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UK Study Tour

07.10.13

UK Study Tour Report - June 29, 2013 – July 19, 2013

1.1  Introduction and Background

At a meeting of the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration & Management (CCEAM), Paul Miller, Professor of Educational Leadership & President of the newly formed Institute for Educational Administration & Leadership, Jamaica (IEAL-J), was kindly offered an opportunity by Mr Ian Potter, Headteacher Bay House School (Hampshire) and Ms Rebecca Poole, Deputy Headteacher, Hendon School (London) for current Masters students in Educational Leadership at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), who are also members of the IEAL-J to visit their schools for a period of 10 days, starting early July 2013.

 

1.1.1        Participants

The parties involved in the Study Tour were: 

Institute for Educational Administration & Leadership- Jamaica (IEAL-J)

University of Technology, Jamaica

  • Faculty of Education & Liberal Studies
  • School of Graduate Studies, Research & Entrepreneurship
  • MEd Educational Leadership students 

Hendon School, London

Bay House School, Hampshire

University of London

Middlesex University

Other local schools in Hampshire and Gosport

                        

1.2 Objectives of the Study Tour

This visit was significant at two different levels, namely:  professional and institutional in the forms of:

(a)   sharing approaches to teaching, learning and behaviour management
(b)   sharing  best practices, skills and knowledge
(c)   sharing educational experiences from “the other side”  situated within a policy context
(d)   building bridges between individuals, schools, communities and countries; and
(e)   future collaborative efforts .

In sum, this visit would provide invaluable cross-fertilisation between individuals, communities, Schools in England and Schools in Jamaica.

 

1.3  Study Tour Funding

Funding for the programme was facilitated as follows:

  • An international grant to the tune of £5000 from the British Educational Leadership Management and Administrative Society (BELMAS).
  • Bayhouse School in collaboration with the Beacon Foundation contributed £1364 towards the cost of accommodation.
  • A loan of £4134 to cover remaining costs of accommodation.
  • Scholarship in the amount of $200,000 provided by the School of Graduate Studies Research and Entrepreneurship (SGSRE).
  • $10,000 grant awarded by Kirkvine Cooperative Credit Union.
  • Three fundraisers undertaken by the members of the MEd group along with Professor Miller which netted approximately $200,000.
  • Personal funding for plane fare and other expenses.

 

1.4  Tour Activities

The MEd group arrived in the UK on Saturday June 29; however, the official start of the Study Tour was Monday July 1, 2013. The weekend was used to recuperate from the journey as well as to settle into our accommodations. Each day was planned in detail and schedules dispatched on a daily basis. Bayhouse was our host school for the first ten days and most of our activities either took place on site or in neighbouring schools (except for two days when the group travelled to London schools). The overarching focus of the tour was to connect what was being experienced as far as possible with two modules slated for the summer semester: Leading and Managing Change and Improvement in Education and Instructional Leadership and Supervision. Below, the activities are itemized according to dates.

-          Monday July 1

Bayhouse School:

- Welcome, introduction and school tour

- Interactive Session on ‘Outstanding Schools’ led by the Headteacher, Ian Potter

- Seminar on ‘Safeguarding’

- Session and Showcase of Professional Learning Communities. Topics covered were: Improving effective feedback and assessment for learning; Improving the effectiveness of interventions and differentiation; Improving the capacity to self-manage in and out of the classroom; Increasing engagement/Making Learning meaningful; Using performance data effectively at the classroom level; Providing suitable enrichment for all and Developing the provision for the teaching of literacy, numeracy and ICT.

-          Tuesday July 2

- Lesson shadowing of Years 7 and 8

- Seminar on ‘Internationalism’

- Observation of Finance Committee Meeting of the School Board

-          Wednesday July 3

- Session on ‘Providing for Special Education Needs’

- Pair visits to Sixth form Lessons (IT, French, Geography, History, Science, Mathematics)

- Session on The Current Educational Climate in the UK

- Meeting with the School Leadership Team

- Session on Professional Learning – How to evaluate lessons

-          Thursday July 4

- Local school visits to meet with the headteacher and shadow lessons: Lee-on-the Solent Infant and Junior School, Gomer Junior School, Alverstoke Junior School

- Seminar on ‘Collaborative Learning’ – Is learning best achieved collaboratively? Which outcomes are most valuable and how measurable are they?

