Save the Children CPD challenge

Read more about the Save the Children UK and Tes TeachMeet, during which over 20 teachers from the UK took part in a CPD event to create lesson plans for teachers in Sierra Leone

Sarah Cunnane

Save The Children & Tes TeachMeet Outcome

Discover how a group of teachers worked collaboratively to create much-needed lesson plans for colleagues in Sierra Leone

Think about your next lesson plan.

Take away your interactive whiteboard. Do you still have a lesson?

Next, take away your access to the internet. Do you still have a lesson?

Now, take away any physical resources you have. Do you still have a lesson?

Lastly, take away any printed material or textbooks. Do you still have a lesson?

This is what a group of teachers had to consider at a TeachMeet run by Tes and Save the Children UK. These teachers had given up their Saturday to come to Tes Towers in London for a unique CPD event. And what made it so unique? They’d be making lesson plans for teachers half the world away, in Sierra Leone.

Save the Children UK has been working to build programmes of accelerated education for schools in areas that have been affected by conflict, emergencies and protracted crises. This means that children who have missed out on any or all of their primary education, for whatever reason, can be taught literacy and numeracy in a shorter span, enabling them to shorten or bridge the gap between them and their better-educated peers.

What Save the Children UK needed was teaching resources. Activities that didn’t depend on anything more technical than a teacher, a student and a workbook. Lessons that taught the simplest of concepts without patronising the children – often teenagers – learning them. And where else would they turn to get these resources other than Tes – the largest network of teachers in the world? 

And so, Tes decided to use its reach to call on teachers – many of whom already share resources with colleagues across the world through Tes Resources – to come and help out. We were thrilled when nearly 30 teachers responded to that call.  

Armed with Save’s curriculum outline and a sense of the challenges teachers in Sierra Leone were facing, our teachers went to work, adapting their own brilliant lessons and ideas to be suitable for a classroom that may not have many of the amenities we often take for granted.

One teacher who took part and helped to organise the day was Tes Blogger of the Year 2015 Natalie Scott. Speaking to the group about her own experiences of teaching in the Calais Jungle, she said that stripping away many of the modern aspects of classroom practice had taken her back “to the very basics of pedagogy”.

The result of the day’s work blew us away. The teachers who attended not only came up with fantastic resources on the day, many also continued to work beyond the session to finish their plans and add new ones. Their efforts are now available for everyone to see on Tes Resources – and, even better, are being used by teachers in Sierra Leone to help children get a second shot at education. We are inspired – and very grateful.