Category Archives: Shared Observation Ideas

Summer Feedback Trilogy Part 2 Fast Feedback Trials and Observation Risks

The science faculty have been trialling their ‘fast feedback’ ideas all year and their original shared ideas and reasons for their trial are here.

Their PPA is planned on the timetable so that they are able to meet and plan together once a week and obviously one of the topics might be to share feedback ideas and adapt their ‘fast feedback’ trial from the lessons continually learned. The ideas shared in this blog follow on from part 1 where I explained that this week the whole school shared their Magic Moments celebrating good practice gathered  from our summer observations and book monitoring. This is our second and final ‘big share’ of the year and follows our winter one explained in this post.

It’s really important to me that staff get the chance to talk honestly and openly to each other about their practice in small groups and then their conversations are shared whole school. This gives the opportunity for colleagues from different faculties the chance to 1] nab ideas, 2] go and talk to someone about an idea they like, 3] offer support to a colleague who asks for it with a certain teaching issue, 4] choose to plan and work with a colleagues from another faculty on a similar idea, 5] informally observe and for middle leaders and senior leaders the evidence to help them prioritise PD needs and support.


Observation Risks:

CM – I chose to cover independent learning as the main topic for my lesson observation. I introduced pupils to a new topic and gave them minimal support. They were provided with a straightforward introduction, some simple instructions to find their feed using the equipment and chemicals. Then more detailed instruction to perform a neutralisation reaction. There were then questions to complete to allow pupils to consolidate their learning. The risk was that pupils could have just floundered and not actually done anything. They could have wasted a lot of time and not completed the tasks claiming they didn’t really understand what they were supposed to do. However they were fine and all but two pupils made very good progress. To increase the risk further I introduced the idea of recording evidence on voice recorders and cameras with a view to overcoming the issues of lost time from reluctant writers and weaker literacy lowering quality of evidence of scientific learning. This aspect of the observation was very encouraging and will be taken forward next year with a paired trial.

HS- with 8.5 the risk I took in the observation was the independence of the lesson, students learned by discovery.  They “played a game” that enabled them to find out how a carbon atoms moves through a cycle, and to appreciate it is a cycle, it doesn’t have a start or end point.  This was a risk as they are accustomed to me stopping and explaining when something gets difficult, they haven’t read instructions or get stuck.  Students moved around the room for 15minutes with no input from me, I was surprised to see how all the students got on with the task, followed the instructions and gathered all the information they would later need for the closing questions. I will develop this further next year by focusing on independent learning within the classroom with 10.4 a different class who I have discovered recently respond really will to learning through discovery.

HW – Pupils were given the task (to see how concentration affected rate of reaction) and the equipment in a tray, and had to safely work out the method and record their results. This was a risk as they’re used to either me demonstrating the practical at the front, or giving them a detailed method sheet.

This worked really well, I think due to the way I had arranged the ‘Science buddy’ pairs so they could help each other. If anyone ever asked me a question I said ‘could your buddy answer that?’ and it turns out most of the time they could!

As well as this risk, I purposely didn’t tell them what concentration was, and tried to get them to use their prior knowledge, results, and a diagram to create their own definition of concentration, and then use this to explain why they got their results. This had mixed success, but I’m glad I tried it as some pupils surprised me with their ability to think conceptually and apply quite difficult scientific knowledge.

FD – I chose to promote independence and student ownership of own learning for my lesson observation focus.  I introduced students to a ‘big’ scientific question which they were to devise their OWN answer and definition of during the course of the lesson.   Learning activities/episodes were planned and set up that would contribute to their own internal understanding of the ‘big question.’  The practical elements of the learning were deliberately planned to challenge student thinking from their previous understanding in order to really cement the concept in their minds.  Firstly, the students completed a basic investigation to note that mass did not change when a chemical reaction took place.  To challenge this, students were asked to test this theory with a reaction that would release gas (thereby losing mass as gas atoms) and explain this phenomenon compared to their initial thoughts.  All pupils could explain that mass was lost due to atoms escaping as a gas.  To further challenge this in their minds, I asked them to consider if the mass would change in a reaction if you could increase the volume of the product considerably from start to end of a chemical reaction.  When this demonstration confirmed that mass does indeed remain constant in chemical reactions, a real penny dropping moment was struck.  Some high level (penny dropping) explanations in terms of atoms and atomic/molecular arrangements in chemical reactions (in reactants & products) were provided by some students which was very rewarding.

Students were required to convert their own thinking and verbal responses into written dialogue in an organised, coherent way that used scientific terminology appropriately.

The biggest risk was asking students to work through various practical based scenarios about a scientific concept (conservation of mass) and devise their own theory in a coherent written format, using appropriate scientific terminology.

The risk was that students could have wasted time during the practical elements and would not really understand how to convert this learning into written dialogue.  But they all did!  A peer assessment of the written dialogue was undertaken to ensure all students could provide this written work to the gold standard required for progress, with dedicated time provided for improvements to their written work where required.  The standard of the written responses was very encouraging.

I will take this aspect of providing learning episodes to answer a ‘bigger question’ independently through to my maths teaching from September, promoting the ability to problem solve in our learners which is a strong focus of the new mathematics curriculum.

WS- The main risk was in letting students undertake a practical task without any verbal instructions. They had a practical sheet and were told they could ask for me or Mr K to read it not explain it. The premise was to use” 3 before me” to support each other and develop resilience. It went well because at first students did do the practical wrong and weren’t quick enough assembling the equipment to collect the gas produced. However, this was not a barrier and they adopted a great growth mind set ( which we have been working on for 2 years, although not calling it that) by keeping going, not getting stressed and trying the procedure in a different way and they were all ultimately successful, by helping and watching each other and they obtained the results required.

