Professional Development of Staff through European training activities

Rowan Gate Primary School is constantly striving to further our understanding of successful teaching methodologies and how they will impact on the specific learning needs of young pupils with Special Educational Needs, including Severe and Profound Learning Difficulties and  Autism.  As we continue to develop a new generation of Teachers for the 21st Century we welcome the opportunity to  meet and collaborate with colleagues in other parts of Europe.

At Rowan Gate Primary School we are keen to maximise learning opportunities through utilising a range of creative and practical methodologies. At Rowan Gate Primary School we strongly believe that children who are well placed emotionally are better able to achieve their learning potential and it is important that the wellbeing of pupils and staff is held in consideration when devising and developing an outstanding curriculum.

Our interaction of colleagues and partners within Europe has already yielded positive benefits in terms of innovative methodologies and opportunities for reflection based on observations of how ‘others’ do what we do. Maintaining and developing long-term links with our colleagues in Europe is seen as a critical aspect of our overall mission for continual improvement, believing that geographical barriers should not be barriers to sharing good practice across a European / global community. Our current and previous work in European projects and activities is testimony to our commitment to internationalism, and we see this application as a further step in this direction

We believe that participation in the project will help to meet challenges posed by our school Strategic Plan tasks:

  • Maintain multicultural / intercultural experiences through formal and informal arrangements with partners and colleagues
  • Maintain and develop links/collaboration with other schools, locally and in Europe
  • Monitor pupil attainment to ensure practice is reflected equally across the whole school
  • Continue to liaise and develop curriculum management to ensure a consistent approach across both schools
  • Review training opportunities in light of new initiatives, considering training at a UK and/or international centres
  • Continue to support training towards QTS (Qualified Teacher Status)
  • Maintain role with 5 Wells Teaching Schools Alliance
  • Ensure both pupils and teachers have access to up to date technology

To do this, we need to

– develop key initiatives and strategies in the school Strategic Plan to be able to plan and implement new methodology so that it can easily be adapted to our school.

– improve teaching and learning by raising staff expertise and competences within a European context

– enhance and be adaptive to new curriculum, staff and pupils’ needs and requirements

– develop leadership skills in staff, including confidence building

– develop a multicultural approach to learning

– develop staff ability to deal with an increasing migrant community

– improve outcomes by developing new learning methods and strategies

– develop innovative approaches to teaching and learning

– enhance ICT and associated strategies to motivate and encourage learners

– Learn from observation of other practice in Europe

Courses provided by  LEAP will help us to do this by equipping us with these skills, helping us to develop a network of international contacts, developing knowledge and understanding of the special education system in other European countries in order to broaden our teachers’ understanding of their practices and policies and to improve knowledge and understanding of creative approaches in education. The staff attending these courses will disseminate this knowledge within our school and locality.

The project would be a great opportunity to motivate the teachers’ professional development, both through formal education methods, as well as informal learning, such as peer (peer-to-peer method).

We believe that participation in structured courses will help us achieve the targets set  in the European Development Plan.

To achieve this, we selected these courses:

  1. Creative Teaching Approaches in Early Years and Pre-school Education

The course will develop knowledge and understanding of creative teaching approaches in Early Years; increase competence and confidence of all our Early Years teachers and teaching assistants (26 people) in using specific teaching techniques; provide our teachers with an array of ready made teaching resources suitable for our pupils; provide an opportunity to share good practice and evaluate own teaching practice; (as a partner of Teaching Schools Alliance) provide an opportunity to work collaboratively in developing our teaching plans to use in the classroom. We are planning to send young teachers, established teachers and teaching assistants working in Early Years  to develop and enhance their teaching methodology within a European context

2.Teaching and Learning in Special Education: The Icelandic Perspective

The course will develop knowledge and understanding of the special education system in Iceland in order to broaden our senior leaders’ understanding of practices and policies; increase competencies within our school and beyond and work collaboratively in developing plans for modernisation and of own practice; develop an understanding of the use of new technologies in the Icelandic special education system; provide an opportunity to share good practice and evaluate personal practice in order to integrate new approaches (as a partner of Teaching Schools Alliance).

