Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Second October visit for heads and governors of our participating schools was to New Line Academy in Maidstone. New Line have now begun their new building, but before they did they built a "learning Plaza" to explore large group teaching and then built another - with some extra help from Microsoft who were very interested in how effective these plazas were.
Once again a helpful and wonderfully articulate head told us so much about the journey they had enjoyed and what they had discovered on the way - including the effectiveness of these portable little seating tiers (which they call their bananas) which they designed but which were made in Dorset! Here we are sitting on them and having seen them in use with children it is remarkable how well they work at gaining the attention of a quite large group just by standing close up to them. But of course there is much more to New Line's new approach to learning than just bananas and they took us through the complexity of their whole process - every detail matters: these are shoe-off spaces for example, staff and children.
The school were very helpful too about the way that planning and organisation worked for a large triple-group of children who spend around half their timetabled lives in "their" plaza. The big story they had to report of course was about how their performance had improved and was still improving rapidly.