Category Archives: Student voice

PREVENT-student views

Every year we have a series of whole school discussion for our students to air their views on. Some of the previous ones are included in our external blog back categories-

http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?cat=11

These include general topics such as British Values and ‘if you were Prime Minister’ along with the more familiar questions on learning and teaching including GM, marking and feedback and literacy. Our learning walks which interview students rather than staff will begin in January and will focus on learning and teaching-blog to follow-but before Xmas our forms have been involved in a discussion based on issues surrounding the PREVENT agenda. Terrorist activity is sadly a part of our everyday news now and I firmly believe that our students should be able to openly discuss current affairs, be sceptical and critical of policies, beliefs and ideas [if they wish to be] and offer their own views in serious debate. Informed young people have a key role to play in the future of our country and although some of the issues are difficult for the younger students to fully understand, we shouldn’t shirk our responsibility in helping to prepare for a future with increasingly complex political, economic and social issues.

It would be tempted to think that some students may well be bored with the issues or as Xmas approaches, be more interested in asking us to give them a break from deep thinking! The truth is that many love to be challenged and made to justify, debate and prioritise their thoughts. Learning tutors did report back that some struggled but others were more animated and opinionated than the loudest Question Times! The questions were these, and do please borrow them, if you like the idea. I have included a whole range of answers from the different year groups to engender further discussion.

prevent 1

PREVENT 2

PREVENT 3

For those of you reading this and wondering what sort of town Southport [and our school] is in terms of possible terrorist threat, ethnicity, potential radicalisation etc. and thus the interest/concerns our students may have picked up at home or on the streets with friends; the reality is that it is a predominantly white town with many people probably not knowing any Muslim friends or worrying too much about possible radicalisation or attack. The closest big city Liverpool isn’t as ethnically diverse as London, Birmingham or the nearest other big NW cities of Manchester or Preston. Immigrant presence would be East European to work in the care industry, hotels or agriculture and I suppose that over the years terrorist potential may be more related to Irish politics and animal affairs than ISIS. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we shouldn’t raise these questions and encourage tolerance of other religions and beliefs. We do have a small number of non-Christian faith people in school [and many of no religious beliefs] and 1 teacher found the Ali poster useful in ensuring anti-Muslim sentiments weren’t aired.

ali

I did send out some resources and ideas when the Paris atrocities had happened-https://t.co/FiNAfirLrg from Russell Tarr and these explained clearly that it wasn’t just Western Europe that was under attack, the Russian plane disaster, of course happened more recently and there were other pertinent questions to be raised that might directly impact on our students such as our own trip to Paris and our responsibilities as young citizens of the UK.

Two other really helpful posts for teachers and parents are here.

https://taitcoles.wordpress.com/  Offers good advice regarding possible Islamophobia and teaches in a more multi-cultural area than Southport is. Amjad Ali writing as Tait did just after the Paris attacks https://newtothepost.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/how-can-i-be-a/  also teaches in a multi –cultural school and you can see his response and advice to teachers in schools who have few Muslim students. Students do have the right to their freedom of speech and opinions and as the oldest teacher still here, I know that opinions change a great deal over the years. However, I do believe that rather than forcing our opinions, we should always try to develop tolerance of others by discussion and debate. I hope that the questions are fair and promoted honest and open debate. This poster hopefully resonates with our school view.

prevent 5

Who was responsible for the attacks on Paris?

Most forms said ISIS or Islamic State immediately as you would expect given the news coverage. Other variations included terrorists, Muslim terrorists, extremists, militants and 10HH emphasised ‘not Muslims’ 8HF added a slightly different view. “Most said ISIS, they shouldn’t have retaliated, it’s not fair, and they are sacrificing their lives to kill others. Some thought that France and other western countries were responsible saying that we started it.”

Who else, apart from Western Europeans has been attacked?

Again most form groups were able to give a wide geographical spread of attacks across the continents including North America, Africa and Asia. I wasn’t sure if they would only focus on Paris and the USA but specific countries and incidents were provided as evidence.

Who are ISIS and why are they attacking others?

An interesting set of differing opinions emerged and of course many adults aren’t quite sure why the attacks and fighting is taking place. Comments included;

  • Because others don’t believe in what they believe in.
  • Trying to take over the world.
  • It is what they believe in.
  • Believe that Allah is telling them to do this [we believe that this is a lie and an excuse]
  • Attacking well known countries to make a name for themselves.
  • Because we were bombing Iran and now Syria.
  • They want others to become Muslims.
  • Because they are against other religions.
  • They are extremists who want to force their views on others.
  • Islamic extremists who believe everyone should follow their religion.
  • They are attacking others as they follow Sharia Law-they would like to force others to believe the same thing that they do.
  • We don’t actually know why they are doing this as there are so many rumours about why rather than 1 definite reason.
  • Extremist Muslims-it’s their belief that they are doing it for Allah.
  • Extremist who believe that what they are doing is getting them closer to Allah?
  • Terrorists-they think they are better than others, they want everyone to follow their rules.
  • Due to extremist religious views.
  • Jihadi John, ISIS, people who aren’t part of their religion deserve to die, disagree with the way people in the western world live their lives.
  • Extremists because they want power and revenge as they think we attacked them first.
  • Can be ISIS, can be other terrorist groups too. They are attacking people because they think that if they die doing it they will go to ‘heaven’. They believe their religion/God is telling them to sacrifice their lives to kill others.
  • ISIS claim to be Muslims and claim to acting due to their faith but in fact they are not Muslims and are not instructed to carry out these actions by the Koran. True Muslims are horrified by their actions.

I did wonder throughout my reading of all of the comments where young people get their information from these days to be able to form opinions. Perhaps I should have included a question on sources of knowledge and can only surmise. TV news, one would hope, is factual and reasonably non-biased in providing pretty accurate facts should they watch it. I wouldn’t imagine that not too many read newspapers and can’t be sure how many families discuss current affairs at home. Nor can I be sure how big a part social media plays in contributing to the information they were putting forward. Interesting views though and worth raising the follow up question after Xmas of which has the greater influence – politics or religion in the mentality of ISIS and other terrorists. Or is there something else that drives them?

Why do some people get radicalised into joining these groups?

Taking the lives of others in the name of a cause is something most human beings could never contemplate. The notion of a ‘just war’ is discussed in RE and recently again in parliament and students may be able to understand that war and the inevitable killing involved, can sometimes be justified. For them to understand why anyone would join ISIS and kill people, is harder to grasp but it happens, they do and they choose to kill. Why?

  • Lack of positive role models, lack of education, extreme views.
  • Forced to.
  • Social media.
  • How they are brought up.
  • Because they are stupid.
  • They sometimes say yes, then can’t change their minds and they’re stuck.
  • Because of poverty and a lack of education.
  • For greed/money.
  • Get taught from an impressionable young age/easier to manipulate their thoughts.
  • Vulnerable people-easily led.
  • People may do it for money.
  • Some are scared and have no choice as they are forced into it. Other believe they are doing it for the right reason as they believe this will please God.
  • People may be vulnerable or forced/born into it.
  • People who are vulnerable could be persuaded to join for the promises made to them when they reach heaven after an attack.
  • Some people may feel that they have nowhere else to turn e.g. if their local area experienced islamophobia due to these attacks.
  • Because they believe in life after death, retaliation, scared
  • Make a name for themselves.
  • Unemployment.
  • On drugs so easier to radicalise.
  • Blackmail.
  • Because it is the way they are brought up.
  • Following other Muslims with this belief.
  • They just want to do it.
  • They look up to older people doing this.
  • They see Muslims being persecuted and are angry because of this.
  • It creates a feeling of acceptance as they may have no friends or spend a lot of time online
  • They may know friends or family involved in terrorist activities or that hold terrorist beliefs.
  • They are seen as disposable pawns.
  • Shy, lonely people who are easily persuaded, criminals.
  • Because they agree with their opinions and what the extremists are doing/ share same views.
  • Blackmail (“might know something embarrassing or bad about them”) Bribery through gifts or monetary rewards. Terrorists use Islam as an excuse. Some of them live in the UK, they don’t follow any religion and so decide through pressure to follow Islam but they are told the wrong beliefs.
  • They are tempted in by lies, they target poor and vulnerable people who may be more receptive.

Bombing of Syria. Why? Do you agree? Are there other possible strategies? What would you do?

As in parliament and across the country, there were a range of opposing views and eminently sensible suggestions. Only the youngest students were more prone to some fanciful ideas on the next few questions!

  • No – send ground troops to avoid civilian deaths.
  • Yes – because we need to stand up to them.
  • We are bombing Syria because we want to destroy ISIS
  • America and France are involved
  • Stop migration into other countries
  • I would wait and close all the borders
  • We are very split on this, half of our form think it is a good idea to get involved the other half disagree. The people who agree believe we need to do this in order to protect ourselves and we should act now to prevent an attack. The other half believe this will make us as bad as them as by getting involved we too could end up killing innocent people. We all agree that something needs done but we don’t know how they can be stopped.
  • The class was split on this questions, some believed it was the right thing to do to protect our country, however they also believed that air strikes may not be enough and ground troops may be more effective in targeting ISIS and less dangerous to civilians. Others believed this is the wrong thing to do as it is affecting innocent civilians that ISIS hide within and behind and will only promote the ISIS cause, and causing more people to join when they have nothing else.
  • Some say yes others no – No – because they are bombing innocent people, start looking after the NHS as we don’t have enough money in our country but we are bombing others
  • Yes – if we don’t bomb them they will bomb us, before we were not a target but now after bombing we are targets for ISIS.
  • The students were split 50/50 on this issue 50% were in favour of the bombing. The other 50% thought bombing would merely create more problems
  • Yes – Not going to stop them any other way.
  • No – Inhumane to bomb people, shouldn’t stoop to their level. Could show them videos to show the impact of their actions.
  • If we bomb them, they could then retaliate and bomb us.
  • 14 members of form agree. 2 members of form disagree- we need people on the ground to target the culprits so that innocent people are not killed. Others do not want to say either way.
  • Attacks on Paris instigated us wanting to bomb Syria. USA, Russia, France are also involved in bombing Syria.
  • Get other countries (Russia) to help out, not bomb them as they will retaliate.
  • Majority of the form said NO, they don’t agree with the bombing in Syria.
  • 6 voted yes to bombs, 12 voted no.
  • Why did we do it? “trying to get rid of ISIS’ resources so they can’t fight back”
  • Who else is involved? “Russia, France, America, Turkey, loads of forces fighting”
  • People won’t be hurt if it’s dropping bombs, “they bombed us”
  • Other solutions? “full out war – nuclear warfare” (but you’d get rid of innocent people, yeah that’s the bad thing)
  • Don’t know what else to do (“should build a Death Star!”)
  • Yes, because if they are attacking countries in Europe then why shouldn’t we attack them back. No because if we do it they’ll retaliate and it’ll never end. We shouldn’t be bombing innocent people. Some think it was the right thing to do but we have made it more dangerous for ourselves.
  • About a third agree with the bombings, go into Syria and find ISIS, try and reason with them, send the cavalry in, kill their leader. Two thirds do not agree and think that too many innocent people will get killed using this tactic.
  • Some disagree as innocent people will die and this is the same as what ISIS did, others feel that this is the right action to eliminate terrorists and stop the problem. Russia, USA, France are involved in bombing. Solutions are to just use the tornado bombers which can target specific areas rather than bombing the entire country. Get rid of the Assad regime. Take in more civilian refugees. Some people disagree that we should take refugees as it may cause more attacks.
  • We don’t think we should have done that e.g. in the playground if someone hits you, you should not hit them back. We should have better secure defences in the country so less effected. Hypocritical!
  • We are only doing it because; they are going to bomb us, to show we’re not scared of them. We shouldn’t have done it – we’re only doing it to get involved and be like everyone else to show off that we can take part. One pupil said “I would make a WW3 with nuclear weapons, that’s what they want anyway!” Another pointed out that it is a vicious circle (bomb us-bomb them) and it won’t ever end.
  • Arrest rather than kill, bomb but try to avoid civilians, don’t use violence because it just causes more violence, stop migrants in case they are ISIS, more security, something has to be done and diplomacy has failed.

How worried are you about visiting major cities? What precautions should you take or do you expect to be taken? Should we go to Paris?

  • About half would still go to Paris or other places. Bring a weapon with you. [discussion of carrying a gun occurred in a couple of classes] Full body guards around you. Soldiers will protect you.
  • Some are concerned about another terrorist attack while going abroad. Others trust the security in the country to protect us against attacks.
  • Initial response: “just don’t go” “their whole goal is to stop people doing stuff, but the security has gone up massively so chance of an attack is unlikely”
  • Some of the class are worried about major cities as ‘they’ could be there (“but why would they bomb Southport?”)
  • Not sure how to protect us.
  • Close the borders
  • Some students worried about going to places that could be seen as a target. Other people believe these places now have heightened security. Other don’t want to be scared of going places as that’s what the terrorists want.
  • Not worried because family members have been to France recently – shouldn’t be worrying because they’ve just been bombed and could be the safest place. No worried because such attacks are rare.
  • Some worried about visiting train stations – lots of crowds of people, not secure. Worried because never experienced attacks before and wouldn’t know how to react to them.
  • The students thought that the trip should go ahead.
  • 8-yes
  • 11 – no
  • Very worried because we are not sure where ISIS are. You must be careful and vigilant
  • Nobody is really nervous now and believe that security should be responsible for keeping the public safe. They think there should be heightened security at public places. Something we could do is watch out for bags left unattended etc.
  • Some of us would still be worried to go to Paris however the majority agree they would still go. We think that if they have already hit Paris they are not very likely to go back, also as there is now so many police around it actually could be safer than other countries. We all agreed with Josh’s comment that by not going to Paris the terrorists have gotten their way and won and so we should continue to support the country. If we were still to go we would be a lot more aware and alert to what is going on.
  • The majority of the class thinks it shouldn’t go ahead.
  • Everywhere is dangerous so I wouldn’t be put off.
  • If you didn’t do anything it would be very boring.
  • It is like not travelling in a car because you might have a crash. Everything carries risks.
  • People are scared of sharks, but cows kill more people than sharks do.
  • I am worried of going on a plane in case it gets shot down.
  • If you don’t do anything and you are scared, then the terrorists have won.
  • Shouldn’t be scared of potential terrorist attacks as if that was the case the whole country would be in locked down. Also the security will now be much tighter. If we didn’t travel it would mean the terrorists had been successful. However it is a worry that the police system is stretched as it is and lacking funding so they don’t have the materials available to defend the general public
  • We don’t think we should have done that e.g. in the playground if someone hits you, you should not hit them back. We should have better secure defences in the country so less effected.
  • Hypocritical!
  • We expect tight security so we are not at that much of a risk- you can’t live your life living in fear.
  • Split decision here. Some said to go because they are just trying to make us live in fear and we’ve got to show them that we’re having fun and that we’re not afraid. Some said they wouldn’t go in case something happens or that they wouldn’t go until it was all sorted properly, until all of the terrorism has been stopped.
  • Places will be safer when security is heightened after an attack. Also if nothing happens between now and Feb I would feel safe. Watch the news so you are aware of current events/threats. Learn some French so you can communicate effectively in an emergency. More vigilant about others are doing or how they are acting. Stay in groups.

What do you think that individual young people can do to PREVENT terrorism? Having discussed terrorism-what do you think ‘terrorism’ means and can you think of other forms of terrorism that you have heard of-some perhaps more local than the large scale bomb attacks?

