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NEWS • EDITORIAL
Benjamin Paul Balance-Drew – English hip hop recording artist, actor, film director and producer
Whilst the government is trying to take us back in time to the system of grammar school academia for all that failed so many of our children so badly, Plan B has different ideas. He is trying to ensure pupils who are attending his old PRU get the same if not better opportunities to the ones that helped him to transform his life.
During his interview with Jools Holland in the first programme of his new series he (Plan B) revealed how he is working to ensure the needs of those pupils he can influence are met whilst there are so many unwanted distractions that could take them in the wrong direction.
This is a transcript from the comments he made to Jools:
‘I was expelled from school and went to a PRU. We had a chap there called Cliff Hurley. He used to bring all his own music equipment into the school and he used it as a therapy to get us to come out of our shells because you get instant gratification from music. The minute you give a kid a drum stick and they start hitting them on the snares he’s getting a sound out of it. You don’t get that with other subjects.
We were all at the school because we were expelled from other schools because the academic approach wasn’t working for us. So we needed vocations and everyone loves to hear music, even if they can’t play it they enjoy it.
So when I came back to my old PRU to do a documentary after Cliff had died I saw that he hadn’t been replaced. And I knew I had to put a new music room there. I hooked up with Atlantic and Big Music and put a music studio there and a full-time music teacher. Since we have done that we have had 25% of the kids getting enrolled back into mainstream education which is unprecedented.’
Announcing the new Incyte International
‘Excellence in Safeguarding Award’.
The first school to achieve the Platinum award is Winton Academy in Andover.
This is an award that demands the highest attention to detail in ensuring that a school’s community is safe and aware of all possible safeguarding concerns. There are 2 levels of award, Gold and Platinum. Schools wanting to achieve this award will need to undergo a day’s audit from one of our safeguarding specialists. A detailed report will result with highlighted strengths and areas for development.
Who is this for?
How long is it current?
What makes this award stand out from other awards?
06.10.2017 - All aboard the 'Skills Revolution'!
You may be aware of the changing emphasis from Ofsted on schools ensuring they provide a curriculum that is suitable and relevant in meeting the needs of all the pupils. There is now a growing momentum in the secondary field to bring back a broader curriculum. The lack of logic behind recent government initiatives started by Gove has probably led to the country’s darkest hours in making it nigh impossible to do our best for all those children in our care. It is therefore refreshing to read the editorial in
Schools Week by Laura McInerney:
'The conservative Party has got a major problem when its own secretary of state for education is on the stage announcing a ‘skills revolution’, but the schools minister won’t let civil servants write the word ‘skills’ in any of his correspondence.” Making this point while sat alongside a former Tory minister and in front of 150 party members was not exactly comfortable, but it felt important at a fringe event I attended at conference on Sunday. It was important because it’s true. For three days the same questions were on party member’s lips: Why aren’t we giving children opportunities to do vocational subjects? Why are we killing off the arts, and music, and design & technology? How come the message about apprenticeships is always so negative?..'
10.04.2017 - INSPIRE..2..TEACH – International recognition
Incyte has, for a long time now, advocated the need for a much better link between leadership and the quality of teaching and learning. It is well recognised world-wide, that the quality of teaching and learning is the most important factor that leads to improved outcomes. However, this can only happen if the quality of leadership which drives the improvement in teaching and learning is also of a high standard.
The Inspire..2..Teach programme, a mixture of self-improvement, coaching and mentoring (internally and externally), directs its energy towards improving teaching and learning in a practical way but also drives improvement in the leadership of teaching and learning. The programme identifies the best teachers in the school, develops their practice to ensure the quality of teaching and learning is consistently outstanding and, at the same time develops the leadership skills of this initial teaching group (Leaders of Learning) so that they are able to self-sustain improvement in teaching and learning across the school.
The programme is a powerful driver for sustainable improvement in outcomes over time. However, it is not designed to be a quick fix, as cultural change cannot be turned around overnight, but is designed to ensure the bedrock for future improvement is solid and secure.
The article in ‘Teach Middle East’ illustrates the impact of the programme and how it can begin to transform the culture within a school to ensure all students achieve the best outcomes possible.
27.03.2017 - What is an appropriate curriculum?
Why are the curriculum expectations in England changing? Who is deciding that the path we are taking is the right one? Are we following a path that had the wrong assumptions against which we started a different journey? Are we looking at how a curriculum is delivered in a different country with a different culture and tradition and saying that is the pathway we need to go along without really understanding the implications of this?
Designing a curriculum is a significantly difficult task – we had all sorts of contentious national discussions when we developed the National Curriculum in England in the 1980s. So, what is the fundamental starting point for this design process to be successful?
The problem in modern society is that we really don’t know what life in the future is going to look like and we do not know precisely what skills future adult citizens will need to achieve the community goal.
What should we therefore be doing in our schools to ensure we all, in the future, contribute to a society that encompasses all the basic moral values that we need to understand and the skills we will need to make a positive contribution to our communities in the future? In our editorial we analise these and other qustions. Follow the link below to
23.02.2017 - Emirates International School applying Incyte's 'Inspire..2..Teach'
We are delighted to have partnered with Emirates International School Jumeirah. Our Inspire..2..Teach programme is designed to provide high quality support to improve the quality of teaching and learning in lessons to a level that would be identified internationally as outstanding practice.
Twenty four EIS teachers have joined the Inspire..2..Teach programme in this first instance, working to develop their teaching to consistently Outstanding levels. Alongside the focus on teaching they are also honing their skills of dialogue and feedback as they become recognised Leaders of Learning within the school - empowered and enabled to share their expertise working with other teachers.
