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

This year's poetry retreat scaled up to 60 pupils from 6 schools. The group worked with a variety of adult facilitators, including Jonny Walker SLE, Adisa The Verbaliser, Charlotte Raby, Derek Brown and more. 

We are looking to have multiple events such as this next year, so watch this space for opportunities. 

See the write-up of the successful event here: South Downs 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.

Elmhurst students have been making their voices count in the East London Debating League this year. The 19-school competition, which sees teams of pupils from across Newham compete to be crowned oratorial champions, saw the second of its three rounds draw to a close last week. The prestigious annual competition, which is run jointly by the Elmhurst Teaching School Alliance and charity Debate Mate, has seen pupils as young as 10 tackle complex issues ranging from the funding of space travel to electing headteachers. Elmhurst's team, made up of year five and six pupils, has so far won three of its four debates and is ranked second out of the 19 schools. In Debate Mate's national league, Elmhurst's squads have so far claimed victory in all eight of their matches. The third and final round will take place on 23rd May 2019 at Elmhurst Primary School. Here are some pictures from the last event:

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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.


Speechmaking Event

Elmhurst Teaching School Alliance organises learning projects for pupils to develop their speaking skills through Speech-Writing and Speech-Making. The ETSA Speechmaking Festival ran on 30th November 2018 and took place at NewVIc college. 

Dates will be confirmed for the 2019 Speechmaking event in due course. If you would like to express an interest in this, please contact Sam Creighton



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 and Geography 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 –

Elmhurst Teaching School Alliance is now registering schools for the Newham Spelling Bee Competition 2019. Click here for further information and to book your place.

The ETSA Newham Primary Geography Bee 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. 

On the 6th March 2019, Elmhurst Teaching School Alliance hosted the fifth annual Geography Bee at Elmhurst Primary School, facilitated by Jonny Walker. Eighteen schools took part and fought it out to the bitter end. Pupils had an extensive revision pack to learn from, but extra research was definitely necessary as pupils had to name rivers from their consonants only (for example: YNGTZ and LMPP) and to name cities from just a picture. After several gruelling rounds and a close-fought battle, Gallions and Colegrave progressed to a gripping tie-break. Well done to the eventual winners, Colegrave.  Here are some pictures from the event:

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Stay tuned for details of next years event. 



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