As you drive down School Street in Aberbargoed, the sign on the fencing next to the gate reads ‘For Sale’. No. Headteacher, Mr David Lewis, is not selling off bits of the school to make ends meet! However, David and his staff are doing a fantastic job of providing a sense of normality for their learners, while new classrooms are being built across the road from the old Victorian building.
The old school was the venue for two days training, Step 3 in the Designing for Learning journey. We explored the concept and use of rubrics as formative assessment tools and once again made reflections and connections on ways to empower learners.
But it didn’t end there! We had the privilege of spending the next three days, teaching and observing in every class throughout the school.
In Foundation Phase, Sarah Driscoll’s Nursery children made and tested waterproof footwear for gingerbread men; Teresa Hamling’s Reception class designed and constructed vehicles to transport a giant turnip; and Ly-Anne Pyle’s Year 1 and 2 produced crowns for the royal wedding of Prince Charming and Rapunzel.
In his cross-phase (Year 2/3) class Teifion Lewis. guided his learners through the process of designing more appealing dental hygiene packaging.
At Key Stage 2, the Year 3/4 learners in Jayne Harris’s class explored sieves and designed and tested their own. In order to demonstrate their understanding of the human body, Marilyn Phillips’s learners made 3-D body maps. And last, but not least, Jacqueline John led her Year 6 through discussion and debate about the rich and poor in Tudor times.
A wide variety of curriculum knowledge and skills! However, all learners explored their specific curriculum area(s) in collaborative groups. It’s been a year since many of the learners and practitioners were introduced to the tools and processes of collaborative learning. This has now become embedded in the classroom culture with learners showing a high level of engagement and the development of skills and attitudes to support independent and interdependent learning.
In addition to those above, we would like to mention the other staff who work in Aberbargoed Primary and attended the training – John, Karen, Sian, Gill, Wendy, Michelle, Katrina, Cheryl, Kelly, Nicole, Leanne and Kelly. Thank you all for making us so welcome.
A final thanks to David for inviting us back to assist in the continuing professional development of staff in Aberbargoed.