|Trust School Website Links|
|Colyton Grammar||Bournemouth School for Boys||Torquay Boys' Grammar School|
|Poole Boys Grammar||Exeter University||South West Academic Trust Website|
|Bournemouth School for Girls||Torquay Grammar School for Girls|
Collaboration between the schools in the South West Academic Trust focusses on four main areas:
• Subject development days where subject leaders from the different schools meet to discuss relevant topics
• Gifted and Talented , where schools bring together small groups of students to enrich and challenge
• Summer conference, where one big event provides CPD by teachers for teachers
• A collection of contact details for each school with lead HoD identified for schools to contact and use as mentors
Each school has a SWAT coordinator whose role is to ensure that the collaboration is promoted and ensures the best for all schools. Communication within this group is open and regular and can often broaden out to other topics that are of particular importance. Face to face meetings happen three times a year.
Subject development days are led by established heads of department from each school. They have a budget to organise a day where all the heads of department from a particular subject meet and discuss the pertinent topics. Some arrange for guest speakers to talk, others have input from exam boards.
The gifted and talented work at SWGS is coordinated by Annie Burt. Year 9 Challenge days involve students working in mixed school groups to present an answer to a question - e.g. if you are not in California does it still exist? or Can you imagine a world without laws? Debate/Public speaking involves students from year 10 in debate and year 8 in public speaking. New this year is a Year 10 university experience day aimed at students from a non-university background. This year we taking a group of students from St Edmunds school in Salisbury. Student Voice involves year 10 and 12 students who research a subject and its application to SWGS. This year, students in year 10 are asking why we set homework while the year 12 students are considering the impact homework has on students achievement.
The summer conference this year was hosted at Poole Grammar School on St George’s day leading to this collection of masterclasses being entitled Mastering the Dragon. The BBC six o’clock news presenter George Alagiah was the guest speaker who explored the topics relating to his own career growing up in Africa and then thrown into the boarding school environment in Britain at an early age. The conference attracted teachers from a wide range of schools who could select from a menu of over 20 different seminars to attend. Waitrose recognised the value on this event by providing the lunch.
The group of schools has recently expanded to include four new schools in the trust, widening the field of experience.
List of SWAT schools:
South Wilts Grammar School
Poole Grammar School
Torquay Girls’ Grammar School
Torquay Boys’ Grammar School
Churston Ferrers Grammar School
Bournemouth School for Girls
Colyton Grammar School
Bishop Wordsworth’s School
Parkstone Grammar School
Plymouth High School for Girls
Devonport High School for Boys
The Gifted &Talented group ran two successful ‘Challenge Days’ for Year 9 students at Exeter University in the summer term in which students worked in cross school groups to create a presentation in response to Oxbridge interview questions. The first day for autumn 2011 has already taken place in October. SWAT also ran a Student Voice Conference at Exeter University in July in which Year 10 and 12 students presented on pastoral care in the SWAT schools.
For the first time SWAT ran a training day for Year 12 to run a debating competition in school for Year 10 students and for Year 10 to run a Year 8 public speaking competition. The final was held between the schools at Colyton Grammar in March and SWGS was placed in the public speaking and won the individual prize in the public speaking. We are expanding these opportunities for public speaking in school. We hosted the Cambridge University debate training workshop in
September attended by six other schools and have entered students for the Oxford and Cambridge debating competitions this year with the help of Mr Endersby from BWS.
During 2010-11 Head of Department meetings took place between Art, Business, Drama, DT, English, Gifted and Talented, Geography, History, ICT, Maths, Languages, Music, Pastoral Heads, PE, Psychology, Religious Studies and Science. South Wilts hosted the Design Technology, Art and Psychology meetings. The focus for 2011-12 is subject learning conferences providing CPD for relevant members of departments. Each school is contributing a small amount to facilitate visiting speakers/experts.
SWAT ran a ‘Midsummer Motivator’ conference in June attended by three SWGS teachers. They attended workshops run by SWAT teachers. Our teachers fed back to the staff on the October training day including: making and using films for learning, creative thinking and alternatives to notes. The 2012 conference will be focused on sixth form development and will be run by Torquay Girls School.
The Summer term was very busy for the Trust schools and this is a good opportunity to reflect on recent events. The Trust now has eight member schools as well as the University of Exeter who work together to provide challenging learning opportunities for the students in these high achieving grammar schools:
During 2009-10 Head of Department meetings took place between: Art, Business, Drama, DTY, English, Gifted and Talented, Geography, History, ICT, Maths, Languages, Music, Pastoral heads, PE,
Psychology, Religious Studies and Science. South Wilts hosted the Design Technology, Music and Psychology meetings. Colleagues shared specifications, resources, teaching ideas and made plans for student events. A website has been created by Churston Ferrers to record all events and minutes which is currently under trial.
The gifted and talented group ran a successful 'Challenge Day' for year 9 students at Exeter University in the summer term in which students worked in cross school groups to create a presentation in response to Oxbridge interview question – a detailed account can be read below.
The SWAT also ran a Student Voice Conference at Exeter University in July in which year 10 and 12 students presented on students voice and enrichment in school and took part in workshops focusing on challenge and stretching the most able. Again a more detailed account can be seen below.
On 5th October we also ran a training day for year 12 students to run a debating competition in school for year 10 students and for year 10 to run a year 8 public speaking competition. The final will be held between the schools at Exeter in March 2011.
