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School European Professional Development
Start date: 01 Jul 2016, End date: 30 Jun 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Project Title- To research Teaching and Learning in schools: a comparative study of approaches which raises aspirations and attainment outcomes in European schools. To research Teaching and Learning to raise the attainment outcomes and aspirations of learners (in alternative education). ContextSILS is a good school (Ofsted, 2015). As an alternative education maintained school, SILS provides education for students who have been permanently excluded or are at risk of exclusion.The SILS vision is "to provide a learning environment where students are inspired to achieve and develop into confident resilient responsible young adults". The vision which is delivered through high expectations, consistent focus on good quality teaching and learning, strong pastoral support, therapeutic and multi agency interventions, as well as collaborative partnerships with parents and other professionals has contributed to year on year improvements in standards.Although a majority of students commonly arrive with low attainment levels and low average abilities, once settled they thrive, feel safe and happy in the nurturing environment at SILS.Inspired leadership across all levels has delivered improvements in standards.Objectives of project: Raising aspirations and outcomes:1 - To raise standards of attainment for disadvantaged young people in South-East London to the levels of peers in high functioning European communities (including students from disadvantaged backgrounds, displaying excessive disruptive behaviour). The focus being improved teaching and learning leading to higher outcomes for students. Professional development of/for staff:2 - Increasing knowledge and awareness of effective strategies with learners. This will be achieved through research and the opportunity to experience aspects of school leadership and teaching & learning in Sweden and Finland (prominent leaders in education). Profile of participantsIt is envisaged that visits will take place over a two year period involving staff from the senior leadership team (SLT), middle leaders (ML) and higher level teaching assistants (HLTA). This totals five members of staff. Description of activitiesStaff will have the opportunity to attend a tailored course over six days, providing access to a range of diverse educational institutions. Participants will have the opportunity to observe teaching, meet equivalent counterparts and participate in facilitated discussions / interactive sessions to reflect upon the similarities and differences between the different approaches to teaching. Cultural variations and similarities will be a key aspect of discussions. It is proposed that we will be able to offer a reciprocal arrangements for colleagues from overseas.MethodologyStaff will prepare for the trip by reading background information on the school (website, newsletters etc.), research local customs & culture and attempt to learn basic Finnish/Swedish. British Council / Erasmus resources can be used to assist with this. Information will be disseminated to staff and management committee via our regular cycle of meetings. Relevant elements observed during the visit that can be incorporated within the school to facilitate the raising of attainment, will be taken to the SLT for discussion and/or implementation. Students, parents and carers will be kept informed via the school website and newsletter. A school display and assembly will celebrate the visit. Results & Impact - Longer term benefitsInformation obtained from the visits will feed in to the School Improvement Plan (SIP) and Self Evaluation Form (SEF) where possible to facilitate the raising of students' attainment. Based upon professional dialogues with colleagues overseas and first-hand experience, it is proposed that an exchange programme could be established for staff in addition to establishing sustained links with colleagues in Finland/Sweden.I expect this experience to improve both mine and my colleagues breath of knowledge and openness to innovation and new ways of delivering education. It will encourage me personally to support other staff to take up similar professional development opportunities across the borough.I anticipate that colleagues will use their experiences of Finland & Sweden as an avenue to explore in their lessons, learning and leisure pursuits.
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