Headmaster’s Blog

This week’s blog is from Mr Andrew Bartlett, Senior Deputy Head.

Speaking Up
This Monday we were delighted to be able to take our Year 7 pupils to visit the Houses of Parliament. We had a wonderful day with a tour of the many different areas of Parliament, including the House of Commons, the House of Lords and a seminar with a member of their educational team. We learnt about the history of Parliament, some key politicians and about how our electoral system operates.

During the seminar, pupils worked in constituent teams to develop their own manifesto and present their ideas. After some heated-debates and some very charismatic speeches, we went to the ballot box and Tom H was elected as our Prime Minister. His Party’s commitment to reducing the impact of climate change was a winner with all of us. We were delighted with the pupils engagement in the day and they represented the School superbly.

As an added bonus, we are looking forward to welcoming our local MP next week, Ben Bradshaw, to discuss our suggestions for change in the local community and continuing the theme of politics.

We are very proud to be able to offer a wealth of diverse and engaging enrichment activities to our pupils. From academic, to sport and the arts, our enrichment programme promotes a commitment to learning and self-improvement, teamwork and fun.

Our trip to the Houses of Parliament reminded us about the importance of speech and communication. During the day our pupils were encouraged to present ideas, engage in discussions, consider turn-taking and crucially, use their language for effect to argue, explain and persuade. All these skills are vital to children’s ability to be prepared for life in the 21st century.

At ECS, speech and communication lies at the heart of our curriculum. We know that developing children’s speech and communication skills has been linked with cognitive gains, personal and social gains and civil engagement and empowerment. Increasing children’s abilities to understand and debate issues as well as their ability to manage differences with others are importance life skills.

Our curriculum aims to equip pupils with the skills and opportunities to talk confidently, appropriately and sensitively. Through modelling the sorts of spoken language we expect from pupils, setting expectation for pupils’ oracy, asking great questions and encouraging deeper exploration of ideas, scaffolding pupils’ interactions and initiating pair or group activities, we are able to effectively support children’s speech and communication skills. Enrichment opportunities like our trip to the Houses of Parliament, visiting speakers, debating clubs, pupil voice, drama evenings and Declamations all play a part in putting oracy at the heart of our curriculum.

As part of our Curriculum Twenty20 review, we are continuing to work with our teaching team and other excellent schools to share strategies and activities that can further enhance pupils’ speech and communication skills in and outside of the classroom.

Ken Robsinson reminds us that, ‘We may not see the future, but they [your children] will and our job is to help them make something of it.’ Children’s abilities to talk confidently, appropriately and sensitively will undoubtedly hold them in good stead and I am hopeful that we have inspired some future politicians this week!

A special thanks to Miss Pearce for masterminding the trip and helping on the day.

Mr Bartlett

28 February 2020
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