Rugeley Sixth Form Enrichment Programme

I love joining different organisations together to create mutually-beneficial projects. The latest one is an Enrichment Programme for Year 12 students at Rugeley Sixth Form Academy. Through my contact with Paul Mobberley (Year 5 teacher) I approached Mr Minott, the inspirational Head of Chase View Primary School, to discuss the possibility of students supporting the school on arrange of projects. We came up with a Sports, Art and Reading Support Programme that six students are currently involved with.

They attend the school on a weekly basis during their free time to support where required.

Alex Nix-James was a former pupil at the primary school and it was great to take him back as a sixth-former to help current pupils. He was given the task to brighten up a metal container on site and below you can see the before and after pictures. Alex now has this project on his CV and the pupils at the school got to see an artist at work. Oh, and Mr Minott has got his container jazzed up.

Chase View Art 1Chase View Art 2

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Employer Forum promotes Skills Development in schools

DSC_0003I ran my second Employer’s Forum at the Saddler’s Club in Walsall on Wednesday. Companies and organisations from across the Black Country came together to discuss the delivery of Skills Development activities in schools across the region.

John Price, former manager of Walsall Education Business Partnership, gave a keynote speech explaining the history of skills development programmes and we need them today more than ever.

They received a schedule of planned activities this school year and gave a commitment to offer their support.

Anyone wishing to join this growing group of inspiring business supporters please get in touch.

Cheslyn Hay High School Year 9s regenerate the area

I had an excellent day with Cheslyn Hay High School Year 9s. The school is very big on giving pupils the opportunity to develop their business and social skills.

The pupils did an Intelligence Quiz and a mini-challenge to create an art installation to demonstrate the future of Cheslyn Hay. We then gave them a budget of £100k to develop any part of town into a Social Enterprise Business.

All pupils came up with great ideas and then presented them to a judging panel made up of local business representatives:  Peter Cadman, Julie Lee and Tracey Wellings.There was a lot of ‘facing your fears’ as the pupils stood out front with a microphone in their hands and we ended up with fourteen superb presentations.

Young people developing the skills they’ll need for future success.

I’ll be back to see them again next year in Year 10!

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Literacy Day for Year 7 and 8 – One hundred twelve year-olds reading the Times and Mail!

I ran a two-day Literacy Event at The Mirus Academy in Walsall last week. Each day I had groups of Year 7 and 8 pupils developing their reading and writing abilities in a fun, competitive environment.

As usual, I had fantastic support from the local business community.

Day 1: David Tomalin – Age UK    Jacqui Pountney MBE – WES   Helen Gelsthorpe-Smith – Henn and Westwood

Day 2: David Tomalin- Age UK   Louise Taylor and Nicola Delahey- Juniper Training  Craig Vincent- Local Entrepreneur

My aim was to get the young people to read a quality newspaper and present a story they liked. I have to say they did a great job and chose some great stories, some of which I hadn’t seen.

A superb day with a group of lovely young people.

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RAF Museum Playground Design Challenge – Wednesday 18th December 2013

What a brilliant day today. My first inter-school event at the RAF Museum.

Schools Attended:

Aldridge School

Holly Lodge High School

Crestwood School

Bristnall Hall Academy

Sutherland Cooperative Academy

Teams were asked to design a children’s playground for the Museum. They were shown the potential area and were asked to created a design based on the Museum’s history, equipment and artefacts.

All five teams came up with great ideas and Phil Clayton, The Museum Education Manager, chose Bristnall Hall Academy as the winners.

We are planning to put a superteam together from all five teams to come up with costings and a final plan to present to the Museum Board of Directors. Hopefully we can turn pupils ideas into reality.

