilst also delivering the curriculum and instilling the love of learning. The resilience you are demonstrating is quite remarkable. I recognise this past week has been really challenging for many of you, with positive cases and class bubbles going down over the weekend and during the early part of the week; reacting and adapting provision has been a key strategic and operational response to the changing needs.

It is not very often that I am associated with, or asked to contribute to writing education articles; but here it is. I am pleased to share with you an article edited by Pete Dudley namely ‘Cross school, Close-to-practice action research’, which Christine Gilbert and Martin Pratt amongst others contributed to as part of a Review into London Education. The article presents two sequential case reports of how 60 schools in the London Borough of Camden used action research in three phases of development of their local school system reform. From a traditional council-led, top-down model of centrally based professional development and monitoring of schools, to one that is schools-led and ‘bottom-up’ in nature, but still in close partnership with its local council and community. Interestingly, the article uses a sociocultural lens through which to view this journey of self-reform; tracking change through three evolutions of the sociocultural model, as professional learning becomes situated in classrooms and between schools in Camden, and as motivations to develop and change become increasingly intrinsic and being less driven by fear of failure or the consequences of failure. Of critical importance is the feedback-rich context created by the adoption of enquiry- and coaching-based learning models at classroom, organizational and system levels. You can read the article in full through this link.

Last week, I mentioned the imminent report from Nick Brook and the NAHT, it was indeed published on Thursday “Improving Schools – A report of the School Improvement Commission”, where the NAHT has set out a positive vision for the future of education in this country, with a set of proposals for change. Nick Brook spoke to the Education Strategy group, where he outlined the importance of the role of the school leader in creating the conditions in which teachers can thrive so that pupils can succeed. Here is the link to the report.

Some good news to share is the work that Camden Learning and SYDRC (the Somali Youth led organisation working with young people in Camden) who have set up a mentoring programme, where 30 mentors have been trained and recruited and will be working with young people in secondary schools (four Camden schools). We are delighted to see the progress in developing the conversation and action plan; working with our Somali community, to meet the challenges that young people shared with us a year ago as part of the engagement exercise and at recent “Shout Out” events. I look forward to hearing about the mentoring programme, as it promotes confidence and self-esteem, and helping young people to make good choices through support and role modelling.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director of Camden Learning

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