February 2021 Edition

By Luke McKinley

Deputy Principal, Avanti Park School

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Curriculum for Life

Assessment Model
In Avanti Park School, we understand that learning is a shared experience and as such our assessment approach reflects this. Assessment within our schools is seen as a cumulative process  done with and not to – involving the learner throughout. We champion the view that assessment at its core informs, ssupports, refines and celebrates the progress of learners as unique individuals on their individual learning journeys.  Our model focuses on the importance of the four strands of assessment: Formative, Diagnostic, Summative and Ipsative. Informed by the work of Mick Waters, Daisy Christodolou, CLT and the Rosenshine Principles. Our model is our attempt to change the narrative on assessment to ensure the focus is on the learning at all times.
Curriculum Model
 
The curriculum at Avanti Park School is underpinned by the belief that it is our moral obligation to ensure that children leaving our school are well-rounded individuals, prepared for the world they inhabit and equipped to seize and make the most out of every opportunity.  We have strived to create a ‘Curriculum for Life’ wherein our curriculum offer is expansive, knowledge rich and principles driven. We believe that how we deliver the curriculum requires a diverse approach. Through storytelling, play & imagination, enquiry, experiences, creativity, oracy, and dialogue, our children can not only develop the knowledge, skill and understanding they need but also possess the toolkit to assimilate, discern and make sense of new experiences and become global citizens. 
 
Please also see the link below to the WW2 project clip – this is an example of how children have been inspired to pursue and continue their learning at home. This extract has been created by a child in Year 6 whilst learning about WW2 – using a core text of ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ and ‘The Silver Donkey’ to accompany their topic-based writing. 

    February 2021 Edition

By Mike Ion

AST Education Director

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Love to Teach – Chartered Teacher Programme

What is the CTP?

The Chartered Teacher Programme offers teachers and middle leaders a chance to be recognised for evidence-informed, high-quality teaching practice with Chartered Teacher Status. It is an online course comprising of virtual workshops, engagement with research and evidence-informed practice, guidance from experienced mentors, challenge and input from research experts and more.

How is it structured?

There are three phases to the Chartered Teacher Programme. Each phase begins with an online event with input from speakers and ongoing opportunities for collaboration and structured reflections. In Phase one, participants focus on their own professional development as they develop a plan that will support their learning throughout the programme. Next in Phase two, the focus is on the professional practice expected of a Chartered Teacher. Finally, in Phase three, participants build upon their work to undertake a small-scale research-based improvement project.

How much time does it require?

The Chartered Teacher Programme spans over 15 months. The assignments and tasks are carefully spaced-out to minimise time pressures and allow participants to manage their time effectively.

What topics are AST colleagues looking into?

There are currently 8 AST colleagues who are undertaking the Chartered Teacher Programme and the range of topics being studied could not be any broader. Some of the topics are:

  • The impact of collaborative teaching and learning approaches for children with SEND
  • Does the teaching of explicit oracy lessons improve the standard of writing?
  • Does gender influence collaborative learning?

Would you recommend others taking part in the future?

Undertaking the Chartered Teacher Programme is extremely challenging but simultaneously most rewarding. It stretches participants to delve into research, evidence informed practice and pedagogy; and most importantly to reflect upon their own practice. We feel that this is, beyond any doubt, the next step for any teacher or middle leader who is committed to continual professional growth and development and has the passion and resilience to make a marked difference in their practice. We would recommend the Chartered Teacher Programme to our colleagues because it has given us an opportunity to continually challenge our practice and ensure that we make continuous changes centered on evidence-based practice and pedagogy.

2020 A Level and GCSE Results: Appeals process

The latest guidance from The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) states that students cannot challenge their school or college under the appeals process on the centre assessment grade(s) it submitted. This is because any appeal would have to be undertaken by someone better placed than the schools’ teachers to judge likely grades if exams had taken place.

To access the most up-to-date guidance from Ofqual click on the link below:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/908368/Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_and_A_level_110820.pdf

We’re happy to announce that great progress is being made on the new Site for Avanti Fields School in Leicester.

