INSET days are a fundamental part of education, giving time to staff to hone their skills and further their knowledge of how to provide the best quality learning experiences. This month, all members of Transform Trust had the opportunity to visit host schools and see concrete examples of the power of the environment in which our pupils learn. The focus was on ourselves as architects of our school environments.
As the landscapes of our schools are ever-changing, the theme of ‘Architecture of Environment’ prompts our staff to take in their surroundings and consider the impact this has on their pupils, staff and wider communities. The environment does not only encompass the physical space of the school, but also the social and emotional aspects. This theme brings forward the idea of creating a nurturing environment which is suitable for all of our children. Each school in the Transform Trust family is unique and has its own needs; that’s why it was important to give our staff the opportunity to see a different school environment and consider the decision-making both in the host school and their own.
To start the day with some fun, each host school was given the challenge to present the reusable water bottles in a creative way. The bottles had been kindly sponsored by AIT. Pear Tree Junior School hung its water bottles up in a washing line along with some trousers, a jumper, and a pair of unmatched socks! Brocklewood Primary and Nursery School used the colours of the water bottles to create Transform Trust’s butterfly logo and an array of spooky creations were created at Rosslyn Park Primary School.
The day began with members from each school having the opportunity to form relationships with staff from another school. Conversations about the environment, the journey as well as the acknowledgement of the privilege to be able to visit a school from the Trust were made.
The day progressed with staff having the chance to watch video messages from CEO Rebecca Meredith, Director of Inclusion Emma Hampton, and Rachel Meli, a member of the School Improvement Team. Each video broke down different aspects of the theme and gave staff the chance to discuss what resonated with them to define what matters most.
After a short break, staff were given the opportunity to speak to a panel of specialists from the host school. The host schools were given the chance to showcase their journey with Transform Trust and the deliberate changes they have made to their environments. The panel comprised of teaching staff, headteachers, site teams, midday supervisors, business managers and in some cases, parents.
Staff were able to do a ‘walkaround’ of the host school and write down any highlights as well as questions and queries to ask the panel. When the staff reconvened in the hall, the host schools provided lunch. Each host provided a different meal with the staff at Zaytouna Primary School creating a delicious curry dish. After lunch, the panel answered questions and discussed anything highlighted further. Group coaching sessions also took place which gave staff the opportunity to work as both an individual and as a group to reflect on their school and aspects of the host school they may take back with them.
Over 950 staff, 25 schools, and 11 locations were involved for this successful INSET day. Staff were happy to share their thoughts on the day.
The team at Allenton Community Primary School said:
“It has been great to see a different environment and feel inspired about how we can develop our own spaces.” – Mrs Taylor
“It’s an amazing chance to see how we all have the same goals but get to the end point in a multitude of ways. Ultimately it is clear that we have the children at the centre of our decisions.” – Mrs Fearn
“It is important to have the time to stop and discuss with people outside of your normal environment the best practices to use in our schools for all of our children.” – Mrs Trowsdale
The atmosphere was electric throughout the day. It was clear to everyone involved that each school presents the values of the Trust in bundles of love and passion. We cannot wait to see all the new ideas being implemented into our schools.