“Great teaching in real classrooms” – the launch of Rossall’s Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning

On Thursday 2nd May Rossall School had the rare privilege of hosting a true celebrity of the education world, Mr Tom Sherrington. Well known for his pragmatism and forthright views, Mr Sherrington has been a leader on the education scene ever since his blog teacherhead.com gained traction, and has become infamous in the teaching world following the publication of his first book, The Learning Rainforest.

The occasion was the much anticipated opening of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Rossall School.

Located within its own wing, the Centre for Excellence is a learning space for teachers, with an ever growing library of books and resources and stimulating displays that showcase ideas and approaches designed to help teachers reflect and become even more effective practitioners.

The Centre’s existence serves a practical purpose of providing a focal point for teachers to meet, discuss, explore, debate and learn. However, it also serves an equally symbolic purpose; affirming Rossall School’s commitment to first class professional development for its staff. This entails a true understanding of the individual learning needs and professional journeys of our teachers and requires flexibility and creativity to ensure that the training we provide is impactful, inspiring and well timed.

The “grand opening” was marked by a thought-provoking talk for all teaching staff on the subject of evidence based education research – debunking fads and now outdated education “fashion trends”, focussing instead on identifying the interventions that really do make a difference. The follow up workshops were equally memorable, and between the metaphor demonstrating the dangers of teaching abseiling without checking that each child can put on their harness, to encouraging metacognition and preparing pupils for diving (again metaphorically) into the deep end, there was something both reassuring and challenging to take away for every single teacher in the room.

Learning is at the very core of our community; we are all life long learners in our function as pupils, teachers, parents, support staff, senior leaders, but also irrespective of them. Our ongoing commitment to learning and understanding ourselves better is what leads us to effectively support the young people in our care to fulfil their potential academically and personally. For this reason from September 2019 we will be expanding the Rossall Learning Community, modelled on best practice of CPD for our teachers; namely providing a mix of lectures, workshops, inspirational speakers, opportunities to get involved in research, opportunities to deliberate, discuss and debate with others who have had similar and contrasting experiences. For parents there will be opportunities to hear from experts on topics as wide ranging as teenage mental health to helping your child navigate the pitfalls of social media. Parents can also find out what their children are actually learning in school by attending evening “taster” lessons and they can engage in hearty intellectual debate following our twilight Human Universe lectures delivered by our own staff on subjects as diverse as astronomy, linguistics and ethics.

A programme of events will be published in due course for the term ahead and we very much look forward to seeing many of you there!