British Columbia, Vancouver

Vancouver is a long way from Europe. It has a great vibe and the schools were interesting.

What did I learn ? 

The main thing that made sense to me is the importance of having rigorous programmes for students and also lots of things outside the classroom, in this case clubs. The school had only 4 classroom assistants to service the needs of over 100 students. I think those working in Special Needs in the UK would be shocked by this. 

Leadership programmes, ways to raise self esteem and finally connection with adults were also muted. 

The other school was really impressive in terms of the leadership dynamic. Loved the principal’s style and courage. He shared the survey results from his pupils, which are done an annually, with around 2/3 of the student body participating. 

His emphasis was on getting the right support for students in terms of mental health issues and his programme which has a multinational paired with school and mentoring around 50 kids each year. The real life connections with the work places and the fail fast and fail often approach shows brave leadership and risky teaching. They also do film production, the teacher mainly works at night time and weekends rather than being timetabled in during the day. They bring in producers and professional makeup artists to work alongside students. 

This was such a positive leadership style and I would hate to be a competitor school. 

Next stop, IBSC conference in Vancouver. 

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