As some of you may know, I left work last Autumn to have a baby. On the 7th October 2011, I gave birth to a little girl who we named Sarita Ellen Ford. She arrived 2 weeks early and weighed in at 6lbs 5oz (3.8kg). Sarita means ‘flowing river’ in Hindi and since we are a very geographical household (my husband is a lecturer in Geography at Bournemouth University), we thought it very appropriate!
At the start, we didn’t get much sleep and it was all very exhausting but as Sarita got older and starting sleeping for longer, life got a little bit easier. Spending 7 years developing education on the Jurassic Coast gave me lots of skills that were put to good use as a new mum like multi-tasking, organising playdates and dealing with temper tantrums (only not with a team member).
I am very thankful for all of the fantastic hard work that Alex Potter and Katie Burden have put into delivering education for the Jurassic Coast in my absence, more specifically The Big Jurassic Classroom programme. This was a tremendously ambitious education project that I set up before I left, which was to deliver the Jurassic Coast message across all schools throughout Dorset and East Devon. They did a phenomenal job training almost 1000 teachers and TA’s and raising awareness and excitement about what the Jurassic Coast had to offer during the Olympic year. Alex and Katie have left me with a phenomenal legacy of schools engaged with the World Heritage Site and a great start to my return to work.
My focus initially will be on responding to the Department for Education Key Stage 4 reforms, which will see a potential end to Controlled Assessments for GCSE Geography. If this happens (scheduled for 2013) there could be a huge impact on school bookings for fieldwork at Outdoor education centres across the Jurassic Coast. It is important that we demonstrate that coursework and fieldwork are key drivers for geographical understanding and I will be working with all of our education partners to ensure that our views are put forward. I will also be focusing on developing CPD courses for Geography with the School Improvement Team at Dorset County Council and developing ideas of how to develop the legacy of The Big Jurassic Classroom. Finally I am very excited to be delivering the Schools Programme for the Wild Purbeck NIA project with the AONB which will help children and young people engage more effectively with natural environments in Purbeck.
I am back to work for three days initially (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) and then adding Fridays in the New Year. I look forward to catching up with all of you and hearing about your own education developments.
Anjana Ford, Education Co-ordinator