Year 2 Undergraduates who have been studying Judaism this semester took their knowledge and skills into school for two days recently.
Lathom High School held a two day conference for their Year 10 pupils. On the first day Staff from the school were joined by RE undergraduates from Edge Hill as the whole year was taken off timetable to work in small groups to study the religion. Staff from the school were grateful for the help of the students and commented very favourably on the way they were able to work with pupils who they had not met before.
This groupwork was to prepare pupils for the highlight of day 2 – when Edge Hill trainees helped to supervise the Year 10s as they met firstly David Arnold and then Jack Aizenberg – a survivor of the holocaust.
This was an excellent opportunity for the students of Edge Hill to put their Jewish Studies into perspective, gain more experience of working with a diverse range of Key Stage 4 pupils and to hear Jack’s story.
Almost a dozen Mentors, Lecturers and consultants were able to attend the RE Subject Network’s recent twilight session held at Byrchall High School.
We were privileged to have the input of Emma Mcvittie who explained how her ME! resource was helping pupils develop spiritual literacy in both primary and secondary settings nationwide. This was followed by a general discussion of good practice from around the partnership led by Gill Robinson of Rose Bridge High School.
Waqaus Ali spoke to us about the work of ThinkBrite Services who can lead Inset for staff, provide visitors to schools or create a tailored day visiting a local Mosque. Edge Hill Students have benefited from Waqaus’ expertise for many years.
Gill concluded the evening with some national updates, around many issues including the RE Council’s consultation report on the proposed New National RE Framework. It was a while before people left, though, as people spent time with our visitors exploring the possibility of doing further work together.
PGCE trainees enjoyed high quality behaviour management training courtesy of our colleagues at Stretford High school. As always, we received a very warm welcome from our Stretford colleagues, including Faisal Ahmed and Mez Munshi, recent highly successful PGCE alumni. Stretford’s lead behaviour and attendance professional, Leila, took us through Stretford’s highly successful behaviour policy which underlined just how effective a systematic whole school approach is. Consistency, good use of praise and rewards and careful, proactive monitoring of attendance all emerged as the key ingredients to ensuring behavior for learning. We also gained valuable insights into the use of the school’s staged consequences and restorative justice.
The stars of the session were the three year 11 pupils who joined us to give their perspective on class management. The pupils told us that they valued a fair and consistent approach. We learnt that they knew when a teacher was making the effort with them and shouting wasn’t effective, quite the opposite and likely to back-fire! It was interesting to hear that the pupils expected teachers not to hold grudges- all wise advice from the people who count the most, the learners.
We finished with some helpful advice from Faisal, who is leading on aspects of the school’s pastoral review, developing the role of the form captain. Once again we came away from Stretford High inspired with the knowledge that good systems work and have impact on pupil achievement.
Year 1 Undergraduates had their first taste of school as they visited Lathom High School in Skelmersdale for an intensive morning’s introduction to school.
For the first part of the day students visited the Every Child Matters centre where Deputy Head, Jane Galbraith, explained the fantastic work that the centre does, in providing support for pupils’ needs. Around 20% of the school have some interaction with the centre, making use of either the Learning Mentors, TAs, Counsellors or a combination. Jane outlined the referral process so students were introduced to School Action, Action Plus and Statementing. The school’s EAL provision was also outlined; 10% of the year 7 entry in 2011 were identified as EAL learners! Students were particularly interested in the idea of ‘restorative justice’ where two parties who have a disagreement are brought together in an attempt to resolve the problem.
Trevor Hodson an Assistant Head in charge of teaching and learning in the school, and former Head of RE, spent an hour with trainees talking about observations, Ofsted, being outstanding and performance management. He showed how data was used in the school to monitor pupil progress and how RE needed to be academically rigorous, making use of AfL techniques and approaches to teaching including, Bloom, Kagan, Mindmapping, Thinking Hats and interactive technologies.
By observing an RE lesson, students were able to see some of these things in practice and realised that everything that happens in a lesson needs careful planning and work by the teacher. Pupils do not ‘just’ raise their hand, but this routine, like all such routines, needs to be purposely developed with the pupils. They saw the importance of planning a structured lesson, with all/most/some objectives and a range of learning styles employed. Praise and reward was a key factor in the teacher managing the behaviour of the class.
