Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Subject Experts Build Infectious Enthusiasm

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Subject Experts Build Infectious Enthusiasm

Article excerpt

Primary schools are changing. No longer is there an expectation that teachers should be able to demonstrate expertise in every aspect of the curriculum. Increasingly, there is recognition that there can be huge benefits from offering children the chance to learn from teachers and other adults passionate about their own specialist area of the curriculum.

I am the headteacher of a small primary, but among our wider staff team and community, we have a wealth of expertise to share with our children. Several years ago, we advertised for volunteer readers. A retired civil servant, Roger Watson, came to meet me. He explained that he had always hoped his son would want to read the classics with him but this had never transpired in the way that he had hoped.

He asked if our older children might like to read with him several times a week. We asked our Year 6 to put their names forward and we have found, year after year, that his book group is oversubscribed with those keen to read and discuss books such as Treasure Island, Goodnight Mister Tom and Carrie's War. We are also keen to engage the children in environmental and gardening activities in the school grounds. With a farmer and parents, we established a "Compost Committee" to help children and teachers grow, harvest and cook food.

We employ a sports coach and also a visiting drumming and ukulele teacher. Recently, we have begun to adapt our timetables to incorporate more opportunities for maths and language specialism. Expert teaching builds infectious enthusiasm not only among the children but also within the staff team. …

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