 


The Queen and Prince Phillip visited Krishna Avanti Primary School in Harrow which played host to her Majesty’s Jubilee celebrations in March 2012.  The royal couple were taken on a tour of the site and greeted by members of the local community. They enjoyed a verse in Bengali chanted by Year 1 children as Ravin Gantra, chairman of The Friends of Krishna-Avanti School, explained: “They recited a poem by a 16th Century Indian writer all about selfless duty to God, about humility of worship and devotion to God with qualification.

“It was chosen by the school’s faith partner, ISKCON, and it’s absolutely appropriate that a theme which represents unity for all ethnic minorities should be chosen.”

The Queen next unveiled a tapestry commissioned from Dovecot Studios in Scotland that shows a scene in which Hindu saint Lord Chaitanya is speaking to animals in a forest setting.

Srutidharma Das, a parent, a governor and faith advisor at the school, said: “I explained to The Queen that beyond all material designations and differences that everybody should come together and through singing and dancing surrender their hearts to God.”

Nitesh Gor, chairman of governors of Krishna-Avanti Primary School, escorted Her Majesty around while Marianne Locke, the council’s divisional director for community and culture, played host to the Duke of Edinburgh. Afterwards, Mr Gor said: “I was waiting to be nervous but actually Her Majesty put me and the other host Marianne completely at ease. She was very friendly.

“She said it was a beautiful school and she was very impressed by the childrens’ performances, being so young.

“The Queen was very appreciative of the variety of different things that were performed for her. The diversity, a key part of the presentation, really came through to her.”

60,000 people gathered in Wembley Stadium to welcome India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his first visit since his inauguration. ‘Namaste Wembley!’ was a cultural epic which featured many British-Indian artists and performers, one of which were students of Krishna Avanti Primary School!

Rt. Hon Damian Hinds served as Secretary of State for Education from 8 January 2018 to 24 July 2019. He was elected Conservative MP for East Hampshire in May 2010. Avanti House Secondary school, located in Stanmore moved into its permanent building after years of temporary accommodation. The school was fortunate to have the Rt. Hon Damian Hinds open the school along with MP Bob Blackman and the Mayor of Harrow.

The Secretary of State had a tour of the brand new school, and commented that the dining hall was one of the most wonderful and striking he had seen amongst all his school visits!

    February 2021 Edition

By Mike Ion

AST Education Director

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Rethinking Assessment

Our exam system is a mess. Now is the time to reshape it.

There has been a growing belief that there is something wrong with our exam and assessment system. In particular, people question why we are continuing with the curious anomaly of a school leaving age exam at 16 – GCSEs – when young people can’t leave education until 18. Many young people find the way our exam system works increasingly stressful and not a true reflection of what they are good at. Many employers complain that exams do not provide them with good enough clues as to who they are employing. Many who are passionate about social mobility believe that any system that dooms a third to fail is a system with little sense of social justice.

A new website – see below- provides a place for those who want change. The aim is twofold:

  • To make the argument through case studies, analysis, evidence and thoughtful blogs;
  • To start to provide some workable solutions, practical ideas and approaches that we will pilot in our schools and offer as real alternatives.

So, if you believe now is the time to rethink assessment, join us, help us, add your voice and ideas.

https://rethinkingassessment.com/rethinking-assessment-home/

Dear pupils, parents/carers and staff,

The Trustees and Senior Leadership team of the Avanti Schools Trust are delighted to welcome the students, parents and school staff from the south-west Steiner schools at Bristol, Exeter and Frome into the Avanti family of schools. You will all know that Avanti currently runs secondary and primary schools in the London area and in Leicester, and that we aim to offer to all children in our schools a high quality education which stresses educational excellence, character development and spiritual insights.

