Tag Archives: student voice

Reflections on the Microsoft Global Forum: a view from outside

PiLI first became involved in Partners in Learning in 2010 and was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the four UK winners to attend the European forum in 2011 in Moscow thanks to the support of Stuart Ball. I’ve tried to remain in touch with what is going on in the Microsoft Education world; and have enjoyed co-presenting at BETT, and inviting Steve Beswick and co into our school last year. I’ve always been really pleased that the focus of PiL has been on learning, and having the right tool for the job – not on selling a device. As an educator, I believe in ‘learning: by any means’ and being flexible to suit learners, so I’ve really appreciated the network sharing resources and ideas for teaching using different software (especially the free stuff!). It’s amazing to see all the different activities that educators around the world are working on, either through the education blog or Anthony Salcito’s Daily Edventures. That’s what made the European Forum so exciting and what I hope will continue through the work of the Expert Educators.

I was so proud to see a friend and ex-colleague David Rogers get acknowledged as an Expert Educator and invited to the Global Forum in Barcelona last week, along with an impressive group of UK representatives. Obviously I would have loved to be there myself but that is why Twitter was invented! So I spent the week with the #microsoftGF hashtag constantly popping up on my phone and trying to get involved in as much discussion (and of course banter) as possible.

As an outsider to the event it was interesting to see the multinational experts getting to grips with challenges such as the learnathon – I was intrigued by these and really hope they can be shared in future. I’m always concerned that large-scale events (and this is true of lots of CPD) can be quite insular, and that something like a Global Forum should have an influence that is, well, global. As I said, the resources of the PiL network and blog are great, and there are some excellent practitioners out there to learn from – so I was glued to Twitter to see what was going on. I could be involved with spin-off threads that resulted from the keynotes which made the event interactive: debates about the purpose of education, the role of technology, and how students can collaborate and be involved in the shaping of education themselves.

Student voice in education is something close to my heart, and I had been working with my team of Curriculum Hackers only the week before (using trusty OneNote and OneDrive of course) to hack and improve teaching and learning in Geography and History – you can see some of this here if interested. David and others from the event were discussing the role of students in shaping learning and asked for feedback – so I asked my classes to get involved. Students from year 7, 9 and 10 tweeted out their thoughts from the @priorygeography account to express that they wanted to collaborate more, to have ownership, to work with international schools (particularly on global issues such as sustainability and the Millennium Development Goals) and to gain experiences of education in other cultures. It was fascinating and they were so excited to be included in a prestigious event and communicating with ‘real adults’ (obviously we as teachers in front of them don’t count!). I invited the Curriculum Hackers team back at break times and we sat and watched the twitter feed to get involved in the discussion. We also shared their hacking document with the world (http://bit.ly/1ikaHX1) and got live feedback. They were so proud! Proper spine tingly moment seeing their faces as they realised that adults were taking their thoughts seriously. So I would like to thank the Global Forum twitterati for including them.

I hope that the forum will lead to spin-off fringe events, and to a contagious spread through schools in each nation involved in order to enlighten and share. It’s all too common with CPD events that they benefit the individual or their immediate circle of friends/colleagues only but that the necessary knowledge osmosis doesn’t occur, so I really hope that Expert Educators will share their expertise, and that the amazing CPD they experienced will benefit a multitude of children. In essence: use this to change the world!

Curriculum Hackers – using student voice to pull apart learning

working on the collaborative OneNote doc
working on the collaborative OneNote doc

Student voice has always been something that interested me. Back in my NQT year this started with simple surveys like SurveyMonkey samples to get an opinion on topics I’d taught and how to improve, or having a small focus group of kids back after school to talk through what I could do better or what they would like to study. I believe we should trust our young people to have more say in their education; they are more aware than some credit and can provide coherent well argued rationales for what they should study, how to learn it, and why this is beneficial. And I don’t mean we only ask ‘the nice kids’! Be brave and have a balance, include some disaffected children as well and figure out what it is that’s going on that is inhibiting them from engagement. Letting go of the reins and empowering your people is hugely inspiring. And at the end of the day, they are the ones that undergo/experience/endure/enjoy* (*please delete as appropriate) education – so surely they should get some say?