The wonderful thing is that they are very comfortable to learn by trial and error and the principle of learning being a journey and not quite being there “yet” but still striving for gold and even platinum, showing commitment to learning rather than being taught.

PJ – The risk that I took in the recent observed lesson was to let the students work with as much independence as possible to answer a question that I posed at the beginning by carrying out an experiment. I then got the students to teach others what they found out and they had to answer questions on that as well. It went really well but could have gone wrong right from the start.

Whole Department Highlights and Developments:

Highlights of Book Monitoring

  • The use of colours to show peer, self and teacher feedback, as well as clear evidence of response to feedback and redrafting.
  • The clear progress in the books.
  • The use of peer and self-assessment. Highlights of observations
  • The independent nature of the observations
  • Trialling new ideas e.g. PJ and IRIS, and CM with visual and oral evidence for progress from hand held devices.

Next year’s T&L focus

  • Interleaving Trials:
  • CM IPad, meaningful homework’s
  • PJ IPad, IRIS
  • RM HW HS independence high middle and low
  • HW questioning
  • Whole department, meaningful learning through practical’s

Feedback evidence:


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap


The student at first has described how the paint and car attract but they missed out a key concept of the particles repelling, this was addressed in blue pen.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!


Here there has been discussion to clear up the confusion of the pulmonary artery and vein, and understanding how they aid delivery of oxygenated blood to the body.

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving itBS3

Students were given various targets 1-6 and 7 they decided on their own.  The targets where based on what makes a “gold” student and marks that are lost for silly little reasons, e.g. not using the correct key word, not reading the question properly, (dash-it marks).  The students totted up where they lost marks that could have been achieved with little extra effort, set a target, said how they will address it and said what the evidence of this will be.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.



Students self assessed, then peer verified work to show progress.


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap



Pupils first attempted an open-ended question ‘why don’t people need to mow their lawns in winter’. This was to assess knowledge remembered from the previous lesson and any other prior knowledge. Then the answers were discussed in pairs, then as a class, then a model answer shown. Although the peer assessment in this example isn’t very detailed, he has shown the keyword ‘glucose’ is missing. Then her redraft has massively improved as she has included more keywords and successfully linked it back to glucose. Her improvement is SPaG based, which she struggles with due to her dyslexia (links to CMs study about the use of iPads removing any literacy barriers but allowing pupils to still show their scientific knowledge).

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!


Conservation of mass can be hard for some pupils to understand as they assume if you’re reacting two things together, the product must have gained mass because they’re adding together. Or reversely if you add two chemicals to make one product, it must be lighter.

So I showed them the particle models of a reaction and got them to count how many of each element were on each ‘side’ of the arrow (top 4 lines). I then got them to answer some maths questions to prove conservation of mass (e.g. 7g + ??? à 10g, what is missing?)  They could then write their own scientific definition, which I was very impressed with!

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it

bs54This pupil really struggles with his literacy and doesn’t enjoy writing. However here he has attempted a question, self-assessed it, improved it to nearly perfect (5/6) and then redrafted the whole thing again to get full marks. Even better – I’d said to him ‘just add in the bit you missed out’ as I know he’s a slow writer, but he persisted and did the whole thing again as he ‘wants it perfect’!

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success


Self-reflection on their learning before an assessment. Very honest, and after reading my comment she came to see me at break to ask about the page numbers she needed to look at in her textbook ‘for the carbon cycle’. She then came back at lunch and said she didn’t like the textbook page, and could she take her exercise book home as she prefers her notes from class. This shows great GMS as she’s identified her weakness and is working on improving it rather than giving up. She then successfully answered the carbon cycle question in her assessment, and said ‘oh my god Miss, revision works!’ I think without this reflection beforehand, she would have attempted to revise everything, felt overwhelmed and given up.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.



Pupils were given a hypothesis they had to write a method to test. First attempt was without any help on what makes a good method. Then after a class discussion, they had a second attempt that was peer assessed. Then the third attempt has also improved. Although the 3 methods are all similar, the subtle improvements are necessary for scientific methods. This redrafting (although still not perfect) has shown this class in particular (that doesn’t like writing!) that if you do it properly and thoroughly once, it won’t need correcting. This redrafting has told me as a teacher that the class needs a further ‘method skills’ lesson to a) see if they revert back to the style of the first attempt, and b) to improve further with how they measure 1m, the distances, etc.

WS:  My belief is that Growth Mind Set is everything and if we get that right everything else will automatically follow as we have laid such a good framework to enable learners.

Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap


Student was then able to calculate mass number and atomic number and relate to the number of sub-atomic particles

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!

Adaptation of NTEN techniques in classroom to improve retention


Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it.





Optional GYM homework set on cystic fibrosis and after discussion – the optional homework was re-drafted


Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success


Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.

GYM review sheets



Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap


Katie Badley – structure of the leaf (Y7) CM

Katie completed her original work in black pen, I provided initial feedback in green pen. Katie then made some minor amendments in blue that I had requested then improved it by adding an additional paragraph for the missing details.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!

Aimee Blundell – Ray diagrams and law of reflection (she had set up her equipment incorrectly).



Aimee Blundell did had not really appreciated all the details required for the ray diagram, particularly the reflection points from the mirror and had set the equipment up with the mirror in slightly the wrong position so the back of the mirror was not lined up with the line. This meant her incident and reflected ray did not line up. After some feedback she made some labelling additions in blue then went on to repeat the investigation and get the ray diagrams and angles perfect!

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it



Laura Pendlebury – Law of reflection and ray diagrams CM

Laura took four attempts to get the diagram correct and use the protractor carefully. She kept going though which is a great mind set. Laura often jokes that she puts more graphs in the bin than she gets right in her book, but she always keeps going, which is fantastic.

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success



Ally Lyon – determination of population of species CM

Ally self-marked her population piece (original work completed in black and self-marked in red pen) then redrafted it in blue. This was then peer assessed by Eleanor and peer verified by Nour.