  • Terrorism means violent extremism, frequently using religion as an excuse.
  • We should just carry on with our normal daily lives and not blame a community as a whole for causing terrorism.
  • Niamh and India know about the bombs planted in Warrington and Manchester Arndale centre – IRA
  • Not to talk to strangers. People killing or harming for no reason because of their beliefs.
  • Terrorism to us is unprovoked acts of violence carried out by extremists. We have never heard of any acts of terrorism in Southport.
  • We think terrorism means forcing people to believe the same as you do using terror, e.g. attacks. Gang culture can be a form of terrorism and terrorism can be found everywhere in all religions. [Interesting view-is it true?]
  • Educate all young people.
  • They hacked into our computers and phones- there is nothing we can do to stop them but we can educate people to teach them not to do it.
  • The students thought that any suspicious signs should be reported to the police.
  • Staying alert of suspicious people.
  • Terrorism: Different forms e.g. bombing, taking revenge, terrorising innocent people, making people feel worried/scared. Attacking people for no reason.
  • Look for extreme behaviour. If friends are talking about things you think are worrying or wrong tell someone you trust. When someone behaves in anti-social and violent manner. People with extreme views. London underground bombings. 9/11 bombing. Beheadings filmed and put on internet.
  • This opened a discussion about us all carrying guns to protect ourselves.
  • Be taught more about it, be aware of what can go on, and talk to each other if we notice signs of someone showing radical behaviour.
  • Kids could defend and don’t discriminate against Muslims. Be vigilant on Facebook. Protest to government to not let them in. Support each other.
  • Spot signs of radicalisation early to prevent people being converted to ISIS. Terrorism means people who have extreme views which an intent to kill. Stabbings in London was a local form of terrorism, IRA attacks.
  • Instagram/Facebook/Twitter. Je suis Paris, changing your profile picture to the French flag etc. to show support. We could make a video about not being scared and showing ways we’re having fun and enjoying ourselves and then put that video on the internet (something like that).
  • Preaching hate and trying to influence people is local terrorism. Keep an eye on vulnerable people and don’t let them become isolated. Terrorism = hurting people based on an extreme personal view.

The final question raises the major aspects of the PREVENT training that has been brought back into schools. Have our students been listening? I could have gone on to ask further questions about civil liberties and so on but perhaps the answers reflect the fears and expected societal responsibilities of the age that we live in.

Threats to your individual safety can come from a range of different people both inside and outside of school. We look after each other as a school community but what signs should we look for if our friends are in any danger and what should we do about it?

    • Secretive behaviour, uncomfortable, edgy, visiting websites about extremism and discussing it regularly.
    • Make sure they’re not being bribed. Tell a teacher to pass to the police. Tell parents what’s happening. Look out for them not being themselves. Check if they’re armed. [Thanks a lot!]
    • Be taught more about it, be aware of what can go on, and talk to each other if we notice signs of someone showing radical behaviour.
    • Becoming isolated from friends, having signs / logos of groups, acting strange, threatening behaviour, start agreeing with ISIS’ logic.
    • Wearing different clothes, racist views towards others, where they go, the way they act, what they do in their free time. Report it to police, teachers and any adult you trust.
    • Look out for friends not being themselves or acting different to normal, friends might become more secretive, people being absent from school for longer periods of time or repeatedly being absent from school.
    • The students said that they would tell staff at school if they spotted any issues
    • If friends start talking about attacks a lot more then it will raise a few alarms. We should tell someone you trust e.g. mum. [This was reassuringly old fashioned and touching!]
    • Tell someone if you think someone is in danger, help people if you can, keep an eye on friends but don’t get involved for your own safety
    • We should look out for any changes in behaviour, appearance, mood and language. If we were to suspect anything we would tell our parents or teachers, if we felt there was immediate danger we would inform the police.
    • We would look out for people looking or acting differently and tell someone about it. Change in behaviour, different people they hang around with, personality changing. We would tell someone we trust.
    • People having sudden and radical changes in appearance, personality and views.
    • Look out for people who show signs of sadness, who don’t want to speak to anyone, who are constantly alone and don’t want to be with anyone. Look out for people who aren’t acting like they usually would, people who seem agitated or distracted because it might mean they are thinking about something bad/wrong. Talk to those people and find out what is going on and if they need any help. Tell someone about it. (When I asked them to be more specific than “someone” they suggested Police, Parents and Teachers).
    • To be honest my form were a bit stumped by this question and couldn’t really relate to it. I don’t think they grasped it and I wonder if it is because we live in a less racially mixed town than others.

I’m sure that Miss is correct with her comment but it was a discussion that needed to happen and I hope that parents and friends found the answers interesting and thought provoking. Perhaps we will discuss Europe next or how about Tyson Fury!

Have a wonderful Xmas holiday and very happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking the talk

Each winter I interview students from the classes of every teacher in our school. I try to mix the ages and abilities to give a fair spread and my colleagues know what the questions will be in advance and which class I will go to speak to. I focus the questions on current strategies that we are discussing/trialling as a staff so that we can gather important student perspectives on our tactics and also ask subject specific questions so that the teacher whose lesson the students have come from gains information for their planning. The surveys are returned to individuals to keep as evidence of student voice in their professional portfolios and faculty leaders keep their team’s responses to use in faculty reviews and SEFs. This isn’t some sneaky underhand method of checking up on teachers and using the students as my spies! Teachers are rigorously monitored, albeit as professionally and developmentally as possible and student views are welcomed as 1] a source of usually very positive comments/magic moments/always honest!, 2] a source of must consult views to confirm whether we are on the right track or not-it would be madness to keep using ideas they tell us don’t work, 3] to help them articulate and communicate about their own learning strengths and needs-they sometimes reveal feelings that we simply haven’t considered and 4] because we should listen-it’s their school and their education we are discussing!

I could, of course, buy into one of those expensive survey company things that spew forth data to flourish either at Ofsted to prove we’ve consulted our students or to use to dispirit teachers with a host of useless percentages. Hopefully these questions will actually provide information that we can reflect upon and adapt our practice if need be. The other questions, as you will see, are aimed at helping the students to ask important self-analytical questions about their own learning skills. I sit with the students so that I can help and prompt if necessary and produce sweets at an appropriate moment! I’ve never heard any of them complain about the writing involved and they often try to come more than once! Hopefully I’ve managed to cover just over a quarter of the students in the school this way and will expect all colleagues to have completed their own ‘deep’ survey to put in their professional portfolio by summer-more about that in a later blog.

With the key stage 3 students, I wanted to find out how the BSG assessment system was settling and if they were clear on what they had to do to achieve GOLD. I don’t expect them to know off by heart all of the skills and knowledge expected in the subject they had come from but wanted to see if they could use subject specific language and let their teacher know which aspects of the course so far their students had found tough and were targeting to make their ‘marginal gains’ in.

You will be aiming for GOLD in this subject. What do you have to do next in terms of specific skills/knowledge/attitude to get there by summer?

What are the areas of weakness you have already spotted that you know you will have to work on, by making marginal gains, to achieve GOLD?

I also wanted to see if our GM initiative was having an early impact in the language used to answer the next question.

Which activities have you found the most challenging in this subject this year-when the going got tough-how did you react?

Much as I ask our teachers to highlight their best marking/feedback in our book monitoring I asked the students to choose theirs to share with their teachers. This again is great professional portfolio evidence and I asked which marking/feedback methods worked best in the interview subject and then in all subjects [so I could share the information with all]

Show me/tell me about; an example of when you have received feedback from your teacher and you have responded with your own target and successfully achieved the advice given.

Your teachers are trying lots of different marking/feedback strategies-which ones have helped you the most 1] in this subject, 2] other subjects-can you show me/tell me about your evidence for choosing this?

I then turned to all subjects to gather information about peer critique and to try to get them to answer in a positive way to encourage and build confidence in the use of PC. Even the DFE recommend its use to ease work-load but I only want to see it used if it is an effective and more accurate method than it often was, to support learning. A bit of a charm offensive then with the little ‘uns to help them see how valuable it can be for their learning.

Can you give me an example of when you helped another student to improve their learning by giving them really specific FISH peer critique? How do you know that your help was effective? [This subject and others]

Can you give me an example of when another student helped you to improve your learning by giving you really specific FISH peer critique? How do you know that their help was effective? [This subject and others]

The use of DIRT has surprised me with its popularity with the students-the truth is that they are far more demanding in terms of their learning needs and rights [after lots of these surveys!] and expect reflection time and the chance to improve their work-unbelievable a few years ago perhaps but the revealed answers were pretty good to read. So how committed to their learning are they-I thought that I’d find out.

Do you take responsibility for checking your work well enough before handing it in/use DIRT well enough? Give me examples to prove you do.

Have you been as fully committed as you know that you should be to practising at home or behaving positively? Give me examples.

And the final question sought to find out if they had any worries or concerns about Growth Mind-Set. I’ve raised issues that we should be careful with and mentioned that we need to be selective with our language and consider the situations with individuals.

Which aspect of Growth Mind-Set do you find the most difficult-how can we help?

Key stage 4 for most students begins in year 9, although some of the questions were far more important for year 11 to consider so close to their final exams. Again I began with questions about their own learning and perceived areas of challenge so that they could have the chance to self-analyse their own learning and their teacher might spot anything they hadn’t picked upon as an issue to offer support on or re-visit. I asked the one extra question to KS3.

You will be aiming for your target grade in this subject. What do you have to do next in terms of specific skills/knowledge/attitude to get there by summer?

What are the areas of weakness you have already spotted that you know you will have to work on, by making marginal gains, to achieve your target.

Are there any concerns that you have kept to yourself that you are worried about and need extra support in

Which activities have you found the most challenging in this subject this year-when the going got tough-how did you react?

I asked the same marking question and then changed tack with the older students to see how they felt marking/feedback had changed before homing on their views on peer critique so I could share possibly a more critical version with staff for us to discuss and then added a question that I felt might tell us something about our school and our philosophy and that I thought would also help them to think about how they could ‘sell’ themselves to potential colleges/employers. If they didn’t have a clue about what I was asking-mmm-re-think!

Have you been totally committed to practising your subject learning out of school-revision/home-learning/revision classes/catch-up-give me some evidence either way! How can you commit even more?

What is the point of self/peer critique-give me examples of when it has worked best for you/you for someone else-how would you advise your teachers to make it even more effective?

How will developing a Meols Cop Mind-Set help you in college, university and employment? What are the key learning strengths that you want to put on your CV that describe you best [and will persuade others that you are worth interviewing/employing?]

I’m not going to include all of the answers to every question-you will be relieved to know! The subject specific ones have gone to their rightful owners and I’ll share some of the key issues/thoughts raised from the marking/feedback comments from both stages, peer critique comments from the KS students and GM comments from KS3. These are the areas where, as a staff, we have been developing strategies shared in previous blogs-what do the students really think about them?

Marking/feedback

The older students were all agreed that marking and feedback had become more effective. I’ll randomly share some of the very positive comments that the students made before highlighting practice that they especially liked and felt helped their learning. There were hardly any negative comments [this hasn’t always been the case!] about the utility or quality of the feedback given. A couple of students felt that the increase in peer marking had made it less effective but most explained that it had improved and gave examples to support their view.

Some examples included;

Nour

Year 7 used to be tick and golden stars while now they give you targets and questions to help you gain a better level/grade.

Emma

More effective than year 7 as we actually correct the work in the same lesson and get told honestly what to improve on.

Ellie

The marking gives more feedback [corrections and questions] and we correct mistakes ourselves rather than it being done for us.

Paige

Since year 7 there has been more advanced skills and techniques used which helps us with our learning. Since we have got to our G.C.S.E. year, we are doing more and more to assess and help with our own learning.

Sophie

It has become more effective because it helps me go back to mistakes I have made and pick up the right answer. I can also now use the marking to see where Im going wrong.

Alice

Its changed since year 7 as teachers are harsher and more critical than they were but this helps as then I can see where I need to go to improve and reach my target.

Jake

Since year 7 there has been a huge improvement to the techniques that teachers have used to improve my learning, with more engaging opportunities to communicate and reflect. For example in English, when we first got our marks in year 7 it was a line of praise/improvement whereas now we get lots of feedback and we can do 360 degree feedback.

Eden

It has changed because we use to just use things like 2 stars and a wish but now will go back and correct or re-draft our answers so we know exactly what to do next time.

Caleb

More effective. More teachers are now asking questions in our books to keep us on track instead of just correcting it for us.

Throughout the survey it became apparent that our students are also changing their learning habits and needs-they are far happier with critical feedback and some actively seek it [although don’t always like giving it!], they expect far more than in terms of challenge -this doesn’t necessarily equate with writing more on our part-because you can see that they are telling me that they are being asked to spend longer thinking about their feedback and taking the responsibility for correcting/re-drafting it.

In no particular order helpful marking included;

In English;

  • Peer assessment
  • 2 stars and a wish
  • Written feedback from the teacher
  • DIRT
  • Tick, target 3
  • WWW/EBI
  • Positive/negative together
  • Probing questions
  • Asking questions on something you’ve struggled on
  • Reflecting on things
  • Questions which help me know how to get a higher level
  • Teacher marking
  • 2 ways to improve
  • Told what we have done well and targets for next time
  • Targets to improve
  • Questions that help us gain extra marks/higher level
  • PEA

In maths they mentioned;

  • STAR-very popular and well explained
  • Focused question after STAR
  • When we mark our HWK/improve topics we got wrong
  • Progress checks
  • When the teacher tells us which bit we got wrong
  • 5 a day
  • Questions
  • Peers writing questions based on subject
  • Marking more often
  • Teacher challenges
  • Flight path

The science students told me they liked;

  • Symbol marking
  • Advice to improve
  • BSG specific feedback
  • When someone marks it and gives you something to improve on
  • Write to improve
  • Being asked questions related to the questions I got wrong
  • Re-drafting
  • Writing out spellings
  • When she doesn’t tell me whether it’s right or wrong until I’m done
  • Questions to answer
  • Use of different colours
  • Peer assessment-telling you what you have done well and what you need to improve
  • Coloured stamper
  • Miss is very understanding and helps us loads
  • Self-assessment-she marks it and we respond to her advice
  • Adding little questions-telling is how what to do to get the next BSG
  • DIRT-I can see where I have gone wrong and correct my mistakes
  • Peers asking questions in DIRT
  • DIRT pushes your learning skills
  • DIRT when the teacher goes over the answers and asks us questions about what we’ve missed in the answer
  • Self/peer/teacher all good when they find something I need to improve on
  • Questions given to help us improve
  • Self and peer assessment help me to work on the parts of the question I got wrong
  • Peer assessing then correcting in blue-helps you learn what to do better next time

MFL representatives explained that they liked;

  • Peer assessment
  • When we get told how to improve
  • Dot feedback
  • Green pen tasks
  • Questions to answer, correct the wrong words myself
  • Miss marking it [few don’t like peer assessment]
  • Dot marking
  • Positive feedback/multiple questions
  • Correcting the mistakes ourselves
  • Challenge left

PE students mentioned their oral feedback and dance their written marking;

  • Verbal-you can ask questions if you are unsure-can’t get confused
  • Picking out key areas for us to work and improve on
  • Dance marking is good!
  • Peer/self-marking
  • Marking questions as a group with mark-schemes

DT/art students explained both their verbal and written feedback.

  • Feedback in book-I can go back and read it to help
  • Direct feedback
  • Peer assessment
  • Art ticket journey/exit ticket
  • Talking about the levels
  • Verbal feedback and help as we work- Talking to me
  • Leaving a question to answer
  • Peer assessment

Performing arts [music only] students chose;

  • Feedback sheets after performances
  • Helps when Miss actively marks/checks my work through the lessons
  • Marking my own work so I can see where I went wrong/where I can improve
  • Peer assessment
  • SPADE/STAR

Humanities [and RE] students told me;

  • Teacher and peer assessment-so I know what I have to write in tests to get the mark
  • Teacher assessment best
  • DIRT
  • Going through it as a class
  • Going through the questions left us
  • Going through the work we have struggled on as a class
  • Peer marking
  • Receiving feedback for improvement
  • Peer assessment-good feedback from your peers and learn knowledge you didn’t know
  • Interaction from peer assessment
  • 2 people’s opinions rather than 1 in peer verification
  • Teacher marking leaving questions I need to know the answers to.
  • Peer or teacher left questions
  • Questions help me correct my mistakes and improve my answers

ICT/computer studies liked;

  • Sir going through each question and we add on answers we didn’t get
  • Self-marking then teacher verification
  • Past papers-get feedback on what you can do and need to do
  • Peer assessment-friends help me when I struggle
  • Email sir uses to re-send marked work so we can compare the two
  • Talking to the class with feedback and making his points on the white-board

Business studies

  • Peer assessing my business buddies
  • When sir marks our work and we improve from his feedback
  • Googledocs-you can see everyone else’s attempt and feedback to them
  • Peer assessment with people on our level

Child development

  • Different colours to PEE
  • DIRT
  • Peer assessment so I can see other people’s ideas

Verbal feedback

It’s important that we don’t forget the power of verbal feedback and don’t just talk about written ‘marking’ and dialogue. The language of growth mind-set we use is critical and students appreciated the constant feedback they received as they learned throughout the lesson. Making the most of this feedback and how we record it, measure impact is open to more discussion but I repeat nothing should be done in this area that is a tick box activity to keep Jonesy or Ofsted happy!

