Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg MP, has this week announced a new scheme to encourage schools to find effective ways of addressing the attainment gap between children from different socio-economic backgrounds.
Whilst some would argue that social mobility is influenced more by a child’s background and environment, there is no doubt that increases in pupil premium funding from £625m in 2011-12 to £1.25bn in 2012-13 will be well received by many schools. However, with the increased allocation from £488 per FSM pupil in 2011-12 to £600 in 2012-13 will come greater accountability. Schools will soon be required to publish how they have used the funding online and measures will be introduced to capture the performance of disadvantaged children in league tables.
Moxhull Hall Hotel in Warwickshire played host for the inaugural Project HE:RO Network Event. This meeting was organised for headteachers to discuss how they are using their Health Mentors and share good practise.
The heads present all benefitted from hearing case studies about how Health Mentors were being effectively used, often in different ways to how they had been deployed in their own school. The common thread that ran through the discussion was how versatile these staff are and the consistently high quality of new appointments.
The team at Wildmoor Spa in Stratford-upon-Avon are big fans of Evolve and Project HE:RO. Following their sponsorship of Evolve’s presence at the Birmingham Headteachers’ Conference last year, they have come up with this fantastic offer for all headteachers within the Project HE:RO Community:
Evolve’s Regional Manager in Lincolnshire, Damon Fox, has been extremely busy meeting headteachers to discuss how Project HE:RO can further support their schools in 2012/13.
Dixons Allerton Academy in Bradford, West Yorkshire, has taken a national lead by signing up to Project HERO and appointing the first Health Mentor to work in a secondary school in the UK.
Brian Padden is the Evolve Health Mentor who will work at the school to deliver a range of activities that utilise physical engagement and active learning to inspire pupils to adopt a more active and healthy lifestyle. Although HERO was initially aimed at primary schools it has become clear that secondary schools feel the Health Mentor role is equally valuable with older pupils.
I was recently asked to comment upon the Department for Education’s consultation regarding proposed changes to allow schools to employ industry experts to work as instructors in schools more easily. This consultation is geared towards secondary schools and is designed to address the current quality of vocational training, as recommended in the Wolf Report.
This proposal follows recent moves to elevate the status of QTLS and allow qualified teachers from the FE sector to take up posts in compulsory education. At this year’s BETT conference, Michael Gove MP also expressed his belief that IT professionals from the world of Microsoft, Google et al could have an important role to play in the new era of UK education.
These debates take me back to the National Agreement in 2004 when primary headteachers were given the opportunity to appoint unqualified teachers who possessed specialist qualifications in their field and whom they deemed “competent” to work under the supervision of class teachers whilst facilitating their PPA time.
There remains widespread opinion about the benefits of using unqualified teachers within the curriculum. And for good reason. My area of education has always been active learning through physical engagement, whether this be during physical education lessons, lunchtime play or extracurricular activity clubs. Unfortunately, a significant number of practitioners in this area have given our emerging sector a tarnished reputation due to poor pedagogy and ignorance around the important differences between teaching and “coaching”.