  1. Forest Learning: The Swedish Perspective

This course will develop knowledge and understanding of teaching staff who have a keen interest in developing outdoor learning. The course looks at how outdoor learning supports the development of a child as a whole and in particular how the use of a forest environment can promote personalised learning, social and emotional skills, cognitive development, and wellbeing to name a few. That will affect all children at our school.

4.Understanding Finnish Education

The course will develop knowledge and understanding of the education system in Finland in order to broaden our high qualified teachers’ understanding of practices and policies; enhance their leadership skills in order to operate within our school; provide an opportunity to share good practice and evaluate own practice in order to integrate new approaches (as a partner of Teaching Schools Alliance).

5.ICT Enhanced Classroom

The course will develop knowledge and understanding of various ICT tools in order to increase competencies within our school; develop skills and knowledge of how to create interactive content using a variety of ICT tool (online and offline); develop skills and knowledge of how to engage pupils, teachers, parents and the educational community using digital tools and resources; develop confidence and motivation in using ICT specific tools in teaching. This course will affect not only teachers and children, but parents and the community as well.

6.Wellbeing in education

This course will help to understand of how wellbeing and positive mental health impact on people’s emotional and intellectual growth (at all levels). Teaching staff, attending this course will develop and enhance teaching and learning through methods to address their self-confidence, motivation, appreciation of own skills and abilities; develop understanding of methods to encourage positive friendships and relationships; develop understanding of methods to deal with problems and set backs; develop understanding and impact of mindfulness in education. This is very important for schools like ours with so many adults working together in each class. All our staff and as a result all our children will benefit from this course.

7.Effective use of teaching assistants & support Staff

This course is very important for us, because teaching assistants make a huge impact on children’s education. There are up to 6 teaching assistants in each class at our school and it is vital to use them effectively. We are planning to send a new qualified teacher and a teaching assistant on this course to acquire the following competences – develop understanding of the role of teaching assistants and support staff to be fully prepared for the classroom; enhance questioning and feedback techniques to develop pupils’ independent learning skills and manage their own learning; work collaboratively in developing plans to enhance own practice; provide an opportunity to share and evaluate good practice in order to integrate new approaches.

After completing these courses, all participants are going to implement a wide variety of the activities that can be carried out in cooperation with partner schools (Teaching Schools Alliance), evaluating international activities and the European dimension in the curriculum, disseminating the activities and outcomes.

The school will use the European Development plan in its school Strategic Plan for the next four years and the results achieved by the courses will be summarized in there. Teachers acquainted with foreign colleagues’ experience will use it in their work in the field of internationalization and modernization. The courses will open the door to Europe for both our teachers and pupils and make it possible for them to get to know more about other countries’ work and methods. Professional development is a core principle of the courses as we would like teachers to observe different schools and discuss techniques and methodologies they use as well as sharing best practice through training sessions.

By the end of this project we would like to see an impact on the children’s attainment, as well as increased levels of involvement, engagement and wellbeing (LEUVEN scales).

The participants will organise at least one meeting at our school to share the experiences they gained during the courses. At least one more meeting will be delivered to share findings and best practice learnt through the courses with Early Years, Computing and Forest School teachers from other schools in the local authority with SEN provision. Training materials will be created in response to the various training experiences and will be available on school websites for everybody to use.

The results of each activity will be reported during INSET training for the colleagues. The participants will plan delivering lessons in innovative ways sharing their findings with the colleagues.

Digital results of the activities will be mentioned on our school website and on TwinSpace.  Everybody will be able to admire samples of the work/activities on the website.

Post-course, the results will be used and exploited continuously  in a long term by maintaining and  developing  after the end of each course.

We believe that participation in the project have a positive impact for both the school staff. This aligns with our long-term objectives in our Strategic Plan to

* Maintain multicultural experiences

  • Maintain and develop links/collaboration with other local schools
  • Monitor pupil attainment to ensure practice is reflected equally across the whole school
  • Continue to liaise and develop curriculum management to ensure a consistent approach across both schools
  • Review training opportunities in light of new initiatives
  • Continue to support training towards QTS (Qualified Teacher Status)
  • Maintain role with 5 Wells Teaching Schools Alliance
  • Ensure both pupils and teachers have access to up to date technology
Awards