Eteach attends 30th annual COBIS conference

Eteach had the pleasure of attending the 30th Annual COBIS conference from the 7th – 9th May 2011. ‘Stakeholders for Successful International Schools’ was held at the very impressive Royal Horseguards Hotel in Central London and we were very excited to be exhibiting in such beautiful Victorian surroundings.

The COBIS conference gave us the opportunity to talk to head teachers of British International schools about their current recruitment strategies and needs. Many of the schools that we spoke to were in agreement that their ideal International teacher would be one who has trained in the UK and has a minimum of 2 years classroom experience. A positive international attitude to life, a passion for travel and teachers who could offer more than just their subject to the school were also high up on the list.

International Account Manager at Eteach, Gerry Manolas, was extremely fortunate to be able to attend several of the keynote speeches and seminars whilst at the conference. She found all of the talks to be highly informative and gave head teachers the latest up to-date developments in the UK education system.

The main issue that dominated the conference was the discussion around school inspection and which teams have now been, or are in the process of being accredited by the government. Only schools that have passed a recognised inspection are allowed to be fully fledged members of COBIS, thus ensuring a quality mark that parents can trust when choosing a school abroad for their children.

This mark is also something that prospective teachers should look for when deciding where to teach as it gives them the confidence that the school they may eventually join follows strict COBIS guidelines for quality assurance.

Howard Kennedy, Non-Executive Director of the Foundation, Aided Schools and Academies National Association was the first speaker and he outlined the current government’s plans for raising standards in State schools and trying to close the gap between deprivation and attainment.

The talk focussed around the fact that, unfortunately, there is still a link between postcode and what a child’s educational outcome will be. The association wants to make a curriculum which is ‘Fit for Purpose’ where children can achieve regardless of their background and where only the best graduates are recruited to become teachers.

The hot topic was the developing idea of student teachers completing the majority of their degree courses in Teaching Schools. The teaching schools would be selected from those who have received outstanding results across the board in their Ofsted inspections. It is hoped that a network of these schools will be created which will provide professional development to teachers as well.

Do you as teachers and current student teachers agree with this or do you feel the courses you have experienced through university prepared you for life in the classroom?

This was all backed up by Nick Gibb, Minister for Education who in his session said that one of the greatest exports we have in the UK is the Independent Education System with £12 billion being brought into this country by overseas students studying here in the UK. Mr Gibb wants to give the state sector more independence to do what is best for their schools and children in order for them to raise standards and he also believes that the Academies and Free Schools programme is the way forward.

Are you teaching in one of these schools? Can you see a difference and do you feel it is the way forward for your pupil’s attainment?

Over the coming weeks we will be bringing you other highlights from the COBIS Conference including information about SEN and Gifted and Talented, Safeguarding Children, Developing Leadership Skills through Sport and Safe Student Broadcasting, which was a new initiative about making children aware of how to keep themselves safe when using Social networking sites.

What were Gerry’s personal highlights? Having the opportunity to have coffee with the England Rugby World Cup scrum half Andy Gomarsall and listen to his plans for life after his testimonial year and saying a brief hello to HRH Princess Alexandra KG GCVO as she left the reception.

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