We want to make learning the centre
of education again
By working with, not for, organisations to achieve change
We do this in a variety of ways, from our localised Curious-city curriculum to coaching leaders; from equity-focused Initial Teacher Training courses to enhancing local museum offers, and last (but not least) with governments and leaders around the world. Ultimately, we are honest and realistic partners in change and are not afraid to shine a light in dark corners.
How we actually do it
Curriculum design & innovation
Every setting is different. All our work starts with a frank and open conversation to make sure that we understand the situation we're becoming a part of and how we can be most useful. We support schools in a number of ways, including with our very own Curious-city curriculum. We don't parachute in with a load of buzzwords or a set package and we don't do one-off sessions.
The easiest way to demonstrate what we do is to show you our past and current relationships, so here are a few of them:
The Dolphin School, Bristol
Spreading the head's vision
The Dolphin School, our flagship Bristol setting, launched Curious-city as part of a rebuild of the whole school. Head Shelley Dixon saw all-new staff as a chance to establish something special. We've worked with them extensively over the past couple of years while they embedded the Curious-city curriculum in the school. That work has involved everything from the obvious curriculum support, to training, coaching and mentoring as the staff adjusted to what, for some, were radical changes in the teaching culture. The response from staff, parents and most importantly the learners, has been amazing.
St. Werburgh's , Bristol
Clearing the curriculum fog
We were asked to go in and help streamline a vibrant and innovative curriculum bursting with whole-school initiatives. We reviewed their curriculum practice and attitudes towards it through face to face conversations with staff, pupils and parents. Working closely with the Curriculum Lead, we evaluated National Curriculum coverage, skills progression and teacher planning. The curriculum's strength, as well as St. Werburgh's existing links with the local community, role as a Rights Respecting School and other quality marks were clear, but topics had become unwieldy. We worked openly alongside the school to slim down their existing curriculum and make it more focused and effective.
The Croft, Swindon
Firesides, caves, watering holes
After successful CPD and training work with The White Horse Federation and Swindon Teaching School, we were invited to find an innovative way to use a new space at The Croft Primary. We divided their classroom into four "zones" (firesides, caves, watering holes and forests) which each allowed children to work in a different way. To showcase the concept and as part of teacher CPD, we ran an enquiry in a day, which asked learners to consider the question of whether or not a building should contrast or complement the landscape. This used all the zones to facilitate the different modes of working and allowed pupils to research, collaborate and create in whichever way they felt most comfortable.
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Initial teacher training and NQTs
Teaching is a tough job, but also a hugely rewarding and inspiring one. The difference between those who flourish and those who struggle is good training and support. We've spent years running courses, advising schools and training and mentoring to help new teachers thrive. We now also have our very own Salaried School Direct course, giving career changers a great route into primary teaching.
Here are some of our past and current relationships:
Benefits for schools
Shelley Dixon, Dolphin School Head
"We have been really impressed with the calibre of the teachers we have taken on from Lighting up Learning. They have arrived at school with a fantastic work ethic, a passion for the role and a great foundation for their NQT year.
The training has clearly provided them with good subject knowledge, a clear understanding of pedagogy and the ability to reflect on their own practice. They have continued to make rapid progress and will be leaders in the school early in their careers."
Benefits for individuals
Jo Lee, Cabot Learning Federation
"I completed my initial teacher training with Lighting up Learning last year and landed a job in EYFS in my dream school. This is largely down to the comprehensive and practical training I received. Lighting up Learning delivered inspirational, hands on, practical training which suited my learning style as a career changer and really showed me the realities of life as a teacher.
When I started my first role, nothing came as a shock as the team had given me such a wide variety of experiences during my training year. I felt prepared, confident and enthused for my second career."
Salaried School Direct
Our experience in a full programme
Having advised on and run ITT programmes for other institutions for four years, we have now initiated our own Salaried School Direct Course, in association with Swindon Teaching School. This allows us to take a small cohort of career-changers and train them to become the sort of versatile, confident and inspiring teachers that are sorely needed in education.