09.01.2017 - 'Inspire..2..Teach' working effectively in the Middle East
Teach Middle East magazine in its January-February 2017 edition published an article written by Dr Tassos Anastasiades, Director of Ajman Academy , the United Arab Emirates.
In his article Dr Tassos highlights the importance of leadership and the role of Incyte International intensive school improvement support. “We empower our teachers,” said Dr Tassos, “they are trained to become Leaders of Learning, using the Inspire..2..Teach strategy and working very closely with Incyte consultants.” Incyte is a proven methodology, which Dr Anastasiades has used for four years in a number of schools.
“It has been consistently recognised, that the quality of teaching and learning can only be improved over time, if all stakeholders ‘buy in’ to the concept of ‘grass roots’ improvement”, Dr Tassos shared.
03.10.2016 - Unions to advise a boycott of next year’s SATs?
The most recent message to members from Russell Hobby, NAHT General Secretary, highlights the concerns of headteachers across England about the current situation of assessment and outlines what the government needs to do...
18.09.2016 - Inspections, Exams and Test results
End of 2015-2016 exam and test outcomes: Congratulations to all of the secondary schools that Incyte supports as a school improvement partner (RI to Outstanding)...
The high quality support we provide has been acknowledge in a recent Section 8 visit. We would like to thank all our consultants and schools for all their hard work and our school leaders who respond extremely well to what are sometimes difficult messages and challenges. We look forward to working with you all in the current academic year.
Our schools in the Middle East have also either maintained or improved their inspection grading...
16.08.2016 - Creativity or Uniformity
Since education began there has always been much debate about what children need to learn and how they should be taught to learn.
It is quite clear that the current government is looking more at conformity/uniformity rather than creativity and diversity. The new national curriculum and assessment initiatives are an example of this as is the constant push towards trying to improve our position in the PISA rankings by promoting the use of things like Singapore maths.
Within all of this, however, Asian countries, including China, have been coming to the UK to find out how we manage to create a better balance between uniformity and creativity which leads to a wide range of talents distributed across our adult population. Our primary school education has, for a long-time, been held in high esteem and is something that should be replicated widely.
The article below provides an interesting take on this whole issue.
We would be interested to know your views on this whole debate. If you find the time to respond please send an email to
12.05.2016 - Ofsted update presentation
- What are some of the key focuses and approaches?
- 'Pebble in the pond'
- Key Approaches from Early Years to +16
Due to technical hitches we were unable to record this presentation but you can download it here. We have added to aspects of the PPT so that there is more information.
Click the following link to download
Ofsted update May 2016
29.02.2016 - Open Letter to Nicky Morgan by Emily Gazzard
Below is an open letter written by Emily Gazzard passed on to me from Gulshan Kayembe. In the light of the publication of the exemplification materials by the DfE, Emily utters her complaint about the standards now expected of Y6 pupils at the end of KS2. The letter opens up many of the concerns expressed to us directly by the schools that we are working with. Although we may not agree with everything that Emily is saying there is much food for thought...
23.02.2016 - The Early Years Foundation Stage Baseline Test
Incyte has consistently expressed a view about the new baseline assessment and promoted the Early Excellence baseline as the one that was most likely to fit with best assessment practice conducted by schools. Our main concerns, therefore, are not with the actual baseline test itself, as we do believe in having national baseline assessment consistency which can be externally moderated to improve accuracy of assessment, but with how this information is going to be used...
09.02.2016 - Enabling Children/Students to Develop the Skills needed to Learn Effectively
Dear Nick Gibb
There are times when non-professionals begin to believe that they are professionals with many years of experience of evaluating the quality of teaching and learning in depth. In the best schools, there has always been an appropriate balance between knowledge, skills and understanding. All of us who are trained as teachers will remember the wealth of academic research and evidence that pointed out the importance of this balance. To suggest that schools in their curriculum design and teachers in delivering the school’s curriculum have forgotten the importance of knowledge within this balance is just nonsense.
But, I would just like to thank you for bringing your view from the thousands of lessons you have evaluated (??) to the forefront because it has reminded me of the vast amount of educational research that supports effective learning – how pupils of any age learn best. The article below is just one that Jan Lomas, one of our directors, brought to my notice. It is certainly worth a read if only to enlighten us all in the belief that young people will always surprise us if we give them the credit and respect as intelligent human-beings that they deserve. After all, they do learn an incredible amount without any professional teacher support in the first few years of their life – the danger for us as teachers is that we forget this and box up their lives thereafter wondering why, by the time the leave school, academically, they have forgotten how to think for themselves, be creative and take risks.
11.01.2016 - Workload and Effective Learning and Teaching
Unions and Academies/Schools can work together to provide high quality education within working conditions that are acceptable to all parties
...Assessment is probably the most crucial skill that any teacher can possess. Without good assessment taking place informally and formally within and around every lesson or series of lessons how can teachers plan effectively and personalise the curriculum to meet the needs of the pupils?...
Assessment Changes for September 2015 and their Potential Impact on Social Mobility
There is continued confusion about assessment without levels and it is likely to get worse before it gets better. There is also increasing concern about the Reception baseline assessment to be piloted early in the autumn term. A recent article by John McIntosh in the TES expresses concern about schools re-vamping assessment systems under a flawed Levels system... The article found by Incyte Director Jan Lomas – is great in identifying the pupil perspective (backed by significant research) on what they need in terms of feedback which enables them to learn well and make good progress...