Morven Adey, Leader and Manager of Drama and Dance at The Hermitage Academy in Chester Le Street, County Durham, reflects on the Think Global teacher training programme to support schools to take part in Start the Change, a project focused on active citizenship and dialogue to counter discrimination and extremism, build communications skills and foster peace-building and positive change.
We signed up for the Start the Change project because we thought the initial topics and themes looked interesting and challenging, and fitted in with our school’s development of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) education in various formats.
The first phase was a research project, with a researcher visiting the school to interview teachers and run a focus group with some of the students, and in the Autumn Term two of us from The Hermitage came to London for a few days’ training with a group of teachers from other schools in the North East, as well as some from London and elsewhere.
We hoped the training would mean we gained more knowledge on some key issues around SMSC particularly thinking about radicalisation and the impact of Social Media on students. We enjoyed getting a much more holistic view of practice across a range of schools in our area and in London – it was both refreshing and challenging realising we have similar issues and struggles and enabled us to share best practice and come up with new ideas. So much of the training allowed us to work collaboratively with colleagues from other schools, bouncing ideas around and supporting colleagues in articulating their ideas for the future. Because it was a residential, there was plenty of time to discuss our ideas and experiences informally.
It’s hard to pick just one thing we’ve taken away from the training session. We had some really interesting training from the Tower Hamlets Prevent Education officer, which gave lots of ideas to move forward. I also enjoyed learning about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and seeing how we can link this into school practice moving forward.
We aim to run a project which looks at poverty in the area we live in and also links in to food waste. We hope to get students thinking about the wider community and the impact they can have on the area around them. Each project will be completely different and led in part by the students, so it’s really up to them how they’d like to work together.
Blog by Morven Adey, Leader and Manager of Drama and Dance at The Hermitage Academy