Ally Lyon – nuclear radiation, the gamma knife CM

Original work in black pen, peer assessed with improvements by Nour, then redrafted in blue the following lesson.

  Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.


Fast Feedback, Zoe King CM

– shows use of coloured pens to speed up marking, self-assessment in red pen, peer question in blue that is then pupil response in black


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap

BS29 The students work was peer assessed in red pen.  The peer assessment was ineffective at identifying exactly what the learner was missing to improve their answer to achieve the Gold criteria.  After checking the peer assessment and marking myself in green pen I highlighted the learning gap to the student in question.  The learner has responded in blue pen to my feedback, evidencing that they now understand this concept, closing this specific learning gap for this learners understanding of the causes of day and night.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!


This student did not appreciate that when explaining the concept of diffusion, that specific scientific key words must be used for it to be assessed as Gold standard.  The student’s first attempt at the explanation is written in blue pen.  I have assessed the students work in green pen, asking for a definition using key words that have been taught during the course of the topic.  Without reminding the student of the actual key words to use, the penny has dropped for this student as the improved definition is perfect!

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it



Dan Hinchcliffe Set 7.2 – Dan followed all feedback and kept repeating his attempts at Sankey diagrams until he had perfected it and reached the Gold standard


Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success


Charlie Shields 7 set 2 – here is an example of Charlie’s self-assessment of homework.  He addresses any knowledge gaps by including correct answers in purple pen – to aid revision of the topic


This shows another example of Charlie responding to peer feedback to improve upon his original work

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.


Fast feedback – peer assessed in red pen – the peer assessor has added a fast note in red pen and arrows to indicate where answers are the wrong way around to provide fast feedback to the learner.


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap



The students above were really struggling to grasp the concepts in fractional distillation. They attempted a six marker and RAG’d it and it was peer assessed. They then used their feedback to have another ago, and RAG’d their work again. This was then followed by a final peer assessment and feedback given by me. The process took two lessons but I really felt that the students ended with a much better understanding of fractional distillation.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!




7.7 students really struggle to complete any work independently. I completed a two week growth mind set project with them which led to them becoming much more independent and confident in their own ability. There is one student in particular who suffers from low confidence. She is actually one of the more able student in the class but she will not attempt any piece of work without reassurance from the TA. Over the two weeks, she really proved to herself how capable she was of doing tasks independently. She showed such good growth mind set over the two weeks that I chose her as one of my growth mind set stars for my observation lesson with this class. She did not complete the same tasks as anyone else as her role was to peer assess and give feedback to the other students on their work. It was lovely to see her having the confidence to guide other students – something that she had always been capable of doing but had never been confident enough to. I think it was a penny dropping moment for both her and me to see how she could come in just two weeks.

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it



I completed a two week growth mind set project with 7.7 in which the students really concentrated on becoming more independent learners. The students started by writing growth mind set pledges, choosing things such as ‘I will not say I can’t’ and ‘I will not give up’. The students were given a series of tasks to compete independently each lesson and those who did particularly well were awarded growth mind set stars as seen before. They were also given peer and teacher feedback throughout the project. The end result of this project was that the majority of the students were able to work independently for 45 minutes. This was a big achievement for these students who previously would not attempt anything without help or support from myself or the TA.

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success

BS45The student above has been given specific feedback and advice of how to improve. They have then redrafted their work, and have then had it verified by another student who had given them further feedback. This dialogue has led to them producing a work of high standard (but not particularly good presentation!) that included most of the necessary key words for the topic.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.

All of the above examples show evidence of DIRT. We have tried very hard to incorporate DIRT into all of our lessons over the last year, and the students are now well practiced at completing peer assessment and improving, redrafting and reflecting on their work. There are also above examples of students redrafting their work – students now know not to hand any work in that hasn’t been marked (by either themselves or a peer) and improved on within the lesson.


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap


Student replied to feedback by identifying the answer then they used that further knowledge to help them define a keyword within the lesson.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!

In my observed lesson one group predicted an incorrect outcome to a practical before carrying it out. Then when they did the practical they were able to identify they were wrong and why. This is evidenced in my lesson plan.

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it


For whatever reason the image was beyond my GM and rotating skill! Sorry Phil!

Yr7 student answering a DIRT question. Could label the parts of an animal or plant cell but I wanted to see if they really understood and could take it further by telling me what each part does. As you can see they were able to do this so I threw in an extra one that they had missed out and they got that as well.

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success


Above is an example of a DIRT lesson at KS4. These lessons are also done with ks3. In these lessons students answer an open ended question with as much information as they can remember from the week. These questions are then peer assessed in red pen and any improvements given. Students then redraft their work taking into account these improvements in blue pen. They are then rechecked by myself.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.

The above picture also shows an example of re drafting and how it is carried out. The below picture is an example of how I use SPAG. In this example I have shown a literacy question which centres around a common spelling mistake in science – Fluorine. This is an area I feel I need to improve on.


Carmel has also been thinking about how to keep an on-going faculty reflection, rather than waiting until a distant time and SLT requests for a current state of play. I’m keen for all to contribute any ideas that will save time/ease work-load. Creative ideas shouldn’t just come from the top-all need to be able to put ideas forward and try them out. I’m interested to see how this one works out and if other faculties try something similar.

David, Leon,

I was thinking of ways to collect department level evidence of sharing and reflection after our discussion yesterday. I need a way that is helpful to us as a department, uses minimal time and could be done as we go along (same criteria as we used when we developed fast marking).

I have mocked one up for you below.  I know it may appear like a list of trivial details, but these are the real items that are done day to day to build a bigger picture and that is the important point. This will then form the raw data for mine and Hannah’s reflection at the end of the year.  

