Last week was certainly a cracker with regards to my Primary Futures activities …………… I still expect to meet myself coming the other way! Tuesday saw the well trodden route from home to Wakefield Westgate but then a new journey from Waterloo Station to Camberley. I had a planned session working with the staff at Cordwalles Junior School on the possibilities of running some PF based events later this school year. You can check out their website here http://www.cordwalles.org/Despite many challenges the school is a really vibrant place with a staff that was buzzing about the possibilities. I’m looking forward to seeing their thinking develop.
Then it was back to London ahead of some important meetings the following day. Once more I found myself wandering in to the Friend at Hand http://www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub/friend-at-hand-bloomsbury/c6713/ for some good pub grub and a few pints! I found myself surrounded by increasingly more animated Arsenal supporters as their latest valiant european journey ended in tatters! Some of the dark humour was commendable but probably not blog appropriate!
The following morning it was off to the Education and Employers charity in Clerkenwell to catch up with the team ahead of two crucial meetings. As you can see when I arrived they were all hard at it as ever! Our first meeting was with colleagues from the Medical Schools Council who will be our partners in a major Primary Futures month of activity in October later this year. This promises to be not only inspiring for children but a great way to recruit more schools and of course volunteers. Our plans are now confirmed and are ready to roll! The official announcement will be made at the NAHT Annual Conference in early May in Liverpool. http://www.naht.org.uk/welcome/naht-events/conferences/naht-annual-conference-2015/ and will then be fully publicised through our website, the NAHT, EET and other media outlets. We then followed this up wth a detailed team discussion about PF next steps. A chance to review developments and focus on improving our communications with schools. I thoroughly enjoy working with Nick and the team ……………. so like minded in their drive to inspire children and young people!
Scarborough ……………… Having returned home on the Wednesday evening it was the A64 on Thursday to speak at a meeting of Scarborough heads. My first calling point was Overdale Primary School http://www.overdalecp.ik.org/ to meet up with an ex-colleague from my old school in Barnsley who is now the headteacher. Vicki and her team have done a great job! Then it was off to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre to present Primary Futures to the assembled throng. Fingers crossed activity will soon be on the move in North Yorkshire. Basit from EET is on the case and very willing to help!
I had a great afternoon this week sharing our Primary Futures thinking with very enthusiastic senior leaders from 3 primary schools in my old local authority of Barnsley. They are planning to work together in the summer term on a joint event to be held at St Michael and All Angels involving children in years 5 and 6 across all 3 schools. An exciting idea! We went through a presentation on the aims of PF, how other schools have used the concept and looked in detail at the website and support videos.
However I think the most powerful part of the afternoon was the practical aspect. We logged on to the portal and looked at the interesting array of volunteers already signed up in the locality and began to think about the possibilities. They also seemed very taken with the idea of starting the event with a ‘What’s My Line’ type activity, which can be seen as both fun but also a good way to tackle gender stereotyping. They were all very enthusiastic about getting friends they know to also sign up as volunteers which was really positive and remains essential as PF expands. More schools registering and becoming active means we need more volunteers to work with us. Why don’t you register? It was also valuable to be part of discussions about how PF can be built into the curriculum and not just just seen as a one off event which I see as the way forward. This promises to be an exciting start of the PF journey for these schools and their children.
On Wednesday this week Priestmead Primary School in Harrow hosted the latest of our high profile Primary Futures events. Over 40 fantastic volunteers including Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education, joined the excited children and staff. The purpose of the day was simple ………………. to help raise the aspirations of the children helping to give their learning real purpose whilst also keeping PF firmly in the media spotlight as our project continues to grow. I think we successfully did both! The welcome from the school was first class and we very quickly felt at home. I really enjoyed chatting with so many volunteers from such diverse backgrounds and hearing why they had given their time to support PF. It’s really positive to know we are having a major impact not only on the children but also our volunteers.
After a whole school ‘What’s My Line’ challenge and an opportunity for the children to question Nicky Morgan our volunteers began their carousel of activities working with the children in various size groups across the school. As one volunteer remarked ‘the children were a real credit to the school. They were loads of fun to work with but really made me think!’
We had some really encouraging coverage on local radio, the press both local and national including this article in the Harrow Times http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/11833171.Tinker__tailor__soldier__sailor____banker__fireman__government_minister/
You can read more about the event and look at many of the photos from the day on Flickr on the Education and Employers charity website http://www.educationandemployers.org/news/nicky-morgan-joins-the-naht-primary-futures-project/
If you havent yet joined us as a school or as a volunteer then it’s probably about time you did! http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/primary-futures/
Having finally arrived home late on Wednesday evening from my southern travels it was a 6am start today driving to Castle Bromwich Junior School in Solihull for a Primary Futures presentation and discussion with Solihull school leaders. I visited The Solihull NAHT branch in my year as NAHT President in 2013 so was not only looking forward to meeting some of theose colleagues I had met previously but also those bacon ‘sarnies’. I wasn’t disappointed on either count! There was an encouraging turnout and what felt like lots of enthusiasm for trying out PF.
The new format of the website and the user friendly portal to find volunteers and contact them is certainly proving very popular. Once you have registered your school if you then click on the Find Volunteers button a whole world of willing volunteers is open to you within your geographical area. Contacting them couldn’t be easier. You can search all volunteers or be more specific if you are wanting volunteers to work with the children on a particular curriculum theme. If you haven’t yet registered maybe it’s time you did! http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/primary-futures/
On Wednesday morning it was across London from St Pancras via the high speed train to Stratford International station ahead of a major Inspiring Women in Sport event at the London Aquatics Centre. There was a great turn out of both young people and also willing volunteers offering their time to inspire all those in attendance. For more information photos and media coverage check out http://www.educationandemployers.org/news/clare-balding-london-aquatics-centre-host-inspiring-women-in-sport/
At the same venue I had a meeting with colleagues I hadn’t previously met from the Medical Schools Council re. some potentially exciting plans as part of our first anniversary of PF activity this October. There is much work to be done but with the enthusiasm of all parties we are aiming to unveil our plans at the NAHT Annual Conference in May this year. What was really encouraging was the fact that the MSC have come to us rather than the other way round. Watch this space!
This week has certainly been one of those weeks! All the travelling reminds me of the year I had as NAHT President when I seemed to spend my life on the road! It all began early on Tuesday morning when I set off from Wakefield Westgate to Haywards Heath for a meeting with the comms team at NAHT HQ regarding website development and media messaging. It’s crucial that the Primary Futures message is given the coverage and profile it needs to ensure it remains a high priority. The meeting was very positive as we shared lots of ideas and possible future strategies. I’m really encouraged by the great support we are receiving from HQ. They really get it!
From Haywards Heath it was back on the train to Victoria, the underground to Euston then the train to Harrow and Wealdstone to visit Priestmead Primary School ahead of a major PF event next week when we are welcoming 36 volunteers and Nicky Morgan the Secretary of State. What a fab school! I had a guided tour and spent time chatting with Sash Hamidi the headteacher. Great to meet a kindred spirit! We looked in detail at the plans for next week and discussed how PF can make such a difference in raising aspirations and broadening horizons. In order to ensure that high profile PF events like this are really successful a tremendous amount of planning and preparation is necessary to ensure that it not only runs smoothly but also so those in attendance take away that positive message …………… and then share it! There will be a full report on what promises to be a great day later this week.