Ellesmere College

EllesmereFinally, the last school for this round of visits. I will have to rethink how I approach this next time, because it has been hard going for the last two and a half weeks. Much of the work I need to get through has been put on the backburner as a result, but I can now get my head down for the next couple of weeks. I think I will spread the load a bit more next time. Unfortunately there were some pressing issues that needed to be discussed at each school.

Today’s visit was to Ellesmere College in Leeston. Ellesmere is a High School of around 600 students. It is different from many of the other Cantatech schools in that it is not really that isolated. My last visit was just a chat with the principal, Ken. He was in hospital this time so I met the DP, Robyn, who organised a very productive day for me.

High on the agenda was a discussion about the needs of Ellesmere with respect to Distance Learning. They have no presence with regards to that this year – no distance teacher and no students. They are quite well resourced in terms of subjects and Robyn said the types of subjects they would be interested are slightly left of mainstream. Media Studies and Classics being an example. I am teaching Classics this year and I will teach Level 3 Classics next year if there is a need for it, so that could be a possiblitiy for a couple of Ellesmere students. I would like to bring them back into the fold so to speak. The Distance Learning is going to take a leap forward over the next year or two and I am sure they would benefit. One of the biggest barriers seems to be timetabling (different timetables running across schools) and a reluctance to release a teacher who could be teaching your own students rather than other schools’.

They are certainly keen on the whole elearning thing. It is the first Cantatech school I have visited that has an elearning committee and an actual plan regarding the implementation of elearning on a schoolwide basis. This is great, because it means I can work in with what they are doing. I presented the new Moodle Cantatech site to the commitee and should be able to get a few to become part of the Canatech elearning team to learn how to use Moodle (and hopefully other online technologies).

On the whole I was really impressed with the school. The staff were happy, collegial and obviously had a pride in the school. There was also a nice sense of calm as you walked amongst the students. Calmness is not always an atmosphere I have experienced in schools.


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