PiLI first put serious time and effort into student voice when my school was due to be rebuilt during the BSF phase. This work led to my being awarded a Microsoft Innovative Teacher award and a trip to Moscow with Partners in Learning that was an amazing experience but totally down to the kids! You can see some of their work on the Key Stage 3 blog (it was 2011) here – it was Space Explorers:Space Creators and enabled students to have their say about the future build design and investigate how spaces affect learning. They were incredibly mature and made real progress in their own confidence throughout the project – going as far as presenting their work to ‘real adults’ like architects and external professionals.

My predecessor, David Rogers, first set up the term ‘curriculum hackers’ for our student voice group in Geography a year or so ago when we trialled adapting a scheme of work with the assistance of Alan Parkinson – you can see some of his blog reflections on this here. Last year for BBC report I expanded this (again with the wonderful Mr Parkinson 🙂 facilitating) to get our hackers to share with other students and teachers from across the city focussing on how they could include technology in learning during Kidsmeet.

My school achieved the Unicef Rights Respecting School Award Level 1 in 2012/2013, in large part due to the work of the Geography department in terms of linking the Rights of the Child charter to our schemes of work and adapting these using student voice to make more explicit. We are working towards Level 2 and although the school has a growing student voice presence (youth council and youth parliament) it is still not embedded across every curriculum area. When I took over as Head of Department I was surprised at how little some departments had done in terms of inclusion of students, and so decided to roll out the Curriculum Hackers programme across school. We are in the process now of recruiting more and more students (mostly year 8 and 9 who have experienced some schemes of work already but are not restricted by GCSE pressures) and Geography is leading the way with offering training and practise hacking.

How does this work?

– advertise for students to get involved (I use the school website, desktop background, assemblies and the life channel tv around school).

– hold a recruitment meeting with potential hackers to explain the role.

– train hackers after-school using example lessons: we look at needs vs wants, practicalities, etc,. Students are coached through how to analyse a scheme of work or a lesson outline to see how it meets requirements of skills development and how it ties to curriculum outlines – we are particularly looking at the new curriculum at present).

– hack a scheme of work! I have students off-timetable (during my PPA usually) in a block of about 3 hours (seems most efficient) and we start off with some ice-breaker type activities such as mindmaps on topics such as ‘the purpose of education’ or ‘is their a conflict between what schools provide and what you feel you need in future’ – then we have a bit of a debate. After this we do carousel activities to analyse schemes of work, the new curriculum, essentials needed, how lessons can be improved, how different learning styles can be included, etc,. I have used an ideas funnel before to sift down through suggestions and children are really good at picking up on practicalities. I’ve not really ever had to say ‘no, that’s not appropriate’ or ‘that’s not possible’ – and children are surprisingly draconian sometimes!

Collaborating in analogue and digital
Collaborating in analogue and digital

– allow students some independent time free from my interruptions and influence to work collaboratively on a shared OneNote document. I set this up in advance with a series of questions to consider, and provide them with links and hard copies of Schemes of Work / National Curriculum framework. We use OneNote because of the nature of being able to work simultaneously. I can then add comments and prompts as needed ‘live’ into the document, and they can all see each other’s work and respond to this. You can see part of a document in progress here . It also allows us to have a conversation about public access, e-safety and sharing information online since they know this document represents the department and the school and is visible to external agencies.

– hackers then share these ideas with the department at a department meeting and take feedback from teachers. We also having two hackers going in to department meetings routinely (once a half term) for the first part of the meeting to chat about lessons, give student feedback, and to discuss what they will do next. This is in the toddler stage at present in subjects of History, RE, MFL and English but teachers have been very positive and receptive so far. While it is in this new stage, I am making sure myself or another team member (or one of our older more experienced hackers from Year 10) is present as well in order to guide the conversations and provide support as needed).

– trial the lessons and get evaluations / comments from classes that take the lessons. Then in follow-up hacker sessions analyse these and make adaptations as needed.

Making their voices heard?

Part of the team presenting at TeachMeet Pompey!
Part of the team presenting at TeachMeet Pompey!

TeachMeet Pompey has been evolving from a tiny gathering a couple of years back to a fairly large scale event now. We’ve been lucky to have the support of some great sponsors and the Historic Dockyard who allowed us a free venue. 7th March this year saw over 120 educators / professionals gather for the latest #TMPompey and a few of our Curriculum Hackers / Digital Leaders were amongst those presenting. A really proud moment as their teacher to see a 12, 13 and two 14 year olds stand up and calmly and eloquently tell their story. Nobody forced them, and they sat and enjoyed the whole event as well – possibly lured by the chance to shoot teachers during laser quest afterwards but still! It’s a great feeling to see such independence, and from students who once upon a time were either disengaged or painfully shy but who have come so far and have the motivation to go even further now.

