Teach Meet, Marling School, Stroud, Gloucestershire


Marling School was my port of call this afternoon.  A Teach Meet for teachers of geography in Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire had been organised by CETA (Cotswold Edge Teaching Alliance) to provide the chance to ‘pool expertise, get inspired and bounce some ideas around, all washed down with plenty of tea, cake and enthusiasm!’.  Clare Johnson, Head of Geography at Marling School, approached me to see if I would like to present or contribute to their carousel of displays.  Since I had recently been up to Sheffield for a ‘train the trainer’ event, which was led by the GA (Geographical Association) and ASE (Association for Science Education) to promote their new ‘Critical Thinking for Achievement’ project, I offered to give a brief presentation about this fantastic initiative involving FREE CPD for teachers (thanks to support from the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund [TLIF]).

During my ten minute slot, I outlined the key features of the project, discussed how it can build teacher capabilities and raise attainment among pupils, focused on eligibility, provided further detail about the school-focused CPD element of the programme, talked briefly about the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund (TLIF), gave teachers a taster of some critical thinking activities and shared case study material with attendees.  Many were very impressed, but work in Ofsted rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools in their non-target areas, unfortunately.  However, there are a couple of possibilities to pursue; Prince Henry’s High School in Evesham, which falls under Wychavon, and Cirencester Deer Park School, which may be able to host CPD sessions for a number of schools in and around Swindon.  I also have a primary school in the Forest of Dean that is keen to become involved.  I should love to form a network of schools in all of these areas if at all feasible in order to facilitate further networking and interaction across the county and beyond.

Dr Chris Spencer, Faculty Lead for Widening Participation and Diversity and Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of the West of England (UWE), gave a formal presentation during the afternoon too.  He promoted opportunities for schools to collaborate with the university.  Chris also wished to discover what additional support the university might be able to give schools in Gloucestershire and its neighbouring counties.  I had a lengthy chat with Chris afterwards and hope to be able to instigate a few initiatives between UWE and an Islamic school that I am currently supporting in my freelance consultancy capacity.

Later, we had time to visit a number of stands to explore resources, gain teaching and learning ideas, pick each others’ brains, etc.  This slightly more informal aspect worked really well and enabled me to obtain up-to-date contact details and gather a number of ‘tried and tested’ teaching activities to use with Year 11 students.

I look forward to the next Teach Meet … make sure it happens again soon, please!

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