Exchange

I have found that as a teacher, some of the best professional development comes from visiting other schools. I am fortunate to have done this often over my career, in the UK and overseas. Many I have inspected, which can give quite a formal view, but most have been as a visitor where impressions can be made in the most random of ways. There is always something to learn, broadening our horizons and often challenging our assumptions on how things can be done. I am in no doubt that students can gain just as much by entering unfamiliar learning environments.

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Toilet Twinning

In an enrichment lesson last week I talked to Year 12 students about being a young teacher in Northern Sudan. It was there, on my 24th birthday, that I was looking for somewhere to live in a small town beside the River Nile, where I had been posted to a boys’ secondary school. The small one-roomed house I found was very basic but did have a great toilet. All toilets in those parts were ‘long-drops’, which one squatted over, with a pit beneath, simple but efficient. Mine was one of the best because it had solid walls and a door,

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We’re all in this together

Now that the dust has settled from our senior school production, High School Musical, we can look back and reflect on an amazing achievement by our students. I have been delighted with the unanimously positive feedback from the audiences, including ‘the best school musical I’ve ever seen‘ and ‘as good as a West End show’. Compared to recent productions, this was a very young cast, with so many Year 7s and Year 8s having their first experience on stage. Lead roles were taken as young as Year 9. Such was the feeling of new stars in the making that the

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Breaking the Ice

Every cohort in a school is different. A year group of children, like any family, has its own character, built around the uniqueness of the individuals that come together to make it. Each and every child contributes to that character, allowing it to mould and change as the group develops. This is why the formation of a new cohort in school is such an important and exciting time. On Saturday we welcomed over 50 Year 6 students from local junior schools to sit our entrance exam. Added to the 40 coming from our own junior school, we can see the

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Learning to Learn

I have always felt that learning is an emotional business. It requires a willingness to take risks, accept failure and have the tenacity to try again. It is important to understand not only the ‘what’ of learning, in our case the curriculum, but the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ as well. This week I observed a lesson called ‘Learning to Learn’, a new course in Year 7, which all pupils receive for one lesson per week. The overall objective of the course is to create more independent, active and reflective learners, who approach their work with the right mindset and motivation.

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More in Common

Last year came the shocking news of the murder of MP Jo Cox, who is remembered, amongst other things, for her belief that people have more in common than that which divides them. I would concur with her view. I think this is particularly true of people of faith, whatever their religion or other belief. I was therefore delighted when councillor Karen Henshaw suggested that we work together to create a multi-faith event at AKS, involving our students with local religious leaders and practitioners. Working with Andrew Pratt, multi-faith adviser to the Bishop of Blackburn, we invited representatives from Christian,

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