Monthly Archive: July 2019

Zoo Project 2019-20

The St Helens TSA will be working with IGNITE TSA in 2019-20 on the exciting ‘Zoo Project’. The project has run in 2018 -19 across a number of schools with huge impact. The project is linked to enhancing and developing a rich, exciting curriculum. For full details of the programme please see the flyer attached and information below.

The cost for the entire project, which includes 15 days of CPD for staff across your whole school, is £2000. This works out at less than £62 per person, per session (based on the average attendance to the sessions for each school) This can be paid across two financial years in September and April. The money is to be paid directly to IGNITE TSA.

If you’re interested in signing up please reply to this email. We are working closely with IGNITE to ensure we book as a group of alliance school. Once bookings are made we will be given a cluster start date.


Further information from IGNITE:

Some of you may be aware of the curriculum development project we have run for the past 2 years with Chester Zoo. We have worked with 53 schools from primary and secondary phases to build a ‘knowledge rich and humanity rich’ curriculum around the conservation themes that drive the work of the Zoo. Not only has this provided an inspirational and compelling focus for schools to build a curriculum around, it has fitted perfectly with the new inspection focus. As you will be all aware, the curriculum is a core part of the new inspection framework and the project will prepare schools for this. Content around Ofsted requirements, knowledge, memory and learning from cognitive science will all be included.

To support this journey we have worked with internationally renowned Debra Kidd and Hywel Roberts. This has brought an exciting dimension to the work as colleagues have developed their own pedagogy and built dilemma led approaches to learning in their classrooms. Debra and Hywel have written a number of books around curriculum development, the most recent one, ‘Unchartered Territories’ – link attached. This has developed our thinking around engagement in learning and to date, we have found some really exciting changes to learning behaviours in schools involved in the project. Soon to be published research is currently being undertaken around the impact of this work.

Links to Hywel and Debra’s biogs and work are here.

What the project looks like:

Over 13 sessions across the year you will:

  • Develop a coherent curriculum around conservation to include all NC areas.
  • Develop a ‘knowledge rich’ and ‘humanity rich’ curriculum.
  • Explore dilemma led learning approaches in your school.
  • Work with leaders to develop a curriculum fit for 2019 and beyond. Completely Ofsted ready.
  • Work with Chester Zoo to develop a passion for conservation

Staff will be able to attend sessions addressing leadership development across the school. This will include specific training for:

    • Senior leaders
    • KS2 teachers
    • KS1 teachers
    • EYFS leaders and teachers
    • English leads
    • Geography leads
    • History leads
    • Music leads
    • Art & Design leads

Resources will be shared and a community of enquiry created through Google Classroom.

In addition to this, all schools can also send staff to watch demonstration lessons by Dr Debra Kidd and Hywel. During these sessions, colleagues will watch best practice and unpick the pedagogy following lessons. All sessions will be recorded and shared with staff across all schools. Lessons will be hosted by two lucky schools from the project.

Also, there will be a session around campaigning with Chester Zoo and Voice 21. Helping our children become the change the world needs to see.

Finally to showcase work completed over the year, there will be a celebration of work at an event towards the end of the year. This will be a great opportunity to share your curriculum and learning from the project.

As part of the curriculum building, sessions will be led for english, maths, history, geography, art & design, EYFS and music leads. These are delivered by consultants who have developed a range of resources around the conservation themes that Chester Zoo have at the centre of their work.  During these sessions schools have worked collaboratively to produce high quality resources, that are engaging and inspiring whilst meeting the requirements of the National Curriculum, as well as working with resources provided by the zoo. As development for middle leaders, this has been invaluable.

We have also developed a research strand at the heart of the project, where schools have been encouraged to run a small scale project around a focus of their choice.

For schools participating in the project, Chester Zoo have offered a greatly reduced entrance fee during peak times. Some schools have also had in-school sessions led by the Chester Zoo team for staff and/or pupils and their staff have provided input into the curriculum development process, as well as supporting with research design and analysis. This has ensured all schools are able to access the incredible resources available. Visits to the zoo have been ‘bespoke’ so that schools get the most out of their visit. The partnership with Chester Zoo has been incredible and one that is quite unique. As world leaders in conservation, we are lucky to have such skilled and passionate colleagues to work with. Their commitment to supporting our work through this project has been a key to its success so don’t miss out on working with them next year with Ignite.

Feedback from project schools:

A fantastic project to be part of. Thank you to all involved.

Thank you for this opportunity to really transform our teaching and learning. It has had a truly positive affect on our setting by lifting the staff with their teaching and given our pupils the platform to really show their passion for conservation. This project will be talked about for years not just at school but in our wider community.

We loved the Zoo project as it has given us the evidence and confidence to focus on what we know is right for our children. Working in partnership with other schools who share the same ethos also gives us the confidence to continue along this path despite the barriers we will face.

