After this year of all years, we were looking forward to celebrating the phenomenal achievements of our wonderful cohort of Exeter Consortium primary Early Career teachers at their graduation this July. The continuing of the Covid restrictions presented the challenge of how to do this safely; we usually celebrate the graduation in our training rooms at West Exe School, but this year could not safely bring the whole cohort together inside the building. What to do? After some discussion, we decided to combine our graduation with the delayed outdoor learning training from earlier this year and we took our wonderful cohort to a local forest for the day – to be outside and away from the screens. Thank goodness!
We prayed for sunny weather despite the rather gloomy weather forecast, and our prayers were answered as we woke up to (mostly) blue skies. The wonderful outdoor learning team had prepared some exciting activities for our trainees to enjoy in the morning including using the forge to create jewellery with copper, mud art, using wood carving and whittling tools to create all sorts of wonderful things, fire lighting and Hapa Zome.
The trainees learned exciting ways to engage children in their learning outdoors and hopefully will take these creative ideas into their new schools in September. Gabby, our outdoor learning trainer explained how often one sees talents that are not always so apparent in the classroom when you're outside learning with children. We certainly saw some trainees engage with the activities in the forest and learned new things about them even at this late stage in the year. Most importantly, the cohort had an opportunity to come together, chat, share their experiences and bond in a way that's hard to do in a breakout room on Zoom.
Sitting around the campfire and sharing their experiences together was delightful. We are incredibly proud of this group of teachers and their resilience and positivity during some challenging times. Celebrating their remarkable journey over pizza cooked in the cob oven and Prosecco drunk from a paper cup was a fitting end to quite an extraordinary year, and perhaps has established a tradition for future cohorts. We wish them all every success in their future careers – they really do deserve it! We’d also like to wish our ITT colleagues across the hub a positive end to the term and a restful summer break.