Katie food tech

My favourite one is when she’s telling me I’m doing something wrong during a practical and then I can correct right then and I will know for the future.

Emily food tech

When she speaks to me whereas if I see it on paper I forget sometimes

Natasha, Lydia and Katie PE

Verbal feedback because you can understand it fully and question if you are unsure

Joe, Tom and Jay PE

Picking out areas for us to work and improve on

Alice music

In music it helps when Miss actively marks or checks my work throughout the lesson.

Written feedback

In our previous blog I shared marking examples from all of our teachers http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=1521 and you can see that provided the marking fits our general marking/feedback policy, faculties and individual choose their own strategies to sit their own preferences and their class needs. They may change from class to class and as a consequence the students get a diet of different approaches. Some are always mentioned as effective-they like being given specific questions and the opportunities to improve, they like DIRT, they like being involved in the process and they are growing much more interested in taking, and being given far more responsibility for their own learning and progress.

I’m obviously delighted to see them praising marking and feedback-all very nice and self-congratulatory but what I enjoyed most was the fact that they were eager to join in the discussion and offer their own views. I wanted to see how they felt about our fast marking ideas and if they could offer any of their own-they could and I can see how the effort colleagues have made to change their own practice is now impacting on student analysis of learning. They are far more discerning customers than they ever were but in a positive way that makes their voice indispensable. They actually talk a fair bit of sense, although they do by nature tend to err on the conservative side of what they see as good teaching/marking/feedback. I do worry that schools have begun to create a spoon fed generation who expect us to do the work for them to gain them their grades [that they know are so important to us to via the media hype of league tables]-I didn’t see much of that in my conversations and in fact saw a move in the opposite direction, according to the interviewees. They do, of course, like the accuracy of teacher feedback and the safety net it provides but it was the fact that they find the whole process so important and take it so seriously that I wanted to share. If we have created an environment where our students want to learn and are eager to make the most of our teaching-SUCCESS!

Ellie music

When we do performances, Miss always gives us a sheet showing us what we did well and what we need to improve on. I personally love this sort of marking because it shows you how many marks you’ve got and how to make it better. Also in our books Miss leaves a question about our weakness in that topic-this really helps me.

Luke Sport’s Leaders

I feel the WWW and EBI strategy works because it tells you exactly what you did well and exactly how to improve

Ilona maths

STAR we do peer assessment and our peers write questions for us based on the subject we have to improve on-this helps us to focus on the area of our weakness.

In history and French they tell us where we need to improve and ask us questions that make us stop and really think and challenge us.

Sam maths

Strength Target Action Response helps us once we have finished a topic because we improve on our weaknesses. History gives us questions to answer after each lesson so the information will stay with us.

Fern-maths

STAR marking from the teacher helps me because it focuses on the points that I have got wrong so I can see my strengths and weaknesses in that topic. I like it in geography when sir sets us questions about the topic we are learning and then answer them to recap or build up our knowledge

Paige –maths

The sticker that our teacher puts in our book allows us to explain our strengths and weaknesses so that she can help every individual student with their learning. The teacher may also set a challenge for us to see where we are going wrong and to see if we are beginning to understand.

Nour English

I dislike peer marking as you are usually biased towards your friends but I like teacher marking when Miss asks us questions that can help us gain an extra mark, giving us a higher level.

Bethany business studies-the business studies students and ICT/computer studies praised the use of technology in their feedback.

The marking I really enjoy is using the googledocs to mark my peer’s work as you can see everyone’s attempts in which you feedback information to the peer you’re marking.

Jake business studies

The best method was either peer assessment because we worked with people on our level and had opportunities to communicate how we could help each other-such as after our 6 markers as well as the flexible thinking marking because it’s visual and we can see what’s going well and how I can reflect and improve my work.

 Peer critique

The area of marking and feedback which split opinions more than any other area and raised concerns that we need to think about. I’ve raised my own concerns in every blog on marking that I’ve written and we recently share NQT CPD/ideas on the topic in a January post including ground rules and practical ideas.

http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=1459

Many students extolled the positive virtues of PC especially when it was a high level involving the peers setting questions, giving examples, giving targets as well as good things, working with students of the same level or higher [so they could nab ideas] involved more minds than one and verification, helped you see other ideas, notice problems and weaknesses and so on. I liked Tom pointing out the 2 way benefit of PC and Jake’s honest appraisal of it!

Thomas Computer Studies

I find it useful to see other’s codes and mark it to benefit both the way I understand the code and to the person I am marking because I feel I’m helping them as well.

Jake business studies

The point of self-critique gives us a harsh but realistic view on our work. This shows us how our work is at the lowest point/grade and so doesn’t bring false hopes to result’s day. This worked best in English, as a subject I dislike, but at least I know where I stand with it!

Some are quite happy with how it is used already, whilst some pleasingly added suggestions for improving our practice which make good sense [or at least reminded us of what good practice should be] A few liked the combination of teacher/peer with the former verifying the accuracy if need be. I had discussed this with our DT/art leaders having read a local Ofsted report which was critical of an art faculty relying too heavily on peer/self-assessment and not enough teacher checking that the process was accurate.

Kim English

Peer assessment helps me learn from mother people’s work and if they are getting higher grades then I learn how and self-assessments allow me to analyse my mistakes which sometimes helps me to remember not to repeat them. Self/peer critique has helped best when marking 8 markers in RE as they are difficult and self-assessment shows us that we can have confidence in our answers.

Alex business studies

The point of self-critique is to see what we often get wrong and to fix it. Peer critique helps us to see what others do wrong so that we don’t make those mistakes. When we do 8 markers we often peer assess them which helps. I think that both a peer and a teacher assessment is best because both student and teacher identify mistakes then.

Kim English

Peer assessment helps me learn from mother people’s work and if they are getting higher grades then I learn how and self-assessments allow me to analyse my mistakes which sometimes helps me to remember not to repeat them. Self/peer critique has helped best when marking 8 markers in RE as they are difficult and self-assessment shows us that we can have confidence in our answers.

Alice music

Peer assessment was effective in geography as instead of marking each other’s answers we made our own questions and mark schemes before swapping.

Tarisha maths

Self/peer assessment helps because you set yourself a target and others challenge you. To make it more effective you could give groups of the class the same questions and work it out as a team.

William English

It gives the student another view-point on their work. With two opinions you can improve more than with one. I find peer critique very useful and believe teachers could use it after 6 mark question.

Laura dance

To see where you go wrong and get different people’s point of view and advice how to improve. I do like peer marking and it helps but sometimes it can get boring doing it all of the time.

Charlotte geography

I think that self/peer critique gives me a better look at what I need to work on to be better.

Rosie child development

It helps students to know their own weaknesses to improve themselves. Teachers could make it more effective by giving mark schemes for everyone to self/peer assess of.

Niamh RE

Peer marking works best when books are swapped randomly as you are less likely to get biased friendly marking than if you switch with a good friend-like science HWK

Lydia History

I think that the teacher should check the peer marking to make sure it’s correct and leave a comment on the work.

There was a genuine concern about using friends to peer mark or students not being tough enough. In our last blog I talked about using other classes work to begin teaching PC skills with and the students themselves picked up on the science strategy of random selection-this was seen as being fairer and likely to get a more accurate response. Not all agreed but it was an interesting set of answers. Kim will go far with her growth mind-set! A few students also made a comparison between self and peer critique-good to see them thinking hard.

Bethany business studies

I think it’s good for a lot of students because if a friend is marking your work, you feel more relaxed and trust their judgement.

Kimberley RE

I think when my friends mark my work they should be more honest and give me a mark that I deserve-they shouldn’t be afraid to hurt my feelings.

Paige maths

Peer assessment doesn’t usually help me as you are always too generous towards your friend and may be less harsh on them than you would be to yourself and may award a better grade than deserved. However self-assessment does help me as I myself know what my weaknesses are and are able to identify them.

Bethany music

Peer assessment doesn’t really work because you don’t want to give the person a really bad mark even if they have done badly-you don’t want to be harsh on the person. In my opinion self-assessment is better as you can see where you have gone wrong and how you need to improve.

Nour English

I believe it’s not working as we feel in the wrong if give a high mark. A way to help is by giving students random books to mark.

The MFL students were the ones most likely not to like peer critique as much as teacher assessment and I can understand that the accuracy of their particular feedback is difficult for peers to provide and their problems with creating a good quality of student/teacher or peer/peer dialogue is one we have discussed on many occasions.

Amelia Spanish

I find peer assessment unhelpful as I feel teacher assessment is a lot more effective and I can trust what they say and that it will help my learning.

Lucy music

I find peer assessment not as effective in class, because often I don’t get the constructive feedback that I can get from my teacher.

There were lots of very positive responses re PC from the KS3 students asked to give examples when it had helped their learning-I’m not going to make the post even longer by including them in the external version but the responses provided really useful feedback internally.

Growth Mind Set

I’ve shared a range of our different ideas concerning the implementation of GM for both staff and students since last September.

http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?cat=19

GM complements older initiatives such as our school competencies [the 6Cs] and our general learning and teaching philosophy. I’m not going into the reasons why I believe in the merits of GM in this post and nor am I going to discuss at this early stage the impact GM has already had in our classrooms-it’s early days and so I wanted to find out about some of the issues that were concerning the students. We sometimes forget that our language and expectations of 11 year olds can be construed by them in a host of different often subliminal messages. We have to be so careful with what we say and always need to take into consideration the personal background of the individual students. “When the going gets tough-the tough get going, never give up, try not to ask the teacher for help, failing is ok, always think I can’t do it-YET” and so and so on trip off adult tongues easily. We know resilient learners can cope better with life but many of our students are fragile souls with a lack of our adult confidence and may not have met some of the GM ideas before-gently and supportively does it as we teach GM skills and qualities that are hard and don’t come naturally to some. The comments below are mainly from year 7 students-they make some valid points about what they find difficult about GM that we need to think about.

Natasha PE

Trying to continue when I don’t understand what we are doing or don’t enjoy a certain lesson/subject.

Danny PE

Giving honest feedback to everyone including myself in self-assessments.

Emily science

I find it hard to learn from mistakes because I have thought that the work I have produced was good and I had made no mistakes. Maybe people could explain my corrections to me in more detail.

Luke sport’s leaders

The most difficult aspect I find is the ‘can’t do it YET’ part-I think you could help by offering more support in new topics.

Anon food tech

Sometimes instead of saying “I can’t do it YET” I say, “I can’t” because I don’t have a lot of self-confidence.

Freya art

The most difficult part of GM is giving someone feedback about their work because you don’t want people to feel upset but it does help them.

Amy science

Thinking for yourself is ok but trying to ask a teacher is always tempting!

Esme science

I find giving people feedback quite hard sometimes because it can be tricky thinking of the correct words to say that will help them.

Freya G science

When sometimes people have done very good work you can’t say what they need to do to do better or when I get a low mark in something knowing I could have done better. Maybe when we are doing peer assessment or independent work I would like the teacher to come over a bit more often and ask do you need help.

Tahlia science

Not being afraid to put my hand up in class and saying the wrong answer.

Brandon science

Not being afraid to say an answer and if people want their own time with the teacher then they can.

Kieran science

When it’s a hard question and trying not to ask for help.

Bekki French

RE and history because I do not believe in God and find the Romans and everything just a little bit boring. [I don’t teach Bekki history!]

Aaron Spanish

Sometimes I find it hard to peer assess when they have got a lot of it right and there’s nothing to write and sometimes you have to be honest and hurt people’s feelings.

Stephanie Spanish

I finds that criticising someone is hard as I don’t want to be harsh on them and I don’t want to offend them.

Luke music

I think that I have put all my effort into a piece of work but sometimes I don’t get all of the marks. It would help if I could learn about what I didn’t get right.

Freya M music

I think that the most difficult thing is always trying to reach the level you want because you always want gold and sometimes it’s not possible-depends which subject you are in.

Ethan English

Celebrating the success of others because I want to do well as well but I don’t want to disappoint others.

Eve English

In English the hardest target is my spellings although I do practice them, they never seem to stay in my head. Maybe I could get some spelling sheets or tips how to remember them.

Macy English

I find it hard to compare my work other students because I feel worried that I don’t do enough and it isn’t good enough.

Jordan English

The best aspect of growth mind set is making mistakes as you have not failed you’ve just found a way not to do something.

Kieran science

I find DIRT really hard but I like it that way so that I can push myself.

Mae science

I don’t think that it’s all of the time but I just give up after a bit and if it’s hard and I can’t do something, I get frustrated.

Katie science

When I give feedback I have to make sure it’s right before I say its right and the same if it’s wrong. You could help by putting the answers on the board and come over to everyone and makes sure that I have marked it right.

Sarah English

I think the hardest thing is not giving up because sometimes you feel you can’t do something and it’s hard to just carry on. I think the teachers and the growth mind set PowerPoints help keep us all motivated.

James English

I find staying motivated the hardest especially if I make similar mistakes lots of times.

And finally my favourite!

Eva English

Saying “I can’t do it yet” because self-confidence is hard-to help us we should have lessons on growth mind set with activities.

Thank you Eva-yes we should and in year 7 the learning tutors have a programme to help to introduce the concepts and in our previous posts you can see how individual teachers have been introducing GM into their lessons. At the end of the year we will share ideas again and think about which strategies work best and chat about evidence of impact we might have seen. Jen, our subject leader for maths, sees a natural relationship between the teaching of maths and GM, especially as the curriculum/G.C.S.E. requirements are changing. In between the Learning Walk interviews she asked me to drop in on 2 different maths lessons where she was introducing new GM ideas [I’ll share these in another post] and was saying that the year 10 students found it hard to think ‘YET’-when they are finding a topic hard they shout “I can’t do it” and they know the “YET” bit is coming but getting there seems a long way off! I suggested that she needs to help them to think about getting to YET by trying to consider different possible strategies-we have to teach them, and model,  how to think strategically when they get stuck-they can’t just tough it out and come up with something. Thinking of the mantra 3BME or similar, I suggested [being in maths!] a formula for them to consider of 3BY-3 ideas to try to get to YET-see how it goes!

How will developing a Meols Cop Mind-Set help you in college, university and employment? What are the key learning strengths that you want to put on your CV that describe you best [and will persuade others that you are worth interviewing/employing?]

Many schools are keen to tell you about the qualities that they seek to instil in their learners and have a mixture of very grand Latin and English visionary statements. How realistic a view they provide of their finished products; I couldn’t say but I wanted to know what our students actually feel MCHS develops in their psyche and mental preparation for their life beyond us. Sometimes in surveys students tell you what you want to hear-I tried not to help them too much with the question if they asked me so I didn’t get answers back that lauded us without justification or that used language that wasn’t theirs. To conclude another mega long post, here are some of their words that ‘walk the talk’ for us.

