Our BIS staff were certainly ‘going places’ during our three teacher days at the start of term! With a clear focus on outstanding teaching and learning, and what this looks like in a BIS context, we worked together – learning with and from each other – to revisit the principles of what outstanding practice looks like in the classroom. Marketplaces, running dictation, round table discussion and cross-department collaboration are some of the highlights of the activities in which staff participated. What struck me as I was observing staff in these sessions, as it has done many times since joining the school last August, is that BIS is a school like no other: we have amazing students, committed and highly skilled staff, and excellent facilities and resources at our fingertips… for this reason, an ‘off the shelf’ definition of outstanding, be it from OFSTED or another inspection framework from around the world, is simply not appropriate for us. What is more meaningful is us defining this for ourselves, for our context, and then striving relentlessly to ensure that the experiences our students have in the classroom are exciting, innovative and relevant for the 21st century, whilst enabling the development of our BIS Learning Skills.
Not only do we want our staff to go places; we, of course, want this for our students, too. Whilst we are immensely proud of the academic outcomes achieved by our students, we are not just focused on results. Now more than ever, we need to encourage risk taking, creative thinking, embracing failure as part of learning, and independence in our students. Jean Piaget stated that ‘The principle goal of education is to create [people] who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done: [people] who are creative, inventive, and discoverers’. Our staff were certainly examples of this during our teacher days, working collaboratively to challenge each other’s thinking about what we should be doing in the classroom. Teaching and learning does not stand still: it evolves and develops, just as the world does, and it is exciting to be a part of BIS’s development as we help to prepare our students for the future.
Ms Amy Murphy, Deputy Head Teacher Secondary Campus