I have been fortunate enough to be able to engage with Bob Cox and his Opening Doors philosophy both as a class teacher and as a senior leader of education for Poole. The impact of his training and the excellent books has been profound.
In our own school we have had a real shift in our pedagogy, which has not been restricted to English lessons. The Opening Doors principles of planning from the top, using high quality texts to get high quality outcomes, access strategies replacing traditional models of differentiation, and -˜javelin tasks' to get engaged pupils straight into their work are all becoming key strands of our teaching and learning here at Talbot Primary School.
Teachers have been enthused and emboldened to seek out more challenging texts, because they have seen the results of working in this way. The children have universally embraced it too, which creates a virtuous circle; the levels of engagement have been very high and, because there is a real sense of sharing something special, the teachers are feeling proud of what is happening in their classrooms.
The quality of the books themselves has supported this process; they are full of great texts and well thought out learning journeys which teachers have found easy to make use of. There is enough scope for flexibility within them, so that they are not seen as a scheme of work or as a plan to be followed slavishly. Staff here have been inspired by the work in Bob's books and then sought out high quality heritage texts to create their own bespoke units, which are underpinned by the principles of Opening Doors.
I have been spreading these messages and promoting Bob's work to colleagues across the borough, in my role as an SLE and I know other Poole SLEs have done the same. Only last week I delivered a workshop to a group of NQT+1s in Poole on increasing challenge and engagement, which was essentially promoting the Opening Doors approach to ensure all children aim high and are engaged with great quality resources.
We have seen some amazing reading and writing outcomes from children across Poole. It has really given them an energy, breadth of language and understanding that they did not have previously. The children are much more resilient and keen to engage with -˜harder' texts. Three of our children had pieces of writing which were inspired by an Opening Doors unit of work on Poe's Descent into The Maelstrom, published as examples of pupils' excellent work on the publishers' website. This only added to the enthusiasm for reading and writing!
We are hoping to become an -˜Opening Doors School' in the very near future and cannot speak highly enough of the work that Bob has done. I would recommend Opening Doors to anyone interested in improving literacy in schools; it has been the single most impactful CPD that I have engaged with in my career to date.