We are delighted to annouce that North Molton Primary School has joined the Dartmoor TSA. NMPS has 104 pupils and is situation near the town of South Molton. We are looking forward to working with Julie Hawkins (Acting Head) and the team.
As the education tanker turns increasingly in the direction of educational research, the collaborative power of teaching school alliances such as DSTA puts the southwest in a strong position for effecting real change in the way that we approach teaching and learning. Working with the Education Endowment Foundation and the Institute for Effective Education, Kingsbridge Research School is establishing a network of organisations keen to recalibrate their approach to focus on the growing evidence base being generated by the profession, for the profession.
As schools face ever increasing pressure on budgets, there has never been a better time to make use of the school-to-school support mechanisms that have emerged in recent years. By collaborating on evidence-informed professional development and supporting colleagues across the region to carry out research projects testing the efficacy of new and existing strategies, we can refine as well as broaden what we do for our pupils and their learning.
It's true to say that tankers turn slowly. And this is certainly true for the education tanker where research suggests it takes seven years to fully embed a new teaching and learning strategy whole-school. But taking an evidence informed approach to what we do, whether it be teacher marking (A Marked Improvement) or using our excellent Teaching Assistants more effectively (Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants), is not something new. It simply requires us to turn the tanker a few degrees in the direction of the evidence and in doing so we can change the point of arrival significantly for the children we are teaching.
To sign up for the Kingsbridge Research School newsletter and for more information about how to get involved in evidence-based training, research projects and grant applications, contact Lorwyn Randall, Director of Research at Kingsbridge Research School, here: https://kingsbridge.researchschool.org.uk/contact-us/
Alternatively, call the Kingsbridge Research School Project Manager, Victoria Flower, on 01548 852641 ext. 180.
SWTSA and DTSA collaborated in holding a Teaching and Learning conference, hosted by ISCA Academy, in Exeter. Gary King (ISCA Academy) led robust discussions around Teaching and Learning which has to be core business for all schools. Ensuring quality first teaching is the key to success for all our students.
The conference reinforced the shared values and moral imperative for colleagues to share successes; gone are the days of expert knowledge in discrete silos across the educational topography of the south west!
Case-study presentations from Torquay Academy, Teignmouth Community School and ISCA Academy provided excellent focus for small group discussions across a diverse range of T&L priorities.
Topics included: Systems for promoting excellent behaviour for learning. Data informed systems for monitoring and promoting best practice in teaching and learning. Integrated tracking of: no formal lesson observations, targeted CPD and professional development.
The afternoon was well attended and interactive. Delegates had time to network and share specific needs and challenges. There was an appetite to repeat the event again during this academic year and open it up to Primary colleagues. Many thanks to Gary for his energy in hosting the event and catalysing profitable discussions.
David Wibberly - Director of SWTSA and member of Dartmoor TSA's Strategic Board
Early in the new-year we will be recruiting a Women Leaders in Education project lead for the South West. The person will be passionate about leadership and gender equality, have experience of senior leadership and committed to developing network activity across the South West. The position will be for three-years and will be approximately 0.1 FTE. Full details will be published on a new web site will go live in January.
In addition to recruiting a project lead, we will also be recruiting Women into Leadership Champions (up to 12) who will play a key role in nurturing and supporting the development of WLiE networks. Champions will have a regional role and supported through specialist training with our partner organisation - The Glass Lift.
Finally we also be seeking to recruit a member of our Project Board to join our strategic partners in leading the development of our network.
Details of all the above posts will be published early in January.
On the 23 November and the 2nd December we ran the first Outstanding Leadership in Education (OLE) cohort, led by our own facilitators Nicci Offer (Okehampton College), Anne Law and Ben Cotton (KEVICCs). Fifteen delegates from across the Alliance took part, representing both primary and secondary leaders. This is a powerful leadership programme, which uses a range of tools and models to stimulate deep self-reflection and generates strong buy-in to the goal of being an outstanding leader. The first evaluation by delegate was overwhelming positive and we will follow up with school-based visits in February.
Here are some quotes from delegates:
"I feel better informed about the characteristics of a strong leader, and so better equipped to become one"
"I already knew my weaknesses but it has brought them to the forefront and I know that I now need to act upon them. The 2 days have given me the confidence, resources to act upon this."
Thank you to the fantastic delegates for their energy and commitment over the two days and a massive thanks to Nicci, Anne and Ben for their excellent facilitation.
Collaboration between teaching schools alliances is going to be increasingly important if we are going to create the self-improving, school-led system that Daryll Chapman has talked about recently to members. Dartmoor TSA is fortunate to be in a strategic partnership with SWTSA. Both TSAs are keen to collaborate effectively to ensure member schools have the best support and opportunities. A good example of this partnership approach was the Data Leaders' and Teaching and Learning Leaders' Conferences that took place at ISCA Academy on Tuesday 6th December (see separate report). These events were organised by both Dartmoor TSA and SWTSA, led by experts from within the alliances and showcasing examples of excellent practice from across the two TSAs.
The December issue of our newsletter reflects the wealth of expertise that we have within our Alliance and the range of high quality activity taking place. As the level of activity increases, more and more of our outstanding practitioners are stepping up as system leaders. Our SLEs, for instance, are increasingly involved in delivering CPD to NQTs, Teachers and Teaching Assistants (see CPD offer for Spring term) and supporting school improvement. Our senior leaders are increasingly involved as facilitators of leadership development and network development. What's powerful about all this activity and the people driving it is the energy and engagement generated. This was palpable during the recent Outstanding Leadership of Education (OLE) course that we delivered (see separate article). And this is, I believe, the power of the school-led system - enabling the most effective schools and practitioners to share their expertise through dynamic training, coaching and facilitation.
Please can I extend my thanks to all our member school for their support and commitment. We are very proud to be leading your alliance. Have a great Christmas break and hope to see you all on 17th January at the next Members' Forum.
I'm delighted with the progress we have made collectively as an Alliance this term. It is less than year since we achieved our designation as a teaching school and, since then, our primary and secondary membership has grown, strong, dynamic new partnerships have developed and the range of services we provide to members schools has widened. Our strength is with our members - so thank you for your investment in the Alliance.
The bigger picture is about building the capacity of our teaching school alliances so they can play a central role in the school-led, self-improving system envisaged by national policy makers. This won't happen tomorrow or next term but it is coming and if we can maintain the momentum from our first 12 months I am confident we will be able to take on this exciting new challenge when the time comes. It will require us to develop a team of highly effective system leaders - NLEs, SLEs, DLEs - capable of delivering school improvement, develop the know-how so we can recruit and train outstanding teachers for the future, provide the best CPD for our teachers and staff and create the opportunities for our leaders to thrive.