Educational leadership & learning

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Health & Safety Management Calendar

A very important, although not the most exciting part of my job. We are extremely fortunate to have an excellent, pro-active and innovative Senior Admin Officer and a hard-working, meticulous caretaker who takes care and pride in his work.

Over the last 12-18 months we have been developing our Health & Safety practices and systems. Following wise advice from our external H&S Advisor (Ray West) we took a version of his Health & Safety Management Calendar and have developed it to suit our own specific site. We appreciated his starting version, and I now think I wish someone had been able to give me such a useful document earlier.

So here you are:

H&S Management Calendar Blank Master

It is a basic Excel spreadsheet split into the following tabs:

  • Policies
  • Inspections
  • Training
  • Equipment
  • Maintenance
  • Provision of Information
  • Risk Assessments
  • COSHH
  • Induction
  • Legionella
  • Medication tracking
  • Open Leader
  • Maintenance Master

Please feel free to use, adapt or ignore as you wish. If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.

Primary Assessment consultation summary

This is a pure ‘cut and paste’ of what I think are the main points from the DfE consultation. I have produced this to share with our staff and governors. If it is of use to you please feel free to share it.

 

Primary Assessment Government consultation                                  

Teachers and school leaders have a fundamental role to play so that every child can fulfil their potential. Acquiring a good grasp of the basics of English and mathematics, as part of a rich and varied curriculum, is critical for a child’s future success.

A lot of change in primary schools in recent years, as we have worked together to raise standards, and I recognise that teachers and headteachers are still adapting to these changes.

No new national tests or assessments before the 2018-2019 academic year.

It is vital that we establish a settled, trusted primary assessment system.

Want a system that measures the progress that children make throughout their time at primary school fairly and accurately, a system that recognises teachers’ professionalism in assessing their pupils, and a system which does not impose a disproportionate burden.

 

Current system: KS1 & KS2

Statutory assessment plays an important role in ensuring that every child is supported to leave primary school prepared to succeed.

The Government should rightly set a clear expected standard that is ambitious.

It is important that we have an accountability system which is fair, inclusive, and properly reflects the work done by teachers to ensure that all children fulfil their potential, including those with additional needs.

We are clear that no single piece of data will determine any decision on intervention, in 2016 or beyond. Ofsted, regional schools commissioners, local authorities, governors and parents should look at a range of data, alongside the school’s broader context and performance history, rather than focusing on one piece of information alone.

Statutory assessment sits alongside a number of other important factors, including the need to teach a broad and balanced curriculum, and the wider pupil experience of attending primary school.

Statutory assessment at primary school is about measuring school performance, holding schools to account for the work they do with their pupils and identifying where pupils require more support, so that this can be provided. Primary assessment should not be about putting pressure on children.

 

Principles & Purposes

Our assessment system should provide rigorous, reliable and trusted data that can be used, as part of a broader range of information, to measure accurately and hold schools to account for the progress they make with their pupils.

It provides information about how pupils are performing in relation to other pupils nationally, helps teachers to understand national expectations and enables parents, teachers and schools to benchmark their school’s progress against other schools locally and nationally.

Enables the government to hold schools to account for the work they do with their pupils, to monitor national standards and to measure the impact of education policy over time.

A starting point for Ofsted’s discussions with schools.

Evidence shows that an assessment system which balances school autonomy with strong external accountability makes a positive difference to pupil achievement.

 

 

Preparing children to succeed at school

A strong approach in the early years ensures that all children have a solid foundation from which to progress.

At the national level, EYFSP data enables the government to evaluate the impact of our investment in the early years on children’s outcomes at age 5.

The EYFSP will remain in place for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Ensure that assessment in reception is reliable and trusted, and that it both demonstrates how children have developed during their early years, and provides a measure of school readiness.

Broadening a child’s vocabulary is crucial for their development. Other factors such as self-regulation can have an important influence on successful early education, including pre-reading skills and early mathematics, and could be given more weight in an improved EYFSP.

