In March the students and staff at Smith’s Wood Academy were host to twenty teachers and the same number of students from our partner schools in Sweden, Turkey, Spain & Romania. The purpose driving the visit was to offer students and staff alike, the opportunity to grow and develop educationally and to share best practice.
Throughout the week long exchange the group visited a number of historically and culturally significant sites throughout the UK and more specifically in the West Midlands and were both fascinated and impressed by our rich heritage.
Frivolities aside, during the experience teachers from the European countries were heavily involved in a number of activities focused on Teaching & Learning, whilst students experienced a rich array of lessons across the Academy. Staff conducted joint Developmental Drop-Ins across the Academy and also engaged in an International TeachMeet where teachers from across Europe shared their experiences of education in their own countires.
Whilst the ideas shared during the TeachMeet were valuble – the real worth of the trip was our chance to engage in an international educational debate. The debate took the visiting staff through a whistle stop tour of the current educational issues and debates within the educational sphere. Budget constraints, and educational disadvantage were hot topics which generated rich discussions, however, the real showstopper proved to be the Grammar school debate – whichever side of the Grammar school fence you sit, there was a wealth of discussion to be had.
Throughout the visit we were taken by the commitment that both the visiting and host staff showed to improving their own understanding of pedagogical best practice, sharing their own experiences and ultimately their willingness to learn.
The journey continues in May when staff from Smith’s Wood will be hosted by our partners in Sweden.