Caris History

I feel it will help me in college as I will engage in all topics and my weaknesses will improve as I grow more confident in areas I struggle in

Thomas computer studies

It will help me learn that you need to focus on the positives and on marginal gains. I want to be able to put on my CV how long I have been programming the knowledge I have learnt at Meols Cop and how I can apply these skills in the work environment or under exam pressure.

Jake business studies

By developing a MCHS mind set I can see the experience of dedication and hard work in my future when I’m reaching for targets in the work place. The key points I want to show is how well I can peer moderate and how effective it is to other learners/workers. This will improve chances of employment as it shows how I can work in a team.

Eden child development

It will help me in the future because we will know what steps we can take to improve and we will be able to push ourselves so that we are working to the best of our ability.

Ellie M music

It is good to have a MCHS mind set to help you because youre going to help you-youre not going to give up, youll go for it in college, university and jobs.

Alice music

Using the Meols Cop mind set would encourage us to have a positive attitude towards learning in the future. It would push us not to give up if something became difficult. The key learning strengths I would include would be my open-ness to making improvements.

Paige maths

If you do well in school and are able to work as a team but can also work well independently, that may persuade employers to give you a job. If you are resilient and dont give in too easily that may also be good for your CV as it would make you a good and confident worker.

Ellie O Spanish

We learn from our mistakes and strive to be the best. This will help us because we want to do better and it gives us motivation.

Emma G science

Being honest when peer assessing another persons work even if its a friend, because it will help them improve more. Be more independent and critical towards yourself so you can get even better.

Nour English

I am independent during revision and work lessons but can help others when they are in need. I am also organised when it comes to HWK/revision at home as I use my planner often and I have a timetable I usually stick by-but I dont try to overwork myself-I do that in school! [She does too!]

Amie English

It will help me because it will mean at college and university I will find it easier to focus and get my work done. Also it has meant I can be more independent in my work and revision because I have more confidence in myself.

Eleanor English

I keep going and Im independent and Im prepared to work hard for something I really want.

I think it would be really useful if the PPTS used in lessons could be out on the VLE so I can go over it again.

Frazer science

Having a Meols Cop mind set will help me in college because the teachers here always push you to improve your grades to improve your learning and to get the grades employers want.

Laura dance

I feel Meols Cop has made me much more independent and confident. It has taught me how to deal with and improve from my mistakes and has taught me to be positive and stay motivated no matter how hard it may get-it will be worth it.

Katie dance

It will help me become more independent and understand when I have made mistakes and help me understand how I never giving up and keeping trying will eventually bring success. My key learning strengths are that Ive become dedicated and passionate about my learning.

James French

Developing my mind set will help me to achieve higher results in college and university, even if I dont think its possible. My learning strengths are that I have a very critical mind towards my work and always aspire to do the best I possibly can.

Ryan maths

We are told never give up and to always push yourself to make yourself better-this will help us all to be better in college, university and even jobs.

Charlotte maths

It will help me see my mistakes and when I revise them Ill get it right next time AND Ill keep going until I do.

Ilona maths

Mainly commitment and dedication; attempting and trying to be the best I can be regardless of anything or anybody.

Sam maths

Stay hardworking and committed if it gets hard and learn from your mistakes. If you follow all of the 6Cs you will become the perfect employee. Make marginal gains if you are struggling.

Tanisha maths

They teach us never to give up and give us advice that we like to hear and believe.

Fern maths

Developing a MCMS will help with teamwork and it helps with the ability not to give up when something gets hard. [Mostly for university and employment]

Lucy music

Using the mind-set allows me to do things that help others and to motivate myself to get the grades I need to get a good job and to put on my CV. Being encouraged to do extra-curricular activities has developed social skills to put on my CV.

Bethany RS music

Using a Meols Cop mind set will help me in college/university because it tells me not to give up and dont quit without doing the best that you can do.

Bethany J business studies

That Meols Cop helps push you to reach your target grades or above as they dont ever leave you if you are falling behind or stuck. Sessions are always on after school which is also more encouraging to know.

Alex business studies

I will be able to identify my weaknesses and work to improve on them as I would like to put on my CV that Im able to criticise myself and work to improve as I believe that this is a key skill.

Joe RE

Im not afraid to try something-I take it in my stride and I can take comments to improve my work instead of getting disheartened.

Shauna child development

It can help you to be positive about your learning so that you can be good at what you want to be. It pushes you to be a better person later in life.

Rosie child development

So you always know how to improve and how to identify your weaknesses so you can constantly be bettering yourself and can help others to improve in their work as well.

Thank you for reading our blog, especially of you haven’t visited it before-hope you enjoyed our student talk. After half-term I’ll share how our NQTs and their lesson studies are developing.

British Values

We have a variety of surveys throughout the year to ask our students about different aspects of their learning and teaching-some are whole school and some are subject specific. Once or twice a year I do like to involve the whole school via tutor group time, in a more philosophical speaking and listening exercise. It’s important that as they become young adults, our students have the opportunity to discuss and be made aware of, some of the big issues that school doesn’t always offer curriculum time to. Their opinions will matter very much to our nation in a few years’ time-they are our future electorate and future of the UK-most schools would accept that they should prepare their students academically, socially and culturally for the responsibility that will be theirs-we do!

In the last week before Xmas and first 2 weeks of 2015, every tutor group has been given a set of questions about British Values [and school values] to discuss and feedback to our school community via our bulletin, posters and this blog. The topic was chosen because it has become a much discussed topic in education [and beyond] along with ‘resilience’ and ‘grit’ [check out our growth mind-set blogs] and I wanted to gather the views of the most important people in our school-our students! I don’t want to see British Values being ‘done’ to our students because Ofsted or politicians want evidence of it-no tick boxes-I want to see if they have an opinion and what it is. That should provide current evidence should we [and they] wish to action some of their suggestion re school and consider curriculum gaps where they suggest we might discuss British Values and Meols Cop values further.

It goes without saying that in this type of discussion the political views of teachers are not aired with the students; great care is asked to be taken with how the discussions are shaping so that no students feel uncomfortable and as a secular school, our values should reflect no political, religious or any other ‘group’ value other than MCHS and our community. During the chosen weeks, however, the terrorist incident in Paris occurred and this was added to conversations about the freedom of speech, if appropriate and this could include other issues around the world e.g. Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan, to talk further about our own democratic values and freedoms. I shared a set of great resources compiled by another blogger Emma Kell @thosethatcan https://t.co/MPfW3EQM6Z to help discuss the French situation which, although the current debate involves some very difficult and confusing concepts, [for adults!] may have raised questions that our students wanted to pursue. Again caution was requested in choosing the suitability of any resources. Greg Thornton shared another resource he had found to make British Values easier to understand for his year 7 form, which was shared with all staff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HsxDiVdcyA

The questions asked of each form were these.

01 02 03 04 05 06 07

The curriculum areas where British Values was covered already, according to the students was in PSD and RE with smidgeons in history, English and RE. The actual descriptors covered least were;

An understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process;

An understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that while some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence.

I used the DFE descriptors rather than giving student friendly sentences and the separation of power was difficult for them to understand even with guidance. 8HW commented, ‘Don’t do anything about that – what does it even mean?’

The values that they thought were more important than the others covered a range, apart from 1 and 3 but probably more went for 2 and 4.

An appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety;

 

An understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law;

 

8AM said- “We feel that number 4 is more important than the others for people in our country because we have to accept that we have people who live here from other countries.

If it wasn’t protected in law then people would not feel safe expressing their feelings” whilst a couple of forms thought that no 5 was becoming more and more important as we became increasingly more multi-cultural.

An acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour;

 

Some students felt that the current list of values covered similar values to what they would have chosen If you were to draw up a list of ‘British Values’ would you choose anything different? Why?-whilst interesting additional ‘values’ suggestions included a greater focus on combatting racism, no family in the UK should go hungry and all should have access to food [food banks] 7GT considered the attacks in France and then sir told me that “this came up during out talks about the French attacks. Pupils in my form are torn on the issue of free speech. Many feel that you should be allowed an opinion on anything, this includes religion but many of the form believe there should be a line drawn when people feel discriminated or targeted. They all do however believe that we should be allowed to have a say and opinion over this, as we do naturally and we should be allowed to say it without a risk of violence.”

The discussion focus for the questionDoes your group think that ‘British Values’ are any different to the values other countries may have?-tended to talk about countries who lack many of the rights and freedoms that we take for granted. China and its 1 baby policy was mentioned as was the secret state of North Korea, religious intolerance in Israel and lack of freedom of speech in Russia but more general comments were made about the fact that they felt that we had freedom of choice over religion, we have a separate judiciary and we have a voice. Some other countries they felt were sexist and racist and that in the Middle East some countries lacked respect for women, gave them no clothing rights and discriminated openly against different religions.

As an adult I thought that they might have suggested that many countries had very similar values to us and may question the idea of ‘Britishness’ as unique. They didn’t!

I certainly had no preconceptions on how they would answer my question– Why do you think the government has drawn up a list of BVs? Should schools have to follow this list? I suppose that I believe that they should, as active citizens in a democracy, question what they have been asked to do [apart from when I tell them to put their blazer on-could lead to a serious big question about freedom/rights in school!] so I was interested to see if they had picked up on current political rhetoric. Some felt that the list of values was to keep everyone in order, show what you are supposed to do, to know good/bad or to help us to feel safe and secure. –‘to help us grow up in a happy world and a country without war’. One form said that it was important to know British Values from an early age so that you would be less likely to be racist and another said that schools should follow the guidance to help prepare children for their life ahead.

11AO added that ‘Yes they think these values should be followed in school in order to have a respectful and peaceful learning environment. Whereby everyone feels safe to learn.’ 8HW getting their teeth into the debate suggested that they, ‘didn’t know, what’s the point? Shouldn’t we be learning Maths and English instead? Isn’t it what we learn from our families?’

This wasn’t the first time that I’ve asked the question, what are the most important values Meols Cop should have for our students and staff? , and it won’t be the last. I make no apologies for this-is there a more important question for a school to consider and constantly raise with its own students and wider community? There were a range of answers on a similar theme;

  • Treat everyone as equals.
  • Don’t judge others by their appearance.
  • Students and staff should respect and tolerate the differences in each other, so everyone feels safe and happy at school.
  • Make sure people are fair.
  • Freedom of speech.
  • To feel safe and have access to a good education.
  • Respect the promotion of individuality.
  • Freedom to express ourselves and our values and beliefs-free from discrimination and prejudice.
  • Respect and appreciation of others in the school.
  • Working hard to improve yourselves.
  • Everyone has a say but also having someone in charge.
  • Mutual respect for all – treat others as you would like to be treated.

 

7ZE took the discussion another way;

7ZE consider the following things to be British:

Proud of WW1 and WW2

Respectful of other faiths/religions

NHS

The Queen

Victorian and Tudors – still see the buildings

Fish and Chips, All day breakfasts

Football

Rights to Education, housing

Equal rights for everybody

And Miss E’s favourite…

Top hats, canes and monocles.

It wouldn’t be a student survey if some didn’t mention their own lack of freedom in school! The earring rule probably isn’t about to change but the students have the right to raise their grievances and we need to explain why some of our rules exist.

Interestingly none of the students  mentioned that schools should have the freedom not to teach what they were told e.g. British Values if they didn’t wish to for whatever reason and nor was it easy for them to consider where the lines of freedom should be drawn. Some were uneasy with the cartoons ridiculing religion or any hint of unpleasant words or deeds towards others who were different in race, gender, religion and so on and as 7TE said, ‘it’s a free country, we have many religions and beliefs in Britain and we all need to live happily together’

I did mention on our bulletin that I would share this blog for parents to see today and will add other comments as they are emailed to me. Thank you to all for sharing both personal and group ideas; I’ve enjoyed reading them and hope that the freedom in which each student was allowed to express themselves openly, honestly and without prejudice is something our young adults of the future will always defend and cherish.

 

 

 

Great Learners should….

I shared my beliefs in which skills teachers at MCHS should be developing in last week’s blog as a response to developments that our school has embraced and as part of our constantly evolving journey to be simply the best teachers and school that we can.

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Without the interaction of our students in our development of learning and teaching, their support and their own clear understanding of their role as great learners whatever we try would simply fail. I’m absolutely convinced that the time and effort we have put into involving the students in discussions, surveys and decisions about THEIR learning has paid dividends in terms of progress, exam results, Ofsted grades and their own increasing aspirations, attitudes towards learning and self and peer evaluative skills.  Not everything we have tried has worked-we learn from our failures [my failures!!] and move on and for all of the collaborative team building and learning opportunities we have provided-the behaviour for learning policy and pursuit of attendance, uniform and punctuality  has also helped to support great learning [plus a couple of million quid on lovely resources!]

We really began to work on developing the learning skills of our students to reinforce subject specific skills at the same time as L2L, Claxton’s R’s, PLTS, RSA Opening Minds and SEAL were doing the rounds and I read them all and digested what I liked before, as usual, saving lots of money by writing our own competencies that fitted in exactly with what our students and staff needed. I saw a school at a RATL conference talking about their Cs-they didn’t share much more than the names in a short presentation-and by the time my train had pulled into Southport, I’d thought of C’s the Day and COMMITMENT, CONCENTRATION, COLLABORATION, CREATIVE, CONSIDER [ATE] and COMMUNICATION-6 vital skills which our students often lacked and which would support their classroom learning and development as young adults. I wrote and compiled a set of resources and ideas for each C and launched it with year 7 parents and students at parent’s evening and year 7 learning tutors had a set of resources to work through in tutor time. There was a different C each half-term and I led an off timetable session of activities based on the relevant C for the year group. To ensure that the Cs were used by teachers, our 3rd or 4th learning objective became a C on lesson plans for observations and student received certificates, stickers and medals to support the idea. Interestingly we knew the ideas were sticking in their memories when our surveys asking the students which qualities great learners should have often repeated the Cs back at us!

This doesn’t mean that they were having an impact though and we used Sport’s Week and other methods in lessons to use the BSG criteria to allow explicit progress/development to be made in each C.  The COLLABORATION and CONSIDERATE C’s are below with some of the activities I wrote for tutors to use if form to consolidate the understanding of the skill. [There are 100’s of slides!-should have sold the idea!]
 

I like to work in a group or with a partner but can’t resist having a quick chat!

I work hard when I collaborate but I don’t like to be the leader or spokesperson.

I will take on any collaborative role and like my group to be successful.

I enjoy group work but tend to sit back and let others         organise and wait until they tell me what to do.

I try to join in group discussions/work but get     frustrated when I don’t get my own way.

I try to get everyone to stay on task and to compromise when need be.

I can gather information and say what I think but am not confident in    using the                    information to present a case.

I like to help to present a case and enjoy discussions but sometimes I realise that my         evidence isn’t persuasive enough.

I think really hard about what is needed to persuade the class to agree with our case. I try to think of what others may argue and propose in order to counter them.

 

I do what I am asked in class but don’t usually ask questions about it unless I am stuck.

If something interests me I like to ask my teacher to tell me more about it.

When we are studying something new or interesting I go and find out more about it for myself.

I like to present lots of information about events and issues, if they interest me.

I like to find out why events/issues happen and gather evidence about it. I like to give my opinion about it too.

I am interested in finding out about all sides of a story,explaining the views and adding my thoughts based on the evidence.

I don’t feel too comfortable when we have to peer assess, especially if I don’t agree with what is said about my work.

I enjoy self and peer assessing but sometimes I am too nice and don’t offer honest advice.

I try to be honest and use the guidelines to be constructive and offer specific advice to help my partner reach their potential.

I prefer to keep my feelings to myself and I don’t like to discuss ‘me’. I do try to be kind to other people who I like.

I can express my feelings to people I trust and try to make sure that no one gets left out in class. I am a good friend.

I am honest with my feelings and accept the views of others. I can work with other people who are not my specific friends and will be supportive of their learning.

02 03 04 05

 

The big sessions with me involved lots of running around the hall and hopefully some relevant discussions of key issues too! I was also modelling some different teaching strategies for the teachers who watched the sessions.

