“I felt welcomed and inspired at the hub day and have come back to school with great ideas and a project to begin. I would like to say thank you to everyone who welcomed us into their classrooms. The consistency of good practice was evident.”
As part of our 2018/19 primary core offer we have been piloting our new regional hubs. Stemming from our commitment to collaboration, they highlight the best practice across the region and offer schools the opportunity to showcase the ways they are embedding a whole education.
What is a Hub Day?
Hub Days take two forms. Spotlights are a deep dive into the practice of a stand-out school. They are a chance to hear from the school’s leaders and practitioners, get inside their ethos, values and vision, and think about how you could apply their ideas in your own context. Swapshops support delegates to explore practice in specific areas of interest. They feature a wide range of table sessions hosted by subject specialists from schools across the region and Whole Education partners.
Five takeaways from The Spinney’s East of England Hub Day:
The Spinney Primary in Cambridge is a stand out example of a whole education in action. In the Spring term, they hosted a Hub Day for our East of England region with Whole Education partner Relational Schools.
1. What does the word ‘curriculum’ actually mean?
The word curriculum comes from a latin route and is a race track or ‘the course which must be run’. This could explain the exhaustion we feel in the run-up to summer term! As Mick Waters said, “Too often we feel pressured to turn curriculum into a race; too often we feel the curriculum must be determined by working backwards from the exams at the end.”
2. To take care.
At the Spinney, Headteacher Rachel Snape stresses the importance of taking care as a central cultural mantra:
We take care of ourselves
We take care of each other
We take care of our learning
We take care of our community
We take care of our future
3. Thrive: Inspiration from Valerie Hannon
Rachel spoke of the inspiration she has taken from Valerie’s books, particularly Thrive. The school conceptualises the curriculum as concentric circles; the inner, hidden, explicit and extra curriculum and aligns this with Hannon’s four levels of Thriving. For schools to be reinvented for the real challenges we face schools must ensure that children have the skills, knowledge and competencies to be successful in four domains, the intrapersonal, interpersonal, societal and global.
4. The importance of being ‘pragmaticians’
The Spinney describe their practitioners as being pragmaticians, both delivering on current national accountability requirements while also ensuring they are going above them to offer a fully rounded education. “Training for the tests and teaching for life!”They believe a school should be “a venn diagram of knowledge, skills and character- with relationships at its centre”. The aim of the school’s curriculum as published on the school website is “We want our children to be happy today, fulfilled in the future and able to make their world an even better place.”
5. Relationships matter
The Spinney places great importance on nurturing relationships within its walls and beyond. To this end, Rachel enlisted the help of Relational Schools on how to centre relationships in a school’s framework. You can read Rob’s top tips below.
“You cannot learn if you are frightened. You cannot learn if you are unhappy. You cannot learn if you feel like you don’t belong in your classroom.”
Dr Robert Lowe, is Executive Director of the Relational Schools Foundation. He has four top tips for creating an environment which allows relationships to flourish
- Develop children’s awareness of unity over diversity.
- Exploit synchrony.
- Create healthy competition among teams, not individuals.
- Instil students with an awe for something larger than themselves.
The next hub days are at the end of May in the East of England (Fulbridge Academy) and North West (St Paul’s CE Primary School, Bolton).
Relational schools are a strategic partner of Whole Education. Visit their website to learn more.