We joined the Helping Schools Succeed project in the 2012/13 school year and became a model school for its initial five-year phase. The project appealed to us – its vision was in line with the direction the school was taking, but it also offered the school a lot of support, by which we mean not just financial support but especially the professional support we received from the project’s consultants and professional project management. We appreciated and still very much appreciate it today.
During the five years our first project consultant spent with us, the school gradually began to change. Even in the initial trial year, we were astonished by the teaching and approach towards children in the project schools. Over time, we absorbed ever more interesting knowledge, and our teachers took MBTI, RWCT and Respect courses... In short, we learnt how to give our teaching a new direction.
In the following years, we slowly forged our own path of teaching development at the school and personal development of individuals. Even at this stage, our project consultant continued to play a significant role in preparing lessons with teachers. Her advice meant that children always learnt with interest and showed greater motivation during our lessons.
The project taught us to work together, share information, teaching materials and insights, and discuss and think about teaching outside the box. It introduced the practices of sharing, observing each other’s lessons, teaching in tandem, collaborating and discussing the effectiveness of lessons. This led to even greater trust between teachers and strengthened the team’s relations.
Gradually, the project and its associated activities benefitted us all, some more than others, but to some extent the whole school. The school’s culture has changed – there is now much more respect and collaboration. Most importantly, in many cases, teachers’ attitudes towards their profession – and especially towards children – have improved.
We would like every school to have the same opportunity to work with great project consultants. Because schools also need to learn. When we were offered the role of project school in the project’s second phase, which meant we could work with other schools, we jumped at the opportunity. We have built connections with nine other friendly schools, and with the support of project consultants, we are working on reading, critical literacy and thinking about better teaching practices – in short, we are trying to keep moving forward with our development.
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