This project has really given the teachers in our school the ownership to improve the curriculum for the community we serve. It has encouraged them to be more creative, with a focus on the arts more than we did before. It continues to develop the thinking and enquiry skills of our pupils, along with allowing them to be more creative, but not losing the basic skills of reading, writing and maths.

The project was a huge success; the parents, carers and other visitors were so impressed by work that the children produced for the exhibition that we held. The enthusiasm shown by the children and staff was infectious.

Teachers could see the importance and benefits of an immersive theme and how invested out children became. SLT noticed a drive and enthusiasm and a sense of achievement from staff in regards to the work they were doing with their children and what their children produced. If only we could bottle that energy and buzz! We have tried to by implementing some of the strategies below.

We used the project as a starter to re-write and develop our whole curriculum. It has been incredible!

Pupils still talk about palm oil to this day. They found the emotional aspect most memorable. The writing that the children produced was of a higher standard than normal due the emotions involved.

The children were motivated, no matter what the task, so enthused they continued to campaign at home and brought their independent work in to show their teachers. They felt empowered and showed an increasing amount of empathy towards the plight of others.

Children were ‘bothered’ by what they did and how it made them think.They talked more about their learning and they shared at home more. They wanted to make a difference and that was obvious in the work they produced For instance, the viewpoint in writing was strongly established leading to some very meaningful pieces.

Every single child engaged with the project and some children are still bringing information into school- the learning did not stop when the project stopped. Within two days of the Year 5 children learning about the impact of plastic on the creatures in the oceans, all single use plastic in school had been banned. They even held a meeting with our cook to ensure that the small plastic containers used for grapes could be replaced with something that was environmentally friendly.

Staff have more autonomy for the curriculum with an emphasis on the arts more that there used to be within the school. With the palm oil project the pupils engaged with a worldwide issue and were able to emphasise and change their way of thinking as well as their parents at times. They became very passionate about the topic and who and what it effects.

The whole project has had a significant impact on the whole school community and we are now hoping to build further on the successes and apply them to other projects.

One of our project schools who was had Ofsted in February had the following section included in their report:

“New approaches to teaching writing are reaping rewards. Teachers now make writing more exciting for pupils. Recently, pupils engaged in an initiative with Chester Zoo. Linked to the project, pupils have written interesting factual texts on the impact of the production of palm oil on animal habitats in the Amazon and the migration of displaced farmers. Such initiatives are securing pupils’ engagement and improving their grammar, punctuation and spelling.”

In addition to the above I have included the following for your information.:

An overview of training for the project

Guardian article detailing St Bernard’s work for saving the songbirds.

Singing for songbirds youtube video – links to Chester Zoo’s growing bank of learning resources including those focusing on their key conservation campaigns – links to Chester Zoo’s conservation campaign website

Zoo Celebration Video

NQT/RQT Training with St Helens TSA – committed to ongoing excellence!

Please find attached The St Helens Teaching School Newly Qualified and Recently Qualified Teacher Programme. We have delivered an NQT/RQT programme with great success since 2013-14. All training has been arranged in response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback received.

As a result of building on effective practice and sharing this more widely, we have amended our offer for 2019-20.

Schools that have signed the alliance partnership agreement will receive 1 free place. These schools will need to book to ensure they secure a place.

Schools Direct trainees that have been trained via the St Mary and St Thomas CE Teaching School Alliance and have been successful in securing an NQT post within St Helens and/or a partnership school will receive this NQT/RQT training offer free of charge.

The first session will be: Safeguarding: Awareness training including signs of abuse, multi-agency working specialised areas of children protection. Thursday 19th September 2019, The World of Glass, Chalon Way, St Helens, WA10 1BX. Please see details of the full programme:

St Helens TSA NQT Primary programme 2019-20

A full day’s conference will be provided for all NQTs/RQTs on: Wednesday 9th October 2019, 8.45-3.30pm at The St Helens Hotel, Linkway West, St Helens, WA10 1NG.

Entitled: Making the most of your 1st Year!

Agenda: Behaviour Management Strategies- Jason Bangbala, Mathematics- Raising the bar! – Tara Loughran, English – Raised Expectations – Maddy Barnes and SEND provision- managing pupils with additional needs in the mainstream classroom, practical strategies and solutions – Zena Martin, SEND specialist.

The St Helens NQT conference agenda 2019-20

All sessions can be booked via email directly to: Paula Foster

All trainers that deliver the sessions are either specialists in their field, senior leaders or expert practitioners.

For any further queries about any of the training sessions or if you are interested in becoming an alliance member and qualifying for any future discounts please don’t hesitate in contacting myself.

