Page 9 - Independent Schools Magazine
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“...by far the best CPD course I have had the benefit of attending”
Bringing British values to life
Tamara Pearson, Senior Teacher at Our Lady of
Sion Junior School, Sussex, found much to be gained by attending a Teachers’ Institute residential in Parliament...
When updating one’s Self Evaluation Form
(SEF), a question which often leads to a degree
of procrastination can be ‘how do you actively promote British values?’ There can be some bumbling along about ‘ethos’ and key school events, but it can often seem dreadfully tokenistic. Without wishing to be churlish, education must be relevant and engaging- not something which is created to satisfy a requirement. Much can be gained from networking and seeing best practice in action. However, high-quality CPD in this area can be hard to come by.
Responding to a tweet by the Parliament Education Service (@UKParlEducation) I applied for a place on their forthcoming Teachers’ Institute. The three-day residential offered the opportunity to ‘immerse’ oneself in the politics of Parliament; touring the Palace of Westminster, watching debates, Q&As with Members from both Houses, information sessions, activities and resources all linked
to Parliament and democracy. Hearing that Parliament would also cover all travel costs, residential accommodation and most meals, with all resources, workshops and events free of charge, seemed extraordinary.
With a modest degree of scepticism, I opened my delegate pack. In my years supporting local Youth Councils, I have been fortunate
to visit The Palaces of Westminster on many occasions. On the way to Portcullis House I wondered what added value I would gain from this experience.
Unequivocally, the Teachers’ Institute provided ‘behind the scenes’ access and insight to the workings of Westminster from the off.
Trainbearer). Rt Hon John Bercow was immensely generous with his time, answering each question with refreshing honesty and authenticity. Subsequently, we were provided with an informative tour of the House
of Commons. After a delectable lunch at Bellamy’s, we were ushered back to Portcullis House for an animated talk on the work of
a Crossbench Peer by Lord Lisvane. Our day came to a close at the Thames Pavilion where Penny Young (House of Commons Librarian and Managing Director, Participation) gave the Welcome Reception.
Day two opened with an ideas session for school workshops and assemblies, after which Judith Boyce (Clerk of Women and Equalities Select Committee) discussed her role and shared the experiences she has enjoyed. After a fascinating tour of the House of Lords, including The Speaker’s Procession, we visited the House of Commons Gallery. Sitting up in the gallery, witnessing politics in action never fails to inspire and fascinate me. We were treated to an afternoon with the captivating Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes. She spoke openly about the immense challenges of being an MP, yet the utopian opportunities
it can provide too. Our afternoon ended with optional visits to the Galleries, Supreme Court or focus groups.
The  nal day commenced with talks from Anne-Marie Grif ths and Emma McIntosh from The Petitions Committee, who gave a valuable and humorous insight into the role of petitions. I was extremely fortunate to be able to meet up with my MP, Timothy Loughton, and discuss the role and opportunity of the Teachers’ Institute. Finally, we were invited to meet the Rt Hon Lord Fowler in The Lord Speaker’s Apartments. We were all too aware of the
honour and privilege to be given access to such political  gures, in parts of the Palaces which are rarely seen by the public.
Now, as a graduate of Teachers’ Institute, I hope to become a Teacher Ambassador for Parliament’s Education Service. Using free resources provided during the programme, I can help develop my students’ and colleagues’ understanding of Parliament and democracy, and bene t from continuing partnership with Parliament’s Education Service. First project? Setting up our UK Parliament Week!
The next Teachers’ Institute course will run from 22-24 January 2018. Applications for January 2018 will open on 4 September 2017. Teachers’ Institute is open to teachers, trainee teachers and education professionals in the UK.
On the  rst day we were invited to the
Speaker’s Apartments and were given an
insightful tour by Jim Davey (the Speaker’s
For any enquiries about Teachers’ Institute or the UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador Programme, please contact teachertraining@parliament.uk.
Tamara Pearson with her MP Timothy Loughton on the terrace at the Houses of Parliament
The Teachers’ Institute is by far the best CPD course I have had the bene t of attending.
Warwick Field
The Chapel service at Warwick School celebrated the ‘Warwick Field.’
The ‘Field’ is an art installation that comprises over 1,200 individual clay  gures. Viewed alone they are charming but solitary. Seen together they celebrate what it is to be a part of a community showing diversity, tolerance, understanding and democracy. Inspired by the British Sculptor Sir Antony Gormley (creator of the Angel of the North) the majority of the school community, staff and students alike, had the opportunity to make a  gure so the installation truly represents the diversity that Warwick School celebrates as part of its own institution.
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