-          Friday July 5

- Presentations by select members of the MEd group: Recycling in Jamaica – Year 7; Interactive 6th form Business lesson: Trade in Jamaica

- Local school visits: Gomer Infant School, Leesland School

-          Monday July 8

- Journey to London for School visits

  1. St. Francis de Sales School (Tottenham): Seminar on ‘Networked Learning Communities vs. Professional Learning Communities’ – Dr. James Lane
  2. Cardinal Pole Catholic School (Hackney): Learning walks and classroom visits; Interactive session with Deputy Headteacher and Assistant Headteacher

-          Tuesday July 9

- Visit to an inner city school: Redbridge Community School

- School tour followed by lesson observations

- Best practice sessions: Curriculum Development/Timetabling; Attendance and Monitoring; Behaviour Monitoring; Marking and Feedback.

- Bayhouse: Seminar on Leadership in the 21st century is not about leaders

-          Wednesday July 10

- Bayhouse: Seminars on Performance Assessment and Management; The Change Process – theories and models; Curriculum Management

-          Thursday July 11

- Institute of Education, University of London – Seminar on ‘Building staff and school capacity through staff evaluation data’: Dr. Christine Callender

- Seminar on ‘Professional Development of teachers and administrators’: Professor Peter Earley

-          Friday July 12 – MEd transition to Enfield, London

-          Monday July 15

Hendon School: School tour and conversations with the Headteacher: The movement to ‘Outstanding School’ status.

Middlesex University Seminars
a) Technology in Education
b) Implementing and Evaluating Educational Change (Dr Shirley Allen & Dr Beth Gallagher)
c) Instructional Leadership – Postmodernist critiques (Dr Shirley Allen & Dr Beth Gallagher)

Seminars:

a) ‘Teaching Strategies for Inclusion – Maggie Allen
b) Leadership in a Changing Global Society – Dr. Gertrude Schotte
c) Rebecca Poole – School Leadership in Challenging Circumstances: Ripping up the rule book or putting policy into practice?

-          Comments

Each day ended with a group reflection led by the individual who was assigned to document the day’s activities. During the reflection, there would be discussion about the benefits of each session, lessons learned, best practices observed and what impact it would likely have upon our return to Jamaica.

 

1.5  Key Outcomes

  1. Professional Learning: being exposed to best practices in a variety of environments gave the members of the group the opportunity to reflect on the positives and negatives of the Jamaican educational context. Most persons have expressed the fact that critical learning has occurred and have observed and recorded new ideas that they wish to implement in their own settings.
  2. Practice Impact: it is somewhat of a challenge to encapsulate in mere words, what the impact on practice has been. Suffice it to say, however, the impact on our practice as teachers has been fundamental. We have been encouraged to utilize whatever strategies are necessary to ensure that all students are included in lessons. I believe we finally understand how important it is to use data to monitor students’ progress and how it can help us to implement remedial instruction if warranted. Individuals in the group have been animated about the number of ideas they will be operationalizing once they return to Jamaica. More importantly, we have been encouraged to think at a higher level so we can accomplish same in our students and have them so engaged in the learning process that they become more responsible for  and eager about their learning.
  3. Networking: many contacts have been established and exchanged so that the network can be developed. Hendon School and Bay House School were quite generous in offering to ‘accommodate’ us at their schools for the period in July 2013. All participants (including Host Schools) will be supported in and encouraged to enter into School Twinning programmes (partnerships) with support from organisations such as the Department for International Development (DfID) and the British Council.  Such partnerships would provide opportunities for online and face-to-face learning through visits between and among staff and students in England and Jamaica. 

1.6  Sustainability of Impact

The IEAL-J proposes the following dissemination and reporting activities:

  • Formal written report to co-Funders within 12 months of the completion of the Visit. This report will include feedback from the UK Host Institutions and the teacher participants. 

How will the professional learning facilitated by the trip be disseminated more widely in Jamaica? 

Dissemination activities from the Study tour will include the following:

(a)    Two Round-Table presentations on the “Understudy” experience in a school Secondary/Primary (as appropriate) in England, at a conference to be organised by the IEAL-J or in collaboration with FELS in February 2014. These experiences can be written up as Case Studies.  

(b)   Participants will be asked to document their learning during the trip and to introduce ‘best practice’ into the Jamaican classroom/staff-room as appropriate. Impact assessments on pupil learning, classroom management, assessment techniques, delivering inclusive lessons, etc will be encouraged after 4 months (December 2013). Findings from the ‘best practice’ impact assessment can be part of a wider sustainability project aimed at changing and/or strengthening existing practice in Jamaican schools.

(c)    Participants will be encouraged to and supported in publishing Case Studies of A and papers of B- above, in local and international journals such as: Caribbean Journal of Education; Caribbean Education Research Journal, EMAL and MiE. 

(d)   Participants will also be encouraged to and supported in leading a Staff Development Activity (INSET) at their local school on an Area of Interest they found particularly beneficial from the visit to England.

Paul Miller
September 2013

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