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Pakeman School European Professional Development
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Pakeman is a one and a half form entry primary school in an area of high social deprivation (0.57 compared to 0.24 nationally) in Islington, London. We have high levels of SEN (33%), free school meals (78%) and EAL (87%). We are an increasingly popular school with a growing roll. Pakeman was named National Primary School of the Year in the 2013 Pupil Premium Awards for raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. We have high expectations of all our pupils and are not complacent. We are constantly striving to improve what we do. Our children achieve well in relation to national expectations at L4+ at KS2. However, our school priority remains to increase the numbers of children attaining higher levels, especially disadvantaged pupils. Many of our children have very low attainment levels on entry and we have a broad range of provision on offer to support those children who are working below age-related expectations. However, we would like to match the quality of provision on offer for higher ability pupils to what is already offered to their less able peers. We are always keen to share best practice and to learn from the practice of others. To this end, to date, we have worked collaboratively with a large number of schools, both locally (we are part of a cluster of 17 primary and secondary Islington schools) and nationally. However, we feel that we lack an international perspective, and this has been highlighted during recent visits to our school by a number of Norwegian schools. We have helped these schools to organise their visits, to ensure they meet their objectives and stay within their budgets. We are committed to sharing best practice with other schools, and do this already through providing courses, visits and consultancy. Having a more European perspective would enable us to better offer this kind of support to other schools. The objective of this project is to develop a greater awareness of what international schools are doing and for participants to learn from these schools' best practice in order to raise the attainment of our more able pupils, especially those who are disadvantaged. This project will allow us to send 20 teachers from across the school (including school leaders) to four European countries (Norway, Sweden, Portugal and Spain) to observe good practice with a view to implementing more effective strategies at Pakeman and to developing opportunities for the children in our classrooms to connect with children in the classrooms of other European countries. We would offer the opportunity for the schools we visit to undertake return visits to us. 16 teachers will be split into 4 groups of 4, accompanied by one of our senior leaders (20 in all), with each group visiting one of the four countries. We already have links with schools in Norway and Portugal and the Global Learning Association (led by Ray Kirtley of the University of Hull) has agreed to help us to organise course at schools in EU member states (Sweden and Spain). On returning from each trip the group will share their findings with the leadership team and phase leaders, and the information will be evaluated and action plans developed, then shared with the teaching staff, intervention teachers and teaching assistants, in order to drive improvement. Then, at the end of the project, we will compare and evaluate the results and draw conclusions that will support us to improve our own practice and that we can share with other schools in our cluster and more widely. The courses will include: - A visit to the education department in the district visited to learn about the national, regional and local education system. - Visits to a number of local schools to observe practice, talk to practitioners and see the strategies being used on the ground. - Visits to museums, art galleries and other cultural attractions that schools in the areas use to support and enhance their curricula. - Return visit to the education department to discuss and evaluate our findings, and prepare for the dissemination of this information to staff in our school and more widely. The aims of this project are that staff will: - develop a greater awareness of international education systems, including similarities to and differences from our own education system - be motivated and stimulated to try out new ideas and adopt new practice - be more confident in supporting others to develop their practice - use an increasing number of and a more varied and effective range of strategies for supporting more able pupils - be more confident about sharing good practice, within the school and across the cluster of schools and other schools nationally. In addition, we believe the project will help us to build and extend opportunities for our children to communicate with their European counterparts (eg. collaborative projects, exchanges, penpals, Skype). These aims will all be achieved by the end of the project and in the longer term shared with others.
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