I spent the morning with Eric Summers, headteacher of Webster’s High and a group of his staff including Anne Collins, Bob Pond and Peter Flood. We had a wide ranging discussion covering everything from Glow and Curriculum for Excellence to the implications of Howard Gardner’s latest work for the teaching of content. The school is very much a Burgh school with very strong links into a community that includes the Angus Glens.
The school has made a considerable investment in ICT and Eric thinks that the introduction of a digital projector into every classroom has had a bigger effect on improving learning and teaching in the school than any courses or resources that the staff of the school have had access to in recent years.
Webster’s has a strong ethos which is wrapped around four key development themes: effective learning and teaching, values, health and global education.
I also got some very useful (and positive) feedback on developments within LTS. Our Leadership for Learning Masterclass programme and the LTS Online Service were picked out as being of particular importance.
I left Webster’s with a number of actions to follow up and a copy of the excellent book on study skills written by Eric and his depute M-C McInally [Study Skills and Strategies, McInally & Summers, Leckie & Leckie, 2005].
In the afternoon I met with John Fyffe, headteacher of Blairgowrie High. Again our discussion was wide ranging and covering similar themes to my conversations in the morning.
Blairgowrie is also a Burgh school serving the town and a large area of eastern Perthshire. Last year the school was successful in its bid to become a School of Ambition with a proposal entitled ‘More Choice, More Chance’.
John, just like Eric, is passionate about learning and not short of ambition for the school or for the community that he serves. Developing rural skills, making more learning available online and establishing a new centre to strengthen the links between the school, FE and community learning are the amonst the key priorities that John has established for the school.
The feeback on the progress being made by LTS was also useful and John described the LTS Online Service as ‘fantastic’ and ‘an essential resource for his school.’
I felt really inspired by my day. In the world of formal education it is headteachers, teachers and schools that make a real difference to the lives of young people. The job of organisations like LTS is to make sure that we work with schools to ensure that the curriculum, assessment, support, resources etc are the best they can be. I left feeling encouraged that the key developments within my remit of technology and learning are just what these schools are looking for. We just need to make sure that we continue to seek feedback and involve as many schools (and as early) as we can in piloting new developments. We also need to make sure that we capture all of the passion and enthusiasm that I found on my visits and make sure we deliver the world class service these schools deserve.