We are also aware of challenges around reliability of data obtained from the EYFSP. (year-on-year improvements)

Look at how to further reduce the workload burden on teachers… (and) consider how moderation of EYFSP results could be streamlined and improved.

Evidence does not need to be formally recorded or documented…paperwork should be kept to a minimum.

 

The best starting point for measuring progress

Any progress measure needs a reliable baseline, a starting point from which progress will be calculated. Ideally, that baseline should be established as early as possible.

Assessment needs to be a reliable indicator of pupils’ attainment and strongly correlate with their attainment in statutory KS2 assessments in English reading, writing and mathematics. Any baseline assessment must be appropriate and suitable for pupils, and avoid creating unnecessary burdens or perverse incentives for schools.

How to ensure the most appropriate baseline?

The point at which the baseline assessment should be taken?

 

Option 1: Move the starting point to Year R

There is a strong case for measuring progress from Reception to the end of year 6. We recognise that any new baseline would need careful consideration.

It is possible to create an assessment of reception age children which is suitable for that age group, sufficiently granular and well correlated with later outcomes.

Any new assessment would be designed to cover the material which we would already expect children to be familiar with at that stage…so would not result in changes to teaching practice.

Both a continuing EYFSP and a new baseline assessment in reception would therefore cover literacy and numeracy elements. We would make sure that a new baseline in reception complemented and aligned with the EYFSP.

Data from a baseline assessment could be published at national level for transparency, but we would not do so at school level. Nor would school-level data be shared with regional schools commissioners, local authorities or Ofsted.

This could be after pupils have been given enough time to settle into primary school and become accustomed to their new routines, for example at the beginning of the second half term.

 

Option 2: An improved KS1 baseline

Some schools and assessment experts argue that incentives have now been created for schools to deflate results at key stage 1 to demonstrate greater progress by key stage 2. To help address these concerns, it would be necessary to significantly increase moderation of teacher assessment at key stage 1.

A greater number (more than 3) of teacher assessment categories would provide a more robust and effective measure.

An alternative approach would be to collect the data from the statutory tests which pupils already sit at the end of year 2. This would provide a robust baseline without adding to teachers’ workload.

However, schools have told us previously that collecting this test data could unnecessarily raise the stakes of the tests for pupils. It is not our intention to increase the stakes of assessment, so we do not see collecting key stage 1 test data as the right long-term solution.

 

Interim years

Any new baseline assessment would not be in place before the 2019-2020 academic year…Up until this point, we propose continuing to use key stage 1 teacher assessment data as the baseline for the cohorts of pupils who will be completing primary school before that time.

There is the option of looking at ways of making the key stage 1 data more reliable and reducing workload in the 2018 to 2019, 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 academic years, for example by collecting key stage 1 test data to use solely as the baseline for progress measures.

However as this might unnecessarily raise the stakes of these tests we propose that we continue to use key stage 1 teacher assessment data as the baseline for measuring progress in the interim years.

 

The role of KS1 statutory assessments

Moving to an assessment system where, for school accountability, the progress measure is based on assessments of pupils in reception and the end of year 6, means that we would no longer need to use key stage 1 assessments as a baseline. As a result, we could remove the obligation for schools to assess pupils against statutory teacher assessment frameworks at the end of key stage 1.

We propose, therefore, making end-of-key stage 1 assessments – both teacher assessment frameworks and national curriculum tests – in English reading, English writing, mathematics and science non-statutory for all-through primary schools11 once a new baseline in reception has become fully established.

There is still value in being able to benchmark pupil performance against national standards at this point.

We would continue to expect schools to provide parents with more detailed information about their child’s performance at the end of KS1, as the midway point in primary school.

 

Monitoring national standards at KS1

If KS1 assessment becomes non-statutory to provide an ongoing picture of national standards we would intend to sample key stage 1 assessment data from a small proportion of schools. This data would be anonymised and would not be used for school accountability purposes.

 

School types and assessment

The introduction of a new assessment in reception as a baseline for measuring progress would have an impact on infant, junior and middle schools…we will need to reconsider the best accountability arrangements for these types of school.

These schools would be judged on a different basis from all-through primary schools and so would need to be compared against each other, rather than all other schools with KS2 provision.