I am hoping it will show our ideas and practices evolving over time and how everyone is contributing. It will be held in a spread sheet which people can add to at any point, the topic is there so we can sort by topic.

I’d like to think of it as one long set of meeting minutes, a meeting that we are all attending all the time! I anticipate most people will contribute on an adhoc but weekly basis and we have agreed that it could take the place of our after school weekly science meeting, to free up peoples time to add their contributions. Perhaps the next evolutionary step in department meetings as it is not limited by start and end times.

I have mocked up some data entries to give you an idea of the type of thing that could be included but who knows what people will add!

What do you think?

date Comment Feedback topic
HS Trialled learning by discovery with 8.5, 15 mins without any guidance and actually GOT THE CARBON CYCLE at the end. Going to try it with 8.4 next lesson. HW – can you send a link, 8.3 don’t quite get it yetHS W:\Science\Book Monitoring and observation 14-15\Summer observations\Observation resources\HS\Carbon Cycle Game.docxWS – I’ll try it too

CM  – can someone add it to the SOW pls, ta

T & L
WS Trying optional GYM homework with 8.6 CM – hmmm, let me know if they do it – could it be a step too far??HS – interestingWS – 25% have done it!

CM – that’s more than I would have expected – great idea Wendy will you do it again

WS – done another this week

WS – 45% this time, and Ella Thistlethwaite has redrafted it after id marked it! Really proud

CM – Wow amazing

HW My books are looking really good with these coloured pens. I’m doing my DIRT couple of times a week, makes marking quick. CM – can you add the dirt tasks into the SOW slidesHW – doneRM – I used them, really great thx Holly Marking
RM Coloured pens going well, books look really good but its taking too long to manage giving them out and taking in HS – try making pen packs, Val has some small plastic bagsWS – I use pen packs tooCM – pen packs didn’t work for me as pupils didn’t always put pens back in them. I’ve got wooden blocks with holes drilled in them. equipment
CM My y 11s are getting behind as they are so much slower in the afternoon – had to use my consolidation week just to finish C4 PJ – me tooRM – me too, set 2 are a real problem Tuesday afternoon. I’ve had to speak to KRHW – me too

CM – not a lot we can do except really push the pace in the Thursday lesson.

CM – my 11.6 are ahead of 11.1! that the effect of 75% afternoon lessons.

CM – Maths finding similar issue but there’s is a 50% split.

CM – shouldn’t happen next year as going to 2 week timetable.

CM Have found kerboodle – an online homework for OCR GCSE, think may be good for KS4 intervention. Got a free month trial, gives you reports of results so you can see who is struggling. HS – does it do triple too?CM yes I’ve emailed everyone logonsWS – love it, they can practice as many times as they like before doing it

RM – great ill set some

CM – I have found that setting the same one three times and getting them to do it immediately after each other works really well for recall .

HW – I’m setting them – can we order them

CM it’s in budget for next year, can use as hw too.

PJ Thought about doing a lesson using IRIS CM – Brave – let me know how it goesPJ – student teacher wants to do one too.HW – fab, let me know how she gets on.

CM – anyone else want to do IRIS?


T & L
CM Going to set up some multi choice recall quizzes on ……for lunchtime intervention if anyone wants them I can share HS – they can run them in my lab if you want.WS – can I send someCM – yes just send me list of names

WS – I will help chase people up and deliver them if you like.

CM – Ta

CM – People keep forgetting to chase up – I’ve emailed learning tutors to prompt but still not running smoothly.

WS – I think it’s because we are alternating the weeks between 11 and 10.

HS – yes I think you are right, they mean to come but just forget.

CM – let’s try and find another way, this is not being effective for anyone. Quizzes are good though so we can use them in lessons.

CM Year 10 triple girls are becoming really amazing at peer assessment and redraft – able to correct the science effectively PJ – yes I was impressed with them too.RM – 10 4 definitely not there yetCM – 10 5 ok, I’ll send you some of the scaffolds I’ve got. Marking
WS Controlled assessments running behind schedule as we don’t have enough balances HW – agreedRM – me too agreedHS – yep

PJ – defo

CM – message received (problem the 0.01g ones are £400!)

CM Going to trial ‘print your own stickers’ that Greg uses RM – I’ve seen his books I love themCM – let me know if you want a box of blanks to print on.HW – can I see some when they’re done Marking


The PE faculty worked incredibly hard during Sport’s Week [as did others!] and had to be flexible and re-arrange plans quickly when the weather turned. It really is the highlight of our school year and the team spirit both students and staff engender and display really shows the power of the alternative curriculum. The PE folks still managed to meet to share some of their ideas like the old pros that they are! This old pro, after foolishly playing in the year 8 girls 5 a side and the 2 staff v year 11 helpers’ games, has had to forsake his Sunday bike ride and write a blog because he is still stiff!

Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap

Aaron- Creating dialogue with students in books, use of dot marking in psd lessons enabled me to show this within my book monitoring and I feel this has closed the gap.

Sam- Video footage of year 7 girls doing the tennis serve. Girls acted upon the advice after watching a pro tennis player and their improvements are clearly evidenced in the video footage.

Tom- Use of ipads of analysis of high jump technique, students were able to analyse their performance which lead to a massive improvement.

Rosie- Video footage for year 10 GCSE group, which helped the lower attainers watch their own and other performances to help identify targets for improvement. Video footage is evidence of before and after.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!

Aaron- Year 9 mixed GCSE group fully understand that GCSE PE consists of 40% theory as well as 60% practical which is more challenging but has been drip fed to improve their knowledge and understanding which will bridge the gap for year 10.

Tom- Use of growth mind set in lessons to allow students to understand how to develop their skills.

Sam- Lower year 7 girls have fully understood that it is far easier to remain confident and up beat instead of letting things get to them.

