Mounts Bay Academy, Penzance, is situated in a rural seaside community, with the school’s catchment area including pockets of severe deprivation. The school has just under 1,000 pupils on roll and there is significantly more pupil movement in and out of the school during the year than in most schools across the country.The project
The PTI has given us the opportunity to expand our Music Department and raise outcomes for students through the implementation and development of the school record label. Through links with local businesses, professionals and universities we have been able to drive standards of performance and composition through original songs which are available for streaming and download around the world. In the last year, the funding raised through the project has been used to buy musical instruments and pay for lessons for financially vulnerable students ensuring that regardless of a child’s background, they are able to have the opportunity to access music.The outcome
The label has become an integral part of school life with songs being played throughout the school, art students designing album covers, business students working out potential profits and dance students performing to the tracks. Older students in the ‘Tech Team’ train younger students. Students have also been invited to shadow the tech team at The Minack Theatre and will be running the lights and sound for upcoming community events.The impact of our PTI project has been astounding.
“If there had ever been a moment to exemplify the importance of schools being innovative, multidisciplinary and adaptable, 2020 was the year."
Emma Kerr, Headteacher at Egloskerry School, Cornwall and leader of PTI South West Hub which includes 19 Primary schools from across Devon and Cornwall.
Since joining the PTI Primary Leadership Programme in 2018 I have found that their courses have enhanced a love of learning among our staff and provided an opportunity to stop, relish, and remember why we do what we do. The focus is always on ethos and a knowledge rich curriculum, with critical thinking and enquiry at the core of pedagogical practices.
It is this focus which has come to the fore during the pandemic. The challenge of keeping up with the wealth of rapidly changing information, guidance, what is known and unknown has required leaders to maintain clarity and calmness. Yes staff have been working flat out and it has been difficult, but there have been positives too. Reflection and honesty have been key. Planning becomes innovative not transactional. Trust is built and plans (a, b, c and z!) are made. Collaboration has grown. The PTI’s new virtual Leadership Forum has supported school leaders across the country and empowered schools to be outward facing. While sometimes the forums have highlighted disadvantage and the differences in what pupils have access to, they have also reinforced our ethos, the importance of practical open ended activities, knowledge rich learning, allowing children time to dwell in uncertainty.
During lockdown pupils have had opportunities to prove that they are often more resilient and independent than we give them credit for. Those children who have been immersed in open ended enquiry with rich subject knowledge and time to explore and think deeply are those who have been most resilient. We have also had more opportunities to showcase our approach to families and communities.
I now know what a difference virtual professional development can make. Staff have gained a new perspective. They have had a break from assessments and have been re-immersed in the love of teaching. They have had to think creatively about how to deliver content and have made connections way beyond the teaching they were doing before. This has built on the work of the PTI Primary Hub, inspiring teachers through opening, exploring, stimulating the love of the unknown with practical open ended activities and embracing of creativity.
All this leads to pupils who are adept at understanding the world – what a phenomenal life skill to equip children with!