The alternative would be to hold infant and junior schools to account using a single reception to key stage 2 progress measure, encouraging greater collaboration between infant and junior schools.

We want our statutory assessment system to strike a balance between enabling national standards to be maintained whilst limiting the burdens on teachers and children.

 

Collection of teacher assessment data at the end of KS2

Ongoing classroom teacher assessment is a vital part of teaching, and critical to discussions with parents. However should we continue to require statutory, summative, teacher assessment in key stage 2 English reading and mathematics, when we use only test data for headline attainment and progress measures in these subjects?

We would continue to collect teacher assessment data in science and English writing.

 

KS1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test

We propose that the key stage 1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test should remain non-statutory for schools to administer beyond the 2016-2017 academic year.

 

Multiplication tables check

We plan to introduce a national multiplication tables check from the 2018-2019 academic year.

Likely to be taken online.

This check would not be designed as a school accountability measure.

Results will only be published at a national and local authority level. The data will not be used to trigger inspection or intervention.

End of Y4? During Y5? During Y6?

 

Improving end of KS statutory teacher assessment

We would also like to consider whether there are additional opportunities to reduce burdens for schools and pupils by improving the administration of statutory assessments in primary schools.

Discussed the possibility of no longer collecting statutory teacher assessment data where it is not used in headline progress and attainment measures.

The interim teacher assessment frameworks were designed to assess whether pupils have a firm grounding in the national curriculum by requiring teachers to demonstrate that pupils can meet every ‘pupil can’ statement. This approach aims to achieve greater consistency in the judgements made by teachers and to avoid pupils moving on in their education with significant and limiting gaps.

We believe that this approach (Interim Frameworks) was broadly appropriate for English reading, mathematics and science at key stages 1 and 2. We will maintain this approach for these subjects in future years. However, we plan to review the ‘pupil can’ statements within these frameworks.

 

Writing

The 2011 Bew Review of key stage 2 assessment emphasised, English writing warrants a different approach to assessment, rather than the application of a test.

The interim frameworks do not provide sufficient flexibility for teachers to reach judgements which are representative of pupils’ overall ability in this subject.

Assessment should take account of both the creative and technical aspects of good writing.

Whilst the requirement to provide robust supporting evidence would continue, we would like to consider whether there are ways in which we can afford greater flexibility for teachers in making their judgements within the framework for writing.

Retain a teacher assessment framework to support assessment of writing, but instead of adhering rigidly to the ‘secure fit’ model we should move to a ‘best fit’ approach which places greater weight on the judgement of teachers.

Work with the profession to review the ‘pupil can’ statements.

 

Sharing Deeper Learning examples

This half term our Marvellous Minutes* at the start of our Staff Development Meetings are focused on bringing and sharing an example from the week of when we have tried to stretch / challenge / enrich (choose whichever word you wish) some of the learners in our classes. This is about celebrating our achievements, and exploring together different ways we can provide learning opportunities at greater depth, without moving onto different Learning Objectives. This is part of developing our collective understanding and actual use of ‘Mastery and Enrichment’ within our curriculum.

Year R. The class teacher explained how important listening and engaging in conversation with children is. Following a short maths activity, the teacher was listening to a boy who was still practising using his number bonds to 10 within an activity he had chosen. The teacher then asked some additional (pun intended) which developed into challenging the child to extend the range of numbers he could manipulate mentally. He went far further than the teacher had previously assumed he could. We discussed how important it was to listen in to children’s conversations to gain insight into their thinking and to challenge and extend thinking through well chosen questions.

Year 1. After a couple of lessons of deliberate practice on “o’clock” (making times on model clocks with partners, discussing / reading / drawing given times), some of the learners were challenged to apply their knowledge and understanding within a context. “A clock has the small hand at 12 and the big hand at 6. Bob thinks it is 6 o’clock. Is he correct?” The example shared also showed how the learner had explained her thinking in full sentences. This was followed with the challenge to choose 3 usual events in a day and to draw the hands to show an appropriate “o’clock” for those events.

