Expansive Education

Following our Ambition, Achievement and Aspiration Conference, where Bill Lucas was our guest speaker many of those who attended were inspired by Bill Lucas and the notion of developing teachers in Thurrock to become life-long learners. As Professor John Hatte states: “the biggest effects on student learning occur when teachers become learners of their own teaching.”

Intended outcomes

1. To allow Thurrock schools to become part of a growing movement of teachers who want to do more for their students than just coach for exams 
2. Access the latest research and thinking on teaching practice 
3. Train to use Action Research in classroom practice 
4. See Thurrock Action Research published and shared with colleagues 
5. Rediscover the spirit that made you chose to teach in the first place

Additional Outcomes 
· An annual borough-wide Journal of the best teacher reports, the first of its kind in the country. 
· A new special award at the annual Thurrock Education awards will be sponsored by Expansive Education.

Current position 
· Launch event has been held at High House Production Park 
· All Thurrock schools are now members of Expansive Education -  http://expansiveeducation.net/  
· All Thurrock schools have logins to access the member area where support is given to carry out action research at school 
· Thurrock home page created in member area which can be found at

Bill Lucas has recently blogged about this exciting project.

In recent years it has become fashionable to knock local authorities. They are, so the argument goes, inefficient and an unnecessary brake on school autonomy and innovation. It would be better to free schools from their ‘interference’. That local authorities are a bad idea when it comes to coordinating schools has become an accepted orthodoxy. Given the challenging financial times we have been in this has also meant dramatic cuts to any remaining local school improvement capability with many authorities able to little more than ensuring adequate school places are available and dealing with safeguarding issues.

Collaboration between schools where it occurs these days is most likely to be through membership of a chain of Academies – potentially spread across England – or via voluntary working with a body such as SSAT or to our own Expansive Education Network (eedNET).

Thurrock – going against the grain

So it is with genuine surprise and pleasure that yesterday I found myself in Thurrock launching the local authority’s membership of the eedNET. For the Borough of Thurrock has decided that spending its money to enable all 52 of its schools to participate is a good idea. In fact, following a review of its provision by ex Ofsted Chief Inspector Christine Gilbert, created the Thurrock Excellence Network to bring all of its headteachers together to focus on the leadership of improvement in schools. The Network has a budget of £1million over three years which is devolved to headteachers – including all four teaching schools – to distribute.

Click Here to see the Thurrock Journal