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West Norfolk schools boss launches education support podcast

A senior West Norfolk schools official has launched a podcast to share light-hearted and topical discussions to help teachers’ development.

Paul Shanks, director of primary education for the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust (EMAT) can be heard on The Brick In The Wall podcast, with the group’s Thetford area executive principlal Greg Sadler, sharing their expertise and speaking to others working in education.

Episodes have seen them cover topics such as changes in education since the 1980s, online learning, the new Ofsted framework and reopening schools following the lockdown.

Paul Shanks, seen here on Hospital Radio Lynn during his time as head of Gaywood Primary School, is back on the airwaves.
Paul Shanks, seen here on Hospital Radio Lynn during his time as head of Gaywood Primary School, is back on the airwaves.

Mr Shanks, a former headteacher, said: “Greg and I were talking about how can we support teachers during lockdown. Professional development is key to absolutely everything.

“We needed a mechanism of being able to deliver that to teachers but we wanted parents to be able to access it so they get an understanding of what education is really like, the challenges and how enjoyable education can really be.

“It’s giving people almost starters for 10, we would give them some information but the whole idea is it would prompt a discussion.”

Paul Shanks (35032065)
Paul Shanks (35032065)

While the pair share their experiences, they also speak to others in the profession. In one episode they interviewed leaders of a school inHungary, which re-opened for early years following lockdown.

Mr Shanks said: “We were really keen to point out it was an international school but the process they went through may support colleagues here who may under go the same planning process.”

On what they have learnt from the podcast, named after Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall, Mr Sadler, of Bury St Edmunds, said: “We’re not alone and we’ve got lots of shared thinking and there’s little snippets of best practice we’ve taken away and we’ve thought about things differently.”

The podcasts have attracted listeners from across the world including Singapore and Australia.

Mr Shanks said they have been recording as many episodes as they can as they react to the changing situation with coronavirus but their plan is to deliver a weekly format.

To listen, visit https://thebrickinthewall.com/

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