The Education Secretary has given in to mounting criticism and reversed his plans to scrap GCSEs. Unions have welcomed his change of heart. Michael Gove admitted that his plans to replace GCSEs with an EBacc Certificate was ‘one reform too many at this time’, The Independent reports. Although he had previously condemned GCSEs, they will now be retained, but will be reformed to restore confidence in them.
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.
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.
The national press recently estimated that at least 25 private schools could be up for sale, as pupil numbers diminish in the current economic climate. But while press stories focus on group takeovers and the effects for pupils and parents if schools have to close, where does all this leave teaching staff – and how can Eteach help?
Back in 2008, The Independent reported that three private prep schools had followed prestigious girls’ senior schools and shut down after falling pupil numbers pushed them into financial difficulties.
And this month, The Guardian quoted Jill Berry, the new president of the Girls’ Association, as saying that any independent school could face the risk of merger or closure even if they were very well run.
Meanwhile the Times reported that two private school chains are hoping to acquire more schools, with “one in negotiations to buy up to 15 schools to add to the 46 it already runs in the UK”.
It’s an uncertain and unsettling environment, for parents, for pupils – and not least, for school staff.
While we don’t have all the answers to the credit crunch, we can pitch in and offer support to staff if they are suddenly faced with the prospect of closure; in one recent case we were able to send an experienced team into a school to talk about the alternatives to staff who had worked there for years. And the good news is that head teachers are obliged to support staff in finding new positions in these situations, and so should welcome initiatives of this type.
Have you found your school in similar circumstances? Do you have any tips on how you might be able to gain support through these difficult times? Add a comment and let us know!
When you are applying for a vacancy how much of your CV covers all the additional things that you do? Do you give sufficient space in your CV or letter of application to mention all the clubs you run or help with? Do you list the musical instruments you play and the orchestras/ bands you play in or teach? In sport have you listed your own achievements as well as the teams you coach? Are you involved with community groups?
I have recently had the pleasure to visit two wonderful schools, Box Hill near Dorking and Licensed Victuallers near Ascot. At both I was overwhelmed by the extra mile that their staff went to both for their pupils and the school in general. At Licensed Victuallers it was lunchtime and as I toured the school there were staff and pupils participating in charity fund raising activities, tutorials, clubs and drama and music practises. Not just in certain departments, but right across the board. At Box Hill there were displays of a Fashion show that had been organised for an evening, which obviously had huge staff input. At both schools what also came across was the fun everyone was having too.
It’s these things that will make you stand out from the crowd. Take time to highlight them and remember ‘the more you put in the more you get out!’ Take time to get involved or support these extra curricular activities. Not only does it help the students, but will develop you and enhance your CV ready for your next move.
Tell me what activities you do that make you different! Don’t forget to contact us or update your details if you are looking for roles in Independent or International Schools for September firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week I was at the ISC conference in The Brewery in the City of London. I had the wonderful experience of catching up with many of our client schools and meeting their Heads in person and getting their feedback.
One of the things that constantly comes up is how can eteach.com reach more Independent Teachers directly to let them know of our vacancies? Unlike the state sector where we are able to contact teachers directly through the unions and targeting conferences where teachers are, in the Independent sector it is more difficult.
I would like to hear from you with your ideas of how we as a company can reach out to those who work in Independent Schools. Did you know we have an Independent School’s Bulletin that goes out each weekend with the latest school adverts that have been placed. If you would like to sign up for this please email email@example.com and will sign you up for it. Similarly we have vacancies for Independent Schools abroad. If you or a colleague would like to teach in these schools abroad let us know and we will let our client schools know.