Making their voices heard globally?

Last week was the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum, where recognised Expert Educators from around the world gathered for all sorts of fun and hard work. I was very proud to see my friend and ex-colleague David up there representing Team UK along with some other awesome teachers. The twitter-sphere was pretty busy with #MicrosoftGF and #msftpil during the week and there were some great conversations going around. Although I wasn’t part of the event (not good enough see) I was keen to be part of the conversation and keep track of what’s going on (partly because I’m always concerned with big events like this – I went to the Moscow Forum in 2011 – that they don’t have as much of an influence on the outside world as would be nice, so if people get involved through twitter/yammer/PiL website maybe more sharing can be encouraged). I was really impressed and pleased to see the work of the @OffPerts student voice team there. During the event, there were requests from David and others to get some ‘real’ student voice from back in the UK so @priorygeography students got involved with this and shared their thoughts. The topic requested was ‘Why should students be involved with shaping their own learning?’ and ‘Would you like to collaborate with other countries and if so how?’ which fortuitously coincided with some of the work that my hackers had already done. So you can see their comments on the OneNote document, or in the images below. Some really interesting findings. And the kids were so so proud to see that their comments were going directly into the #microsoftGF feed and that hundreds of other professionals from around the world were considering what they said. That’s the power of student voice – that it brings pride, ownership, purpose, and can raise aspirations. I had some proper ‘spine tingly’ moments that day.

I’ll leave you with some of my favourite quotes from students involved:

“We are all global citizens and will be in charge one day, so we should know what other countries do…see with our own eyes.”

“Education is our key to learning about life and how to be part of our world”

“Education to me means freedom in future”

“Technology has helped me with being confident…”

“Technology means you will create something that is one of a kind…we want to be individual”

“We are the consumers, we have to ‘do’ learning so we should have some say in what is learnt and how”

“I know teachers know the curriculum really well and I do trust them, but I also want a bit of freedom to express myself”

“I would never have had the chance to act like a grown up if it wasn’t for Miss and being a curriculum hacker…designing our own lessons means independence and us learning new skills that we might not really get otherwise”

And my favourite maybe:

“I would never have had the option to present in front of 120 adults without doing curriculum hackers. Ms Debens gave us that chance and trusted us. I like it when teachers trust us, and when we work equally…I have pride then in what I do.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Prince’s Teaching Institute – The Pupil Panel Discussion

Prince's Teaching Institute

Following the Opening Keynote, as part of the start of the summer school, we were treated to a pupil panel discussion. Four students aged 16-17 from local comprehensive schools gave a brief summary of themselves, their GCSE or A-level choices, and why they chose them. They then responded to questions from the audience. These learners were impressively articulate, composed (in front of an audience of 150 teachers!) and passionate. They knew what they liked, what they need, and what they wanted. What came across over and over was how much they trust their teachers.

Since they presented so well themselves, I shall just put their direct comments down for you to consider.

Why do you like Geography?

– “If you think about it, the world is quite a big place and has a lot of people in it (!) – I want to know about how I fit into this, where my place is”

– “Geography helps me to learn about cultures, to break down ignorance, consider and compare different situations ; just makes me think ‘I’d like to make a difference to help others in the world'”

– “Geography helps empower me, makes me more creative and expressive. It challenges me.”

– “Geography doesn’t restrict our individuality or curiosity, there are no bars on what you are interested in or good at because it is not like one single subject.”

– “If you don’t know Geography you don’t know your own home [world]”

– “Geography is real and realistic to our lives, it is essential because it balances factual with opinion and interpretation, enquiry and independence.”


What are your views on teaching and learning?