Rosie- Lower year 7 girls have fully understood that is far easier to communicate and remain positive and start to use team work to achieve success rather than trying to do everything solo.

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it

Rosie- See book monitoring (Katie MacDonald book)- massive improvement for 10 mark questioning.

Aaron- During KS3 PE observation student gave feedback and was then asked to re-do it which was in more detail and of a much higher standard.

Tom- During observation students taking a lead learning role and developing other student’s skills through analysis of performance in cricket (Dylan Burrows).

Sam- Students used home learning to research the skeletal system producing high quality resources for their next lesson (Rachel Cresswell).

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success

Aaron- Creating dialogue with students in books, use of dot marking in psd lessons enabled me to show this within my book monitoring and I feel this has closed the gap.

Rosie- Peer sheets for verbal/ written verification to use KS3 which had a positive effect on the assessor and the performer, which gave them confidence to critically reflect.

Tom- Year 11 exam question analysis and peer assessment (Purple pen), improving student learning.

Sam- Batting in year 8 rounders. Video footage was observed by partners and honest critique was fed back. Students then videoed them again checking that feedback was completed and success had been had.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.

and, of course, any of your own choice [just tell your colleagues why you chose it and think it is your best]

GCSE PE and Dance- See books and book monitoring- PR and PEPs for GCSE PE- SPS/ TE

Thank you as always to all who have shared ideas-part 3 next!































Summer Feedback Trilogy-Part 1 The thing we use to call marking

Colleagues have been gathering their thoughts in faculties about the Magic Moments observed in our summer observations and sharing examples of their latest feedback tactics offered to line-managers during book monitoring. Although staff are tired as the term comes to its end and have been exhibiting some very different pedagogical [and other] skills during our Sport’s Week, they have still managed to celebrate their successes and hopes for next year with each other. I usually put them all together for internal purposes and then on to the external blog so others can borrow if they wish to. It’s such a huge read, that I’ve split them this time into 3 parts! Thank you to all who have contributed and continue to inspire me and allow me into their thoughts, concerns, ideas and classrooms.

Preparing the new school SEF and SIP pushed me to read the new Ofsted handbook and criteria in greater detail than the cursory glances I gave it a few weeks ago when it first appeared. My changing role will still involve professional development and it was good to see in the outstanding criteria;

Staff reflect on and debate the way they teach. They feel deeply involved in their own professional development. Leaders have created a climate in which teachers are motivated and trusted to take risks and innovate in ways that are right for their pupils.

It’s become part of our culture now that we organise our directed time and inset to allow open and honest debate about learning and teaching and risks are encouraged so that innovative ideas are trialled and should they not work; lessons are learnt. It remains important that we need to constantly seek ideas and expertise from external sources too and different approaches to the way we might think/do things are always welcome. A couple of interesting ideas re the use of book scrutinies and use of marking as a method of monitoring/checking progress are here; @mrhistoire

Our observations and book monitoring is different to many other schools, and I’m aware from colleagues who visit us, that our approach interests them whether they agree or disagree with it! I can’t hide my dislike of grading observations or tightly imposed structures for monitoring ‘marking’-BUT we do what works for us and is best for our staff and students. This doesn’t mean that we aren’t ‘Ofsted savvy’ –I need to know what they are up to support schools via our Teaching School remit and watch the subject specific current inspections like a hawk, just in case! Their outstanding feedback criteria is what you might expect [they seem to like the word incisive!] without dissecting every word and I would imagine most schools have something similar in their own policies. In Michael Tidd’s post above he gives the EEF description of feedback and we can discuss the use of oral, written or any other form of feedback at length in another blog-this one simply shares some of our current and proposed practice!

Teachers provide pupils with incisive feedback, in line with the school’s assessment policy, about what pupils can do to improve their knowledge, understanding and skills. The pupils use this feedback effectively

Pupils are eager to know how to improve their learning. They capitalise on opportunities to use feedback, written or oral, to improve.

 The questions that I asked faculties to feedback on will become apparent as you read through their responses. I’ll begin with English.

SF 1

SF 2









I’ve explained in previous blogs that I like staff to experiment with their feedback to find what is best for them and their classes within a loose whole school policy.

I will always suggest that if well-known marking acronyms/phrases are used that E is added for evidence and examples-e.g. What Went Well [Evidence of what was so good] Even Better If [Example provided] to make peer critique even tighter-same for 2 stars and a wish which is used occasionally with some of our younger lowest ability students as part of their transition from primary.

The English faculty have thought long and hard about finding quick feedback strategies which will impact both on actual specific English needs and staff workload in creating the most effective intervention tactics. They shared their new idea with the rest of the staff-this might be the last time we see some of the above slides! I can’t do justice to this using pictures and words but will explain it more after a term or so of trialling it. The maths faculty have already told me that they like this and as both faculties have begun to meet together to discuss their research project [another blog!]-watch this space!


You can see that they have designed a set of symbols to allow them to mark quickly and then use the symbols for the students to interpret and respond to as part of the feedback and dialogue process. They hope that the use of symbols and agreed intervention criteria will be easier for them to track and give a bit more time to actually intervene purposefully to support students who have struggled with certain aspects of their learning. Looks good on paper and I’m delighted to see them innovate and I will be fascinated to see if this is something that makes a difference to both sets of learners [students and teachers]





Each teacher discussed different aspects of their feedback and the risk taken during observations. A more detailed discussion will take place in September to decide faculty learning, teaching and feedback priorities-this is to give our middle leaders a real grasp of what is currently working well and areas that need professional development and will feed into the whole school SIP.

Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap

TM- A variety of dialogues completed during dirt. The use of questioning allows pupils to develop their answers.  Students are challenged linking to their targets to push to the next level & grade. Students will be asked to prioritise, explain or asked the other side of an argument. With regards to GCSE questions – aimed at pushing pupils up to Level 3 of mark scheme. GCSE questions often link to skills e.g. P.E.E ensuring pupils either fully explain their answers or include relevant data to justify their answers

MD- After first book monitoring purple pens were introduced which evidenced improvements and feedback which was then checked and improvements grades were issued. This strengthened the 3 way marking process that was already in place and made it more visual.

GT- The use of level up activities within history from both peer and teacher questions has really allowed pupils to develop and improve on exam questions across KS3. Pupils use the mark scheme and their own understanding to ask questions that really push pupils to close the gap on their target grade. This is then re-marked and if successful pupils are given a ‘level up’ grade. I also really enjoyed using Helens ‘What’s missing’ activity with pupils which has allowed them to use peer providing to highlight how pupils could improve their exam answers to increase their grade/mark. It served as a great way for pupils to see where they could improve their work before redrafting it.

HY- 7.7 feedback responded which has been developed throughout the year, they have enjoyed dot marking which works well with low ability. Assessment slips show students clearly what level they are on and how to reach the next level. Students know exactly what they are working on and towards. DIRT stickers are used to show they have overcome learning challenges.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!

ED – Low ability year 9 learning case study material on Bangladesh and retaining information was really rewarding for them and myself. Also this same group used dictionaries and GCSE text books to learn meanings of key geographical words to enable them to understand geographical text. Through this they were able to use the terminology to complete 6mark GCSE questions. Using this terminology allowed them to reach the higher marks within the question.

TM- year 10 using PEE chains. Helped them structure their 6 mark extended answers and allowed the students to gain more confidence. Over time these were withdrawn and now the students can answer there question more effectively.

MD- first observation – students completed a causal web with low ability year 10 GCSE. I adapted high ability task and added challenge which students more than lived up to which showed me that low ability thrive from aspiration and high expectations.

GT- The penny dropping moments within my last observation with Y8 history where they were applying their understanding in a solo taxonomy activity that had been introduced to the pupils that lesson. Penny drop was when Eve was able to make links between pictures that I had not initially thought of during the planning. This was even further developed in the peer assessment where pupils were encouraged to highlight further links on other pupil’s visual hexagons.

HY- with GCSE exam mats which include 6 mark answering techniques and command words students enjoy using these. Low ability year 10 who struggle with extended writing used these and were able to achieve higher levels in their questions.

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it

TM- Redrafting – y10 pupils redrafted their work after an assessment. Pupils showed great growth mind-set and it was clear they wanted to improve to do their very best. (example from Aleta attached)

MD- Based on feedback to a year 8 assessment 2 students returned at lunchtime and wanted to further improve their assessments to achieve a level up.

GT- I have found that a large range of my feedback opportunities have tested pupils resolve and has been a growth mind set challenge, especially for lower ability pupils as they have had to critique using success criteria. I have found modelling has supported this. Also, making improvements on level up and redrafting is a challenge for pupils as many do not like redoing work, as some of the more positive improvements really show the effort that have put into improving.

HY- Jasmine Evans didn’t make her target grade – she returned after school for extra support. This helped improve and reach her target showing a positive growth mind set.  

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success

TM- see pictures attached showing marking.

MD- year 9 – Created a how to answer exam style question revision guide by writing on the desks. Students worked as a class to improve each desk and wipe out incorrect information collectively created an effective learning resource which has then been used when planning answers.

GT- I have found that using both peer verification has proved a really great opportunity for pupils to critique each other’s work both across KS3/KS4, it has given then a chance to develop their critique and setting targets/improvements on this. Also, I encourage pupils to write their own peer critique using WWW/EBI and setting targets/questions which are answered within the classroom.

HY- peer assessed effort in lesson of each other – BSG, different questions about group discussion, using geographical vocab and leading roles. Students self-assessed their effort and then peer assessed agreeing or disagreeing. 

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.

TM- Have trialled dot marking with low ability and found it very useful. Pupils are beginning to become familiar with this process and can now identify mistakes easily. Labels stuck onto lower sets to show where feedback has been left. Removed once I am happy with responses – Pupils now have high expectations when it comes to DIRT tasks as they know I will check all work. (They also seem to hate having the labels stick out of their books so are keen to get rid of them by completing high standard work!) Mock exam review – Review after mocks to identify key areas of strength and areas for development. I have found this really helpful and it allows students to easily reflect on their work.  Fast feedback – GCSE mark scheme highlighting – When pupils answer a GCSE past paper question they stick in the mark scheme long with their answer. I then use this to mark the work, highlighting where they have hit criteria of the mark scheme. This allows me to give specific feedback which links directly to what the mark scheme is looking for without having to write lots. Use of HYs GCSE mats

MD- re-drafting – using the redrafting form students were able to use peer and teacher feedback to redraft work to show clear progress.

GT- SPag Bombs, personalised stickers, SPIT marking, Highlighter Marking – These are a variety of methods I have tried to introduce help familiarise students with peer critique and to also vary the methods used so pupils are challenged and stay engaged. SPaG bombs have allowed me to focus on improving spelling of key words across KS4, whilst personalised stickers have increased my fast feedback, high level questioning and have overall made my marking more efficient.

HY- dot marking and GCSE mats, growth mind set displays, growth mind sets efforts plenary. Introducing peer assessment of GCSE questions at KS3.

Each individual teacher please also be ready to explain the ‘risk’ they took in the recent lesson observation and explain what the impact on learning was. Where will you take it next?

TM- used a role play activity with year 8 – was worried they wouldn’t participate and be shy however they excelled and verbally used their key geographical knowledge to take part effectively. They still talk about the activity as they can remember the key knowledge of the lesson clearly. Next I would give the students more responsibility within their roles and filter this through to lower ability classes.

