This week, 3 students and 2 staff members from Kingsthorpe College – an EdisonLearning UK partnership school – are visiting Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy in Gary, Indiana; and Bridgescape Learning Academies in Chicago.
The tour offers a unique and exceptional opportunity for both UK and American students to experience and learn about the different countries’ culture, education system, and politics; as well as allowing them to share their own cultural and educational backgrounds and experiences.
It is the result of EdisonLearning’s International Pilot Program Committee, which seeks to establish links between the educators and students in partnership schools in the U.S. and U.K. Kingsthorpe College is involved in the Collaborative Academies Trust, for which EdisonLearning UK is the prime sponsor.
Lailah Wesby of Gary is a champion track star at a young age, earning gold and bronze medals at the recent AAU 14-Under Youth National Indoor Championship in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Her biggest supporter is her older brother, Brandon Wesby, who is a successful track coach, and a staff member at Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy.
For both Lailah and Brandon, this competition held at the Bowen Fieldhouse on the campus of Eastern Michigan University brought mixed emotions, for it was at this facility that their late mother, Lisa Wesby, last saw her daughter compete.
"Eastern Michigan is my favorite place to run. It's the last place my mom saw me run so I try to do really good there," said Lailah. A strong supporter of Lailah's academics and athletics, their mother "never missed a beat," said Brandon, the girls track coach at East Chicago Central.
This week, Lailah Wesby received a special visit from three female Olympians on Monday's episode of "Steve Harvey" -- https://youtu.be/TSdiMzrBS-M. Harvey introduced her to Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin, who each won a medal in the 100-meter hurdles at the Rio Olympics. The women made history by giving the United States its first sweep in that event.
In addition, Harvey surprised Branden with a $5,000 gift on behalf of Green Dot, the issuer of prepaid debit cards, to help with Lailah’s training and travel expenses.
Similar to school accountability measures and standards implemented in the United States, the work of our colleagues in the UK comes under the review of the government agency – Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. Ofsted inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages.
In the recent “Primary Education Report to Parliament” one of the schools participating in EdisonLearning UK’s Aspire program – Jane Duke Junior School in Basildon, Essex, England, was highlighted. Below is the report:
In 2015 OFSTED graded the Jane Duke Junior School as “Requires Improvement”. Nonetheless with good leadership highlighted and good behaviour and safety. We were commended for our systems of safeguarding children’s welfare practice – ‘The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is outstanding’.
Amongst our successes in 2015 we saw a Good Level of Development for Early Years Foundation Stage rise from 44% to 64%, the Year 1 phonics check rose from 56% to 71%, our Infant Average Points Score improved and the Year 6 results increased by more than 10% at level 4 combined and increased outcomes in all three progress measures. How did we achieve this?
In 2013 we were approached by a cluster of schools which were working with National Association of Head-teachers and the DfE to develop an improvement programme with EdisonLearning – delivering the Aspire programme. We joined this school improvement partnership known as Aspire and have seen a number of benefits as a result.
We have embedded quality teaching and learning by developing goals to achieve the OFSTED schedule and national expectations. We have identified what adults do to ensure learners are effective and improving their results. The project has also allowed us to develop distributed leadership more effectively.
Key leadership roles for five strands were allocated to staff and have focused on the school’s desired outcomes and the vehicles to get us there. Leadership has focused on asking staff to take on responsibility across the school with teachers in charge playing a vital role on school improvement with year group leaders and subject leaders taking ownership and accountability of improved outcomes for pupils.
The assessment for learning strand has developed our systems in order to access, track and plan for pupil learning. We use achievement team meetings to focus on the outcomes and barriers to success for the pupils. The staff then worked together to find solutions and report back and develop further as the needs of the pupils dictate.
The Aspire pilot has allowed us to embed further what we do well and explore other opportunities to improve the outcomes for all our pupils. We are now developing this further through the Basildon Excellence Panel, working in clusters with other Basildon schools for the good of all the pupils within Basildon. Our aim is to have every school in Basildon with good and outstanding OFSTED ratings.