On 14th July eight year 9 students travelled to Exeter to take part in the final of their two Challenge Days. Students worked in mixed teams with students from all the 8 grammar schools to tackle a philosophical Oxbridge style interview question such as: 'Can you imagine a world free from law?' or 'is nature natural?' to the unusual 'do slugs think?' Students worked at a distance after the first day to play creative and thought provoking presentations. Ideas ranged from the Question Time format, to a court case, original song writing and BBC's The Apprentice.
Prizes were awarded for originality of thought, creativity and entertainment and the panel of judges had very difficult decision to make as the quality of work was extremely high. (Mrs Harris)
On Thursday 1st July we went to Exeter University to take part in the South West Academic Trust's first ever Student Voice Conference. The morning consisted of all participating schools making a 10 minute presentation on 'Enrichment opportunities outside the classroom' and 'Student Voice'.
All schools were very honest and put forward problems they had encountered in their research and suggested potentially very effective ways to solve these issues. After a delicious lunch the representatives from each school were divided into pairs, one Year 12 and one Year 10 and then formed discussion groups lasting half an hour on three topics: 'How are we challenged?', 'Is it cool to be clever?', and The role of competition in our selective schools.
The teachers circulated and listened in as some of us got into heated debates and others discussed mutual problems and issues we come across such as pressures and frustrations that stem from competition and the need to reward students who show outstanding commitment as well as outstanding achievement.
It was an extremely enlightening day where we discovered methods other schools use that we hope once we feed back to SWGS will help to improve our student voice and increase the opportunities offered to further our learning. (Anna Goodman, Laura Mason Year 12; Shiffa Shahid, Sabrina Maurice-Broom Year 10)
We have been part of the Trust for a year now and close links have been made between these selective schools in the South West. On Wednesday 28th April students from the 8 schools had the opportunity to meet and take part in the Trust's first ‘Challenge Day.' Eight year 9 students from each school met at Exeter University. Students were welcomed to this special day by Mr Paul Evans, Head Teacher from Colyton Grammar School. The day began with a thought provoking key note speech from Mr Jack Baylis, former History lecturer, on the ethics of punishment. Students were then divided into cross school teams where year 12 students from each school helped the students to get to know each other by running some fun ‘ice breaking' activities. At this point the hard work really began! In their cross school groups students were given an Oxbridge interview question and were given the task of devising a presentation to show the complexities of the issue and to reach a judgement. Students are going to keep in touch via email to create their presentations and return to Exeter in July to make them. Students also had the opportunity to tour the campus with University student ambassadors. The students found the day challenging yet enjoyable and are looking forward to meeting again at Exeter in July.
With the start of a new school year links between the Trust schools continue to develop. We are delighted that Bournemouth School for Girls and Torquay Girls Grammar School have now joined the South West Academic Trust. Churston Ferrers Grammar School has also recently started the consultation process to become a member of the Trust. The Trust is now a group of seven Grammar schools in South West working in partnership to lead innovation within these high achieving schools.
Students from across the Trust were able to meet together in Bournemouth during the Summer Term. Senior prefects from across the Trust joined out Head girls and Deputy Head girls for a leadership training seminar. Students had the opportunity to develop skills of negotiation, delegation and motivation through practical and fun activities, including defusing a suitcase `bomb`! Students enjoyed meeting their counterparts and comparing schools, as well as developing some of the more challenging skills required in leading the senior prefect team!
Plans are in place for a major Student Voice Conference to take place at Exeter University in July. Students will work in close collaboration to analyse the work of the Trust schools and develop innovative plans for the future. We also look forward to a return `Learning Walk` from Colyton Grammar School having enjoyed a very pleasant visit to Colyton in March. The students returned with lots of good ideas that they presented to staff at a staff meeting, and which were presented to parents at our recent Speech Day in September.
On 15 December 2008 the Governing Body took the formal decision for South Wilts to join the South West Academic Trust. Other members of the Trust are Colyton Grammar School; Torquay Boys' Grammar School; Bournemouth School and Poole Grammar. This decision was reached following two periods of formal consultation when significant support was received from individuals including Mr Robert Key (MP), Head of Wiltshire Children's Services, other Wiltshire heads and the Chief Executive of Salisbury District Council. We are currently in the final legal stages of becoming a Trust school.
Joining the Trust will provide exciting new opportunities for pupils and staff. Year 10 students have already had the opportunity to visit Exeter University and take part in a challenging Maths workshop. In addition, the Grammar School Heads of Maths, English, Music and Religious Studies have met to develop innovative approaches to learning for our more able students.
In addition on 20th March 2009 10 students and 3 members of staff visited Colyton Grammar school for a ‘Learning Walk'. This involved staff and students visiting lessons and becoming immersed in the life of the school for a day to bring new ideas about teaching and learning that we can implement at South Wilts. The girls and staff, from History, Psychology and Maths came back filled with ideas that they will be presenting to all staff at the next staff meeting.
Planned future events include the meeting of Science heads of department; prefect/head girl team leadership training with other students from Trust schools; a ‘Challenge Day' for students to work in cross-school teams in the summer term. In addition a return visit from Colyton Grammar school and a visit to Bournemouth School for Girls in May.
This is a new and exciting avenue for South Wilts and we are delighted to be joining the South West Academic Trust. We will be working with schools at the cutting edge of learning for more able children and look forward to further events at South Wilts.