MD- boxing to argue – developing arguing for and against skills allowing them to be in charge of decision making exercise. Pupils had to think on their feet developing their speaking and listening skills and apply this then to 10 and 12 mark questions. This will be trialled with lower ability students.

GT- A risk I took was getting pupils to set create, set, share and peer assess their own 12 mark questions at GCSE. This was a strategy new to me as it aimed to develop pupil’s skills as answering a range of questions

HY – speaking and listening – students had talk tokens given when good geographical conversations were taking place. This was with a high ability class therefore higher order terminology was required to achieve a token. This encouraged students and helped them with answering GCSE questions. After speaking to Dave I would try giving the tokens to the students and allowing them to decide when their partner deserved a token for good use of terminology.

The humanities gentlemen have shared lots of photos of their feedback in 2015 blogs so I’ll give our geography NQT Toni a clarion call for her continual refection and refining of her feedback strategies by sharing some of her snaps.

The first 3 show some targeted questioning and then the follow up self-evaluation to see that the advice/knowledge has been met/memorised.





Toni has encouraged the students [red pen] to peer assess SPaG and BSG criteria-this was an early example [Toni began her NQT in November] and Toni would now ensure an example of an explanation was given by the peer marker. This development in her feedback is seen below.


SF17  SF18


Miss then verifies the peer critique saving her time and by supporting better quality peer critique, the learners are hopefully strengthening their skills and knowledge.


And she also finds time to teach G.C.S.E geography too!


Performing Arts

The creative ladies had an early attempt at September’s inset activity-individual colleagues will share their learning/teaching and feedback triumphs and their priorities for 2015/16 [based on their appraisal foci and professional portfolio] so faculty leaders can easily collate an overall PD need to match individual and faculty needs-this then comes to me to give me a whole school picture.


For our book monitoring or scrutiny, colleagues self-evaluate their feedback first, highlighting areas of interest before passing books representative of the different cohorts to their line manager.

Some have wonderful colour schemes to represent the different factors we are currently trialling. See Toni’s below


Book scrutiny is a professional development exercise in the same spirit as our observations are developmental-this doesn’t make them a soft option! If feedback needs to be developed further, targets are agreed upon but the whole process of collaboration and sharing of ideas means that there are always examples of great practice from within our own school to go to for inspiration and guidance. I liked Sophie’s idea of including her summer evaluation after her Autumn/winter one so that she could link and explain her own professional progress and development over this



Thank you to all who shared their ideas in part 1. Part 2 will star our scientists!

Thanks for reading












Peaky Humanities Blinders

Past the square, past the bridge,

past the mills, past the stacks

On a gathering storm comes

a tall handsome man

in a dusty black coat with

a red right hand

The new humanities staff have strode in to town with the style and panache of the Peaky Blinders, without the violence of course! I’m a big fan of the cult series and Nick Cave’s atmospheric ‘Red Right Hand’ [sang by PJ Harvey in the 2nd series] used as the theme tune and I’m always a fan of teachers we acquire who are immediately prepared to fit into our collaborative culture, trialling and sharing as they develop into the best teachers that they can be. Losing our subject leader just before the summer deadline was always going to be difficult and everybody has stepped up to the mark to help our 3 NQTs and to prepare for Helen and Emma’s maternity cover. We try to avoid giving tricky classes/year 11 classes to NQTs so they can develop their craft and prepare fully but this hasn’t been possible at times and good team-work supports them in their first year of our profession. Martin has taken on Helen’s year 11 classes and last year the English faculty took on extra exam classes when they found themselves a subject leader and teacher short due to very last minute resignations to join another school. Other faculties, such as science, have all responded similarly recently when facing the same situation of long term absence or teacher unavailability. Students and parents may not realise the extra commitment being shown to ensure the students are getting the best possible deal and the archaic resignation dead-line system plagues all schools and means that students often lack a specialist teacher for a full term, particularly in a shortage subject area. Our staff take on an extra work-load to obviate these problems and the senior team are eternally grateful and appreciative of all involved-thank you.

I observed Emma, supported by her TA Kim with her year 9 class and she very kindly invited Toni and Andrew, our 2 geography NQTs along as well! There were many highlights of the lesson but my favourite and the one that I feel other teachers could make really good use of was her peer critique idea to allocate roles in the groups to look at different exam answers. They marked each of 3 different answers Miss had written in their  roles which they were given according to their abilities/needs.



This was a great modelled activity for the NQTs to observe. We often use to let the students launch straight into answering 6, 8 or 10 markers without enough prior preparation and then go backwards, using mark schemes to go over what should have happened. Most share criteria now before but this activity plus a WAGOLL is a great way to introduce them to what is needed to answer well.

Emma and I had discussed with Toni, after her observation different methods of building up knowledge without copying and Emma showed how they could re-cap on prior learning, check with each other and then reference to the definitions needed for G.C.S.E. success. The students, in their groups, tried to recall knowledge and then visited other presentations and added on, in red pen, extra information or changed misconceptions. Emma’s penny dropping moment was seeing the focused red pen comments and realising the extent to which she had drilled knowledge into them in year 8!



The students could see the power of learning over time-it’s a nice feeling for any learner when prior knowledge wheels begin to whir in your brain and this makes you more eager to gather the additional information. The old idea of measuring ‘new knowledge’ gained in 1 lesson is being laid to rest-not many topics are brand new-recall can go back to KS2 and learning can look forward to the next lesson, the next month and the summer exams! Progress might just be spotted and made!

Andrew then tried to use what he had seen in his own NQT lesson for Emma and myself, beginning his year 9 students with an individual memory re-cap before inviting them to support each other with red-pen comments around the room.



He then used his ‘talk tokens’ to build up their knowledge and this is a great activity that can be used by any subject. I’ve observed both Andrew and Greg using this tactic-it’s a good ‘un on so many fronts-speaking and listening, retaining knowledge and the students enjoy it and engage seriously!