Winners of the RAF Museum Cosford Playground Design Challenge

Winners of the RAF Museum Cosford Playground Design Challenge

Pupil working with Caroline on their design project

Pupil working with Caroline on their design project

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Sir Michael Wilshaw considers resigning

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The news about Michael Wilshaw considering his future isn’t surprising. The Head of Ofsted is a poisoned chalice for anyone with an interest in the future of our young people. Being a Gove mouthpiece is not a role for anyone with experience in education who would put a child ahead of some government target or lame initiative.

I work in schools every day (not as a teacher) and see them trying every way they can to inspire and motivate pupils to achieve their best. As has always been the case, the kids who can pass exams will, those who can’t won’t. I appreciate there’s a grey area where some borderline kids can go up or down a grade but it’s not a benchmark for a good school to judge them on how many kids can sit and regurgitate a range of facts at a certain time on a certain date. I thought we were preparing them for a future in work. I also work with local business and no-one has asked for this skill. They want fully-rounded individuals ready to do a day’s work and achieve great things for their company.

Schools who try to give their pupils the full experience have to do it with reduced funding and Ofsted slamming them for not turning out automatons, not allowing for ability, family background and the efforts our fantastic schools put in to keeping them on track.

Yes Mr Wilshaw, it’s a crap, pointless job and will be over when the Conservatives lose the next election because they continue to get every key decision wrong. Putting you in place was one of them.

 

Gove destroying Britain’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

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George Osborne has been trumpeting the beginnings of an economic recovery as if he was responsible for it! read the Daily Mail article here.

He talks about Britain’s Entrepreneurs leading the way. Not for long if Michael Gove has his way. His plans for introducing rote learning in schools and to focus on history and classics is trampling on the creativity I see in our young people every day.

I’ve never heard an employer ask that a new employee knows who Winston Churchill was or how to conjugate a latin verb. What’s the point of teaching kids to remember useless facts that they can Google if they need it? What employer needs kids who can remember useless facts and write them down at a certain time under certain conditions?

We need to enthuse kids with learning and make schools a vibrant, creative environment where they can gain confidence, learn through doing and make them a force to reckon with in the workplace of the future.

Michael Gove wants a conveyor belt of people who followed his path.What we don’t need is a tide of young people being trained to become politicians. If that’s what happens then the last person standing please turn out the lights.

 

School view of Education Business Services Ltd delivery….

From Blessed Robert Johnson College website

Year 8 Social Enterprise Event

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On Wednesday 1st May Year 8 were taken off-timetable to participate in a ‘Social Enterprise Event’ run by Lorenzo Cosco, from Education Business Services Ltd. Culminating in a Dragon’s Den style finale, students were asked to work in teams to create ideas that could be used to make a difference as well as generating money that could be used for Social Enterprise. The students came to school dressed in smart outfits, to help them to empathise more fully with the real world of work.

The judges included Peter Forrest, the Managing Director of Panoptic Systems Integrated Ltd in Newport, as well as representatives from the Department of Work and Pensions: Sophie Tipper, Carol Hartshorne, Christine Woolley and Anthony Hyde.

Also there to explain more about Social Enterprise and to highlight a competition for budding young social entrepreneurs were Eva Fryc and her colleague Julie from UnLtd, which supports and funds projects across the nation.

Chris Gosling from TCAT also came along to support the employability skills discussed and to raise awareness for students of the career choices they will be making in the near future regarding their options and post-16 courses.

The day was very productive and we are very proud of the effort that many students went to in their presentations and outfits. We’d like to express our thanks to Lorenzo Cosco and all of our visitors and hope that we can continue to keep in touch and build upon such a positive experience in the future.

Here are some comments from the students themselves:

“I learned life is hard. To get your dream you need to start when you are young and get good grades.”

 “I’ve learned that life isn’t as easy as it sounds. It was enjoyable to work alongside peers to swap ideas. Jobs don’t just come to you, you need to work hard.”

 “Today I have learned to co-operate with people I don’t always work with.”

 “I’ve learned today that team work and communication is vital.”

 “I enjoyed using creativity to make a design. I learned that you can work with anyone if you listen.”

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