Ysgol Y Dderi is a rural, community school with a wide catchment area. The school is located in the village of Llangybi, Ceredigion. There are 120 pupils between the ages of 3 and 11 on roll with 8% FSM, and 17% ALN. Welsh is the main language of the school with 71% coming from non-Welsh speaking homes.
The main reason for this work was to develop opportunities for collaboration within the school and beyond to share ideas, knowledge, research and expertise and develop professionally for the benefit of all staff and pupils as learners in an ethos of continuous improvement.
At school level, we have an open and honest ethos, and we regularly hold professional conversations as part of our staff meetings which provide an opportunity to discuss ideas in a safe situation. We will jointly choose the themes of our professional conversations. We have also developed teaching triads among teaching staff, giving teachers time and opportunities to reflect on their own teaching through shared observation allowing time to share good practice and develop professional discussions. Staff benefit from formal and informal coaching and mentoring sessions and have opportunities to learn with and from each other.
We take advantage of every opportunity to collaborate within our County which includes NQT networks, ALN, Digital Competence, Areas of Learning and Experience, Cadwyn – Oral Welsh and agencies such as Lampeter College and Coleg Ceredigion. Looking out beyond the school boundaries is very important and gives us the opportunity to develop professionally with a wider range of people who specialize or have an interest in the same fields.
There are national opportunities for formal and informal professional development through conference networking such as the NAHT, the National Academy for Educational Leadership Wales and TEAMS networks on Hwb. Working at a broader level provides the opportunity to share ideas and gain a different perspective and ensure we have a clear understanding of the national picture.
Internationally, Erasmus’s work provides a platform for co-operation with countries across Europe. We are currently working with schools in Norway, Denmark, Latvia, Italy and Slovenia, giving staff and pupils the opportunity to share ideas and learn together. Learning about education systems across Europe is a great opportunity to reflect on the Welsh system and again broaden our horizons.
The impact of all these opportunities for collaboration at school, county, national and international level is to broaden the horizons of our staff by providing opportunities to converse professionally with a wide range of teachers and outside agencies, which deepen current understanding and encourage new and progressive ideas. It is great professional development and has a direct impact on the rich experiences our pupils enjoy in the classroom and as a result improves overall standards.