Teachers visit schools in Ghana

posted 19 Mar 2018, 12:18 by Timothy Williams

The education of children in Ghana is set to improve with a vital new link-up to London. A group of teachers from Edmonton, Enfield and Haringey recently spent time in schools in Ghana as part of the Connecting Classrooms education programme.
Connecting Classrooms is run in more than 30 countries by the British Council in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID). The programme enables teachers not only to teach 21st century core skills to children in their classroom, but also to visit partner schools in other countries to exchange insights and ideas on how to improve teaching and learning in their schools. 

The trip, co-ordinated by Ann Palmer, principal of Nightingale Academy, in Edmonton, was attended by representatives of Aylward Academy and Meridian Angel Primary School, in Enfield, and Noel Park and Trinity primaries, in Haringey. During their stay in Accra, the UK teachers were partnered up with five schools where they spent two days getting to know the education system.
Ms Palmer, who took Nightingale teacher Jenet Gwaki on the trip, said: “Our hosts and the students in Ghana were extremely welcoming. The children love going to school and the quality of the work we saw and how they presented themselves was fabulous. “It was about connecting one type of education system with another, but also appreciating there is strength in a variety of systems. “Before we returned home, we gathered together with the heads and went through actions we are going to use back in our own countries, as well as looking at other ways to support them.” A focus was put on improving teaching and learning, with the traditional way of teaching in Ghana – with children in rows and a teacher in front of a board – shaken up when the UK teachers took classes and encouraged group working and students presenting to their peers.
Ms Palmer is now keen for Nightingale to work with its partner school - Madina Junior High School - to improve their environment with a long-term link-up. One idea is to fundraise to complete a building which has been under construction for eight years, so it can be used as an IT suite.

Ms Palmer said: “The schools in Ghana have very little. The things we take for granted, such as pens and pencils, printed posters on the walls and IT, they simply do not have. Most British schools would see IT having a life cycle of about five years, but in Ghana that equipment would still very much be seen as useful. We saw IT being taught in theory, without a single piece of IT to show students. If there is some way we can set them up with our old equipment, our direct links to them can continue into the future with video conferencing.
“We need to always be aware of how privileged our students are, particularly to have free education.”

School that never closes

posted 19 Mar 2018, 12:04 by Timothy Williams

School is no longer just five days per week at Nightingale Academy. In fact, the school, in Edmonton, never closes. A shift in culture at the school means classrooms are full of activity on Saturdays as students work for the best possible grades.
Year 11 give up their day off to be at their desks and revising each weekend to prepare for their upcoming exams. During Saturday school, students learn exam skills and sit practise papers, with their class teachers on
hand to support their revision.
Principal Ann Palmer said the culture in the school now means students are keener than ever to achieve their very best. She said: “Saturday school is just great. Students are treated like adults and come into school in non-uniform, which gives the sessions a whole different feel. It is more like a university situation as students are in control of their own learning. They want to be here as it’s a place where they can work in a studious environment. There is the benefit of being with their friends, but also having sessions run by their teachers, who give up their time to be here. “Saturday school helps with boosting grades 
above what students might expect to achieve. It allows them to challenge themselves outside of the usual school timetable and shows
we are here to support students, no matter what time of day.”As well as revision sessions for Year 11, occasional themed sessions are held, such as an A-level focus Saturdayfor sixth formers. Ms Palmer said: “Our students really do want to learn; they get up early on a Saturday and are focused and enthusiastic. They know that by giving that bit extra they may just move up a grade.”

As an extra incentive, pizza is ordered for students to enjoy in a break away from traditional lessons.

School kicks out timetable

posted 9 Mar 2018, 09:38 by Timothy Williams

The school timetable is thrown out for Edmonton students to focus on personal, social, health and citizenship education (PSHE).

Throughout the year, students at Nightingale Academy, in Edmonton, take part in six drop-down days to concentrate on topics relevant to their young lives.

Sessions tackle issues such as cyber bullying, sex and relationships, sexual health, mental health, cultural diversity, smoking, drugs and alcohol.

Students also pick up skills in first aid, research potential careers and put together CVs, as well as learn exam and revision techniques during the sessions.

Experts are brought in to support teaching staff to deliver these areas of the curriculum, which often take up weekly slots in the timetable in other schools.
The most recent drop-down day this half-term saw:
Year 7 look at physical, emotional and social changes at puberty
Year 8 focus on types of relationships, qualities of relationships, negotiation and assertiveness, sex and the law
Year 9 look at careers education, information and guidance in the lead-up to their option choices
Year 10 look at community and cultural diversity
Year 11 work on their personal statements and CVs, as well as practising interview skills
Year 12 learn revision techniques
Year 13 pick up revision techniques and time management.
Principal Ann Palmer believes Nightingale’s approach enables students to get a more in-depth experience.

She said: “Our drop-down days are about mapping students’ social skills through an alternative curriculum and ensuring we are preparing the whole child for life after school.”

