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Keeping Up to Date With Policy and Practice at International Schools

October 2, 2017


Teachers, heads of department and principals in International Schools want to keep up with the latest in educational thinking – but given that they are often following curricula, policy and best practice set thousands of miles away from where they teach, what’s the best way to do it?

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The wealth of resources available on the internet is the obvious starting point, but the problem is how to filter out the best resources.

In the twenty or so years that I’ve been involved in publishing educational materials, I’ve come up with the following ways of keeping in touch.

  1. Get regular updates from reliable, trustworthy sources who do some of the searching and filtering for you. My list is below – form your own and keep reviewing it so you know you’re getting good quality information (and not too much of it).
  2. Form a research group with colleagues. This could be in the form of a book group, picking a recent educational title and discussing it in a local cafe, an online discussion group, or a more in-depth action research group within your school, with neighbouring schools or online. There are plenty of ‘how to’ guides online – try this blog as a starting point.

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  1. Try to find some local events to visit so you can network with colleagues and hear directly from researchers. The researchED group, for example, runs events all over the world – upcoming events at the time of writing include New York, Toronto and Amsterdam as well as their longer-established UK events. They are teacher-led, research-focused and very, very popular.

My list of policy updates

These are the best policy updates I’ve seen and the ones that I find most useful. This is a UK-flavoured list as that’s where my experience lies, and I know many of you teach a British or British-influenced curriculum; it would be great to hear from US curriculum colleagues as to where you would go for similar advice.

  • The Education Endowment Foundation research update service.
  • The Education Policy Institute newsletter (sign up on their home page or follow them on twitter via @EduPolicyInst).
  • Schoolsweek and its editor Laura McInerney (on twitter as @miss_mcinerney).
  • UK government policy announcements are also very useful – you can sign up to them by first searching on this page then entering your email address.
  • Steve Besley’s Policy Watch.
  • Global education news alerts from the OECD.

I hope you found this useful – and if you have a spare 5 minutes and have experience teaching primary in an International School, I would also appreciate it if you could help me out on a research project that we are doing into the various international primary curricula and fill in this quick survey – many thanks in advance.

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Sam Derby is a Director of Oriel Square Limited, a strategy and publishing consultancy specialising in education. Find out more here.