Day three of my trip to the UK saw visits to two more schools, this time in Bolton. The first was once considered to be one of the UK’s premier blogging schools, with visitors one year reaching into the hundreds of thousands. It was an interesting visit to what was obviously a caring school with committed and hardworking staff. We met with a lovely teacher who admitted that despite her best efforts blogging was not currently a priority at the school. The reasons were clear. Their blogging champion had left the school and without him the impetus had collapsed under the weight of school work. I felt that The main problem was that UK teachers need to have students complete large amounts of hand written work in order to satisfy their school inspectorate OFSTED. So for schools to blog successfully they need a visionary teacher who can push their way through this and they need top down support.
The second visit was a total contrast. High Lawn school has a whole school commitment to blogging. All classes are expected and encouraged to blog. Connections and collaboration are also encouraged. Initiated by year six teacher @cherise_duxbury and supported by her head teacher blogging plays an important role in the whole school.
My main reflection from the day include the obvious thought that for whole school blogging to succeed it needs both support from a principal and a champion teacher. It also needs effort, hard work and teachers who are prepared to think outside the box.
I also realised what a luxury it is to be able to visit other schools, especially in another country. It is fabulous to have the chance to compare systems. To discuss common issues and to make new friends. I had a fabulous day, I talked with many teachers and students. I picked up tips and new ideas from displays, from my chats and our discussions.
And today I get to do it all again!