– “We will choose subjects if our teachers inspired us and encouraged us, if they make us feel like we can actually succeed”

– “It’s not just about a teacher standing at the front and giving us the fact we ‘need’ to know, it’s down to the teacher to engage us to WANT to acquire that knowledge ourselves and to help us gain the SKILLS we need in order to do so…at the end of the day we as students need to do the work”

– “We want the skills and confidence we need for future work”

– “Knowledge alone isn’t power, but knowledge with the ability to interpret this and be practical with it is the power”

– “The abstract and different lessons are the ones you remember most”

– “I can be engaged and succeed more if I enjoy my lessons, and I trust my teachers to be professionals and know what is best for me for how to learn”

– “Technology can be hugely beneficial, if used the right way, but not if it is just a powerpoint display on a wall with words that we have to read through. Then it may as well be a book. And we can tell if a teacher has just copied from wikipedia or downloaded the lesson from somewhere else – it’s clear if it’s not their own or coming from their own enjoyment of the topic”

– “Avoid unnecessary repetition – it kills the interest”

– “Teachers should show they are confident with their knowledge and teaching style, whatever that style might be. That’s what gets us and we will respect this and engage more. It is clear if a teacher tries some new buzz thing after a training day that they’ve been told to do but aren’t confident or comfortable with. I’d rather be taught in black and white, in the dark, from no resources but by somebody who could engage me and show enthusiasm and confidence”

– “Sometimes taking a break from what we normally do is needed; we get used to seeing certain styles of lessons and sometimes just having space to just have discussions is needed for deeper learning”

What feedback do you find more effective?

– “I need to know what I did well, and be given praise to build my confidence

– “Knowing a specific target to aim for, not just a grade”

– “The grade is not so important, sometimes it is a distraction”

– “Setting own targets is so beneficial; we might not feel we need or want to work on the same target as someone else, or even the same as what the teacher says, so if we set our own targets they are personal and it forces us to look closely at what we need to do”

– “I prefer one-on-one conversations with my teacher face to face, with the teacher showing they know me personally and can explain to me what I did well and what I need to do next”

– “I feel disappointed if I have no feedback from staff, feels like I’m not important. But that feedback can just as happily be verbal in class and doesn’t have to always be written down. I just need to know where I am and where I’m aiming for”

What do students think about Ofsted?

– “We benefit from inspections as well because we can know how we can improve, how our school is perceived and how it can be improved”

– “We feel a sense of pride in our school knowing our teachers are being recognised for their hard work”

– “It’s a chance to showcase what we’re good at”

So there you have it, out of the mouths of babes and all that. The panel were fantastic and should be proud of themselves. No way I would have been able to do that and hold my own in front of 150 teachers when I was 16!

“The fact is, we have the most to gain from our education working right, and the most to lose if it doesn’t. So we should have a say. And teachers should have a say. And we trust teachers to know how best to help us.” (Pupil Panel)



#kidsmeetpompey – What happens when kids are invited to hack the curriculum?

HMS WarriorLast week we hosted our first local kidsmeet’ the child version of a teachmeet. The original plan for the day can be found here. In essence, the idea was to have children from a range of secondary schools take part in a collaborative effort to hack and subvert the new curriculum and make suggestions for how to improve their learning. There was also a side focus of how to incorporate technology / ‘naughty learning’ in their lessons for the benefit of engagement and achievement.

Priory School’s Digital Leaders were involved with leading the day in a sense, sharing some of their experiences of the mobile@priory policy and the use of technology. The day was facilitated by the eminent Alan Parkinson who blogs his own thoughts here . I am hugely grateful to Alan for his hard work in leading this day, one which was a bit of a gamble and which had unknown parameters and outcomes in some senses – I believe the phrase could be ‘planned chaos’? By its very nature (as in being led by students and in their own hands) the day was difficult to plan for. Thanks also to Neil Ford and Jonathan Parrott (our PGCE student) for lending a hand. And to the teaching staff from each school who supported.

Kidsmeet took place on the HMS Warrior, a case of old tech meets new tech. It was hoped that the surroundings would be inspirational in a way – although it was a freezing March day and the wifi was unreliable so that was a difficulty (having said that, the kids (I am told) didn’t complain and worked steadfastly throughout). Alan introduced the day by discussing the absence of student voice in the creation of national curriculum policy, and within schools themselves. He explained the concept of co-construction and some aspects of investigative / creative learning through means such as Mission:Explore and mobile devices. Students then worked in groups to pull apart the new Key Stage 3 National Curriculum guidance and to identify areas of learning they felt were missing.