London Marathon in memory of student's baby

posted 9 Mar 2018, 09:33 by Timothy Williams   [ updated 9 Mar 2018, 09:34 ]

A teacher is running the London Marathon in memory of a former student’s baby.

Alec Laing, assistant vice principal at Nightingale Academy, in Edmonton, is taking on the mammoth task in support of the Annabelle Rose Foundation.

The charity is dedicated to providing help and support to families affected by spinal muscular atrophy, which is the biggest genetic killer in babies.

It was set up by Wayne and Charlotte Burfitt, of Stansted, whose daughter died at the age of seven months due to the genetic muscle wasting condition.

Mrs Burfitt, who was taught by Mr Laing at Burnt Mill Academy in Harlow, said: “The Annabelle Rose Foundation is such a small charity, so when someone offers to do something special for us it is deeply appreciated. It means so much when someone comes along and you know they really want to help, to be able to make a difference.

“We are so honoured Alec is running the London Marathon in memory of Annabelle and to support our charity - what an amazingly selfless thing to do. We will be there cheering him on. We are very proud and thankful.”

Mr Laing, who also taught Mr Burfitt, said: “The charity does amazing work to help improve the life of babies while suffering from the condition and, in some cases, makes memories for the children and their families.

“The Annabelle Rose Foundation needs your help, so please dig deep and help me to raise money for them. Anything you can manage, even a couple of pounds will all mount up and would be greatly appreciated.”

To sponsor Mr Laing for the marathon in April, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AlecLaing007

To find out more about the charity, visit www.annabellerosefoundation.co.uk

Children smash their SATs

posted 9 Mar 2018, 09:30 by Timothy Williams   [ updated 9 Mar 2018, 09:30 ]

Primary school children are limbering up for their SATs with the help of Nightingale Academy.

A series of Smash Your SATs events have been held at the school, in Edmonton, to help prepare Year 5 and 6 pupils for the tests.

Hundreds of children – from Fleecefield Primary School, Meridian Angel Primary School, Alma Primary School and Bowes Primary School – have spent time at Nightingale taking part in activities to boost their dexterity and problem-solving skills.

Alec Laing, assistant vice principal, said: “This is the latest Smash Your SATs event which have now become a huge part of what we do here at Nightingale. Children who come along get Smash Your SATs t-shirts and badges. They have a fantastic time at these events and enjoy the opportunity to work with children from other schools.

“They are learning vital skills of resilience and overcoming problems and that there are different ways of tackling challenges. It gets them thinking in a different way when meeting obstacles. They are out of their own school, out of their comfort zone and doing things they have never done before so it challenges them.”

The events also give local families an opportunity to experience the school.

Mr Laing said: “We are a completely new school with a now excellent reputation for involvement with the community. Everyone who comes here comments on how much things have changed for the better.”

The fully interactive sessions include circus skills, table tennis, breakdancing and problem-solving team activities.

School celebrates diversity

posted 9 Mar 2018, 09:24 by Timothy Williams   [ updated 9 Mar 2018, 09:26 ]

The cultural diversity of students and staff at Nightingale Academy was celebrated with a day devoted to their home countries.

During every lesson on the day, there was a focus on different countries and cultures to acknowledge the many EAL – English as an additional language – students.

Students in Year 7 to 10 took part in the day, wearing traditional dress and sharing stories, music and languages from their family backgrounds.

A group of students who have been trained as interpreters gave presentations and taught their home languages to their classmates.

The day finished with a concert where parents got to enjoy seeing students sing, dance, play instruments and read their own poetry to represent the UK, France, Bulgaria, Poland, Turkey, Portugal, Italy and Greece, among others.

Dagmara Fiedler, EAL co-ordinator, said: “All students and staff really enjoyed themselves. They had a chance to show and talk about countries they are from or maybe where their parents are from. They also learnt a lot of interesting facts about other countries, while connecting it with subjects such as history and geography.”
The school, which hopes to hold regular EAL celebrations, raised £329.64 for Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice from the concert.

Language Success for Edmonton School

posted 7 Feb 2018, 07:47 by Timothy Williams   [ updated 9 Mar 2018, 03:50 ]