On January 8, students at Kingsthorpe College in Northampton, UK were privileged and honoured to meet with Matthew Barzun, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the Court of St James. Ambassador Barzun (center in the above photo), joined school leaders and EdisonLearning UK’s Managing Director Tim (far right).
Along with Michael Ellis, Member of Parliament, Ambassador Barzun visited the College to listen to the views of students about international relations with the USA and to discuss global issues that are important to them. The Ambassador explained to students that their feedback would be collated and shared directly with the U.S. President, Barack Obama. Students had the opportunity for real dialogue with the U.S. Ambassador and they were able to express their views at the very highest level.
The session began with students sharing their perceptions of the U.S. The Ambassador also asked students for their opinions on which foreign policy issues were most important to them and was keen to know what concerns they had about the U.S; students came up with a varied and thought-provoking list. Topics included: Middle East peace, the UK in the EU, the military, gun laws, the involvement of the US in international relations, healthcare, foreign policy, the U.S. Constitution, and international trade. The Ambassador was impressed with the students’ knowledge about US history and politics and thanked them for their feedback.
Kingsthorpe College, a member of The Collaborative Academies Trust with EdisonLearning UK, has a strong partnership with a number of schools in the USA, especially the Magic Johnson Academy in Bridgeton, New Jersey.
Commenting on the visit, Principal Debbie Morrison said: “We are truly privileged to have had a visit from the U.S. Ambassador, Matthew Barzun, who was keen to engage with our students and to reinforce for them the ethos of Kingsthorpe College– that every student has the potential to make a really positive difference in the world.”
The outcomes of EdisonLearning’s seventh annual UK Head Teacher survey have been released today. The survey, which is conducted as part of the company’s ISO9001 accredited quality management system, provides a detailed perspective on how the Partner Schools Programme is helping schools to more effectively meet the needs of their learners.
The survey provides a series of quantitative indicators that evidence both the progress that schools are making and the changes in confidence and capacity that schools perceive from their engagement in the Partner Schools Programme. It also provides qualitative evidence of a growing confidence across head teachers who feel better prepared to meet the ever-rising demands placed on them as school leaders.
Key outcomes from the 2015 head teacher survey:
- 100% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their school had made progress as a result of their partnership with EdisonLearning (78% strongly agreed).
- 100% agreed or strongly agreed that leadership development had had a marked impact on the school (83% strongly agreed).
- 100% agreed or strongly agreed that their school was better prepared for external audit (eg. inspection or local authority review) (65% strongly agreed).
- 96% agreed or strongly agreed that the partnership with EdisonLearning offered good value for money (65% strongly agreed).
- All of these indicators showed improvements on the 2014 survey.
Qualitative feedback from respondents included the following:
“Even staff who have not previously held a key leadership role are enthusiastic and feel empowered.”
“The distributed leadership model has ensured that all staff have a clear and shared vision for the development of the school as well as shared responsibility for leading this. This, in turn, has increased motivation, and led to the development of in-depth professional dialogue about the direction of the school based on relationships grounded in mutual trust and respect.”
On the Learning Environment:
“The introduction of Core Values has had a transformational impact on behaviour and behaviour for learning.”
“Class learning forums have been very effective for giving children the language to talk about their learning – we now need to get that into every area of school life.”
On Assessment for Learning:
“During Achievement team meetings – shared conversations help us to develop the finer points of children’s learning.”
“Achievement teams, accelerated learning sequences, peer coaching and mentoring based on the achievement statements are working interactively to affect a powerful and productive professional learning ethos which is impacting on teaching and learning.”
On Pedagogy and Curriculum:
“The introduction of the QFLT to support teaching and learning has changed the way that staff think about their professional development.”
“We have reinvigorated our curriculum using the connected curriculum and the core learning skills. Subjects that were previously neglected are now back on the agenda!”
On Student and Family Support:
“TLCs [Termly Learning Conferences] have had a remarkable impact on parental engagement at Parents Evenings.”
“..the biggest impact on learners and their families- wow staff love it”