Sheila Bird keynote speaker at The Prince's Teaching Institute Residential Summer School for Geography, Mathematics and Science

The Prince's Teaching Institute helps teachers rediscover their love of their subject, inspiring them to bring the latest thinking into their classrooms and supporting them to make lasting improvements in what and how they teach. Their membership programmes bring passionate teachers together and encourage them to make rigorous curriculum choices, to teach beyond the test and to forge links with like-minded schools and academic institutions.

PTI-logoThe 2015 three-day Residential Summer School for secondary school teachers opened on Monday 22nd June and was held at Homerton College, Cambridge by The Prince's Teaching Institute (PTI). The PTI is an independent educational charity for state school teachers of which HRH the Prince of Wales is President and Mrs Bernice McCabe Co-Director, responsible for educational direction.

These unique residential courses focus on improving subject knowledge and enhancing the way teachers teach. Workshops, lectures, one-to-one consultations and peer collaboration provide an inspirational environment to revitalise the work of schools departments.

Professor Sheila Bird
Prof. Sheila Bird

This year Summer School consisted of lectures and workshops covering Geography, Mathematics and Science. Speakers include Dr Ellen Donovan, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust; Alan Kinder Chief Executive of the Geographical Association; Anu Ojha OBE, Executive Director of the National Space Centre and Director of the UK’s National Space Academy Programme, and Professor Sheila Bird OBE FRSE, Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit; Dr Vinay Kathotia, Head of Mathematics Education, Nuffield Foundation; Yvonne Baker, Director, National Science Learning Centre and Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. There was a closing plenary session on the last day of the Residential – the panel discussion included Glenys Stacey, CEO, Ofqual.

Mrs McCabe was first asked to direct the Prince of Wales' Education Summer Schools for teachers of English and History in 2002. From these Summer Schools grew what is now the PTI. Since its beginnings in 2002, the PTI has had teachers from 30% of all the state secondary schools in the country attend one of its events. 10% of schools are actively involved in its Schools Programme, and consistently around 90% of those which have signed up say that they have increased the coherence and quality of challenge in their department’s curriculum as a result of their participation.

In her opening speech today, Mrs McCabe said:

“(…) the PTI has created a network of teachers, departments and schools focused on promoting subject rigour and depth, enhancing teachers' subject knowledge, encouraging subject related extra-curricular activities, and establishing links between and within schools.
What in a general sense we most want to achieve are inspiration and empowerment. Our belief is that when teachers themselves feel inspired, they are more likely to pass this inspiration on to their pupils.”

She concluded:

“We are not here to wring our hands over the shortage of teachers in this or that area, but to make the very most of the resources we do have; to give you some new ideas, some fresh impetus, and a greater sense of confidence and empowerment that you can take back to your own schools and carry forward to the benefit of your pupils, your colleagues, and ultimately a whole generation of schoolchildren, who will come to realise that education is for life and not just for schooldays.”

The Curiosity Project by Siemens is supporting this year's Summer School Residential for Geography, Mathematics and Science. The Curiosity Project, launched in September 2014, is a 3 year engagement programme by Siemens, broadening their existing investment to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to life in the UK. For the next 3 years as part of The Curiosity Project, Siemens will support five major science and related festivals throughout the UK, each with a clear ambition to reach out to parents, teachers and children to make the world of science available in a fun and engaging way.


Partnership with the University of Cambridge

The Prince's Teaching Institute has worked in partnership with the University of Cambridge since the charity was created in 2006. Many of their academic speakers are drawn from its faculties, so that teachers get the best quality of enhancement of their subject knowledge; and the PIT also get those academics' advice in designing courses. A University committee oversees the partnership, and their Trustees include a Cambridge representative.

Sheila Bird's keynote speech [“Biostatistician behind bars”] at the Residential Summer School on June 22th 2015

The talk essentially on the application of statistical thinking to prisoners' health included a range of methods from HIV surveillance and questionnaire design to the design of prison-based randomized controlled trial together with, along the way, record-linkage studies and evidence synthesis across studies.

Note: This piece was produced with information from the Prince's Teaching Institute website and Professor Bird.