Nightingale Academy is in the top one per cent of schools nationally for its modern foreign languages results.
The school, in Edmonton, has 75 per cent of students with English as an additional language.
But, the diversity of the school is seen as its strength, with many students qualifying as interpreters to boost
their skills and to help the school and its community to operate.
Last summer’s GCSE results put the school among the country’s best for modern foreign languages for the
third year running, as confirmed in the latest league tables.
A total of 83 per cent of last year’s Year 11 students achieved A* to C grades in languages. In Spanish, a
record 92 per cent achieved A* to C, with 56 per cent achieving and A or A* grade and 100 per cent an A* to
Avni Aliaj, head of modern foreign and community languages, said: “Languages are a preferred GCSE option
at Nightingale and the overwhelming majority of students study a language at KS4, whether that be French,
Spanish or Turkish. 
“One of the main factors of our success is the fact we regard students’ EAL (English as Additional Language)
status as an asset, rather than a disadvantage. Most of our students are natural linguists, already fluent in
two or more languages. They have already created a language learning system in their heads, which gives
them an advantage when tackling yet another language. EAL students understand complex linguistic
concepts and develop fluency faster than their monolingual peers.
“Our job as language teachers is to simply recognise and unlock this potential. Of course, this wouldn't have been possible without consistently high quality teaching from a strong team of passionate linguists, high
expectations for all learners and the use of an array of dynamic teaching strategies and resources.”
With the diverse make-up of the school, students regularly take part in international projects, such as
Erasmus, with schools across Europe.
Each year, three or four trips take place when students are selected to spend one week at a time in target
language countries, such as France, Spain, Turkey or Poland.
In the last five years, more than 400 Nightingale students and staff have taken part in trips to European
countries as part of these projects.
Mr Aliaj said: “These visits are unique opportunities to take language learning well and truly out of the
classroom and to use it in real life situations.
“Most of the students from my Year 11 class, for example, who spent one week in Spain last year as part of
our current Erasmus+ project achieved either A or A* in their Spanish GCSE. By the end of their stay, some of
them became so confident and at ease with the use of Spanish that they volunteered to be interviewed by
local TV reporters in Spanish, which was certainly one of the proudest moments of my teaching career!”

Art Gallery in School Stairwell

posted 7 Feb 2018, 07:44 by Timothy Williams   [ updated 7 Feb 2018, 07:44 ]

A unique art gallery has been set up in a school – in a stairwell.
Nightingale Academy, in Edmonton, is giving inspiration to students in every part of the school, including
when they are moving between lessons.
A stairwell has undergone a transformation and taken on an art gallery feel.
Pieces on display include renaissance and impressionist art, with the artist’s name, date of birth and death and the name of the style of art.
Alec Laing, assistant vice principal, said: “We have transformed the stairwell into a vibrant art gallery containing art from throughout the ages, with work from both female and male artists.
“The display gives students inspiration as they go up to the art department which is a creative area. It shows them different styles and shows them how sometimes simple pieces of art can be quite successful. “It encourages students to do a bit of research and find out more about the artwork.” Another stairwell in the school has been brought to life through street art.

School's Links with Ghana

posted 7 Feb 2018, 07:33 by Timothy Williams

Teachers from Nightingale Academy have forged a new partnership with schools in Ghana as part of a
unique global education programme.
Connecting Classrooms is run in more than 30 countries by the British Council in partnership with the
Department for International Development (DFID).
It equips teachers with the knowledge and techniques to teach young people the skills they need to live and
work in an increasingly globalised economy.
The programme enables teachers not only to teach 21st century core skills to children in their classroom, but
also to visit partner schools in other countries to exchange insights and ideas on how to improve teaching
and learning in their schools.

Nightingale, in Edmonton, is co-ordinating a delegate group of teachers from Aylward Academy and Meridian Angel Primary School, in Enfield, and Noel Park and Trinity primaries, in Haringey, who will be travelling to Ghana this month.
They are taking part in the programme because of its commitment to preparing students to become well- rounded, truly global citizens.
Sir Ciarán Devane, CEO of the British Council, said: “I am delighted Nightingale Academy is taking on this excellent opportunity to develop professional practice by collaborating with teachers from Ghana and the UK. 
Their commitment to equip young people with skills and understanding for life and work in an increasingly global economy is to be commended.”
Students will be working with their counterparts in Accra, Ghana, on a project to explore critical thinking and
problem-solving skills learning.
Connecting Classrooms will enable teacher Jenet Gwaki and principal Ann Palmer to take part in a visit to
share experiences and success in teaching and implementing the core skills in their own curriculum.
Ms Palmer said: ‘We are determined that Nightingale will celebrate diversity as we see this as a strength,
both in school and in the community. The fact a number of other schools are also undertaking some
excellent work as part of this British Council partnership is fantastic.”
The visit will also provide a platform for success to be shared more widely, which may influence education
policy and strategy at a local and national level.

Ground Rules Outlined to Students

posted 7 Feb 2018, 07:30 by Timothy Williams   [ updated 7 Feb 2018, 07:31 ]

A multi-cultural school has outlined its ground rules to the newest students.
Nightingale Academy, in Edmonton, teaches students from dozens of different backgrounds and cultures,
with 75 per cent having English as an additional language.
Year 7 spent an afternoon off of the usual timetable to immerse themselves in the expectations, routines
and traditions of the school.
A presentation was given before students took part in role play on subjects such as bullying where they
gained an understanding of what is and isn’t considered bullying.
Adam Bishop, head of Year 7, 8 and 9, said: “With such a massively diverse group of students, we have a
range of view points coming in to school. We have students from Somalia and eastern Europe, as well as
those who have lived locally their whole lives. We want all students to realise we are an extremely open-
minded and inclusive school and that everybody should feel welcome and safe. We have a great community
spirit at Nightingale.
“Everyone knows they are included, but it’s about also making it clear there’s a certain expectation.”
The PSHE work is carried out with every year group at Nightingale.

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