Small Heath School
Our Schools Leadership Programme project is based around the concept of ‘Joint Practice Development’ where teachers work collaboratively to improve outcomes and provision for pupils. This is something we have been working towards for many years with groups of teachers planning and evaluating together in order to further improve their practice. We also have several groups of teachers looking at different aspects of school life, such as literacy and pupil profiling.
The school's association with the PTI has allowed five of our teams to work together when planning our Curriculum Enhancement and Enrichment days. These are days ‘off timetable’ enabling pupils to delve deeper into a particular topic or to take part in a trip or visit in order to gain a greater understanding and place subject matter in context. Previous themes have included looking at ‘The Olympics’ and ‘The Titanic’. The aim of these days is for pupils to see that subjects are not exclusive but there are many links, especially when there is a common theme.
This year we decided to look at a local issue, ‘Richard III’. After an initial brainstorming session, teachers from Geography, History, Mathematics, English and Science all planned a sequence of lessons that looked at a different aspect of Richard III. The Geography team looked at ‘Where was he found?’ using map regression analysis, Mathematics focused on ‘Could you be related to Richard III?’ bringing in aspects of statistics and ancestry and pupils in Science studied ‘How did they know it was him?’, reviewing skeletal evidence and DNA profiling. The link to History is obvious but we decided to focus on archaeological aspects and ‘Where was the body found?’. The sessions then took an interesting turn as the English team facilitated ‘Who was Richard III?’ studying different texts and literary interpretations. The day flew by and unfortunately there was not enough time to delve into where he should be buried…maybe next year!
A highlight of the day is that we brought in guest speakers to support each session from The Richard III society (who started the day with an enlightening talk) and The Universities of Birmingham and Leicester including those who had actually worked on the case. The day culminated in a careers session to inspire pupils to broaden their horizons and consider different career pathways to those with which they are familiar. It was a fantastic learning experience for everyone involved, engaged colleagues in collaborative planning and delivery at its best, and most importantly provided a memorable and stimulating day for our pupils.
The Prince's Teaching Institute has had a massive impact on our pupils’ learning at Small Heath School. I believe that my History colleagues have risen to the challenge, and our pupils have benefitted from creative teaching and outstanding learning experiences.
As a team we have worked with Birmingham University on Gifted and Talented activities involving the History of Medicine and the First World War. We have also continued our links with the National Archives in London, the Holocaust Education Development Programme, the Schools History Project and the Historical Association.
As a team we know that our young people spend a great deal of time using new technologies. Therefore, we have embraced this medium and pioneered new ways of innovative teaching to help them learn.
Some of our Year 7 pupils have been designing a Medieval Village website. The students have produced all of the content for the website and have used a new programme called PB Works. Their website is a work in progress. The website can be found at http://smallheathvillage.pbworks.com/
Our worcesterjonny channel on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/worcesterjonny continues to grow and now has 120 videos, nearly 1,400,000 views and 500 subscribers. The videos on worcesterjonny cover many topics across the key stages and are very popular with teachers and pupils alike.
As a team we are very proud of all the extra-curricular activities that we offer, and the subject of History is very much alive at Small Heath School.
Small Heath School is a co-educational comprehensive school for 11-18 year-olds in Birmingham. The school has 1340 pupils on roll. Its History, English, Maths, Geography and Science Departments were awarded The Prince's Teaching Institute Mark in September 2012.