Collaborative Learning Projects

We coordinate and organise a wide range of Learning Projects across our alliance. These projects, competitions and events allow for collaboration between pupils in our alliance schools, and allow us to work together to show off the best of the East End.

Some projects take place on a rolling basis whereas others are termly or annual. Many of our Learning Projects are already well established in the area, such as our Spelling Bee, which is currently attended by 36 primary schools, and our Newham Debate Leagues for Primary and Secondary, run in partnership with Debate Mate.

We are extremely receptive to new projects, and if your school wishes to collaborate on any new projects, please get in touch through the Contact page.


The ETSA Y5 Poetry Retreat

From November 7th to November 10th, children from four of our ETSA schools will be heading off with their teachers, and the poet Adisa, to take part in an incredibly exciting Poetry Retreat in the New Forest. This is a great opportunity to develop our writing, to feed our creativity and to get to know children from different schools. For the teachers taking part, equally, this is a fantastic development opportunity working in partnership with a well-respected Arts Educator. 

You can follow the progress of our adventurers here - Newham Poets.

See the write-up of the successful event here - Feeling Good: The Poetry Retreat




Working in collaboration with Debate Mate, Elmhurst Teaching School Alliance has founded an exciting Newham Debate League. We now have active Primary and Secondary leagues, with many schools from across the borough taking part. Participating schools receive support from DebateMate mentors, who help to prepare them for frequent competitions.

If you are interested in promoting debating within your school, or if you wish to join the primary or secondary Newham Debate Leagues, contact DebateMate at, with ‘Joining Newham Debate League’ in the subject line.


Newham Festival of Oracy

Elmhurst Teaching School Alliance organises learning projects for pupils to develop their speaking skills through Speech-Writing, Speech-Making and Choral Speaking as part of our Newham Festival of Oracy.

After a highly successful 'Literacy through Vocal Performance' project, we have now completed the Newham Primary Speechmaking Competition (click for flyer) for 2016, which took place on Friday 22nd April 2016 at Newham Town Hall. The competition, which is fully funded for 24 schools by the Newham Reading Guarantee, was a powerful way to develop pupils' oracy, confidence and literacy.

See the list of speeches from 2016 and the beautiful and inspiring photographs from the day.

Teachers from participating schools attended the Festival of Oracy Teachers' Day on Friday 29th January 2016 at Elmhurst Primary School. This day of high quality CPD was led by international speaker, coach and facilitator David McQueen, and by experienced teachers Jonny Walker (ETSA) and Jane Robinson (Wickford TSA)




Bee Competitions

In recent years, ETSA has been developing a range of increasingly successful and well-attended ‘Bee’ competitions, including a well-established Spelling Bee, a Geography Bee and, from 2015-16, a Maths Bee. These competitions for Key Stage 2 children have seen up to 36 local primary schools come together to take part.

The ETSA Newham Primary Spelling Bee has grown year on year and currently the majority of Newham schools take part each year. Children are given an incredibly challenging set of one hundred words to learn, and participating schools run their own Spelling Bee clubs to help train and support them. Then pupils come together at Elmhurst Primary for Semi-Finals and, for those successful schools, the Final. The Final Round this year requires pupils to identify the hundred challenging words by their even more challenging definitions. Rubina Rehman leads the Spelling Bee, and as well as taking part, she can advise schools outside of Newham on how to set up their own Bee. Contact Rubina Rehman –

The ETSA Newham Primary Geography Bee (click for flyer) is a great initiative to build up pupils’ core knowledge of Geography. Pupils are given a study pack containing information about countries, capitals and flags, and they are guided to research independently about population demographics, mountain ranges and so on. Schools select three children to represent the school at the annual Geography Bee competition, which is a four-round contest to identify the Geography Champions of Newham. In March 2016 the winners were once again the phenomenal team from Dersingham Primary School. Jonny Walker leads the Geography Bee, and other schools/alliances are now able to purchase the complete resource pack for the 2016 Bee from ETSA. Contact Jonny Walker –

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The ETSA Newham Maths Bee 2016-17 is a new collaborative project for 2016-17. The Maths Bee will be led by Anita Kumar (SLE for Mathematics from Winsor Primary), Jack Corson (SLE for Mathematics from Nelson Primary) and Jonathan Purdie (Year 6 Teacher from Elmhurst Primary). The Bee will be designed to challenge pupils to engage deeply with mathematical tasks, questions and problems, and will deepen pupils' engagement and understanding. Schools will be invited to sign up in September 2016-17 - any queries can be directed to Fahmida at ETSA.

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