06 07 08  We still use the Cs, and they are still relevant 6 years after I first trialled them-a student who displays GOLD level Cs will undoubtedly be an asset to every classroom in our school BUT my attention has really turned to a much more specific focus on some general great learning attributes and, of late, much more subject specific skills. When, before our last Ofsted we discussed what great learning and teaching should look like at Meols Cop; teachers, for the first time, wanted the students to be involved and to decide, as the teachers had, which were the skills that learners should bring to every lesson. This was our ‘Learning and Teaching Policy’ and adorned the walls so that everybody could see what had been agreed. Much is still relevant; although we would probably add more recent initiatives.

Learning and Teaching the Meols Cop Way

 Your teachers want all of the students in their lessons to enjoy and be engaged with their learning, to make outstanding progress and to feel valued, respected and safe.  By learning together we can help you to reach your aspirations, achieve academic success and acquire skills that will support your development as a global citizen after school.

Teachers at Meols Cop will always try to be the best that they can by: Students at Meols Cop will always try to be the best that they can by:
  • ·     Having an excellent subject knowledge which inspires students.
  • ·     Developing and encourage positive relationships are established where students feel safe and valued.
  • ·     Sharing with the class at an appropriate time, clear learning objectives and success criteria.
  • ·     Welcoming you to the lesson and begin learning immediately with a motivating starter.
  • ·     Involving YOU interactively with YOUR learning for the majority of the lesson.
  • ·     Differentiating your tasks so that they are inclusive to all of YOUR needs.
  • ·     Ensuring that the pace and challenge of lessons carefully matches YOUR learning needs.
  • ·     Planning and teaching lessons with a variety of activities and resources.
  • ·     Using mini plenaries/reviews/ to continually challenge you to check your learning progress and offer support and oral feedback when needed.
  • ·     Encouraging you and guiding you to self and peer assess your own learning and to set yourselves subject specific targets to move YOUR learning onwards.
  • ·     Assessing your class-learning and home-learning a.s.a.p. and sustaining a high level of questioning dialogue / specific subject feedback between YOU and your teacher.
  • ·     Providing scaffolds and guidelines to explain clearly what YOU need to do to be successful with individual pieces of learning.
  • ·     Giving you the opportunity to learn and develop life-long skills such as literacy, numeracy and the 6Cs.
  • ·     Grabbing your creative imaginations and making you be good problem solvers, reflective thinkers and always motivated to challenge yourselves.
  • ·     Interactively using the IWB.
  • ·     Offering the correct advice and support in option pathways and future educational and employment opportunities.
 

  • ·    Being organised and fully equipped for each day and each lesson.
  • ·    Arriving for each lesson punctually and ready to learn.
  • ·    Participating as much as possible in each lesson by being active learners.
  • ·    Realising that it doesn’t matter if you get a question wrong-at Meols Cop we use mistakes positively to learn from.
  • ·    Taking every chance you can to teach others-it is the best way to become an outstanding learner.
  • ·    Giving 100% to every activity and seeking to continually challenge yourself to improve.
  • ·    Staying on task throughout the lesson and aiming to Go for Gold.
  • ·    Working out YOUR best learning style but making sure that you are proficient at different ones.
  • ·    Aiming at aspirational targets in every subject and never settling for second best or the easy option.
  • ·    Checking your progress at regular intervals in the lessons and asking questions of your OWN learning.
  • ·    Supporting the learning of others with honest positive peer assessment.
  • ·    Trying your best to be enthusiastic and engaged.
  • ·    Sometimes realising that learning isn’t always fun but the end result has massive rewards!
  • ·    Motivating yourselves when the going gets tough and being resilient learners.
  • ·    Ensuring home-learning is completed on time.
  • ·    Reading your feedback carefully and responding with subject specific responses to achieve your set targets.
  • ·    Developing your literacy, numeracy and 6Cs skills by following the bronze, silver, gold criteria.
  • ·    Asking questions of YOUR own learning and evaluating your learning.
  • ·    Collaborating with other students and supporting their needs as well as your own.

 

 

At the beginning of this academic year, I took this generic document further and asked all faculties to produce their own faculty version-what should great learning and teaching look like in your faculty? As the teachers completed their own quiz-Super Teachers-highlighting the skills I believed our teachers should have and contribute towards great teaching, so the students had their own quiz in form time, to highlight the skills, super learners should have. This began a series of surveys, learning walks and discussions with them to help them develop the literacy [learnish!] to discuss and evaluate their own and other’s learning at a whole school level permeating into subjects with the constant focus on peer critique, marginal gains and growth mind-set. Subliminal messages were deliberately being given!

11 12 13 14

Super Student-Super Learning! Key Stage 3

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Your learning really matters! Are you at full learning power all of the time? Use the quiz to help you have a good think about how well you are learning and set yourself some achievable learning targets that can energise and fuel your learning this school year.

Give yourself the suggested mark if you think that you have achieved the skill or demonstrate it for most of your lessons and learning

Learning skill

Total

Learning in classAre you ready to learn every lesson? 5Do you always have the correct equipment? 5Are you always on time every lesson? 5Do you listen carefully to instructions? 5

Do you begin your learning straightaway? 5

Do you try to think positively about lessons and not moan too much! 5

Do you try your best to be an interactive learner and contribute as much as you can 5

Do you collaborate well with others and play an active part on group work? 5

Do you know the 6Cs are and think about them when you are learning? 5

You always treat everyone  [and their ideas]with respect 5

 

How tough is your learning mind set?When the learning gets tough-you try to tackle it on your own to begin with 5You think where have I met this before-how did I solve it before 5You might ask a partner for specific help and be ready to help someone who asks you 5You enjoy a good learning challenge and like to be pushed hard 5

You won’t give up easily and accept that getting things wrong sometimes is part of learning 5

You can accept useful criticism and use it positively 5

 

Taking responsibility for your own learning progressYou check the criteria for successful task completion or the learning objectives to make sure that you are on the right track 5You are always ready to prove to the teacher how well your learning is going 5You keep thinking in your head how you can get to the next stage of learning 5You know specifically which areas of each subject you find the most difficult and actively seek to do something to improve your weakness 5

You work on small areas of learning to improve and not a huge area –you get the gist of marginal gains!  5

Progress grades and marks really matter to you 5

You are on target or above in the majority of your subjects 5

If you aren’t on target, you know or have asked how to get back on target 5

 

Thinking about learningDo you use skills you have learned in some lessons in other lessons? 5When you have to use your literacy skills in lessons other than English, do you stop and recall how to make the best use of them and use them to make your learning better? 5Same for numeracy-do you use the skills you learn in maths equally as well in other subjects? 5Do you always answer the written feedback in your books in detail and remember to use the advice given? 5

When peer assessing, do you always FISH and give specific advice? 5

Do you take self and peer assessment seriously and want your classmates to achieve well in their learning? 5

Do you use DIRT well AND actually seek out further challenge if the feedback is too easy for you! 5

 

Communicating about your learning and developing the ‘language of learning’Do you always try to use subject specific language 5Are you confident enough to explain a difficult concept using the correct subject terminology? 5If you can’t remember some of the key words-do you try not to give up and explain in your words to begin with before checking? 5Do you want to re-draft your work so it is nearly perfect and only needs a few tweaks to make it superb before you hand it in? 5

 

BFLYou have no MCs 5You have lost of praises 5You have received Progress Star nominations 5The above things matter to you 5

 

Home LearningIs handed in on time on every lesson 5Is completed well to the success criteria in every lesson 5You enjoy producing the best home learning that you possibly can 5

 

You and schoolIs your attendance and punctuality 100%? 5Do you take part in extra-curricular activities? 5Do you eat and drink properly? 5Do you exercise physically at least once a day? 5

When another student is unhappy-do you help them? 5

Are you always as kind and nice as you can be to other people? 5

You can think why the above questions help learning 5

 

Add up your scoresIf you got above 70 you should be really proud of our contribution to your own learning and everybody else’s!

 

You might think that some other things should have been mentioned/your form might have come up with others-give yourself extra marks  As you were doing the quiz, you may have begun to realise that you need to work on some areas of your learning-give yourself marks for each skill you realised you need to work on BUT only if you have thought of a plan to help you improve.

 

 

Our winter 2014 Learning Walk raised questions with the students I interviewed to find out how some of the new ideas were impacting on their learning and pushed them to explain and evaluate their own responses to different teaching and assessment strategies in the subject I had ‘borrowed’ them from.

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I also asked questions about the marking in the subject, looked at their books with them, asked them which marking helped them best that subject and across the school and asked them to explain their answers and provide evidence to support their answer. The answers were shared with their subject teachers and written up for staff and students [and anyone else] to read in our blog and on the bulletin.  http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=535 I then asked the teachers to delve further into their student’s minds and views about the teaching they were receiving-we need to ask because ‘great’ learners should have an opinion! Quick ideas for further discussions with students are below and focused on explaining to the teachers why such questions were useful for them. In the context of this blog, the questions raise questions that great learners should ask and know the answers to and was again aimed at developing their ‘learnish’

“To delve further into new initiatives/areas that may have been weak before

1] How has our marking changed? Is it better or worse? How effective is it in supporting your learning-please provide evidence of when our feedback has helped you improve your subject learning.

2] Is there anything else that we could do to improve our feedback [you see marking across the school-what could we borrow?]

3] Which of our teaching tactics really help you the most-can you prove it to us?

4] Is there anything that you are worried about regarding any aspect of the course or feel that you need help with-please be honest and let us know?”

In depth research

Some of our teachers are prepared to be brave and ask searching questions of the students that may result in answers that suggest a weakness in aspects of their teaching. Great teachers [and leaders] actively seek out weaknesses so they can remedy them.  If we really are interested in promoting a ‘growth mind set’ and’ purposeful practice’ with our students, encouraging them to be resilient, accept honest criticism and learn from mistakes-surely as professionals we have to have the same mind-set and be prepared to use evidence gleaned from students and our whole monitoring process to make our own ‘marginal gains’ The information is a valid for use in our new portfolio of evidence to self-evaluate each teacher’s contribution to whole school quality of teaching including lesson study, peer observations, exam residuals, book monitoring and collaborative support.

Really focused questions like these can provide us with the evidence we need to shift our practice to be the best it can e.g.

Am I giving you enough time to check your feedback and respond to it/plan how you will use it and show me that you have successfully achieved my feedback?

Am I giving you the opportunity to check that you have successfully met my feedback-am I verifying it and celebrating your learning success?

Do I give you the chance to give me your best learning to assess? Do I let you re-draft/highlight key areas of learning [best bits/bits you need checking]?

Do you get the chance to record my verbal feedback-respond to it, check that I have successfully achieved it, have it verified and celebrated?

Are you confident that the self/peer critique we are using is accurate enough to give you confidence in it? Is the criteria friendly enough, is there chance to discuss, compromise and verify?”

Our NTEN lesson study always asks the students for their opinions and advice after the lesson;

Post Lesson Questionnaire

Name:
What was the point of this lesson?  
What did you learn?  
What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?  
What worked in this lesson?  
What did you enjoy most about the lesson?  
What didn’t work in this lesson?  
What didn’t you like about the lesson?  
What would you recommend is changed about this lesson if it is taught again next year to another group?  

 

The students do need help to access the language that filling in forms like these needs-specific subject advice, explain the words you use-not great, rubbish etc.-tell us why. This in itself needs time and patience, if we are to develop the ‘talk’ about learning that will make a difference. Lots of teachers ask the students to fill in forms about their teaching-be honest and admit that most are done in the last 5 minutes without any explanation or support-we can do better-it is important!

Next term sees the introduction of our new schemes of learning and assessment/reporting system that takes us beyond national curriculum levels. As teachers we have discussed as a whole team and as faculties what are the desirable skills and knowledge that we believe our students should be taught. We are dictated to by the national curriculum, examination syllabuses and other external forces to a much larger extent than we would like BUT supporting the development of great learner attributes is ours to develop, with the consent and agreement of our students and parents. My proposals are here and although I think, and hopefully staff will agree, that I’ve got it right-I’ll ask for student opinions in autumn.

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Great Learning at Meols Cop High School

Being a great learner doesn’t just happen or come easily-it requires hard work and the development over time of many skills and attributes to complement and support your subject specific knowledge and skills learning. Each subject has its own learning mastery for you to evaluate your progress against BUT without your Meols Cop ‘Great Learning’ development, you will find subject mastery difficult to achieve.

Bronze

Silver

Gold

You are aware of the 6Cs and always aim for the gold standard You are working at the gold criteria in every 6C You are able to motivate yourself, perhaps aiming towards a target that you have set yourself beyond school. You know how success in this subject will support your future opportunities
You are aware of the key reading, writing, speaking and listening skills that are needed in this subject to be a successful learner and achieve subject mastery You always stop and recall how literacy/numeracy skills can help your learning in this subject and use them!You know the subject specific knowledge and skills off by heart that will achieve your subject mastery You are aware of the key questions, command words and mark scheme requirements in this subject that will bring you examination success.
You recognise that some skills you use in and learned about in a different subject, can be used in this subject too to help your learning You spin your ‘metacogs’ without your teacher reminding you and are able to evaluate the impact of your chosen strategy You develop a set of your own learning questions that you ask about your own learning and that you will raise in class with your teacher and others so that you are pushing your learning to the limits
You try your best to be positive about your learning in this subject and try to participate enthusiastically. You think; “I can do it” and are developing into a resilient learner. You enjoy the success of others in your class too-you help them if they are struggling and know that teaching others helps your own learning You want to work with students who are stronger than you to push yourself-not to copy but to engage with them and challenge your own learning-you know that there is always going to be someone cleverer, faster, and stronger!
You are prepared to look for any small piece of learning that you have found tricky and challenging and conquer it! You focus on your weaknesses and know that you might need to spend a long time perfecting them. You will try to use your prior knowledge to help but will actively seek advice if you need to You can plan time-tables, set your own targets and STICK to them! You have a life outside of school but know there are times when learning has to happen and you can make yourself do it!
You always have the right equipment and are ready to learn from the moment you enter the classroom in this subject You know the importance of certain lessons e.g. assessment, revision, controlled assessment and are absolutely ‘up’ for them. You attend any extra support that is offered willingly and positively! You might need to contribute to additional materials and resources to support your revision/learning. You keep your parents involved and talk to them/use them for revision along with revision partners
Your behaviour is supportive of great individual and class learning and you have no MCs. You are respectful and helpful to other students and adults in your class You will lead learning and take responsibility for ‘flipped learning’, ‘co-construction’, take leadership roles You lead other classes and students, as well as your own class. When asked in surveys and ‘student voice’ activities you respond honestly and thoughtfully so that your comments and feedback are valuable, valued and help to ensure the most effective learning and teaching for all
You take responsibility for your own self critique as much as possible and know what you have to improve on and work on to achieve subject mastery. You check that you have successfully met feedback advice and that the learning you give in for marking, is as near to perfect as it can be!Get very DIRTY! You use teacher or peer supportive criticism to improve your own learning, respond in detail to dialogue and feedback and can evaluate the impact of the advice on your learningYou are skilled at re-drafting and are prepared to make mistakes until you get the quality you want and know will achieve subject masteryUse DIRT effectively and put up with repetition and ‘going over’ stuff again. If you have successfully achieved your own feedback-you actively seek out a further challenge. If the feedback is too easy-you say so and push yourself upwards and onwards. If you don’t understand the feedback advice-you say so and don’t pretend that you do!
You try to think FISH when peer assessing and provide as much helpful and specific feedback to your classmates as you can You enjoy the verification process and can compromise and are able to adapt advice and prioritise peer advice, deciding what will support your learning the mostYou always provide detailed examples to support others You push peer verifiers to be critical and to provide examples of their suggestions-you know that peer critique can be inaccurate and soft-demand your rights as a Meols Cop ‘GREAT’ learner!
You revise as hard as you can, following guidelines and complete your flight path thoughtfully You are honest about the interventions on the flight path and use the process to work out and tell others, what works best for you.You try to ‘learn as you go’ throughout the year, not waiting until an assessment and the RAG session You can use your flight path to explain your progress to anyone at any time and can explain by using data pf your choice, which intervention [self, peer and teacher] works best for you.
Your home-learning is handed in on time every time it is set and follows the success criteria You don’t need reminders or messages home to want to achieve the best you can every time with home-learning You seek out extra learning when appropriate and begin to find out more about the subject on books/TV/internet to develop your love  for this subject
Your attendance for this subject is above 95% Your attendance is above 97% Your attendance is 100% You are a fit and healthy learner.