Finally the students spent time chatting to Jenny Clarke, an RE graduate from Edge Hill, who teaches RE at Lathom. She helped to ease students’ worries about surviving the course and gave them valuable tips. Jenny also stressed the importance of having high expectations, the value of pupil talk and group-work, the need for a variety of activities and the necessity of having behaviour management sorted!
The students had a most enjoyable and enlightening time and are eager to start their placements after the Christmas break. Back at University the students reflected on their experiences and considered how what they had seen might influence the way they teach RE.
Following on from the success of our Subject Network Launch last summer, we are holding our first school based RE network meeting on Wednesday 14th November at 4.15 pm at Byrchall High School, Wigan. Many thanks to Mark Scott, Head of RE at Byrchall High, who has kindly obtained use of the school’s CPD centre for us.
The Edge Hill RE Subject Network is open to all secondary RE teachers, whether they be Mentors from the partnership, former students or local RE teachers who may want to join us. The aim is to create a friendly, informal and supportive network for professional up-dating and exchange of good practice. A schedule is attached.
We look forward to seeing you. Please let either Francis or Paul know by e-mail if you intend to join us.
It was a busy weekend for over 200 RE teachers, including a number of Edge Hill mentors and former students Paul Jones, Ben Davies, Nichola Rodden and Kerril Casey. They gathered for a weekend of inspiring workshops and seminars led by some of the country’s leading figures in RE, including our own Paul Smalley, and friends of the department such as Lat Blaylock, Alan Brine, Helen Harrison and Emma McVittie. The event was the 11th RE Teacher Weekend organised by the newly merged Culham St. Gabriel’s Trust.
The Weekend focussed on five themes:
Assessment and Pupil Progress: access and respond to the latest thinking on robust, humane and authentic assessment for learning.
Classroom and Community: world class ideas for stimulating RE in, through, and beyond the four walls.
Attitudes, Values, and Impact: prepare to make the case for RE providing key evidence for the new Ofsted framework.
School Improvement: RE has the potential to be a key driver for school improvement with the focus on higher order thinking, speaking and listening, and the wider achievement indicators for learners.
Innovative Curriculum: How can we push the boundaries? What are learners saying? What can we learn from other curriculum areas? What would a first class curriculum look and feel like?
Delegates were given the opportunity to attend four of the seminars and a ‘National Updates’ session, as well as having some fine food and wine on the Saturday night. Paul’s seminars were on ‘Risky, Edgy RE’ and ‘Concept Led Lessons’ and he also presented a joint session with Emma McVittie on ‘Cross-curricular Visualisations’ which you can see below.
As part of their third year undergraduate module on Islam, students visited Preston to hear first hand what life was like for a Muslim in the UK in the 21st century. In the morning the trainees visited Fulwood Academy where they were able to interview a number of young Muslim students. They found the youngsters to have widely varying ideas of what it meant to be a Muslim, from the very observant to those who seemed ready to challenge.
After a quick lunch we visited the Medina Mosque in the afternoon. As well as a tour of the facilities and the opportunity to observe the zuhr congregational prayers students were given a very thorough presentation of Islam as a deen by Waqaus Ali of Thinkbrite Services. Waqaus talked of how faith could be thought of as having three levels: Islam, Iman and Ishan. He also spoke about historical and contemporary issues surrounding Islam.
“it has brought the religion of Islam out of the textbook and into real life and society that we can now transfer into the classroom”
Here are a selection of photographs taken during the fieldtrip:
A small group of Year 2 Undergraduate RE students were invited along to Lathom High School in Skelmersdale to assist with their Y11 RE Day. These outstanding students put their all into interacting and leading learning with groups of 10 Lathom students.
This is outstanding and I can’t thank you enough for this level of enthusiasm and commitment to making partnership work – really outstanding. Dean of Faculty of Education
The students acted as facilitators for the Year 11 pupils as they worked through a series of Leadership ‘challenges’
The highlight of the day was being able to meet and hear the story of a former Irish terrorist leader who now is a leader in a Pentecostal Church in England. It would have been worth going just for this!!
We are absolutely delighted with all the backing we are receiving. Thank you. Trevor Hodson AHT – Director of Learning Lathom High School