Educational leadership & learning

Many of the primary schools in Fareham and Gosport closed on Friday 15 February 2019 for a Common Closure day. This enables us as schools to send staff to a range of other schools to undertake a wide variety of training that is on offer: most of which is being offered free of charge. (Every member of our classroom and lunchtime staff chose training they wanted to attend).

I offered to share some of the recent research on aspects of Effective Teaching and Learning which we have explored at Cornerstone CE Primary, and used to develop our professional understanding and classroom practice.


With the colleagues who attended I discussed:

  • John Hattie’s “Visible Learning” meta-analyses
  • Metacognition
  • Our school’s Learning Powers and Learning Quest curriculum approach
  • Dylan Wiliam’s work on “Creating a culture where all teachers improve” and Assessment
  • The Educational Endowment Foundation website
  • Cognitive Load Theory
  • Our school’s definitions of Good and Inspirational Teaching and Learning


Some of the key points that came up in discussion included:

  • Positives and negatives of streaming / setting / mixed age classes
  • That small group learning appears to have a more positive impact that smaller class sizes
  • The benefits of team teaching, team planning and coaching. The opportunities to critique each other as long as there is an open, trusting and professional culture
  • Adapting plans on a daily basis in response to the learning / barriers assessed in the real time of lessons
  • How much choice learners should be given over what they learn and how they learn. That learners are often motivated by being given some choice / freedom within a reasonably flexible planned progression
  • That researched evidence doesn’t mean it works with every child in every context, and that colleagues can interpret research statements / findings in different ways
  • The importance of having realistic expectations about the differences we can make, and trying to tweak / adapt practice rather than radically transform it every year


What I was most pleased by was that the colleagues who attended seemed to genuinely appreciate the opportunity to have a morning to read, reflect and discuss together. Time is always short in schools, but I think this was professional learning time well invested.


My presentation and handouts can be found below:

Effective Teaching and Learning


INSET Quotes 

EEF Metacognition poster 

Hattie Diamond 9

Visible Learning for Teachers

Visible Learning Oct 18


I had the privilege of listening to the National Director of Ofsted, Sean Harford (@HarfordSean), speak to a group of headteachers and other educationalists about some of the key points of the proposed new Ofsted Framework, at Pilgrim’s Cross CE Primary in Andover last week. (Again, many thanks for the invite @adven_slearning).

I have been lucky enough to meet Sean before, and again I was struck by the thought that if everyone in schools could be fortunate enough to meet and converse with Sean, the vast majority of concerns staff have about Ofsted and inspections would be greatly reduced.


Some of his common sense statements included:

  • The questions for schools to ask themselves is: would you do this task if you weren’t being inspected?
  • Just because they can’t measure something, doesn’t mean schools shouldn’t do it if it’s inherently a good thing for the pupils.
  • That the curriculum is never completed: it will and should always continue to evolve and develop.


Sean explained how the new Education Inspection Framework was based on a 5 year Ofsted strategy and the guiding principles of: intelligent, responsible and focused inspection.

  • Intelligent: because it is based on research (although Sean acknowledged that this research could be contested and that other research might prove alternative conclusions)
  • Responsible: because Ofsted are trying not to produce major and unintentional negative consequences (such as the narrowing of the curriculum / teaching to the test), and that it shouldn’t result in another large amount of new workload for staff
  • Focused: that Ofsted have to target their resources as efficiently as possible and to have the greatest positive impact


Sean then spoke about, what for me was the most powerful and important section of the session: the ‘Case for Change’. That a new Framework was required because inspection and external accountability pressures can:

  • Divert schools from real substance of education.
  • That Learning often comes second to delivering performance data.
  • Produce unnecessary workload.
  • Result in teaching to the test and narrowing of the curriculum.


The new Framework will have a greater focus on curriculum and learning and less on statistics, although external tests will still be used as measured.

However in an inspection rather than spending hours analysing spreadsheets with large amounts of internal data: the aim will be to have many more discussions about what assessment is telling staff about the learning and progress of pupils, how they use it to adapt their curriculum planning and teaching and how leaders use the information to provide more effective and useful CPD. There will be more time spent looking at books and discussing learning with pupils.

The discussions around curriculum will focus on:

  • Intent (the aims, structures and overviews)
  • Implementation (the actual curriculum in practice)
  • Impact (on the learning. This will be evident in more than just test results)

A key question as schools we need to consider is: “Where is the evidence that the Curriculum Aims and Overviews are enacted and actually happen?



I still have questions and concerns re the new Framework. Such as:

  • Reading in Key Stage 2 will still be at least partly judged in the Y6 SATs test (4 years of learning judged by 1 hour in Y6)
  • If schools Y2 or Y6 data is not strong enough (whether attainment, progress or both) the most common approach still seems to be to increase the amount of English and Maths and specific test preparation (which still seems quite a short term approach and at odds with the ‘Case for Change’)
  • How are governors expected to hold schools to account if internal data and tracking systems that school’s have spent time developing are marginalised? To be clear, I am a strong advocate for looking at evidence of ‘real learning’ through conversations with pupils about their learning and work / looking at their books: but this is hard for governors as voluntary external colleagues.