 

The skills on here provide an over-arching BSG for each teacher to complete on the progress reports-as with the original Cs, they are designed to complement subject mastery skills and knowledge. Without the right attitude towards learning; progress and learning in any subject will be minimal. We have to help our learners evaluate their own learning needs and support them as they try, fail and eventually make the right choices and decisions re learning for themselves.

 

2014 Winter Learning Walk-what our students told us

Over a period of 10 days, I was able to interview students from every teacher, every year group and of all abilities to ask them a few questions about their learning. I’ve explained the process in some detail on our blogs and why it is so important to both our teachers and our students. The student answers go back to individual teachers and faculty leaders and I use the bulletin to share some of their ideas so that everyone in our community can see them. The basic questions were these;

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There were additional questions asking how marking and feedback was supporting their learning, what was effective about the specific subject they were in at that moment and wider questions about the most effective marking/feedback in school for them as individual learners.

The answers on learning tend to merge together and support the key areas of marginal gains [which was really well received and students gave concrete examples of the efficacy of the approach] and developing a very positive mind-set emanating from the teachers encouraging risk taking and a degree of independence but needing the support of our students as keen learners-as one of the students wrote, “How much we reach goals depends on how much we want to reach them”.

Whilst they mentioned very positively interactive ways of learning that were also fun and engaging such as games, songs, acronyms-they kept stressing that these only worked if they supported the memorising of key concepts and many told me that the repetition of key ideas was great teaching for them. We worry that we might not be engaging them at times but they aren’t’ daft-they realise as a year 7 student wrote, that “you never get perfect without practise”  Another year 7 student added that, “The teacher helps us by going over things again and again-practising skills individually makes the match better.”

They praised the 5 a day approach in maths where the lesson begins by going over key maths concepts to recall prior learning, “5 a day concentrates on little things we need to know”. The year 9 students liked tackling the same question/different answer approach in which they wrote down 1 thing they couldn’t do last week and 1 thing they could do. Miss then asked a question on the thing they couldn’t do and this was peer assessed before Miss verified the answer.

They were keen to receive constructive criticism and enjoyed the step by step approach and individual explanations and modelling of answers-no spoon-feeding-they wanted the satisfaction of solving challenges themselves! “I like to be reassured that I’m on the right track” Tactics like the Consequence Wheel in Geography and Marginal Gains Wheels in art and PE helped them to pick out areas to improve on along with any RAG [red, amber, green] approaches to post assessment self-evaluation in maths and science. They liked focus groups and practice workshops in history which homed in on particular weakness that needed addressing and liked going through mark schemes and being talked through how to structure answers.

Individual praise of good effort and application was appreciated by many students-“Sir praised me and it made me feel good about myself. It made me up my game and this helped my team when they needed help.”  [David Moyes are you listening!] Most mentioned the challenge and constant risk taking they were encouraged to do and 1 student told me that they liked the teacher to answer YET when any student said that they couldn’t do something!

Group work always goes down well as a teaching tactic-how much it helps learning depends on the organisation of it but a couple of year 11 students made really valid points about working with others; “Working with others who think differently is a positive experience as it expands your knowledge and the way you think”, “It is important to consider things that people who are in perhaps a different mind-set from me think about. For me it works best to ask my peers their opinions and share mine. It is good to see what we agree or disagree on and why”.

I’ve shared our ‘bottom line’ marking/feedback requirements on quite a few of the blogs and the value of, and guidelines for self and peer assessment/critique plus lots of examples of feedback in action. Very briefly I would expect to see marking that was regular, provided subject specific advice and targets, and gives the students the opportunity to read the advice and to respond with dialogue, to have their work checked to see that the advice had been successfully met and to include some of the important whole school initiatives such as DIRT [dedicated improvement and reflection time] and re-drafting. I would also expect to see peer and self-assessment that included friendly success criteria, verification and discussion and FISH-[friendly, specific, supportive and honest advice given]. I wouldn’t expect all subjects to mark in exactly the same way-they are very different but the basic principles are good ’uns!

The older students were all agreed that marking has moved on over their time with us and supports their learning far better than it did 5 years ago. All of the students kept saying that they wanted to know what they had done well and what they have to do to do better. They really appreciated the DIRT time given in science to reflect on their feedback but gave lots of very different approaches that they liked and more important could tell me the impact it had had on improving an aspect of their learning. The use of questions written for the students to answer was particularly well received and when used these re-capped weakness, went over areas that “we need to improve on”, “things we struggle with”, highlight mistakes and so on. One student wrote that the questions, “help me to expand my mind and to think outside of the box” and another that,” the teachers leave questions which extend our learning and give us time to answer them which also refreshes my memory of things learned in the past”. Brilliant! Learning doesn’t take place after 20 minutes or 1 lesson-knowledge and skills need revisiting, repeating and driven into memories until they stick!

They are wary of peer and self-assessment/critique-it has to be done really well to ensure accuracy and utility-“I like the teacher to mark with specific feedback so I know how to improve truthfully-she knows what she is on about!” “She is a professional” someone else said. When peers critique works well, the students find it really useful.  In business studies they use Google docs to assess each other’s learning-Sir adds a comment and each of the business buddies add a comment and they can access each other’s task. “I can see other work-this doesn’t mean that I am copying but can take it into consideration when-If I am on a B, I can look at someone on an A” Celebrating and enjoying the success of others is a key growth mind set factor and openly sharing [as our school does with our blogs externally and internal collaboration] can only develop a truly supportive environment in which to learn in.

The younger students like to use technology too to self and peer asses-Edmodo in ICT allows them to post comments and advice re each other’s learning. You might think this would end up with silly comments but it doesn’t; they take it very seriously and feel that the support of their classmates as well as the teacher encourages strong learning.

Of the paper based marking the students mentioned almost every subject and pleasingly some which hadn’t always marked as well as others. STAR marking in maths was very popular [lots of tweets with this on have whizzed around the country]-it gave good clear advice and tended to have S [strength]  completed by the students reflecting on their learning, T [target] set by the student or peer, A [action], teacher advice and R[response] by the student. Sometimes a ‘real life’ extra question was tagged on. Older students enjoyed the challenge of the history marking and its verification whilst the year 7 students like the history questions that reinforced their learning. Some liked their science using peer critique followed by self-critique followed by teacher verification and others liked the MFL challenges and RE progress sheets which offered peer, self and teacher comments and feedback.  Drama students liked having the success criteria shared and being given enough time to self/peer assess and English students found the helpful setting out of the feedback made it clear what needed to be done next to improve. Oral feedback was praised in the practical subjects and the walks were followed up by reinforcing methods of recording and verifying feedback has been met following from teacher advice. Some oral feedback was given following group exercises to the whole group and individuals within it and some subjects e.g. music used the popular 2 stars and a wish approach to providing a framework for feedback. SPaG marking [spelling punctuation and grammar] was praised in science and PAR [praise, action, response] worked well in art where the students liked answering the action question and setting their own target as a response. Miss or a peer can then verify that the target has been met in a future piece of learning.

 I hate having to mention Ofsted but book scrutiny is providing inspectors with evidence of learning/progress over time and has proved recently to have been a crucial element of the final inspection grade. For us it is part of our holistic approach in evaluating individual contributions to the quality of teaching at Meols Cop and it is vital that we seek out the best practice that there is within school and externally to provide the best feedback and dialogue that there is. Any great marking on blogs, tweets, courses and books is relayed back to our staff. Our student voice and Learning Walk supports our monitoring and CPD and provides evidence for individual teachers to reflect on their own practice. It was a great learning experience for me too!

Thank you to all the students who took part and to my colleagues for allowing the students out of their classes to help me. If any parent or carer would like to ask me more-I’d be delighted to respond! Thank you for reading.

Walking Back to Happiness

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Our year 9 students who interview prospective teachers and take them on tours of the school have just come to the end of their tenure to be replaced by a year 8 team. Schools listen to students and use their ‘voice’ in different ways. Parents may think that children are listened to far more than they use to be and perhaps they have too many ‘rights’ and too much to say-some teachers may agree! But the students can provide us with really useful support and vital evidence and if the methods of asking for their opinions help them to develop skills and knowledge too-brilliant-read on to see if you think that we are listening in a productive way for all concerned.

Walking Back to Happiness

The Learning Walks always make me happy! Any opportunity to talk to our students about their learning is an enjoyable and worthwhile experience and hopefully there is a feeling of mutual pleasure back albeit aided by chocolate! ‘Learning’ is a much debated, often misunderstood concept but it is our core business and both staff and students need to have a clear understanding of what ‘visible learning’ looks like to themselves as individual teachers and learners and how best they can either access it or open doors to it. The ‘penny dropping’ moment when learning occurs and sticks is different for individuals and has different triggers but our student voice needs to be consulted to provide valuable information to all concerned in the learning process.  This isn’t to say that the students have suddenly become pedagogical experts and can observe teachers and comment on their effectiveness, as some schools may ask them to do. Teaching is almost as complicated and argued over business as learning is-it is a science and even after my many years of teaching and observing, I never say that one style is better or more effective than another or that I want to see a favoured uniform approach from every teacher in our school.

The students can help us to help them by explaining the methods of teaching and marking that they feel helps their learning and they can provide evidence to support their claims. They can also tell us which areas of the subject they are finding difficult and why. This helps our planning-it would be crazy of us not to ask their opinion-what if a tactic that we felt was great and the most innovative teaching since the National Strategy [not!] wasn’t actually working for them.  We need to know and our students know that when I ask for examples of pedagogy that help them best; I don’t want to hear the word fun repeated 20 times-I want evidence of real learning gains over time. These are tough questions but they need to be asked and the survey as it moves through the classes that I don’t visit to gather evidence for self-evaluation, forces the students to consider their own learning habits and strengthens their own thought process. Nowt like a good think for both reflective learners and teachers!

We don’t buy expensive surveys in-we know our students and we know what we need to ask. The opening questions below,

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cover some of the key issues that we have been discussing across the school, as I mentioned in the previous blog. There are differentiated versions of the questions and the students and teachers know the questions a fair time in advance. The Learning Walk isn’t to catch people doing something wrong-it is to catch them doing something great and then to celebrate it! The buzz words of ‘marginal gains’ and ‘growth mind-set’ are there because many of us think they are good ideas and feel that they may have a positive impact on learning here. BUT we don’t, apart from perhaps literacy across the curriculum and a couple of whole school feedback/dialogue or differentiation issues, introduce initiatives and demand that everybody jumps to their tune. It is easy to have an initiative overload and insist that everybody teaches, and is observed teaching ideas that are new, get lots of coverage and then disappear again! Of course we keep everybody up-dated and have learning hubs ran by interested colleagues and should a colleague feel that SOLO taxonomy, Kagan or an aspect of technological wizardry is for them-brilliant-try it out, tell the rest of us how it went and the impact that it had on learning and we may have some more converts.

The other questions that were asked were centred on marking and feedback-explain how Miss or Sir marks your books, tell me how effective this is in supporting your learning and give me evidence of how you used advice/feedback given to improve your learning.  I then asked which subject or teacher, in their opinion provided them with the marking that supported their needs best. Year 10 and year 11 students were also asked for their perception of how marking had changed across the whole school in their time with us. The big difference between the surveys  we use now and the, “tell us what you like and what you don’t like” ones we use to use when it became popular to use the fashionable phrase, ‘student voice’ is that we actively seek their evidence of the impact on learning and expect them to provide the evidence. My suggested further surveys and purpose for them covers key areas that different faculties need to focus on [messages sent by internal email to all teachers]

“Obviously the depth of info I can gather from 4 students isn’t the same as you can gather from all classes, or selected ones. You wouldn’t expect to ask all of the questions [some are cross-curricular] and would target key areas for your subject or for you as a teacher. These answers may satisfy your FAQs!

Which questions would you focus on if asking lots of classes/students?

I would focus on a couple for the teacher and a couple for their learning e.g. for teaching;

1] Which types of my teaching have really helped your learning this year [give me evidence to prove this] and

2] Which bits of my marking feedback has helped you to improve your learning-please give me an example

For the learning;

1] Which aspect of learning in this subject have you found the most challenging this year and how did you overcome the challenge? 

2] How have you been able to support someone else’s learning this year-explain and give me evidence of how your support made an impact on their learning?

I always mix questions between ones I know that I want to gather positive information on and I have to be fair and gather evidence that might tell me things I might not like but need to know so that I can improve my performance!

The questions take up valuable learning time if we ask further ones

Thank you for your help with the learning walk-the students were very positive and you should be able to use their views as evidence for appraisal/CPD purposes. It would be beneficial if all classes completed a short form of the survey to provide you with far more evidence-this isn’t a waste of learning time but a valuable one in that 1] you will find out the impact your strategies [especially new marking] is having on their learning-madness to use stuff that they tell you doesn’t work 2] You absolutely need to find out any negativity or areas they are struggling with/where your tactics aren’t working so you can adapt and change-quick 20 min survey saves hours of wasted learning time if you weren’t aware of issues.

To delve further into new initiatives/areas that may have been weak before

1] How has our marking changed? Is it better or worse? How effective is it in supporting your learning-please provide evidence of when our feedback has helped you improve your subject learning.

2] Is there anything else that we could do to improve our feedback [you see marking across the school-what could we borrow?]

3] Which of our teaching tactics really help you the most-can you prove it to us?

4] Is there anything that you are worried about regarding any aspect of the course or feel that you need help with-please be honest and let us know?”

In depth research

Some of our teachers are prepared to be brave and ask searching questions of the students that may result in answers that suggest a weakness in aspects of their teaching. Great teachers [and leaders] actively seek out weaknesses so they can remedy them.  If we really are interested in promoting a ‘growth mind set’ and’ purposeful practice’ with our students, encouraging them to be resilient, accept honest criticism and learn from mistakes-surely as professionals we have to have the same mind-set and be prepared to use evidence gleaned from students and our whole monitoring process to make our own ‘marginal gains’ The information is a valid for use in our new portfolio of evidence to self-evaluate each teacher’s contribution to whole school quality of teaching including lesson study, peer observations, exam residuals, book monitoring and collaborative support.

Really focused questions like these can provide us with the evidence we need to shift our practice to be the best it can e.g.

Am I giving you enough time to check your feedback and respond to it/plan how you will use it and show me that you have successfully achieved my feedback?

Am I giving you the opportunity to check that you have successfully met my feedback-am I verifying it and celebrating your learning success?

Do I give you the chance to give me your best learning to assess? Do I let you re-draft/highlight key areas of learning [best bits/bits you need checking]?

Do you get the chance to record my verbal feedback-respond to it, check that I have successfully achieved it, have it verified and celebrated?

Are you confident that the self/peer critique we are using is accurate enough to give you confidence in it? Is the criteria friendly enough, is there chance to discuss, compromise and verify?

We can do clever sums to work out which of our tactics have the most effect and talk about ‘effect sizes’ but that is for another blog; this one is just sharing how without a great layout of expense for an external survey full of tick boxes, we can use our student voice productively to support our teaching and their learning. Informal  ‘walks’ occur all of the time but after Easter, subject leaders will look for ‘Magic Moments’ and drop in on classes after invites from their teachers or students to share even more practice or to support the teacher try out a new idea. It is really important that our classroom doors are genuinely open to visitors looking for positives and cover can be provided for long stays or Jonesy can be called upon to class-sit!