Year 2. Following a series of lessons on the high quality story “Bog Babies”, the class were asked to write a description of a setting. The teacher (@penfoldno1) discussed how he had changed the Learning Aim from a description of the task, to one that concentrated on effective language choice to paint a picture in the reader’s mind. A group of previously identified higher attainers were briefly shown a WAGOLL that the teacher  had prepared, and then asked to write their description independently. The rest of the class then had a more detailed discussion about the WAGOLL and were encouraged to ‘magpie’ words and phrases in their own piece. We discussed how as the learners journey through the year, we need to take more scaffolded support away. By Easter we would hope for them to be independently creating their own Success Criteria for their written pieces.

Year 3. (@francescaprett2) explained that after a series of sessions of practising aspects of fractions and use of tenths as fractions and decimals (involving concrete equipment and a range of visual models) she has challenged her class with some questions in problems solving contexts. The question “prove it” was evident in many and the most worthwhile struggle came through the learners trying to explain their thinking and reasoning in a coherent and precise way.

Year 4. The class teacher shared a couple of examples of how by phrasing questions differently the challenge level had been raised for some learners even though the Learning Aim had remained the same. Towards the end of a series of fractions lessons, questions such as “1/3 of 72 = ” were mixed in with questions such as “1/5 of __ is 14. What is the missing number?” During the session today when the Learning Aim had been to convert using different units of measure, some learners were given greater support and had a longer input to explore converting ‘cm’ to ‘mm’ and vica-versa. A cut away group were moved onto their questions quicker, which involved them needing to add and subtract different measures. It included missing number questions and also introduced ‘m’ alongside ‘cm’ and ‘mm’ after a few questions. We discussed how by phrasing questions in different ways, it challenges the learners to think in different ways and raises the cognitive demand on them.

 As a reflective team, our staff are sometimes harder on themselves than they need to be. Generally the feeling amongst them is that they haven’t fully ‘got their heads around’ the ‘Mastery and Enrichment’ approach. On the evidence on today’s examples I would respectfully disagree, and think we have come a long way in our collective practice.

*The original post explaining Marvellous Minutes

Moving forward with Love, Forgiveness & Hope.

Like 48.1% of the UK population I awoke on Friday morning to news which worried me and made me feel quite despondent. As some high profile Leave campaigners seemed to retract on alleged promises made, I began to get more annoyed. I have been annoyed for much of the weekend.

However an interesting conversation with our Senior Leader and Admin Officer about the need for calm thinking and collaborative action, to address potential issues of scaremongering and xenophobia with rational thought and measured actions moved me on in my responses. This opportunity to reflect was continued during our weekly church service this Sunday.

Although I am deeply disappointed by the Referendum result and have concerns about the future of our country for my children (both at home and at work), this is how democracy works, and I firmly believe it is crucial to respect others’ opinions and therefore also the result. The people of the UK have voted and it is important that we come together as a country to make the best of the decision and to move forward positively as a united people.

Having taken control, we now need to show control, co-operation and resolve.

Jo Cox said “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”  In the coming weeks, months and years it would be well for us to remember these wise words from an inspiring MP.

Although much of what follows links to the Christian church service I attended this morning, I hope that the aims, ideas and values expressed are acceptable to others whatever their faiths or beliefs.

In today’s service our vicar, whilst considering the outcome of the vote and the way forward, reflected on our school’s Christian Values:

  • Forgiveness
  • Love
  • Hope

Our children’s thoughts on these Values can be read here:

Love Forgiveness Hope

Rev Philippa shared the following thoughts on these Values this morning:

“We can bring a forgiveness that seeks a will to find new ways to work together in divided communities. A forgiveness that looks to those who voted differently and asks why. A call to look beneath the surface to the reasons why so many were feeling powerless and wanting to take back control.”

“To the deep divisions we can bring love. A life motivated by love rather than a life based on self-indulgence…Use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows….This love would urge us to look for reconciliation between opposing views; this love would encourage us to look out for those who now feel unwelcome in our country and to assure them of our concern for them.”