However, I believe that there is much in this new draft Framework that moves schools and the inspection process in more positive and constructive directions, and as such we should continue to engage and try to work in closer partnership for the benefit of the pupils and staff in our schools.




This half-term we are exploring as a school (both as staff and with the children) what Inspirational Leadership looks like at our school. How we can spot it and what impacts it can have.

As part of this process I am working with our Learning Support team to discuss how they demonstrate Inspirational Leadership on a daily basis. So far, these discussions have resulted in:


lsas start of lessons


lsas during inputs

As a school we have been determined and confident in developing our practice over the past few years, building on a secure judgement of Good from Ofsted in 2015.

Part of this development has been exploring, researching and debating what ‘better than Good’ means for us, our pupils and our school. We have read and taken into account the Ofsted criteria, but have not wanted to be bound to their framework.

As staff and pupils we defined our aim to grow as an ‘Inspirational Learning Community’ as:

  • Together, igniting a love of learning
  • Encouraging and empowering partnerships
  • Nurturing a Growth Mindset

This year as staff we have defined what we think ‘Inspirational Teaching and Learning’ is:

  • Irresistible, challenging and promotes choice
  • Empowers all to be the best they can be
  • Collaborative, encourages curiosity and self-discovery, and transforms lives

We have now moved a step further and have drafted definitions for what we as a school think defines Inspirational:

  • Leadership
  • Curriculum & Assessment
  • Behaviours
  • Outcomes

Inspirational Cornerstone

Over the coming terms, as we continue to develop as a school and grow professionally, our plan is to agree, review and refine these definitions, whilst also exemplifying our practice with examples. This will involve all members of both teaching and support staff, so that the whole staff develop a shared understanding about ‘Inspirational’ and that we spend some thought and time celebrating the successes.

Below are summaries we have collated so far:

Inspirational Teaching and Learning Spring 2018

Inspirational Teaching and Learning Summer 18

Inspirational Behaviours Autumn 2018


Filling learning gaps…

As a school we have discussed how we support learners who don’t make ARE at the end of a school year. How do we help them to undertake further practice / learning to get a more secure understanding of some of the key objectives from the previous year, whilst also learning the new year’s curriculum with their peers?

As a school we use our own Assessment Journeys to assess learning within each year group.

This year we are trialling new KPI (Key Performance Indicator) Trackers for those individuals who did not master the previous year’s curriculum. These have been created our SENDCO (@SarahSouthall5) and myself. The aim is not for the teachers to withdraw them from lessons to provide personalised learning journeys. However this first year is a trial.

Our hope is that by raising the teachers’ awareness of the pupils and KPIs from the previous year, many of these objectives will be woven into lessons and/or examples of the learners showing these objectives will be observed.

We’ve created a very simple scoring system to show progress from the previous year, but what is far more important is that we are trying to find a manageable way (for both learners and teachers) to help them fill some of their learning gaps.

Pre KS1 Tracker

Y1 KPI Tracker

Y2 KPI Tracker

Y3 KPI Tracker

Y4 KPI Tracker

Y5 KPI Tracker



I was delighted to be asked by Dr Vicky Randall (Senior Fellow at the University of Winchester / @VicksRandall82) to attend the Early Career Conference in Hampshire in July 2018. I also felt quite honoured and humbled to be on the same ‘line-up’ as Dame Alison Peacock (CEO of the Chartered College of Teaching / @AlisonMPeacock) and Professor Bill Lucas (Director of the Centre for Real World Learning / @LucasLearn).

The title for my workshop is:

Teaching, Learning and Curriculum.

How we define Good practice and how we aspire to be Inspirational (not Outstanding).

Vicky has kindly added the following blurb in the programme for the day:

Tim is the inspirational Head Teacher of Cornerstone Primary School in Whitely. In this workshop Tim will share with you the focus of the curriculum at his school and how they consider learning that moves away from being restricted to just ‘outstanding’. You will leave this session feeling motivated and with some great ideas for your teaching.


I am looking forward discussing ideas with colleagues early in their teaching career, as I am sure I will benefit as much from the conversations as I hope they will.

My workshop presentation can be found below:

Teaching Learning Assessment Curriculum – Early Career conference July 18






Our Admin Officer and myself are running staff training on General Data Protection Regulations during this coming week.

Attached is the Powerpoint we are planning to use as the basis of this training, although no doubt there will be a lot of discussion and questions.

Please feel free to use, adapt or ignore as you wish.

GDPR Staff training MASTER

With many thanks to Tony Sheppard (@GDPRTiger) for valuable feedback and advice.

Further advice can be found from @GDPRinSchools with the free online resources at:


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