Over the last week and a half we have been getting to know a wonderful group of children and adults in schools in Cambridgeshire.
- Elm Road Primary – Wisbech
- Nene and Ramnoth Primary – Wisbech
- Millfield Primary – Ely
- Highlees Primary – Peterborough
- Eyrescroft Primary – Peterborough
Within each of these schools we found an energy from those at the top to make these schools an inspiring place within which children can make the most of their potential. No different to many other schools you might think? Perhaps not in sentiment, but in reality, these schools were facing some significant challenges, as they supported children who faced major disadvantages.
It was in this context of schools that were seeking to overcome the reality of the life situations that many of the children found themselves in, that we were exploring whether our social learning agenda would help.
In order to offer support we began our involvement in these schools through what we have termed ‘starting point discussions’. These discussions allow us to explore with schools our five key areas of attention: ethos, community, lead, speak and act.
Through conversations with children and adults, driven though simple questions through to the making of a fun film, we were able to start investigating how we could make connections that defined that link between the individuals (children and staff) and learning rooted in these unique learning communities. From these discussions clear next steps are emerging – these will feature in future blogs.
Acknowledging disadvantage means one can easily focus on the support that might be needed, rather than recognising the lessons that can be learnt. For there was so much that was going on in these schools that others could benefit from. These schools had become community hubs, sanctuaries for children and parents, in which inclusion was far more apparent than the divisions that jostled in the streets beyond. Here children felt they belonged, offering that most important starting point from which they were then able to learn.
Such schools highlight just how we need to be aware that children’s learning journey is not simply about the marks they receive in government tests, but in the personal journey that children go on. In these schools we met so many amazing children who were on an inspiring journey as they faced up to the challenges around them, and looked at how they could, with the support of their schools, overcome them.
To find out more about our Starting Point Discussions and how they might benefit you – get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org