“To the despairing and bewildered and fearful we can bring hope. Having woken up to the depths of the divisions we turn and look for new ways of working together and new opportunities for co-operation…I have hope that young adults will imagine better and stronger ways of understanding, trade and mutual support.”

Rev Phillipa then shared the Archbishops of Canterbury and York’s statement from Friday:

“We must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers…we must therefore act with humility and courage – being true to the principles that make the very best of our nations.”

There has been much focus in school’s during the last few years about promoting British Values. These include to accept responsibility, show initiative and to contribute positively. To further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions, and to encourage respect for others and democracy.

If these British Values are important enough for politicians to insist schools promote, and for teachers across the country to do so with our pupils, then surely they should be good enough for us to follow as adults as we build a new future together.

If we value Britain, and the future of our country for future generations we need to leave the past of the referendum campaign behind us and focus on moving forward with Love, Forgiveness and Hope.

 

 

New Year INSET questions & photos

So I’m starting to plan ahead for our INSET day on the first day of next academic year.

Questions I am going to ask staff to consider and discuss include:

  • What do you want to achieve this year? For yourself? For the pupils? For the school?
  • What difference do you want to have made by July?
  • What aspects of your role are the most valuable? Have the greatest impact? The best investment of your time, thinking, energy?
  • What tasks could you do in a minimal amount of time?
  • What could you stop doing this year?

I am then going to ask staff to go on a Photo Mission. To take 4 photos reflecting on last year.

  1. A positive about the pupils’ wellbeing
  2. A positive about the pupils’ learning
  3. A positive for the member of staff personally
  4. A photo that shows the aim for this year

We will then ask staff to share and discuss their photos. The photos for 1-3 will then be displayed on the board outside the staffroom, to remind and hopefully inspire us all of the importance and value of the work we do with our pupils and each other on a daily basis.

Staff will be asked to display the 4th photo somewhere in their room (even if it’s inside a cupboard) so they can see it when they want to.

Do you have any thoughts about this plan? Any alternative questions or Photo Missions to suggest?

#HackTeaching 23.6.16

So on the day that voters in the UK were casting their votes about whether to remain as part of the European Union, with all the positives that collaboration and cooperation with partners can offer, or to vote leave and go it alone, I was pleased and excited to travel to Hedge End in Hampshire for a #HackTeaching Teachmeet orgainsed and run by Henry Penfold (@penfoldno1).

For me Twitter, the internet, and grass roots shared Professional Learning events like these have been transformative for my understanding, approach and practice in schools. Investing the time and focus to listen and learn from others and take the time to reflect on your practice (past, present and future) is invaluable. Personally I think it is a huge shame that some teachers remain behind the closed doors of their classroom or walls of their school buildings, and don’t venture outside to consider the alternative options that may be out there, being shared freely in the real and online world.

Taking time to reflect and remember previous effective practice, and how it can inform future practice was a thread that I kept returning to as I listened to the presentations. Why is it that when we try and take on new ideas we sometimes lose / forget positive practice that has a strong impact.

  1. Times tables practice: Ian Addison (@ianaddison)

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Ian shared some ways his school have transformed the teaching and learning of times tables, and hugely motivated their pupils. As part of this he recommended Times Tables Rock Wrangles (which at only £50 for a whole school Ian said is a bargain). He also played part of a clip from YouTube of a teacher using a counting stick to teach a group of teachers the x17 table in under 10 minutes.

He also demonstrated a way to get the pupils to use known facts, adding and subtracting 6 and doubling to work out the multiples of 6 quickly. It reminded me of a method I used to use. I used to start with 2 x the number, 10 x the number and half of that (i.e. 5 x the number). These 3 numbers used to in circles to make them stand out as the ones to remember. My pupils would then add and subtract the multiple we were working on to work out the others. By focusing on patterns, and making it visual, I always found this a useful and memorable strategy.

2. Genius Hour: Graham Andre (@grahamandre)

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Graham spoke passionately about how he has developed Genius Hour in his school, and then taken it to different levels, by for example Genius Club (where the pupils can create and organise a club of their choice for the other pupils). He shared how the concept had developed from Google’s concept of 20% time for their employees to follow ideas and questions, which has led to a great deal of innovation.