I forgot to tell you what the students said; that will come next!

A couple of example of past ‘student voice’ surveys can be found at;

http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=119

http://www.meolscophighschool.co.uk/docs/Student%20survey%20Easter%202012.pdf

The others go out to all students and parents on our bulletin and are displayed in our dining room or on display boards with my feedback comments and action responses so that the students know their views are valued and acted upon. This is their school and what they think matters, is valued and helps us to move learning and teaching constantly forward.

If You Were the Prime Minister……..

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This week we have engaged the whole school in a discussion exercise asking both staff and students [in their tutor groups] some big educational questions. We are always keen to involve our students with discussion topics to help them develop their speaking and listening skills and thought that if we send our views to our community via this blog, we might just get responses from parents, other schools and even other countries, Sir Alex Ferguson, Michael Gove and David Cameron-who knows! The questions asked were;

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I know that my photo is outside the White House and not the Houses of Parliament or Downing St but it’s the only one that is almost relevant without superimposing my head onto another picture! It was taken by Mark Brownett when I chaperoned him on a Future Leader’s working break to visit Charter schools in Washington DC. It came in really handy as a Xmas present that I could lavish on my daughter, partner and mum. You can imagine their delight! Hemingway, our house-rabbit made short work of my daughters, my partner’s mother thought it a lovely picture of the Botanic Garden’s Café and my mum just cried. She has always been ungrateful! Enjoy our views and ideas and please respond.  They are all the opinions of the individuals and tutor groups and do not of course necessarily represent my views or the school, should Mr Gove read them. No rabbits were injured in the compilation of the blog!

Some of the students found it difficult to comment on national rather than Meols Cop issues or needs but it was an opportunity to discuss ‘big issues’ that I was interested in developing.

Student views

*         1 To make sure that school delivered the right subjects to prepare students for the world of work and life in general.

*         2 Children should feel happy and safe in their schools. With the same opportunities wherever they are taught.

*         3 Make sure everyone is treated fairly, lessons are fun. Variety of activities more trips out.

*         4 If students are happy and have interesting, varied lessons that relate to work and are fun maybe attendance would be better, behaviour in class rooms, results get better.

*         5 Resources and trips would be expensive and could be funded by raising money for charity or advertising local businesses (newsletter, production programmes etc…

 

*         1 Fun homework’s that include games or educational activities, less days in school but longer days till 4.30.

*         2 Have the right to eat in lessons, to learn what we want, to have a happy life outside of school and a safe life in school.

*         3 Less strict teachers, explain everything more, more equipment.

*         4 Better education, better grades,

*         5 Taxes, government, lottery funding, retired teachers.

 

*         1 – Consult teachers, get rid of Mr Gove. Don’t change GCSE’s to numbers not A* to G

*         2 – Everybody should be entitled to the same education; some people can’t get into a good school as limited numbers and have to go to a failing school.

*         3 – Welcoming environment, small class sizes, we like flipped learning, IT access in all classes.

*         4 – Smaller classes’ and greater one to one help!

*         5 – More teachers to employ – Better results!!

 

To teach students a positive outlook on life and give them free fruit.
To make sure students feel safe in school. 
If students don’t understand, make sure teachers don’t get angry.
Students would be happier.
Not sure.

 

Less homework, more lessons focused on computer science. 
The right to learn.
Have longer lessons so that we have time to understand.
Students would get better test results.
School fundraising. 

 

One inset day a week or half day on a Wednesday.  Every two weeks we should get a long weekend (Saturday to Tuesday). 
Learning to read and write.
More laptops and group work games that help us to learn. 
Students would enjoy learning more. 
Fundraising days, donations, come in own clothes day.  
Focus on everyone getting an equal education. 
Be able to read and write.
Make sure all students participate. 
Students would get better GCSE grades. 
Take it out of any spare budgets. 

 

More woodwork lessons. 
Reading and writing. 
More practical lessons. 
More people entering the engineering profession. 
More learning in schools focused on practical subjects would encourage people to become engineers.  The increase in the profession would increase the economy. 
Less homework, it causes too much stress.
To be safe.
Lessons where it isnt putting you under pressure or stress. 
Better GCSEs.
Ask the government. 

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*         1- Bring back modular exams

*         Create rigid grade boundaries so if students achieve top marks they can achieve high grade rather than a percentage of the cohorts.

*         2- The right to learn, and achieve- broaden the variety of subjects available as its too limited

*         3- Make more effective use of new technologies.

*         Appoint TA that are qualified teachers and keep in the subject area.

*         4- Give our students confidence to ask subject specific questions to TAs so that they can progress quicker rather than always needing the assistance of the teacher.

*         5- Approach companies for funding to purchase new technologies.

 

*changing end of yr11 exams back to c/w and modules in yr10

*start and finish school later (when students are more “awake”)

*let students express themselves through their appearance

  • ·         8RM believe that private schools should be banned because everybody should be entitled to the same education.

*         Shorter lessons because it is easier to concentrate.

*         2 Every child should have the right to learn.

*         Every child should have the right not to be distracted during learning.

*         3 We think smaller classes would mean that we learn more because we could have more support from the teacher.

*         Teaching is in small stages instead of all at once. If we learn things a little bit at a time it is more likely to stick.

*         Lessons should be interesting with group activities, we learn best when we’re interested.

*         4 If we are interested in our learning, we are much more likely to learn. If we learn is small stages we are more likely to remember what we have learned.

*         5 We don’t think our ideas are expensive; they are something every teacher could do for free!

 

*         1- To have more interactive/practical lessons. For example – more science experiments, poster projects, more trips with geog and history.

*         2 – Our right is to have varied lessons that use different technologies and different skills. We should have good teachers that are exciting and are ready to listen to us and what we want. (Our teachers are outstanding!!) 

*         3- Have more ICT, more PE lessons, and more group work – speaking and listening; let us take responsibility to teach other pupils.

*         4 – Pupils would have higher grades as they are more engaged and willing to learn as their lessons are a lot more interactive.

*         5 – Cake sales, school events, mufti days. Get teachers involved in raising money, go to the local council for their support in improving our education.

  • ·         1- Adding resources, more sports as we are a specialist sports college, add a 6th form.
  • ·         2- That we learn how to read and write. To have a say in matters in school.
  • 3- Use more kinetic (interactive) activities in lessons.
  • 4- Would like to wear own clothes to express personality.
  • 5 Fundraisers such as cake sales, school disco, drama show, sports events

 

 

*         1 As prime minister our priority is for everyone to learn and enjoy school. We would like to introduce more technology into the classroom to help this and give every class a TA as they are really helpful and would benefit everyone not just a few people.

*         2 Pupils should have the right to learn and the right to have good teachers who will be nice and help push them to reach their targets.

*         3 Improve teaching with more practical and active lessons with less copying. ALWAYS have a point to the lesson we prefer to do work in the lesson instead of going on a computer or playing a game just for the sake of it, there should be a balance. No homework- we would rather work more in class so we have nothing to do at home. We would like to be able to listen to music in class as it helps us concentrate more. Make MCs clear so everyone knows what is allowed rather than having different rules for different people everyone should get MCs equally.

*         4 Attendance and behaviour would improve as pupils would enjoy school and want to go. They would be more interested in lessons so there progress would improve.

*         5 Save money on lockers-not many people use them. Trade in old computers and laptops as most don’t work anyway for better technology. Have more fundraising activities in school like cakes sales etc.

 

*         1 More PE lessons/ better facilities

*         2 Choose options end of year 8 rather than year 9 so fully prepared for GCSE exams.

*         3 Make lessons more interactive rather than PP and reading off boards/ text books. Science more practical’s. Parents evening from yr 7 onwards rather than review day. Better facilities in PE because when wet weather always in a classroom.

*         4 Absorb the learning and retain information. Parents evening- get better feedback from individual subjects

*         5 More room options rather than being outside in bad weather. More fixtures that can occur at home rather than away.

 

 

*         1. Keep exam grade boundaries the same so we know what a grade C/B/A is!

*         2. Everyone has the right to learn, have water in lessons, go the toilet if needed.

*         3. Make all schools like Meols Cop because it is great! Make lessons little more interactive stuff like, games, white board etc.

*         4. Better results happier students.

*         5. Raise money through schemes like sports of schools. Schools have to bid for the money.

*          

*         1 Things should be related to the wider world so we understand the importance of them.

*         There should be shorter lessons with more intense learning so that students don’t get bored and switch off.

*         We should pick which GCSE’s we want to do in year 8 in order to give us more time to prepare.

*         Lessons should always be creative and inspire us.

*         Work should always be explained in detail and good and bad examples should be modelled.

*         2 Students should all have the right to their own opinion and others should respect this.

*         Students should all feel safe in school and not be bullied

*         Students should be able to access mentors who provide students with support

*         Students should all be treated fairly.

*         3 Students should teach other students and be able to go to other classes to teach younger students

*         Students should do more group work to help with communication skills

*         Students should be taught skills for life e.g. how to budget

 

*         1Fun Exciting Activities. No Homework.

*         2 Safety. Free Time. Healthy Food.

*         3 Understanding Teachers.

*         4 Improved performance by students

*         5 Sponsored learning days. Cake sales!!

 

Less exams and more emphasis on what you have done in school. Students feel it is unfair that 11 years of schooling is judged on performance on one day. Maybe assessment against a set of skills listed as to what an individual student can achieve rather than what they can’t do – links to personalised learning e.g. In Drama for example, “ Ben can motivate and inspire a group of students and develop their performance”. Also merit should be given for getting involved in school activities, showing organisational and management techniques useful in adult life. Reduce dependence on academic learning and celebrate emotional and social development.

Make Year 8 related more closely to GCSE, some felt that Y8 was often a review of Y7

1 Be able to pick your own GCSEs not be told what to choose. Choose the options that they want to learn at KS4.

2 Cheaper/free canteen

3 Better facilities in general. PE, Drama, Music, Art, ICT. More investment.

4 More teachers in different areas. More subjects to choose from. Extra subjects offered that are not at the moment.

5 More personal freedoms greater responsibility at a younger age.

More skills based lessons which are relevant to everyday life.

More scope in the curriculum

Smaller classes

*         1- More PE lessons

Fewer restrictions on Options (Ebacc etc.)

Bring back capital punishment!!

*         2- Less homework

More TA support

*         3- More practical work- less writing

More practical subjects- metal work/ motor engineering, etc.

*         4- Students will enjoy learning more!

*         5- Less spending on defence/ war/ bombs etc.

 

 

7HS

1. More children have access to education.

2 to be treated equally and equally listened to by teachers, to feel safe.

3 students teach the teachers what its like to be a student, students input what would make learning fun, fun homework

4 to see why pupils get bored and how one bad lesson can affect them all, favouritism, students would listen more and be more interactive.

5 fundraising activities, reuse old/ disused resources, make own lunch in food tech

 

*         – RE Should be optional

*         2- Free periods to study catch up on work

*         3- Uniform should be more casual

*         4- To start later in the day and finish later

*          5- Longer lunch

What would be the most important things you would do to improve learning and teaching?

*         Class sizes should be smaller and more one to one support

 

Staff views

*         1 My priority for education would be to look at how to raise levels of aspiration. If there is nothing to look forward to or no end goal then it can be hard to motivate yourself to learn ‘just for learning’s sake’. Economic circumstances and community deprivation can lead to an endemic lack of aspiration and we need to tackle that in the community/society as well as in our schools.

*         2 Children should have the right to learn the skills they need to make a positive contribution to the world, they should be able to do this in a safe and nurturing environment where they are free from harm and have the security to exercise their minds, to make mistakes and to learn from them.

*         3 To improve learning and teaching I would create a more flexible curriculum that was reflective of the world that young people will emerge into as young adults. I would focus on the moral and social lessons that can be drawn from the experiences of others and make sure that all items on the curriculum where geared towards learning that could help students to make a positive contribution to society. I would move the focus from examinations and league tables and put it on the positive impact students have on the world (I recognise this would involve longer term monitoring). I would encourage more shared learning and see the role of the teacher as facilitator rather than director.

*         4 I expect my policies would cause something of a stir, the system finds it hard to adapt and my policies cause for radical change but there is a sense in which the current system has failed to respond to the changing world. The curriculum is so very out of touch with the reality of the world young people are being prepared for that I think radical change may not be such a bad thing.

*         5 My ideas do not require more resources necessarily, just a different way of thinking about how we spend them and how we measure our success.

Consistency, stability and an opportunity to imbed, and develop ideas over at least a 5 year period, without the need for constant changes.

To create a level playing field for all students e.g. Getting rid of controlled assessment because there is inconsistency on moderation- maybe turn them into exam style conditions.

The right to good teachers, a safe environment, good quality resources, the right to access the full curriculum and to get advice for careers and social aspects of life

Recognise that some students have gifts and talents that go beyond the current curriculum and value these/ reward them. Make sure that teachers get the appropriate training that they need and are given time to diffuse these ideas amongst the staff.

A fairer chance for students- a chance for them to be judged on what they can do.

Better if;

There were schools where all children have the opportunity to attend-no private, no grammar, no selective, no faith, no gender, no academies, no free schools JUST SCHOOLS! Why do we still allow such a divisive system to exist? Freedom of choice and opportunities for children not parents.

We valued technical and creative education equally with ‘academic’ education. The strongest economy in Europe, Germany, has a strong system of technical schools [as well as others]-why on earth do we insist on a 19th century approach to curriculum and examinations and deny our young people the skills and qualifications that we desperately need for our future prosperity and economy?

We recognised that it isn’t cheating or failure to take an exam again! Most professional qualifications allow for more than one chance to pass. Why do we deny our young people the right?

If the government was totally committed to spending money to eradicate child poverty rather than wasting £20 billion on senseless wars and armaments-perhaps all children and families would be able to access education, that is their right and enjoy the benefits.

We could agree that the strength of any education system is surely how it supports its most vulnerable children who lack parental guidance, interest and aspirations in education. Are the government really doing enough for them with their pupil premium, cutting of funding for vital support agencies and diversion of money towards projects such as Free Schools?

National Curriculum is what is says it is; could we please know why more than half of the secondary schools don’t have to follow it?

Government and media stopped telling the students that their exams lack rigour and are easier than ever. Be proud of our young people and celebrate their achievements and hard-work-they work far harder than I ever did at school!

Mr Gove realised that teachers want to be the teachers they can be [in the world] and our students the best learners in the world. Treat us as professionals, stop introducing retrospective measures and let us take responsibility for our own profession based on collaboration not competition and compulsion and research not political rhetoric.

Test wasn’t best! PISA was a famous tower not acronym that had to be obeyed. Learn from the best in the world rather than hand-picking the bits that fit a political philosophy not an educational one.

Did everything Mick Waters suggested in “Thinking Allowed!”

Make the curriculum less rigid. As teachers, I feel that we are often prevented from delivering inspiring and outstanding lessons due to the constraints of the curriculum. Most of the best buzz moments in the classroom, I find, are when we have stepped out of the curriculum zone. Also the curriculum doesn’t differentiate enough for the different needs of the students. For example, wouldn’t it be more useful and dare I say, enjoyable for some of the less academic students in French/Spanish to focus on functional language and culture rather than struggle to understand what a past particle or a subordinate clause is, when they barely understand what it is in English?

 

The whole ethos surrounding teachers needs to change. I personally don’t know any teachers (even those who are considered merely satisfactory) who don’t set out every day to improve the life chances of children.  Stop the blame culture and start supporting, respecting and valuing the job that the vast majority of us are committed to doing!

 

Pay our TAs a salary worthy of the effort and support they give the students and teachers and offer training and a career path.

Put more money into supporting parents. They provide the foundation in the education of children, and teachers who are the building blocks can have little or no effect if they are not given a solid base to work with.

Where is the money coming from?

Every over paid celebrity (including footballers) should donate a significant sum of money based on their earnings every year into an “Education” fund.

Use the ridiculous bonus’ the bankers get.

Reduce the money spent on arms and the military.

