This week, Mark talks to Kirstie Mackey from Barclays Life Skills which provides:
Tool tips and learning resources for you to help yourself or to support you in the development of others
For students, educators and parents, the scheme provides City and Guilds approved activities and resources covering a huge range of work/life topics.
https://barclayslifeskills.com/ contains an enormous range of help for student and Mark has very positive memories of working with the scheme when he was headteacher of a Pupil Referral Unit.
In 2013, Kirstie created and launched LifeSkills. From teaching CV writing skills in classrooms to hiring people for her various teams, Kirstie has years of experience in knowing what employers are looking for and how to get ahead in your chosen career. As well as heading up LifeSkills, Kirstie is a champion for young people and is leading the call for businesses to support young people get work ready.
In her role as Head of LifeSkills, Kirstie is also a contributor to publications such as Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and Glamour.
Listen to the whole, fascinating story of how Kirstie founded and developed the scheme and find out a little bit about the amazing range of activities which are on offer – free of charge!
This week, Tara speaks to three guests about Maths in the classroom and how technology can help or hinder learning.
Dr Christian Salas (below centre) is a Maths Lecturer from Waltham Forest College, Stephen Farmer (below left), is Headteacher at Cranbrook Education Campus and Dan Sandhu (below right), is from Sparx Maths.
The conversation goes into depth about the Sparx Maths system and its benefits to schools like Stephen’s and Christian presents a slightly different point of view!
As a socially focussed learning technology company, Sparx has spent the last 8 years reimagining the way maths is taught and learnt in schools. Our aim is to improve numeracy, and therefore life opportunities, for over 5 million learners by 2030.
The result is not a short-term, off-the-shelf software product – it is a personalised approach to learning based on strategies that are founded in pedagogy and on the world class maths content that sets us apart. Underpinned by our sophisticated, adaptive technology platform and high levels of support, Sparx not only delivers progress and increases attainment in maths, it is also the catalyst for transformational change in many of our schools.
So what do you think? Is technology beneficial in subjects like maths, is it all just a way to ensure non-specialist teachers can teach maths or is it something different? What’s your experience of using technology in the classroom – Maths or any other?
Joe is Director of Learner Services at Bridgend College. After realising that Primary teaching wasn’t for him, he did some work experience as a teaching assistant in an FE college, working with learners with complex needs and emotional and behavioural difficulties. He loved this work so decided to do a PGCE. After projects with young people with autism, he moved to Wales to join the team at Bridgend FE College.
How might a young person with additional needs find the FE environment particularly challenging?
Joe thinks that the structure and operation of FE colleges are so different to schools that it can cause issues. For example, a lot of FE colleges cannot offer a 5-day provision and the timetable is looser than in a school. There won’t be a school bell or a uniform and teachers aren’t addressed as Mr., Mrs., Sir or madam. It’s essentially becoming an adult with all the challenges that presents to young people.
There’s also a perception that the support for young people in FE college won’t be as personal as at a school. Joe works with staff, parents and carers to dispel this myth and ensure these young people receive the care and attention they need.
How do you work with parents in an FE setting?
Joe says that the biggest difference is in how they build relationships with parents and carers. They take time to understand what they need and make sure there is a face and a name of someone they can contact. Joe has been involved in
going out to coffee mornings in local schools
providing information which is accessible
He is particularly keen on the use of technology and produced a virtual, 360 degree tour of the college campus so that prospective parents and students could begin to explore the environment from home.
What does an inclusion-focused college look like?
Joe’s college mission statement is:
‘Be All That You Can Be’.
What that looks like is different for all of us. Inclusion is how the college responds to the students’ prior achievement, how it looks at programmes which are fully inclusive and allow learners to work at t level which is appropriate for them. That will be different in maths to an independent living qualification and you need to start with the person, rather than the subject. Then you can work back to define what provision will help them to meet their needs and to progress. As a result, Joe is cautious about how he uses transition information and tries not to let it govern the way provision is designed.
What needs to be done to ensure no learner arrives in FE without the support they need being in place?
Joe believes that early intervention is crucial. It’s vital to build relationships with learners, parents and feeder schools as early as possible and to help you ensure you have the skills and knowledge necessary to support new learners in your staff before its needed. The curriculum offering also needs to be fluid and responsive to the needs of the individuals you are catering for. It’s also important to consider what other services might be needed – for example in the ‘third sector’ (voluntary sector).
It’s essential that everyone involved understands their role in supporting the young person.
There is a huge amount more detail and examples in the episode so do listen right to the end!
Colleagues from many areas including The Police, Social Services and Education joined the conversation and over the summer we are presenting some audio clips from the event so everyone can benefit from the conversations which took place.
We are calling these weekly episodes, ‘Pivotal Summer Shorts’. This week we feature some opening remarks from delegates as well as Paul’s introduction. Then we listen in to one of the sessions, all about self-harm.
We hope that hearing from the first Pivotal Conversations conference will inspire you to get involved with the forthcoming events which will take place in the new academic year 2015-16.
Newly-created Pivotal Podcast Pocketbooks are now available from Amazon. There will be a huge range of Pocketbooks from Pivotal Education, starting with the edited transcripts of some of the most popular episodes of the podcast.
The idea of releasing written versions of episodes came from listeners who wanted to be able to make notes and use the content in different ways. If you would like a particular episode to be converted into an ebook, please let us know!
Our topic of the week is scripted behaviour interventions.
This time, Paul and Kevin discuss one of the fundamental building blocks of classroom behaviour management – scripted interventions.
This is a type of intervention you would use when a pupil has ‘dug their heels in’. After trying a few small nudges, you aren’t getting anywhere and it’s time to turn to your pre-planned script.
The script gives you are clear plan of how you can get into the interaction with the pupil, deliver your message and then get out, with your dignity and the child’s intact. The script gives you all you need to be sure you can make this positive intervention in no more than 30 seconds.
Surprisingly, it is possible to use the same script with all children – they value the concept of teachers using a predictable approach, ensuring fairness and equality.
Memorising the script once you have structured it is the easy bit. Good schools and teachers use the same script, the same process in the same order whenever it is needed. Paul has used the same script in all appropriate circumstances for over 20 years. He has also seen amazing transformations in schools where a single script is used consistently…
This week’s episode is about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Behaviour Management. Please add you suggestions to the wall below or use one of the voicemail hotlines at the bottom of the page and we will mention everyone’s on the show.