He then explained how it is such a powerful approach to develop 21st century skills, such as: creativity, innovation, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. He then shared some of the pupils comments about why they value it:

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It may me reflect on the work we are currently doing in our school to develop Project Based Learning and the challenge we have found so far in Y2 and Y3 (our oldest pupils at the moment) of getting a balance between a teacher created learning journey (to cover the National Curriculum) and empowering the pupils to take some ownership of the content they are particularly fascinated by and choice over how they might research and present their learning.

I started to discuss with my colleague: Fran Pretty (@francescaprett2) that we consider a ‘mash up’ of Genius Hour and Project Based Learning, by creating a some Genius afternoons with the planned learning journey sequence.

3. Homework: Jenna Lucas (@JennaLucas81)

Jenna shared the frustrations she and her colleagues have had re. issues with homework. From it being very time consuming to prepare and mark, to being unsure whether it was more the parents or pupils work, and the key question of whether it was having any impact on the pupils’ learning and understanding. During this section she referenced Bart Simpson and John Hattie as evidence (and yes in that order)

Jenna spoke about what she believes makes Homework effective.

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She shared examples of ‘Takeaway Homework’ which go over a term and enable pupils to choose a few activities from a range of given tasks to undertake. Their work is then brought in for an exhibition at the end of the term, with comments sheets next to them for other pupils and parents to record on. The positives of this approach are: no weekly preparation, greater pupil choice and motivation, no teacher marking, a real sense of purpose for creating and presenting their homework.

At a previous school we used to do this as part of our Projects. It gave the pupils chance to play to and develop their strengths and passions, and always ended with some inspiring and creative exhibitions, which then opened minds and raised aspirations of other pupils.

4. Pride and Priorities: Tim Clarke (@tim_jumpclarke) (Yes me)

Although the aim of the Teachmeet was to share ideas to help teachers save time in the classroom, as someone who last taught his own class in 2011, I decided to share some tips I have found useful in managing my time and workload more effectively, and to take pride in achievements and impact.

Essentially I shared 3 elements:

  • Having an online to do list (in categories of importance) which can easily be accessed
  • Using an online calendar for the regular reminders and to ring fence time for specific tasks
  • Finishing on Friday by spending 5 minutes adding bullet points of that week’s accomplishments to a Proud and Achieved list (which helps me go home on Friday feeling positive, and not being too anxious about my still to do list)

My presentation can be accessed here:

#HackTeaching 23.6.16

5. Kahoot: Henry Penfold (@penfoldno1)

The Teachmeet concluded with Henry sharing (very interactively) how useful and easy to use Kahoot is. We were challenged with a Queen Elizabeth II quiz (unfortunately our team were neither accurate nor quick enough to be able to boast).

Henry explained how this can easily be used as a pre and post assessment to track progress. How teachers can easily create new Kahoot quizzes and how much the pupils are motivated to use them.

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Conclusions

I came away with a reminder of how valuable it is to meet, connect with and learn from other colleagues from other schools. We are all doing great things within our own schools, but there are more ideas out there.

To spend time remembering and returning to effective elements of practice we have used in the past, but has maybe dropped from our repertoire.

To concentrate on doing less, but with greater impact. To not rush trying to do so much that we work harder than the pupils, and that they aren’t motivated or learning because of the treadmill of schooling. There is only a finite amount of time we and the pupils have, so it is important we invest it as wisely as we can to have the greatest, most positive and most inspiring impact.

Invest time

 

 

NC Parent Overviews

This is neither creative nor innovative. I have merely cut and pasted the National Curriculum objectives for Reading, writing and maths onto a hopefully easy for parents to access document. Currently only done Y1-Y4.

I have shared with local schools, a couple of whom said they would use them, so I thought it worth sharing here as well. I have uploaded them as Word docs so they can be adapted as required.

NC Year 1 Overview for parents

NC Year 2 Overview for parents

NC Year 3 Overview for parents

NC Year 4 Overview for parents

 

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