With our ‘Family of Schools’ changing last September it was interesting to see that none were located within the Central South Consortium (CSC) area and in general we were not that familiar with the work in any of the schools. We are all proud of much of the work we do and as such it seemed to make sense to combine two aims – to take an opportunity to meet and share ideas with a new set of schools and also to give staff and pupils the opportunity to present their work.
Having presented the initial idea, a positive response was received from all schools and as such a full day programme was produced and agreed on. With one exception all committed themselves to at least two staff attending, with everyone being responsible for a minimum of one presentation. The day was divided into six themes – Teaching and Learning, Pupil Wellbeing, Standards and Data, Literacy and Numeracy, Digital Competency and the implementation of Successful Futures.
The plan allowed time for individual presentations and an opportunity to see the relevant work in action during a typical school day at Pontypridd High. On the day at least three staff gave presentations in each of the themes that was based on practice in their own school – we avoided the term ‘best practice’ being content that this was about sharing and not claiming to be the leading light! Needless to say what we listened to and discussed was new to some, interesting to all and a stimulus to think collectively about what could be better. Everyone commented very positively on the ‘walking tour’ around our school that was linked to each theme.
The format of the day gave everyone the chance to speak informally, present formally and experience a school day with opportunity to speak with pupils and staff. The lunch, planned, prepared and served by hospitality and catering students was restaurant standard and gave further ‘food for thought’ as we discussed the nature and challenges of providing the right provision and challenge to our learners.
We ended suitably warmed by the record temperatures and optimistic about future plans to meet and share. All had gained an idea, something new that could help make a change. As the host school we have been given much to think about and all that additional support and information for free. Partnerships are best based on good personal relationships and whilst these are in their infancy they are the foundation from which we can gain a great deal and no doubt this will benefit pupils and staff alike.
The longest day ended with the light still shining . . .