The course incorporates the values of our Curious-city curriculum as well as support from our Coaching Partners Team, enabling us to provide schools with confident, capable teachers that can be the leaders of the future.
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Coaching, mentoring & counselling
Coaching can be a challenging approach to understand. Many people have experienced 'coaching' when in fact it was mentoring or are interested in it don't really understand how it can help them. It can easily be seen as a 'loose' approach when in fact it is robust, focused and highly effective.
Coaching is for everyone and is a sign of professional and personal strength when an aspiring leader, struggling teacher or Executive Headteacher seeks out the insight it can provide.
These are actual examples of work we've done and the effect it has had.
George Samios, Twerton
Dealing with universal challenges of headship
Headship comes with a unique set of pressures and challenges. Coaching for George Samios, Headteacher at Twerton Infants was a way for him to achieve clarity and perspective in the thick fog of leading a school. We were able to offer a blended approach of coaching and mentoring as agreed with George due to our personal experiences of being Headteachers. Coaching for us is something that, in the details, is extremely carefully tailored to the individual setting and people, but inevitably invaluable and all too often overlooked.
Supporting a school during transition
While supporting the school in the period between headships we established a coaching and mentoring strategy for members of the Senior Leadership team. We helped to prioritise the demands of school life and identify key foci to address the School Development Plan and update the Self-Evaluation Framework. The resilience and adaptability that coaching facilitated in staff enabled them to meet the challenge of a shifting landscape with a refreshed, positive attitude and treat the period as one of opportunity, not threat.
Fostering a coaching culture
Team Leader Kristian Hancock is working with the trust to enhance coaching and mentoring skills of school leaders. The work focuses on positivity, confidence, communication and helping people break down problems so as to tackle them more effectively. We encourage a questioning, listening approach that enables people to extend their own thinking and gives them the tools to help them in interactions with colleagues, governors and parents. The result is a more collaborative atmosphere, greater staff unity, wellbeing and retention.
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Leading to enrich, advance & develop
Many organisations outside of education have much more to offer schools than they know, or than they can communicate. It can be challenging for providers to understand what teachers need in order to make the most of a visit, centre or collection or even how they might be a useful part of a learning experience outside of their perceived sector of influence.
These are a few examples of organisations we've worked with to develop or create a learning programme enabling them to effectively engage with schools:
Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Activity programme creation
We've worked with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust over a number of years, continuously enhancing and refreshing learning offers to schools to training Learning Managers in questioning and enquiry-led learning approaches. Most recently, the LEAD team designed a series of activities to offer deep learning opportunities before, during and after visits to WWT centres. As per WWT's brief, we focused on the Science and Geography curriculum for EYFS to KS3 with the finished results available to use from April 2018.
League Against Cruel Sports
Online & residential programme creation
Two streams of activity form our work with LACS. Firstly, we visited the unique and special protected animal sanctuaries in Devon to conduct learning feasibility studies. We also used the charity's fox cub mascot and his friends as the basis for curriculum content for EYFS to Key Stage 4 .
We are working with the LACS to create a physical and online learning presence, enabling learners to become geographers, scientists and authors, ultimately leading to them being the next generation of conservationists.
Blaise House, Bristol Culture
Revitalising work with local schools
The project at the beautiful house that nestles in the grand setting of Blaise Castle Estate, is to re-imagine and revitalise the museum's work with both local schools and the wider community.
It is the latest project in a long-established relationship with the Bristol Museums Service, building on our in-depth understanding of the organisation's culture, learning teams and collections.
07912 291 640
Facilitating system-wide change
Working overseas in other cultures presents unique situations. Whether it's understanding how to move a single school forward or implementing system-wide change across a whole country, you need a delicate blend of understanding and the willingness to challenge entrenched opinions.
These are some of the countries we've worked with over the past decade, helping governments and organisations make progress in even the most difficult circumstances:
07912 291 640