As well as sharing my limited wisdom about all things teaching, this blog is also a space for me to share updates on my upcoming Churchill Fellowship project.
Earlier this year, I was granted a Churchill Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. In the words of the Trust:
Travel to Learn - Return to Inspire: We empower individuals to learn from the world and transform lives across the UK.
My project focuses on improving the retention of early-career teachers and I will travel to Singapore, Norway and Switzerland. I have just finalised my initial visit to Singapore and all flights are booked for the last two weeks of July (21st July - 4th August. If you're about then hit me up and we can have noodles and some chilli crab...)
During my first week in Singapore, I will be meeting with researchers from the National Institute of Education (NIE) and policymakers from the Ministry of Education (MOE). Education is incredibly centralised in Singapore, perhaps due to its small geographical area, and the MOE and NIE share the role of teacher training and development.
Teacher recruitment is overseen by the Ministry of Education (MOE), before candidates are then sent to NIE for their training. After completing teacher training at the NIE, the MOE would deploy them to schools as beginning teachers. Throughout a teacher's career, all professional development, leadership programmes and education research is carried out by the NIE. I am really interested to find out how this centralised process works in practice. While this may not be something that Britain can replicate (as Singapore is half the size of London...) it could perhaps provide some food for thought. Over the past couple of decades, Britain has tackled the issue of teacher recruitment, retention and development by trying to make teaching accessible to all. The number of routes into teaching continues to grow and there seems to be a developing message of 'just give it a go', which does not help retention in the long run. Perhaps we could learn something from our contemporaries in Singapore?
School visits will take place in my second week in the country; I will chat to early-career teachers, mentors and SLTs. I am extremely grateful to the teachers at Yuhua and Hua Yi Secondary Schools for allowing me to visit (you are more than welcome to come walk the cobbled streets of St Albans!) I am particularly interested to find out about the challenges facing teachers in the country and the support systems that are in place. Again, this will certainly not be a like-for-like comparison with the UK, but there will certainly be strategies that could be adapted (and potentially, adopted).
I have just spent my first chunk of funding booking my flights, so bring on Singapore!
I will be provide some more updates on my projects over the coming weeks and months - if anyone has any contacts in Singapore (or Switzerland/Norway) then please let me know!