Director of Initial Teacher Training
At e-Qualitas we quite literally surround ourselves with knowledge. We are located in the heart of the knowledge quarter in London, and it could be argued that we are, in some way, shaped by our geographical location.
‘Knowing more and remembering more’, we share this view with all of our partnership schools, and we take the business of knowing more very seriously. Our recent work on How Pupils Learn ensures that trainees can explore the way in which we think about and plan for the retention of knowledge. We believe in furthering our own knowledge within the curriculum team and exemplifying to trainees the need to take joy in the development of their own subject knowledge; we explicitly model the importance of a strong hinterland.
Nurturing subject knowledge is a priority and we have had so many productive conversations with you in schools as to the ways in which your trainees are expanding their own knowledge domains. We are careful to always think about the ‘hinterland’ knowledge of trainees, Christine Counsell tells us that ‘when it comes to curriculum, the hinterland is as important as what is deemed core’.
To help us explore hinterland knowledge, e-Qualitas has an in-residence programme, Esther Ambrose-Dempster, who we interviewed in our recent article, is based at UCL and works with both primary and secondary trainees on improving their scientific knowledge. Our writer in residence, James Lovegrove, also works across both programmes, latterly on the effective ways to teach creative writing and also the power of reading aloud.
The eQualitas curriculum is expert informed by not only our in-residence colleagues but also Janet Shell, our voice coach, Alistair Crawford, Deputy Regional SEND Lead for WSS, John Rees, a PSHE specialist. We endeavour to keep our curriculum in constant renewal with the help of our expert colleagues.
Subject specificity is a lived reality for us at eQualitas and we ensure that we use what is around us to further develop subject knowledge.
Being based in KQ is exciting, the Quarter thinks of itself ‘as the focal point for one of the greatest knowledge clusters anywhere in the world…as a space to interact and share ideas in close proximity, there is nothing else like it’. We have an interview in our most recent seQuence journal with Dr Becky Fisher, the CEO of the English Association, recently our new neighbour following their move to Senate House.
We have ambitions for our trainees to be the embodiment of their subjects, this is achieved by sequencing our curriculum to build the substantive and disciplinary knowledge required for each subject and phase.
Knowledge work is about complex problem solving and crucially it means a person who not only knows things about their field of expertise but is also able to apply them in a social, organisational and relational context.
We must recognise that knowledge cannot be defined as simply facts but encompasses what some have called the ‘tacit dimension’ – that is traditions, learned values and judgements, knowledge that we don’t always know we know.
Vicki Cann, one of our primary phase leads, explores in our latest seQuence journal, the ways in which we try to achieve that when working with foundation subjects.
Visits to the Science Museum, The Charles Dickens Museum and The Winton Gallery also give our secondary trainees an opportunity to consider the ways in which the knowledge in their subject is renewed. The ease with which we can sequence this into our curriculum is, as they say, location, location, location.