How do we get There
How do we get “There…” If we don’t know where it is? And we haven’t yet agreed on what ‘there ‘looks like? (We, being me, the Head of English and the department). Very soon into accepting my new role at Hamble College, I set out to try and resolve these two important questions.
Back in July, I asked Karen Green, PGCE Programme Director for Southampton University, if she could recommend an English department that would welcome a visit from professional colleagues. Her recommendation, Redbridge Community School English Department led by Stuart Ramsey.
Stuart Ramsey and I exchanged a few emails before he very kindly offered to visit Hamble College and to discuss the expectations of an outstanding English Department has of their learners, their staff and their school. Even in Ofsted eyes Redbridge would offer a good comparison.
Describe by Ofsted as
an oversubscribed average-sized but growing 11-16 school. Most students are from White British backgrounds. A significant number of students come from homes experiencing economic hardship and a well above-average percentage are eligible for free school meals. The percentage of students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, particularly those with moderate learning difficulties, is higher than average.
Redbridge Community School is much like Hamble Community Sports College. We were described as average-sized, with the proportion of students from minority ethnic backgrounds small and few speak English as an additional language. You could easily phrase this as White British. Our students face perhaps, less severe, economic hardship however both schools support a higher than national average number of students with learning difficulties.
Stuart outlined many of his departments strengths, left some key discussion points open for review but most importantly kindly agreed to host our visit in the new term. Since Stuarts initial visit, our English Department results have been received and the department has been ‘dinning’ on their excellent results, deservedly so, hence today’s visit was about reviewing the learning environment, the department culture and inevitably the teaching.