Steve Davy Year 4 NQT Teacher at the Wroxham School
This tuesday 7th June 2011, I was at The Wroxham School to help out with filming and livestreaming a TeachMeet. I have done a number of these over the years for free as a pro bono service for the education community. I feel, that as a practitioner and adviser, I have to keep my practice and knowledge about current good practice up to date and that means literally week on week and day to day. Education, for me, is all about community; a living breathing dynamic process in which we are all constantly engaged. Recording it means others can reflect on and think about these models.
The headteacher at The Wroxham School is Alison Peacock, who also happens to be National Network Leader at The Cambridge Primary Review. The presentations, in the main, came from the teachers at the school and the afternoon was a delight as I saw more and more excellent work. Roger Billing is the Deputy Head at the school and in his capable hands the afternoon was a complete success.
The majority of the people who were at the event were new to TeachMeets and were interested to see the model in practice.
One particular presentation, that of the Year 4 NQT Steve Davy, on his work in local history, stood out as quite amazing for someone in their first year of teaching. Steve started from a local pillbox on the nearby golf course – a remnant from WWII and opened out his whole project co-opting various members of the local community. For his Tudors project Steve co-opted the local bowling club and the afternoon culminated in the showing of a film the teachers and children made about the Battle of Barnet.
This is how to use technology and community to make history come alive! To be honest I was absolutely stunned by how Alison and her team have enabled Steve to produce such innovative work with the local community in only his first year.
I am glad to have captured the event on film. A big thankyou to Alison, Roger, Steve and all the teachers and parents for giving their permissions for this to be shown. Whole Education was part of this event and I think this whole ethos of inclusion with the local community in ways that have a bigger scope than just the immediate boundaries of the school is a big leap forwards. Let’s hope we see much more of this practice up and down the country.
As I now do at each new TeachMeet, I also take one or two non-intrusive Vox Pops with people new to the meetups and try to garner information about their attitude to the phenomenon.
I also talked with Steve afterwards about the ethos in the school and how he has managed his first year. I find these case studies are like gold dust for anyone interested in innovation in education in the 21st century.
Paradoxically it is the face to face, day to day interaction with the wider community that seems to bring with it the most engaging and compelling education. Hasn’t it always been the case? What is interesting about Steve’s practice is that he has involved older members of the community around the school to engage with the children – this model is touched on by Keri Facer in her new book Learning Futures and it is fascinating to see the most successful schools adopting such a model of reaching out to the community and getting both young and old to share social experiences where each can gain from the other.
But somehow, somewhere along the line, I think our education system might have lost its way. The importance of schools helping to forge and reinforce good social models for and with their immediate communities needs to be taken seriously and is one of the key elements to any success academic or otherwise. Listen to the enthusiasm of Steve about his first year and the aspiration and support he has received from his colleagues. I know this may not be a revelation to many people but it reinforces how much work goes into laying the groundwork for excellent practice and this was certainly superb CPD.
This, for me, is “real education” and not Phonics tests or SATs. I well up inside when I see how well this can be done and in all my years as an adviser and innovation practitioner I never ever tire of projects like this – they always bring with them an emotional and intellectual charge that is invigorating and inspiring. People know authenticity when they see it and now deeply committed educators like these are succeeding because there’s no spin, no commercial selling, no dependency culture just a ‘can do’ attitude and wider community involvement. That is why I film TeachMeets and that is why I love what I do.
Part one of the Interview
You can see videos for the rest of the sessions here.