Those who can: teach

There was, naturally, a Geography focus, but the idea was to look not just at the content but also skills / learning styles / fieldwork / etc., that might be missing in the work of Her Majesty’s finest. After all, those who can;teach, those who can’t; make policy 😉

The day involved a crowd of 50+ students aged 13-15, from five local secondary schools, with their staff. This made logistics problematic in terms of crowding, and next time we need to think more about venue for practicality. The students worked independently in their groups with minimal teacher/professional input, the idea being to generate topics they would like to study and suggesting how to go about it. Basically planning out potential schemes of work.  Ideas were tweeted out and blogged to the school website as part of the BBC School Report day as well. During the day, students were able to record their progress and feelings through video reports and blogging, they also conducted interviews with the professionals there to gauge their reactions to proposed curriculum changes, the use of technology, and student voice. You can see some of their reports here . It was interesting how our students made the link between the activity and our involvement in being a Rights Respecting School – that co-construction, access to media, etc, are all part of the Unicef Rights of the Child, particularly Articles 12 (views of the child), 13 (freedom of expression) & 17 (access to media) – full details in the charter.

Alan’s blog shows the full list of kidsmeet suggestions, I’ll just pick out a few of my favourites here:

  • Creating ‘Applas’ – an atlas app to think, find, learn (a future topic for our future kids hack day I think)
  • The Wonderful World we Live In – accentuating the positives of Geography (students identified that sometimes the topics we teach can be a bit doom and gloom, the world is going down kind of thing and that we need a positive enthusiastic approach to celebrate what is wonderful)
  • Game-ography – games based learning, incorporating games such as Minecraft / Fifa / Kodu to look into climate, biomes, migration, development, etc,.
  • Iconic Places – virtual visits through Skype and Celebrity Geographers

I’m definitely keen to look more into these topics. The essential thing with a student voice / co-construction activity is for it to not be a one-off token gesture at inclusion. So each school that took part has a responsibility to provide follow-up sessions in school with their group, and to trial the lessons suggested and then seek feedback from students and adapt as necessary. It is a process of evolution that must rely on student involvement and scaling up to include whole year groups. For us in @priorygeography, we will be working to recruit KS3 Curriculum Hackers in the summer term and then develop their ideas.

In summary then:

What went well: kids were well behaved and focused even in difficult circumstances, in their words “we were happy because we felt empowered”, there were some great ideas that can be more tightly focused and explored in school to trial lessons, skills such as teamwork / collaboration / investigation, etc., were developed.  

Next time: would be better to share expectations / conduct prep work in advance in every school, arrange for mixed school groups from the start to encourage more sharing of skills and experiences, provide some ‘student friendly speak’ curriculum guidelines / SoWs / lesson plans to help students to access the terminology, have better access to wifi!

This was the first, but will not be the last kidsmeet. Next time will be better 🙂 Thanks to Sam and David for putting up with me that week, I probably owe a few cakes.

I’ll finish with the kind words of Alan :

“This was yet another excellent event conceived and organised by Priory Geography. If Carlsberg made Geography departments….”

BBC News School Report 2013–live from Action Stations

logoI have mentioned in previous posts how we have a good history at Priory School of successful School News Report days. And how this year we were aiming to be bigger and better. There were quite a few different activities going on for the live day on 21st March, including the Kidsmeet which I’ll write about separately.

I’ve led School Report for 5 years now and am always impressed with the support from the BBC. This year was even better in terms of input as we had a mentor Hannah Johns from HQ who came to share her experiences of journalism with the group in preparation, and we also had our local BBC reporter Dominic Blake who supported with pre-recording and radio.

School Report for us was again based at Action Stations at the Historic Dockyard, with the support of the Learning Manager Phil Wright. This space has the advantage of being off-site so less distraction or disturbance, its own independent press office, access to exhibits / personnel for interviews and research, a large conference room and quiet ‘green room’, and helpful staff for technical support. However, there are some challenges with access to internet/wifi, pupils needing escorting everywhere (it is an open public area and still a military space), and there also being another local school doing School Report there with 100 students spread out whereas we prefer smaller groups.

The very first time I led School Report I did it through curriculum time with a top year 8 class. Subsequently I led it as a voluntary extra-curricular club all taking place with after-school clubs. However this year that proved to be tricky, with so many students taking part in other clubs that it was nearly impossible to get all together at one time. I want the project to be open to all and not selective in terms of ability, but it would also be better to have use of curriculum time and make the impact wider scale. So next year I plan to have a lead-in time with all year 8 classes through a series of 2-3 lessons introducing them all to the project, then for the final live day let it be voluntary with up to 30 students taking part. I also intend to have more time preparing the technical side, with students learning more about live blogging / uploading and editing video, and producing green-screen broadcasts. This all proved to be more time consuming on the day this year than previously (although this was also due to wifi problems). I also intend to ensure more staff are trained in advance in the technical side.

