Tag Archives: East Anglia

How to NOT benefit from a visit to Stalham Academy; a warning to desperate heads

I am very happy that so many have taken an interest in the success of schools I have worked with. I am less happy to find that some visitors have disregarded the context of that success.

Stalham Academy has recently issued a disclaimer email to schools whose staff have visited them following the Regional Schools Commissioner’s endorsement.

The upshot of that correspondence is that, while they welcome observers, under no circumstances will Stalham Academy accept responsibility for haphazard attempts to replicate “Cooperative Learning” in schools following such a 2-hour visit.

While Andrew and Glenn have made every effort to demonstrate how they have deployed my original 2014 Skills & Mastery CPD course to improve their school, I know that they do not advise randomly dumping Cooperative Learning into classrooms without proper training, any deep understanding of its application, context or, indeed, of its aims. (Some of the requirements of leadership may be found in this series of articles).

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Warning do not try this at home

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On the contrary, they have clarified to visitors that success depends on SLT systematically connecting Cooperative Learning to all areas of the SIDP, including assessment systems, as well as the overall vision for the school’s ethos as a safe and collaborative community of pupils, parents, and staff.

Furthermore, precisely because my CPD always reflects the needs of each specific school, it may well be that Stalham Academy’s use of Cooperative Learning is not even best practice for your school. Bear in mind that Stalham had just gone into special measures, lost their headteacher, and converted to academy status when the acting head and I planned their CPD.

Thus, Stalham Academy’s results are absolutely not the sole result of my CPD provision, but of an ongoing and systematic and responsible effort by all staff to operationalise my training to meet their needs and achieve their vision.

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” Jakob’s training leaves nothing to chance, is focussed, thorough, reflective and takes good account of the real development needs of the team.” 

-Tony Hull, CEO of Evolution Academy Trust, on “The Real Value of TAs” tailored Cooperative Learning programme,  July 2017. 
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To write off their hard work because one chooses to blatantly disregard their advice in search of a free magic bullet is unfair. To repay their hospitality by speaking ill of them to one’s colleagues and to denigrate Cooperative Learning as a “fad” simply to cover one’s own shortfalls is the height of ingratitude.

Cooperative Learning is a cost-effective solution, but any solution must be applied correctly. I therefore strongly urge past and future visitors to Stalham and other schools to not to write off Cooperative Learning with the comment “We tried it out when we came back and it didn’t work.”

Should you hear such talk, please urge the concerned individual to contact me for a meaningful dialogue about the requirements of their situation.

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“We found working with Jakob really effective, he …  listened to us and adapted his programme specifically for our teachers and our children.”

 Ben Rogers, Vice Principal at Norwich Primary Academy, 2015.
(Watch Vice Principal Ben Rogers and Year 3 teacher Ms Shane Horne discuss their experiences with Cooperative Learning in these short video interviews) .
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My training has come a long way since 2014, as it continuously evolves to integrate changes to statutory requirements and DfE recommendations, relevant research (such as best use of TAs), and include a host of ancillary objectives, ideas and experiences from working with a number of schools and training providers.

I, therefore, trust that such a conversation seems a fair proposition?

 

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Filed under Cooperative Learning, get started with CL, Leadership advice

Islam Awareness Week 2015 programme in Norwich

Islam Awareness Week 2015 is from March 17 to 23.  Ihsan Mosque marks the occasion with four events of special interest to educators:

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Programme

[  download as pdf  ]

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Monday 16 March:

Healing Fractures II” Educators’ Workshop is a full-day event, led by Ibrahim Lawson, which aims at inspiring and enlightening relevant professionals in the education sector and local authority through the insights and experience of Muslim alternative educators. It is a full-day version of our highly acclaimed event in 2014. Read more

Tuesday 17 March:

Islam in RE: Religious Literacy & Controversy Through Enquiry allows RE teachers to use Cooperative Learning to achieve outstanding results in relation to religious literacy, guided enquiry into highly controversial topics and related issues of SMSC, PSHE, and Citizenship. This course has been presented in Norwich in October and to PGCE students at the Institute of Education in November 2014. Read more.

Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 March:

“Enquiry and Immersion” Full-Day Field Trip to Ihsan Mosque aimed at primary. Open  official invitation from Mr Jamal Sealey, Muslim community leader in Norwich, to February’s roll-out. More on this as situation develops – follow on Twitter for updates. Thoughts on the pilot.

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MON ladies 2

 Smiling because the boys are all downstairs?

Acle Academy students, Enquiry & Immersion, November 2014


“…the experience of participating in these transferable and scalable enquiry exercises was very effective.

Laura Gabell, RE teacher, Notre Dame High School,

Islam in RE, Norwich CPD, October 23, 2014 

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Filed under community building, Cooperative Learning, CPD, Enquiry, integration, Islam, Multiculturalism, P4C, Philosophy for Children, RE, Religious Education, Religious studies, workshop