For another year the RE PGCE trainees were able to attend the ITT conference at one of our outstanding partnership schools, Stretford High in Manchester. Trainees were involved in a range of sessions such as developing their teaching persona (led by Faisal Ahmed, Professional Mentor and Head of Humanities/Social Sciences Faculty), interview hints and tips (led by Headteacher Nicola Doward) and listen to the experiences of NQT and recent EHU RE ITT graduate, Emily Jones. They had opportunity to meet with some insightful and articulate Year 11 students who shared their thoughts on what make an effective teacher and a good RE lesson, before asking some tough questions to a range of staff who varied in experience. Despite some of the trainees being concerned that they didn’t have enough paper for all the notes they wanted to take (!) it was a great opportunity for them to not only develop their current practice, but also to think about taking their first steps in applying for their first teaching post. Many thanks to all at Stretford.
In addition to visiting the Princes Road Synagogue, trainees were able to further develop their understanding of Judaism thanks to a wonderfully engaging session led by Becky Scott, one of our amazing Partnership Curriculum Mentors. In addition to building on their experiences at the Synagogue, trainees were able to look at the differences between Orthodox and Reform Judaism, the nature of Covenants in Judaism and undertook some lively discussions about antisemitism in the UK. As an experienced RE practitioner, Becky was also able to share with them some practical strategies and activities for them to use in their teaching.
One of our fantastic Curriculum Mentors (and Ex-Edge Hill alumni!), Ruth Taylor from Burnley Hugh School, delivered an effective and engaging session for PGCE students on teaching GCSE RS. Using her own experiences of delivering the new Edxcel RS curriculum, Ruth was able to give practical strategies on differentiating, planning and assessment in GCSE RS. Trainees also got an opportunity to plan their own RE curriculum, thinking about the importance of embedding skills and content in KS3 for KS4 study. Thanks Ruth, you’re welcome back anytime! 🙂
Just before Christmas, Editor of RE Today magazine and NATRE Adviser, Lat Blaylock delivered an outstanding and engaging conference for UG and PG ITT trainees entitled ‘RE for All: Entitlement and Opportunity’. As current PGCE students, we found the day to be extremely informative and enjoyable. Lat discussed and demonstrated activities which we could use in the classroom to help engage pupils which we found particularly useful and which encouraged use to think about what ‘good’ RE looks like. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and we thank Lat for making it possible 🙂 – Catherine Agnew & Rebecca Eiffe-Harvey (EHU PGCE trainees)
The NATRE North West Network saw over 50 trainee teachers from Edge Hill, Hope and MMU and around a dozen serving RE teachers from our Partnership had an excellent day’s CPD with Stephen Pett from NATRE. It was the last day at University for our Final Year Undergraduates and PGCE students at Edge Hill came out of school for the day. It was free for all to attend thanks to the support of the Jerusalem Trust and Edge Hill University.
The day was as always focussed on classroom practice, and totally interactive, with sessions on happiness, assessment, ultimate questions and planning an enquiry based Scheme of Work. Feedback from students and serving teachers was totally positive.
“In 12 years of teaching this is the best CPD I have had” – Rachel, Head of RE
Next Year’s event is destined to be earlier in the year – so keep Monday 15th December 2014 in mind, and school based partners can begin to mention this date to their line managers. You can read about 2013’s event here. Lots more photos from the day are on Flickr and below!
Around 20 Secondary RE teachers were able to attend the recent RE Subject Network Meeting at Edge Hill. We are fortunate to welcome Alan Brine, HMI for RE, who talked us through the findings of the latest Ofsted Report into RE RE: Realising The Potential. This is a key report for RE and comes at a very important time for the subject.
The RE Team welcomed Stephen Pett and Fiona Moss from NATRE to Edge HIll for the Annual RE Network Conference. This year the Conference was generously supported by the Jerusalem Trust and drew together Undergraduate and Postgraduate students from Edge Hill as well as guests from Liverpool Hope’s RE PGCE. Around a dozen of our Mentors were able to be released from school for the day to take part in this worthwhile CPD.
Stephen shared some work on advertising and happiness (‘Why live a good life when the good life is on offer?”) as well as some innovative approaches to planning an enquiry based RE scheme of work. Fiona explored some of the issues surrounding teaching controversial issues in RE. All of this was delivered in a very hands on, practical, interactive way.
One of the mentors, Hannah, commented:
“This has been a really valuable day. It is always great to go on some CPD where you actually leave with things that you can use straight away in class. I’m going to go home and start planning next week’s lessons using some of the ideas from today!”
We hope to be able to welcome NATRE back again next year and will talk to Mentors about what they would like the Network to do next year.
Final Year Undergradaute students were delighted to spend the day in one of our Partnership Schools, Our Lady’s RC High School in Blackley, Manchester, where they were able to draw upon the expertise of the Professional and Curriculum Mentors in the areas of Assessment for Learning and Co-operative groupwork. The school is situated in a challenging area and the RE department has been judged to have Outstanding teaching and learning with lively exciting RE lessons.
The first session of the day was led by Nuala Buckley, The Head of RE at the School who outlined in a very practical way some of the Assessment for Learning techniques that the department uses – including Meta-courses, the Stuck-O-Meter and the lightbulb moment!
Following this students were able to watch Nuala and two former Edge Hill students (Terry Hart and Loretta Robson) who are now working in the RE department at Our Lady’s putting the AfL techniques into practice. Students commented that pupils and staff were at ease with the techniques because they were embedded into the regular practice of the department.
After lunch, RE students were joined by Edge Hill colleagues from English and MFL courses to draw on the expertise of Michelle Rathor the school’s Professional Mentor. She delivered a very engaging and interactive session showing how carefully planned interactive group work could enable pupils to make good progress both socially and academically through co-operative learning.
The feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive and there was a real determination from the students that they would embed the practices they had seen in their final secondary placements. They said that the day was full of fun and had made a real impact on them.
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.
The date of the next twilight is provisionally set for 28th February at Rose Bridge High School.
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.