So what did students report on?

All the articles and interview videos can be found on the school sitepriory blog www.prioryprojects.wordpress.com so have an explore. You can also see the twitter feed through @priorygeography and @priorysouthsea for the day. Students researched and reported on a variety of topics including the mobile@priory policy, kidsmeet, Ralph the Penguin, Les Miserables, HMS Warrior, the new Mary Rose Museum, the Priory QR code poetry orienteering project, etc,. Various interviews were conducted, and written articles produced. Unfortunately the final news bulletin summary was not filmed due to technical and time issues which was a disappointment, but there is still a wealth of work that went into the website.

Two exciting events did take place. Firstly, Radio Solent live interview with myself and Robbie (a year 9 student whose birthday it was and who was Photo 21-03-2013 08 35 18involved in kidsmeet as a digital leader). And secondly, two of our year 8 girls (Beth & Alex) were chosen to be the anchors for the professionally filmed BBC South Today school report special section. So they appeared on two news bulletins across the South and looked incredibly professional. They got to work with real live reporters and radio/tv crews which was very exciting for them and I was hugely proud of them.

So how did it go?

The point of the day is for students to be in the lead, teachers to encourage independencePhoto 21-03-2013 11 33 42 and let go of the reins a little. This can be hard to do if you are like me and a bit of a control freak with a certain end product in mind! The day goes incredibly quickly and you need to make sure you have a supportive team of staff around you, well organised students, clear roles and accountability, a schedule and clear protocols for all to follow. Below is a link to the schedule I shared with all staff taking part for us. I’d like to say we followed to the letter, but I suppose it wouldn’t be real journalism if we had. You do need some flexibility. For example, one student did some research and discovered she could get an interview with a creative director who had been involved with the filming of the new Les Miserables movie that day if we were quick. So we needed to fit that in. I was impressed that students worked so independently and with enthusiasm all day, under huge time pressures and in an unknown environment. I only had to ask one student once to get back on task. Other students suddenly got to 12pm and realised they hadn’t even eaten, they’d been so caught up in the moment that they’d worked through the allocated break time. (Don’t worry, we did feed them!)

I was meant to be in an overseeing capacity, the plan was to be quite free so that I could visit different areas and particularly get to see the events in the synchronous kidsmeet as well. Unfortunately I found I was needed to be more hands on than I’d planned. The moral of the story being that more time is needed in advance to train students, and other staff, particularly in a technical skills sense. I will make better use of the Practice Days in future.

Photo 21-03-2013 12 41 37For myself, I am a fairly harsh self-critic. Because the day didn’t run as smoothly as I’d anticipated, and because there were technical setbacks (such as internet access), I found it hard to see the bigger picture and to get my head above the parapet long enough to appreciate all the good that was going on. As a result, I’ll be honest and say that by 1pm I was thinking I’d rather be hiding in a corner somewhere else – and even that I’d rather be in a different job! I always used to say to my granddad that ‘if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well’ and it frustrated me that it seemed like all the hard work and preparation of everyone involved was going to be lost in chaos. I really appreciated it when David Rogers turned up for a quick visit, since he was able to drop in to the different areas and give me a heads up from an outside perspective that it was actually going ok. I couldn’t see it.

What went well?

– kids engaged, enthusiastic and happy

– a range of different stories researched and reported on

– real life skills learnt, real collaboration took place

– no behaviour issues and general public/Dockyard staff commented that students were the best behaved group they had seen

– support from our teaching staff was excellent ; English teachers Kim Bell & Hannah St Ledger could not have been more helpful, enthusiastic or supportive. Couldn’t have done it without them.

What needs fixing?

– I need to be leading more, and managing less. Less doing, more overseeing.

– Better technical training and advance preparation for students and staff

– Reliable fast internet access

– More staff on hand so more flexibility of movement

– Whole year-group input with curriculum time as lead in to project

How do I feel with hindsight?

I need to remember that at the end of the day a group of 12-14 year old children who hadn’t worked together before, and who were completely new to journalism, managed to independently research, analyse, report, edit and broadcast a range of stories from scratch. And that is some success. They were self-motivated in a challenging environment. I still have some disappointments, and I’m always going to want better, but all I saw at the end of the day was a bunch of smiling faces from the kids. They made no complaints all day. That’s got to mean something.

I’ll finish with the ‘cheer up’ quote that my boss tweeted:

“The sky isn’t the limit, it’s just a view’”