St Helens TSA Newsletter Summer 2019

St Helens TSA CPD Brochure 2019-20

NPQ Scholarships and Early Bird Offers for 2019-20 Start

The St Helens TSA are still accepting applications for NPQSL/NPQML to start in autumn 2019 via Best Practice Network licence:

To apply please click on the following link below:



The deadline for applications is  September 2019. Your school will receive both programmes free of charge if your school falls into a category 5 or 6 targeted area. Please see flyers attached for further funding information.

OLP NPQ EarlyBird

OLP NPQ Scholarships

Applicants completing their programme application are asked to identify whether they have been recommended by one of our delivery partners. You will be asked to identify the partner from a drop down list, and then to enter that partner’s ‘partner allocation code’.

The partner allocation code is: STHN-TSA

The partner name is listed as St Helens TSA

I hope that makes sense. Please let me know if you need further information.

Lisa Bradshaw

Director of the St Helens Teaching School Alliance and NW Maths Hub 3

Director of School Improvement- Three Saints Academy Trust

Mental Health and Well-Being Conference

The St Helens TSA are pleased to announce our 1st Mental Health and Well-Being Conference. We would like to invite all schools to join us for an inspiring day of CPD.

The conference will take place on: Thursday 10th October 2019 (World Mental Health Day), 8.30-4.30pm at the DW Stadium; 15 Loire Dr, Wigan WN5 0UH.

Key Notes include:

Jaz Ampaw-Farr Resilience Ninja, Writer, speaker and consultant

Professor Jonathan Glazzard (Professor  of Teacher Education Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools at Leeds Beckett University)


Workshops include:

Lynsey Tidbury – Self Care Strategies in Managing Stress and Anxiety

Gemma Fieldsend  – Charlie Waller Trust: Eating Disorders/Self Harm

Mermaids UK – Gender ID: Supporting Mental Health of LGBT Children and Young People

Youth Mental Health Matters – Impact of Social Media on the Mental Health in Children and Young People


Exhibitors include:

  • JKP Books
  • Jigsaw PHSE Resources
  • Ariel Trust
  • Altru Drama
  • St Helens Teaching School Alliance/School Direct/Maths Hub NW3
  • Carnegie Centre of Excellence Schools Mental Health Award
  • SEED  Toolkit for Schools
  • Youth Mental Health Matters
  • Relaxation in Education

For further information please see the flyer attached.

In addition to the conference we are offering a FULL Health and Well-Being Package for 2019-20, see attached for more details

To book a place please contact: Paula Foster Places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

Supporting Schools in Developing a Rich Curriculum – Autumn 2019

The St Helens TSA would like to offer all primary schools the chance to attend the following curriculum design workshops.

Focus: Building a rich curriculum that meets the needs of your setting.

The workshops are being facilitated by Debra Kidd. 

About Debra…

Debra trained as an English and Drama teacher, and has worked with every age group from nursery through to Post Graduate and still enjoys working with teachers and children every day. She has written a number of books; these include: Notes from the Frontline published in 2014, followed by “Becoming Mobius: The Complex Matter of Education” which was published in 2015.  A third book, Uncharted Territories – Great Adventures in Learning was co-authored with Hywel Roberts in 2018 whilst consuming large amounts of cake. Debra is the co-founder of Northern Rocks.

Debra has one mantra for learning and that is ‘Make it Matter.’

Debra says’: ‘Not a single piece of knowledge that mankind has ever acquired came without a desire to know the answer to a question. We have to give children the impetus to want to know, to understand the imperative that drove the discovery – the story behind the glory. When I plan I ask myself ‘who in the world would need to know that?’ and we start there – with the need to know’.

The workshops will take place across 2 consecutive dates and are aimed at whole school participation.

Day 1 –  Wednesday 16th October – SLT briefing (9-12 noon); EYFS practitioners (1-4pm)

Day 2 – Thursday 17th October – KS1 session (9-12 noon); KS2 session (1-4pm)

Venue: St Helens Hotel, Mercure St Helens, Linkway West, St Helens, WA10 1NG.

Cost: £250 per school for the two days. This will include: planning, preparation delivery, all course materials, tea/coffee and biscuits.

Schools are encouraged to send one representative for each session. It is hoped that by the end of the two days schools will have reviewed, evaluated, created and/or developed a rich curriculum that meets the needs of the individual settings.

To book at place please contact: Paula Foster please indicate the school name and the names of staff attending each session. Many thanks in advance.

What schools have said about Debra:

“We are beginning a journey into a systematic change of curriculum and pedagogy across our whole country. The days our teachers have spent with Debra Kidd have shown that it is pedagogically possible for our students to have a learning experience that enables them to not only view the world in a different way, but to have the knowledge and confidence to shape the world they inherit.”

“Debra came in and taught our children and it was an absolute master class on every level – vocabulary, knowledge, creativity and problem solving – brilliant!”

Truly inspiring!

We are looking forward to welcoming Debra to the St Helens TSA!