I founded Learning Works with my wife, Dominique, in 1997 because we wanted to create a high quality and independent service to educational professionals and schools. We are different because of our commitment to understanding, and then representing, the learner's viewpoint and experience within any cycle of teaching and learning.
My role is lead consultant and trainer and my professional journey began at Penlan School (Swansea) teaching groups of boys labelled 'remedial' and 'ROSLA' (Raising of the School Leaving Age). Ever since I have been passionate about getting a fair deal for pupils of all abilities who find school life challenging and just don't seem to fit in. Often these are also the pupils colleagues find the most challenging to teach.
Pupils labelled as "challenging" have helped me to gain my best insights into teaching and learning and I seek to use this hard earned experience as a foundation for my work. I enjoy finding solutions and I seek to write practical, matter of fact resources that do just what it says "on the can.”
Experience has taught me that it is more productive to work with what a child can do rather than attempt to remediate what they can't; that there are more similarities than differences in the way that children learn; that what the heart feels about new learning is as important as what the head knows and understands.
If you are interested in any of Fil's INSET courses please fill out the Consultant enquiry form within the inset page or contact the office on 01672 512914 for further details and availability.
My first teaching post was as a remedial teacher at Penlan School, Swansea - an all boy's social priority school. In addition to this I have been a Head of Learning Support at St John's School Marlborough; a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol's Education Department; and SEN Adviser for Wiltshire County Council.
I have also been involved in a wide range of national initiatives including computer-based learning; truancy and under achievement; SENCo training; Entry Level qualifications; summer schools for improving literacy and Gifted and Talented pupils and supporting Playing for Success after-school study centres.
I have always believed in the power of quality INSET and CPD. Hence Learning Works commitment to university verified and accredited training. Learning Works is a partner with the University of Worcester and I act as an associate lecturer and lead tutor and assessor for our Advanced Diploma courses.
I continue to teach and work with pupils. I run a local tutoring service in the Marlborough area and I am currently working with pupils aged 8 to 16. I also offer a wide range of team-challenge and study skills events to schools.
I have co-written and published the following practical resources:
- 300 Tips for Busy SENCOs
- Individual Needs Fact Sheets about SEN
- Monitoring Whole School Policy for SEN
- Writing your school's SEN Policy
- INTO English
- The Learning Toolkit
- Learning Styles
- Memory Trainers
- Study Skills
- Working with Dyscalculia
- CAP It All -Concern, Assess, Provide - A practical manual for assessing individual needs
- The Learning Works Condensed Guide to: Managing SEN & LDD in Independent Schools
I use the full range of media, drawing on video, TV/radio broadcasts and seek to balance the use of PowerPoint with practical classroom examples to actively engage the audience. I provide quality handouts and additional resources for whole school training and development with each INSET.
The programmes are focused, move at a pace, make you think and we have fun pooling our collective wisdom to improve our capacity to engage, enthuse and communicate with pupils.
Below are a number of sample topics but I will work closely with you to design the programme that best suits your school. I aim to personalise the content by using your pupils' examples of work, your school documentation etc. so that in the end I am working from your context to help inform and motivate staff as well as support your school's priorities for development.
Meeting Individual Needs in the Classroom - What Works?
A day of information, activity and practical suggestions
The overall aim is to gain a better understanding of the different factors and processes that contribute to successful learning for all pupils so that we can develop and unlock the potential of individual pupils, e.g. those receiving support for their learning
To achieve this we will:
- Lay the foundations to the day by reviewing Prof John Hattie's meta-analysis of educational research in his book “Visible Learning”
- Examine the work of Guy Claxton’s ‘Building Learning Power’ and Carol Dweck’s ‘Growth Mindsets’ to review current school-based practice
- Focus on your pupils with specific learning difficulties to help develop personalised approaches to learning
- Discuss practical suggestions with particular reference to literacy, learning skills, metacognition and the emotional development of pupils
- Finish with a short reflection to identify practical ideas for development
‘Battery Hens or Free Range Chickens?’
Meeting the Needs of More Able Pupils
With an ever increasing focus, from both government and inspectorates, on the abilities and achievements of particular groups of pupils it is vital that all schools ensure that they meet the needs of their most able, gifted and talented pupils.
By the end of the day we will have:
- Confirmed our ideas about effective teaching
- Considered the learning characteristics and needs of our more able pupils, including the dual exceptional
- Discussed issues concerning identification and assessment
- Examined examples of pupil's work
- Received practical teaching suggestions
- Discussed ‘What next’?
Effective Learning Environments
The overall aim is develop our understanding of the different factors and processes that contribute to successful teaching and learning. To achieve this we will look at three aspects of the learning environment under the following headings, the teacher, the pupil and finally the physical before pulling together practical suggestions for our work.
By the end of day we will have:
- Examined findings from the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey – with particular reference to the importance of teacher’s beliefs
- Briefly recapped the constructivist view of teaching and learning( Piaget and Bruner) and linked to the practical outcomes from Mike Askew’s research into effective teaching of Maths
- Examined Carol Dweck’s ‘Growth Mindsets’ and connected this to Guy Claxton’s ‘Building Learning Power’ to review and celebrate the school’s practice
- Discussed practical examples and sought connections between physical conditions - learning resources and a creative classroom culture
Independent Schools - Independent Learners?
To be successful in school and prepared for life after school, pupils need to be independent learners. This INSET looks at how to develop these skills in classrooms across the school, not as a bolt-on approach but rather as a consistent and integrated one that shows students the relevance of these skills to everyday life, and makes them want to acquire these skills for themselves. Independent learning can be one of the most powerful strategies to raise academic standards and develop confident, motivated and self-reliant pupils.
By the end of the day we will have:
- Reflected upon what we mean by independent learning
- Discussed the implications for the roles and responsibilities of the teacher and pupil
- Identified and celebrated what is working at your school
- Examined practical ideas to help increase independent learning within the classroom - including assessment for learning (AfL)
- Identified the key learning skills our pupils require for the next point of transition in their education
- Drafted an action plan
We offer the following current publications for sale:
Concern Assess Provide - CAP It All! is another of our practical, ‘no frills’ resources for busy SENCOs, Learning Support Coordinators and Inclusion Managers.
This book is a valuable resource. Every school should have a copy and all primary teachers, mathematics teachers and learning support staff should be encouraged to reflect on what it has to offer.
“Fil’s practical ideas embedded in theory and have really motivated us as a staff” The Hawthorns School
"It was a pleasure to work with Fil, he was enormously collaborative and really worked to help make the session appropriate at all needs" HMC Professional Development
“Fil makes a real effort to find out about the school, so that what he offers is relevant” St Andrews School
“Members of staff felt it was the best INSET they have attended. They particularly enjoyed the practical suggestions” York House School
“It was well run and interesting at all levels. A great deal of thought has gone into ensuring the personal touch” Birchfield School
Fil Came's INSET talks
Fil Came's books for sale
Fil Came & Gavin Reid