I firstly strongly with following the German model for providing training at technical colleges for students to learn a trade. I have long thought that it was the model to follow. I have lost count of the amount of students over the years that I have spoken to that have expressed an interest in learning a trade electrician plumber etc. and have not had a suitable route to follow to pursue this. Germany has long been the most successful economy in Europe and it seems illogical not to follow their model.

I also feel that separating the years 7-9 from the year 10-11 would also be beneficial. Some areas of Britain have middle schools. I think that the years 7-8 especially are too young to be around the influence of the older students. I also feel that their presence somehow helps keep the years 10-11 from fully maturing.

If we are going to measure student’s progress at every turn then we should ensure they are all competing on a level playing field-

End charitable status for fee paying schools

Stop subsidising faith based schools

Bring all schools under LOCAL democratic control of some sort.

End the ridiculous competition between schools and develop a co-operative, complimentary approach to increase the options available for ALL students of ALL abilities.

ALL students should be able to go to Oxford OR the local technical college to gain an apprenticeship.

All education should be provided FREE at the point of need.

Wind up OFSTED and replace with HM schools inspectorate.

All students should receive a high quality education designed to meet their needs and abilities- not one designed to shoe-horn them into whatever meets the current Ofsted criteria.

Access to All aspects of education should be FREE

ALL children should be taught by qualified teachers

They should have the right to access a wide range of extracurricular activities

Greater co-operation between schools should improve the range of subjects offered to all students and by sharing best practice should improve standards.

Make it easier for on the job training to lead to qualified teacher status. Will bring in fresh ideas and different approaches that will benefit all in the profession.

End so called “performance related pay”. Teaching successfully is a collaborative process, the collective success could be rewarded But PRP is a divisive measure that will have a negative effect on children’s education. We are not picking strawberries by the punnet!

This can be difficult to measure! Only in the mid to long term can we see if we have produced a literate, well informed society that values education for its own sake. I would like to see social mobility as a measure of success, as well as the number of adults who continue in some form of education- not because they missed out as children but because they can see the importance of continuous learning.

Pure exam results tell only one tiny part of the story.

Where do I find the money

Easy- we have to end the corporatocracy that we currently live under.

Corporations that make massive profits from our educated society should pay the taxes they are supposed to . “minimising our tax liabilities” is just another way of saying “robbing you blind”.

There would be no need to raise taxation for ordinary hard working people if these corporate robber barons contributed their share. The scale of this theft is staggering!

Ending the free school debacle would stop millions flowing into the pockets of private companies whose interest is in profit – not in education.

The taxpayer is currently being milked for cash by a network of “education suppliers”. Spend this money on students instead rather than on new conservatories for the directors of “consultancies”- many of whom are the driving forces behind “Free Schools

Is this Utopian?

No I don’t think it is. But it does represent a massive change in how we see the whole point of the education service. The authorities often rail against “vested interests”- we should not be afraid to do the same. The “vested interests” of privilege, profiteers and the elite, who are quite happy for our children to know their place- and stay in it.

As a geographer my priorities for the students I teach are a varied curriculum looking at different aspects of our dynamic world, have access to computer systems to further their knowledge and skills that will be required in a geographers line of work in the future and allow pupils to experience the wider world via different activities outside of the classroom.

Pupils should have the right to a good education provided by outstanding teachers that have a love for their subject and want to model this to pupils.

To improve learning in Geography I would want to ensure pupils get a wider insight into the dynamic earth we live in and be aware of their surrounding both on a local and global scale.

If pupils gain this knowledge it will enable them to go out to the world of work with knowledge of where they want to go in life to fulfil their aspirations.

Money needs to come from the school and local governments to provide this education to pupils to ensure they have the education they need to succeed in life and beyond.

 

 

Our student voice

Our first student survey of the year and as I know parents and carers enjoy reading the views of our young people, quite a long set of thoughts from them. I tend to add comments which have been made a couple of times and slip in any funny or profound statements. This survey asked 4 questions for individual students to consider before they discussed their answers with the rest of their form. Every form in the school received the questions and they followed up the questions the staff have been raising and discussing in our inset sessions as to how to sustain and move ‘Beyond Outstanding’ [Super…..as explained in previous blogs]

The process encourages thoughtful speaking and listening before having to prioritise and justify the form final responses. The answers are disseminated to all students and staff and the research helps me to see if some of the teaching ideas we have been trialling are having an impact on those who matter most-the students-and I can also clearly observe from question 4 answers how their language of learning and understanding of key learning ‘great’ features is developing. Is our emphasis on growth mind set and independent learning skills impacting on their perception of appropriate skills great learners should possess?

After Xmas, I’ll dig much deeper with visits to the lessons of every teacher to ask the students about one of the learning priorities we have this year and follow this up with anonymous surveys. They will provide evidence of the impact certain teaching strategies are having on their learning. They are very truthful and opinionated! For instance last year I asked them about literacy across the curriculum and the use of feedback and dialogue [conversations between them and their teachers after marking.] The research was able to tell me where literacy was being used explicitly, gaps that needed filling and provided a picture of developing feedback and dialogue across the whole school. I could then feedback to individual teachers and subject leaders to show them where their teaching of literacy and use of feedback stood in relationship to the rest of the school and our development plans. Everybody could then use the information to plan accordingly for the next round of monitoring and to re-adjust their action plans. The truth is that we often think as teachers that we are getting across the learning points that we want to-the students may confirm that our strategies are working or may not-we need to know either way and they must be involved in the discussion.

1] What are the best things about our school? Can you as a tutor group prioritise the 3 outstanding features that you think that we should all be the most proud of?
1) Enrichment activities- lunch time and after school clubs
2) Achievement of all pupils
3) How safe everyone feels- very little bullying, lots of people to help (pals, prefects)
Facilities- particularly in PE/ Library
Staff- always enthusiastic and willing to help & support from peers (peer mentors, lead learners etc.)
Going for gold system- encourages us to be our best
Good Education, Good Support, Approachable friendly staff, Good facilities, Good food
The library, the field, the boy’s gym.
Food/clubs/sports/helpful teachers/seating plans.
We feel well supported, have fantastic classrooms [and food] and our teachers are good at their jobs.
Support for students from teachers, base, mentors.
Quality of learning – resources, results, ‘mix it up a bit’, learning games in lessons, practical lesson.
Teachers – never give up, rewards and praise, meetings to decide how to make lessons better
Friendships they have developed and the different approaches to learning they have experienced
11ST feel that the teachers are one of the best things about Meols Cop High School! We also like the new classrooms that have been built with new ICT facilities. We like the extra support and guidance that is given to us at Meols Cop High School. We feel safe in our school environment.
Performing Arts department, New Library, P.E Department
Facilities, ICt, the Gym. Extra-curricular clubs. Friendly atmosphere.
The staff, PE, after school clubs, Pals and Prefects, Art , Music
All the teachers and TAs go out of their way to help and support everyone. Teachers always try their best to make lessons fun so we can learn.
Outstanding Ofsted
Good grades
Mentors
After school clubs
Display boards
Teaching staff
Extra-curricular activities We love the new library and facilities
Extra-curricular, in particular sports
Different types of students that are all included
Going for Gold
It is an anti-bullying school
Has good sporting facilities that we often get use of through classes, after school activities and lunchtime clubs.
Teacher dedication allows us to have a fun-filled, exciting experience inside and out of lessons
The quality of the teaching, creative lessons, the canteen food.
Art Department, Mentors, Dance/PE
The main area the students all agreed on was the fantastic pastoral care everyone received. They mentioned the mentors, the tutors and progress managers as being particularly supportive.
They nearly all said that teaching is very good and think that they are given lots of support with their learning both in class and out (after school classes and study groups).
Most of the students think we have great facilities (sports, drama and dance were quoted as being really good).

2] We would be even better if……As a group can you agree on 2 major factors/changes that would make us even better if….AND sell your point by explaining HOW your suggestions would help the LEARNING of everyone.
1) Trips- more opportunities for educational visits in different subjects
2) Smaller class sizes so teachers have more time with different groups.
If we were able to use local facilities e.g. swimming and gyms during P.E lessons. This would encourage all students to take part in activities out of school grounds and help them become more aware of their local surrounding.
Better technology e.g. iPads and recording devices for the use of making podcasts and moving around the school freely so we could do more activities such as filming and making notes. This will help us as it gives us more access to world around us and outside. We could also download educational apps and games to help us revise and it will make lessons more fun and intriguing.
Lessons more engaging, more practical lessons
More rewards for doing well in lessons
We don’t think much needs to be changed here at MCHS
Once a month were our own clothes to raise money for charity/ as an award system
More TA’s within the lesson so they can work one to one with more students
Lower food prices & more TAs.
1 Canteen – It is too small. Lower prices.
2 Uniform – be more flexible in choices. To hot in summer/cold in winter
3 Improve the field
Better sports facilities (pitches)
Come in at 9.30 finish at 3.30
Allowed phones/ipads (use smart phone software in lessons)
More TA’s to support big classes
If teachers gave more time to revision in lesson rather than just on the VLE as it helps it stick more and gives us the opportunity to ask immediate questions. If we were more aware of how to move up levels, we know the basic idea of what is needed in each level but if we had a clear guide or modelled example to use it would be much easier.
Bigger dining room. Build a sports hall.
Expand the car-park – it’s dangerous for pupils
If we had free drinks in lessons so that we could refresh our minds. Longer lunch times so that we have time to settle ready for lessons
11ST do not think much needs to change. We would like a sports hall which would benefit all students and enhance OSHL.
Half the form felt we would benefit from a two week timetable. More sports facilities
We would learn better if we had more choice about what we learn and we were more involved in the planning of lessons
More form time activities
More one to one support so that all students are able to access all lessons.
More visits out of school and visitors coming in so we get more real life experiences
Get a sixth form, Improve waterproofing of school, More wider corridors around school, Covered walkway out to the mobiles
More interaction between teacher/student. Rewards – Sweets etc. More interesting/fun lessons
We learnt HOW to revise, not just WHAT.
We had more extra-curricular opportunities for trips, exchanges, unusual learning experiences.
Rewards for good answers, Extra praises for good answers, Major credits should count for more praises or a discount off food in the dining room
The class felt that things could be even better if any students disrupted the learning that they were dealt with quicker and isolated from the rest of the class.
Many of the students would like enrichment days
Other suggestions were:
– A more varied menu in the canteen
– An indoor netball court
– Improvements in IT ( Microsoft visual studio to be installed and LINUX to be taught)

3] Can your tutor group come up with the 5 best strategies teachers use that have the biggest impact on your learning-can you offer evidence to support your claims?
1)Use of video clips that explain topics e.g. animations
2)Use models to create features e.g. DNA strands, rivers models etc
3)Quiz at end of lesson to recap
4)Practical activities – dissecting organs, data collection
5) Teachers doing what they currently do
Mini whiteboards- helps us practice answers without fear of being ‘wrong’.
Video clips- real learning
Interactive whiteboard games
Specific feedback- cited Maths feedback as clear and easy to understand, especially Ms….. STEPS (Self, Teacher, Evidence, Peer, Situation)
Group/ peer work- enjoy hearing others ideas and co-operating.
Show us different methods of teaching. Bribery and corruption!! Revision sessions after school. Nice and friendly. Constant reminders as to what we should be doing.
Group activities – learning from others
Educational videos- seeing things visual sometimes makes an idea clearer
Practical activities- hands on
Sit off lessons every 3 weeks for a break- recharge our batteries
A safe environment where you feel comfortable expressing yourself
ARK-in RE/HEROES/form PALS /science Power Points/science anagrams.
Speaking and listening, interactive games, computer work, 1-1 time with us and paired work
Smaller class sizes, interactive work – group work, practice, feedback from teachers, note making in lessons, working with peers/friends regularly
We like to work in groups, we like to see how we can progress, we like peer and self-assessment to see how we can improve and we like the teachers to make their subject interesting
Practical work, music on in the background while working, clear feedback from the teachers, explain it clearly, targets
Praise system, Raffle tickets for correct answers in lessons (HH), Merits system, Target given that you can strive towards, Group work, (PSD, PE)
Different ways of teaching the same thing
Rewards for learning
Different examples of work
Checks work whilst working
Interactive and fun lessons using games etc. to get everyone involved and help you remember better.
Working in pairs help us share ideas and support each other to solve the problem ourselves rather than asking miss.
Use of prizes and rewards makes lessons more competitive and helps motivate us to get involved.
When lessons cross over each other like using drama in another subject it makes learning so much more interesting and helps build on both sets of skills.
When teachers give us 1 to 1 support it helps answer any problems I have rather than giving just a general answer to everyone.
– Revision classes
– Paired work
– Verbal feedback
– Practical work
– Games (learning related)
– Peer assessment
– 1 – 1
– Drop in sessions
Staff are positive and do not shout much, are friendly & don’t tolerate bad behaviour!
PEE, ACCESSFM, VIP learning, Practicals & Theory
• Going on the laptops
• Group work
• Interactive activities
• Discusssions/ debates
• Using videos- e.g. maths video
We like group work and self-assessments
One to one support
Fun activities help your learning
Peer-assessment more fun- perhaps introduce speaking and listening
Lollipops as rewards
Mark work in detail Practical lessons e.g. science using Bunsen burners
Games to enforce learning – Trading trainers game in geography
Use of laptops to produce lessons and information via PowerPoint and prezi etc
Group work – debating, research
Literacy in form – spelling tests and key words
Activities to engage students and help them learn
Using laptops and computers
More teachers/TA s in classes
Students teaching the class
Music in the background to help us focus and relax
Ask all students questions and not just the same one
Differentiation within the lesson
Have more patience
More peer assessment
Science use of humour, songs, role play (acting things out) PEE and repetition
Good balance between letting pupils talk and working in silence. Make lessons funny so it sticks in your head. Repetition. Songs

4] Can you come up with 5 fantastic strategies that your group would recommend that our learners should always use to make the most possible individual progress in every subject?1)Revision on a regular basis (many say they learn more in school during revision classes as they are easily distracted at home)
2)Make sure to get plenty of rest
3)Complete all work as directed e.g. listening to instructions and following it to the tee for better results
Make sure you attend all lesson and be on time
Listen carefully when in lesson and make notes
Complete all homework’s on time
Be co-operative in lessons
Don’t copy the teacher all the time- put things into your own words.
Group work, Peer assessment, Self-assessment, Debating & Discussion
Be determined
Committed
Imaginative
Curious
Revise
Listen
Positive attitude
Always listen and concentrate. Complete homework. Get involved in clubs. Ask the teacher if you need help.
Complete homework
Use planners to remind you of what to do
Go to lunch time or after school clubs
Ask the teacher if you don’t understand
Interactive tasks, group work, listen carefully to feedback, peer assessment and targets, rewards for doing good work
We think that we should be dedicated, strive to succeed, attend extra classes that are available to us and to keep focussed
Enthusiasm
Careful listening, using HWK to help us learn, reading for pleasure, involved in all lessons and approach teachers when we don’t understand
6C’S/flightpath/power points/vocab books-French/practical activities like in music
Ask the teacher for help if you are stuck
Use dividers in exercise books to help with revision, particularly in Science/ maths
Practice questions
Checking assessment criteria
Responding to written feedback in detail (not just “OK” or “I Will”)

Quick conclusion

There was some confusion and repetition with questions 3 and 4 so some forms told me teacher tactics instead of student learning tactics for no 4-my question must have confused. It was quite early in the year to begin to see the impact of our new ideas and I would hope to see greater mention of the mind-set and marginal gains learning focus over the year and mention of the flight-path as students complete it. The 6Cs didn’t get as much of a mention as they did in a previous survey-are we pushing them enough and the year 7 comment may be due to it being early days for them with not much opportunity to learn how to open a dialogue. We will take some to consider the responses and I’ll feedback again after our more detailed individual research.

Comments from parents and carers [or visitors to the site] would be great and questions about any aspect of our student voice work would be appreciated.