Tuesday 29 March 2011

Wall of Sound

Thanks to Seb for reminding me about this great website. I think we should make one of these about the existing Thomas Tallis School.

What do you think?

Dream Big

Awesome Book Tour from Dallas Clayton on Vimeo.

I stumbled across this story today on Tumblr (my favourite, if slightly infuriating, blogging platform). It's pretty self-explanatory but I like what the film has to say about a lot of things: publishing books in the 21st century, dreams and aspirations, the importance of community (even when it's not on your doorstep) and creativity.

Check it out!

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Suggestions for the revised Manifesto for Creative Tallis

Hi folks
Thanks for a great meeting this morning. Here are some of the suggestions for the revised manifesto. Comments appreciated:

Everyone's a teacher. Everyone's a learner.

Learn everywhere. Learn your own way.

Cherish knowledge. Pass it on.

Ignite your learning with the spark of imagination.

Activate your network.

Challenged teacher challenge students.

Learning is limitless.

Failure is a learning experience.

Practice Newology and Wonderation.

Remember to bring your imaginations to school.

Be curious. Ask questions. Take risks. Believe in yourself.

Receive. Use. Share. Retrieve.

Nurture your talents, skills and interests.

Get engaged.

Sculpt your learning.

Love what you do.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

The New School

Just a quick reminder that the names of the six blocks in the new school are:
Would this be an interesting framework for our revised manifesto?

Monday 21 March 2011

Learning to be creative

Sir Ken Robinson has been in town again and this is a compilation of the best bits from his speech to the Learning Without Frontiers audience. He speaks eloquently about the value of the arts, about the problem with the EBacc, about the challenges faced by aging Western populations, about really "getting back to basics" in education and about the central purposes of education.

Several members of staff at Tallis have now taken part in the 500 words challenge that forms part of the Purpose/Ed campaign. A couple of the posts have appeared on this blog. Click here to check out the archive. It's clear from recent debates that there is no consensus about what this purpose is. There has been quite fierce disagreement amongst contributors about what education is for.

Our challenge as a group this year is to re-write the aims of the Manifesto for a Creative Tallis. We have already discussed the need to make the manifesto a little more accessible, a little harder hitting, a little more provocative and a lot more interactive.

We have a meeting on Wednesday morning. I'd like everyone in the group to bring two statements to the meeting. These should:
  1. be brief
  2. be challenging and/or provocative
  3. be memorable
  4. say how an individual or the whole of Thomas Tallis School could be more creative
  5. articulate something you believe and are happy to support
We will try, in the time we have together, to draft about 10 statements for our revised manifesto.

Thursday 10 March 2011


I've just returned from seeing the amazing production of 'Gargantua' at Tallis. It's part of the National Theatre Connections Festival and is being performed both in school and at The Soho Theatre next week. Fingers crossed we get selected to perform at the national Theatre itself! The show demonstrates the amazing talents not only of our young students (nearly everyone in the play is from KS3) but also the collaborative creativity of our staff. The play is fantastically entertaining and has everything from a live band to huge animations in addition to the wonderful performances.

Well done to everyone involved for another groundbreaking event at Tallis.

Friday 4 March 2011

The Purpose of Education

In some ways, it is easier to start with the reverse; the purpose of education is not about getting the maximum numbers of students past a particular marker, for example, achieving 5 or more A* to C grades including English and Maths. This should be an outcome of an effective education system but not a key driver.

Targets and league tables have become very important in making sure we raise aspirations and I am a supporter of the way in which they have driven the raising attainment agenda but I do believe there is much more to education than this.

I came into education 30 years ago because I have always been intrigued by the way in which we learn. What has kept me in education for so long is the joy which comes with improving the life chances of our young people by supporting them in becoming better learners and overcoming the challenges which this presents. Learning is not a fixed concept. Nor is it something which is delivered and received; it is a collaborative process which is constantly evolving. It is the research and discussions we have around learning that underpins an effective learning environment.

I listen to people like Sir Ken Robinson, Professor Tim Brighouse and many others and am energized by their views which provide the backdrop for debates within my school. I have just read ‘A New Kind of Smart” by Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton; I thoroughly commend this to anyone involved in education.

Who should be involved in these debates? In my opinion, all those involved in the learning process. Most importantly the students themselves; schools which are making the most progress are involving the students in dialogues around learning and curriculum provision.

We need to model what effective learning looks like. This involves using research to provide us with ideas and trying things out which may involve some risk. The most effective learning takes place when we are on the edge of our comfort zone.

There is no doubt that what lies ahead is of concern. I am worried that the governments’ White Paper ‘The Importance of Teaching’ makes scant reference to the word learning. I fully support the view that we want our students to receive a world class education and to achieve the very best they can but the mechanism proposed in the White Paper seems to date back to a bygone era. The most effective way to stimulate and engage students is to provide them with a curriculum which captures their imagination and gives them the skills they will need in later life

So what is the purpose of education? In my opinion, it is to provide our young people with the skills they will need to become confident, independent decision makers who will be able to shape our future. I’m not sure that many would disagree with this. It is the way in which we prepare them for this role that is of utmost importance and that has to involve a collaborative view of learning and a commitment to continuing to research how we make this happen in our schools.

Rob Thomas


Thomas Tallis School