All of us at Avanti understand that your school, whether in Bristol, Exeter or Frome, has been through a troubling period recently, and that worries and anxieties will inevitably exist. In due course, there will need to be carefully considered and fully articulated changes in these schools, but we hope you are reassured by the essence of the Avanti Way and what we stand for. Our ambition is that these schools become as high quality as all our other schools, but this does not mean discarding all that has been achieved in the past.

Central to Waldorf education and to the Avanti Way is developing a teaching methodology which strives to develop pupils’ intellectual, artistic and practical skills in an integrated and holistic way, and the cultivation of pupils’ imagination and creativity as a central focus. The emphasis on experiencing oral traditions, the role of ritual and routine, and the role of the arts and creativity all have resonance not just with the Avanti way but with Waldorf education. So whilst there will be changes, the Avanti Trustees give you a commitment that we will work to raise standards in Avanti Gardens, Avanti Hall and Avanti Park, by offering a coherent, invigorating and challenging education which transforms and improves these schools, and which excites and motivates all who learn and teach in them.

Yours faithfully,

Mike Younger

Chair of Avanti Schools Trust Board of Trustees

 

 

 

As we get closer to the date of transfer we feel it would be helpful to set clarify how we anticipate the schools will operate during the spring and summer terms of 2020 and how we intend to undertake the promised curriculum review.

Post transfer and pre-curriculum review

New names for each school

When the schools join AST they will be, first and foremost, Avanti schools and will have Avanti in their title. In keeping with our existing family of schools, for the names of the schools we will not be adopting school names based on location. From the date of transfer the names of the schools will be as follows:

During our initial consultation with stakeholders we stated that the names may also carry the tagline ‘inspired by Waldorf principles’. The AST Board has agreed to give acknowledgement to the origins of the schools but, at least until the curriculum review is completed, not to have a tag which ties AST to the Waldorf principles.  Avanti has its own ethos and principles outlined in the Avanti Way document.  Reference to the Steiner Waldorf origins will be provided on each of the school websites.

Teaching and Learning

AST’s Board of Trustees are clear that as state funded institutions there is a balance that needs to be struck in each of the three schools in order to ensure that the new curriculum that will be implemented in the three schools from September 2020 is ambitious and designed to give all learners the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. In the meantime, we (AST) need to be assured that the pupils have access to quality first teaching and that the delivery of the curriculum allows children to make progress. We are aware that parents have concerns regarding the teaching of phonics, literacy and numeracy particularly though not exclusively in the kindergarten phase. We are also cognizant of the need for each school to address some important and significant challenges as identified in the Section 5 Ofsted inspections for all three schools in autumn 2018 and the recent Section 8 monitoring visit at Steiner Academy Frome. We will be asking the newly appointed Hub Director to urgently review how we (AST) can better support a more systematic approach to improving teachers’ skills and this will include the teaching of reading and a renewed focus on developing children’s speaking and listening skills.

Governance

At the date of transfer the AST Board will appoint an Interim Hub Executive Board (IHEB) to oversee all three of the Avanti Schools in the south west region. The IHEB will have up to 5 members and will be chaired by a member of the trust board. The IHEB will fulfil all functions of governance as delegated by the AST Board and will oversee all three schools in a way that ensures improvement and promotes high standards of educational achievement.

Curriculum review

Avanti Schools Trust has made clear that it values aspects of the educational insights of Waldorf education and this has been an important consideration for why we chose to express an interest in sponsoring the three SW schools.  The aim of the planned curriculum review is to investigate how the curriculum in the three re-brokered schools can be aligned with aspects of Waldorf principles which are in synergy with the Avanti Way. The review team will be asked to consult with school based stakeholders about the scope of the planned review soon after the date of transfer. The Board of Trustees will be tasking the review team to report back in late March 2020 and to make clear recommendations regarding the curriculum offer in each school from September 2020. The desire of trustees is to provide a curriculum that is coherent and planned to be able to offer a sequence of learning opportunities that will provide cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for students’ future learning and employment.

 

 

Mike Younger

Chair Avanti School Trust Board

 

 

Nitesh Gor OBE DL

CEO Avanti School Trust