(Since this article was written, the case study of this school has been written up in Quality Circle Time in the Secondary School)
A groundbreaking pilot project in partnership with Fallibroome High, a Teaching School in Macclesfield has just taken place. A small brave band of teachers and TA’s from secondary, primary and nursery schools volunteered to train with Jenny Mosley to become a network of accredited trainers for local schools. One key feature of Jenny’s highly acclaimed Train The Trainers programme is that she takes the trainers to classrooms and nurseries to observe her work with children and young people of all ages. So secondary school teachers were able to see her using puppets with three year olds, and nursery teachers could observe her working intensely with Year 8 students working on how to rebuild bridges back to each other after some bullying issues.
Year 10 students were also part of a training programme and on the last day came to work in a circle with the incoming year 6’s. It was a celebratory last day, so any assistants and teachers who were not part of the trainers programme were invited to be part of a huge circle – all learning new games, songs and clapping activities together.
Visibly relaxed and happy the Year 6’s filed out. First though, anyone who wanted a quiet word about specific anxieties were invited to. Movingly, a little lad sought out a year 7 head to talk through his worries.
What participants wrote:
“Circle time is a great project to be involved with, the pilot that I was with involved early years, primary and secondary schools. We went to each school and experienced circle time. This was a great opportunity to see how effective circle time can be with different ages and different environments.
It was fascinating to see the children become very involved and engaged, at times it was humbling to witness the caring and honesty of young people. I think it was very important that all the schools worked together we were able to take older students to primary schools and this helped greatly to calm a great many fears of the Year 6 children coming to us in September. It also let us have greater communication with partnership schools which will now continue in the future.
I think this would be a great Model to use in the future across the country as it not only benefits children but adults as well as keeping lines of communication open can only be a good thing.”
Lisa Hurst, Pastoral Supervisor, Fallibroome Academy
“I feel that this pilot was a great success and benefitted from the joint venture between early years, primary and secondary. I have never worked in a primary school so for me it provided an insight into that aspect of education. It was interesting to witness circle time with such young pupils and to observe the wisdom of their responses in peer counselling. It highlighted the importance of the transition from primary to secondary and the benefits to be gained in terms of building self-esteem and peer relations by continuing with circle time in year 7 as a natural progression from one world to another, rather than something you do at primary that suddenly stops at secondary. Expressing ourselves and relating to others is a skill that often gets lost somewhere between year 7 and 8 and can lead to behavioural issues in year 8 and I think circletime at the beginning of year 7 is crucial in bridging this gap and making these skills part of the process and development of our pupils.”
Jayne Ruscoe, HLTA and Inclusion Resource Coordinator
“One thing that struck me was that circle time is a very accessible system to hear pupil voice. The format makes it possible for all children to have a forum for their issues, this then targets all pupils. The year group models were an excellent learning opportunity for me to see quality circle time. Embedded and sustained circle times throughout school life will enable pupils to become comfortable at sharing opinions and thoughts. I feel this is profound teaching of the lifelong skills needed for emotional intelligence. Pupils who then develop these skills from the early years will surely be proactive in addressing the issues they are faced with as they grow into adults. This in turn will lead to positive experiences and relationships.”
Elaine Pearson Upton Priory School
“I just wanted to say thank you for the Circle Time training. I have certainly been inspired by how empowering it can be. The techniques you have shared with us to encourage pupils to take ownership of themselves and the importance of respect for each other and our values, I have started to embed in my everyday teaching. I’m looking forward to September when I can use Circle Time with my new form. Working with some of our primary partnership schools during the training has really been valuable. It’s been a real learning curve to see how it can be delivered across the different key stages and the benefits it can bring to all pupils. It can only be beneficial to pupils if each KS has Circle Time within its curriculum, as pupils move from KS to KS they are able to develop their skills through a structure that they are familiar with and they understand. There are many benefits for staff and pupils to work with pupils from different KS’s this is one structure which allows for that where everyone’s voice is valued.”
Jacki Pepper, Specialist Teacher, Fallibroome Academy
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Working with Teaching Schools
Jenny has successfully introduced her model to Teaching Schools. To find out how this model can enhance the work that your Teaching School Partnership or school is doing then please phone 01225 767157 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To see this case study written up in full, see Quality Circle TIme in the Secondary School