04 05 06

The exercise does bring out some of the entrepreneurial talents of some students as they vie for the most tokens. I did spot some dubious tactics but liked overhearing, “I’ll give you my backwash for your hard rock!”

I was also chatting to colleagues about how they are helping the students with their SPaG requirements and spotted a simple but effective grid Greg had used [made by Helen] whilst I was monitoring his books that could be easily adapted for most 6/8/10 mark assessments in any subjects. If you have something similar-please send it to me. I want really specific examples for SPaG rather than the students being told that they get a certain amount of marks and concentrating on spelling their key words correctly-most SPaG marks are lots for basic generic mistakes-their, there, where, were etc. If you knock out the history, I’m sure you can use it elsewhere!

  • Simple descriptive comment and/or gives one reason.
1 – 2
  • Develops one side of the argument
  • Bottom level, description of the what Wilson or Clemenceau wanted and what they got
  • Middle level, explanation of what Wilson/Clemenceau wanted and what they got. Some discussion of how satisfied
  • Top level, assesses how satisfied and has clear focus on the question.
3 – 6
  • Covers both sides of the argument
  • Bottom level, description of the what both Wilson and Clemenceau wanted and what they got
  • Mid-High level, explanation of what Wilson and Clemenceau wanted and what they got. Some discussion of how satisfied
  • No analysis of how satisfied
3 – 6
  • Covers both side of the argument
  • Explanation of what Wilson and Clemenceau wanted and what they got.
  • Assess how satisfied each would have been
  • Develops an argument on who would be more satisfied and
  • One side is in greater depth than the other
  • A clear structure in the answer
  • Always links back answer to the question
  • – 9
  • Covers both side of the argument
  • Balanced answer that explains what Wilson and Clemenceau wanted and what they got.
  • A well-argued answer on who was most satisfied by the Treaty of Versailles, this should be backed up and linked to a number of reasons
  • Focus on the question
  • Conclusion
SPAG You have written in paragraphs. + 1
SPAG You have written in full sentences, using capital letters, full stops and punctuation where needed. + 1
SPAG You have spelt key historical words correctly. + 1

Emma’s books covered many of the areas we have discussed as a staff and that are part of our book marking initiatives and requirements. I’ve explained our policy many times before and after Xmas will share all of our faculty’s best marking and feedback. Geography and history like their peer verification and have been using DIRT for that and dialogue between teacher and student. I’ve included Emma, Greg and Andrew’s comments and their self-evaluation targets before sharing some of the marking.

Biggest impact on learning your marking has had this year? Emma

So far I believe my marking has given pupils an early insight into what they are capable of and should be achieving the first time they complete a task so that  in future tasks they should be reaching a higher level of thinking and work. Especially at year 11 when students need the belief they are capable of completing longer style questions – within the first term this should be a recap and basis again to get them set up to achieve highly in their mock and real exams. I believe I have helped them set this basis in preparation for their exams and with the help of mark schemes they have designed in their books they should be able to identify trends in answering certain types of questions.

Biggest impact on learning your marking has had this year? Greg

I feel that marking has been beneficial for both teacher and student alike. Firstly, regular marking and the use of DIRT has allowed me to highlight any misconceptions, inform my planning and any interventions this year. With regards to the impact on students, I feel that the marking has impacted in a number of ways:

  • It has given pupils clear expectations of both what they are expected to achieve in the classroom, it has highlighted to pupils themselves their own ability and has given them chances to improve their work
  • Secondly, different methods of marking such as Dot Marking has allowed me to focus on SPaG with lower ability pupils and allows them to practice their SPaG when the exam board have an increased focus on this.
  • With regards to the use of DIRT, I have found that at KS3 level, its introduction has allowed pupils to consolidate their learning and has put the emphasis on producing excellent work the first time around.
  • Lastly, I have found my first uses of peer assessment (PV and PP) have proved successful in highlight to pupils to demands of GCSE level exam questions, the mark schemes and their understanding of how to achieve higher marks. Furthermore, it has given pupils to opportunity to physically learn how achieve the marks they are aiming for
Dialogue Self/peer crit Literacy/numeracy Initiatives DIRT/re-draft

  • To enforce BSG in marking more regularly at KS3.
  • To ensure all DIRT questions are completed in allotted time, focus on pupils efficiency

  • To attempt this across all key stages.
  • Get 10B to engage further in Peer Verification at GCSE
  • Introduce KS3 Level Peer verification
Target: to reinforce SPaG at GCSE and link to mark scheme

  • Strategies needed to improve use of capital letters

Enforce use of literacy mat for target pupil

Target: trial dot marking, particularly with KS3 to target SPaG errors. Dot to show error in paragraph that pupils must find themselves (Dot on problem line maybe for low ability) Target: I need to spend time to target common errors in DIRT. This should allow for class collaboration to share ideas, improvements and confusions

Biggest impact on learning your marking has had this year? Andrew

I feel DIRT has had a massive impact on student’s learning. It is clear to see through the improvements they make that this time benefits both student and teacher as they can work together to discuss any issues.

Peer assessment has also improved in the short time since September and I hope to engrain this across all key stages. It benefits both peers as they are encouraged to develop their own personal thinking skills. I feel there is a good basis of peer feedback now placed across all key stages but more work needed with some, particularly Year 7 and low ability Year 8.

GCSE marking is fairly consistent, hopefully peer assessment will further develop as the year progresses and outcomes of GCSE style questions should improve.

I feel my biggest aim is to incorporate BSG into key stage 3 lesson marking and DIRT time e.g. you achieved silver, to get gold you must……

Dialogue Self/peer crit Literacy/numeracy Initiatives
Target: to enforce BSG in marking more regularly at KS3 Target: to attempt this across all key stages. Get 10E more familiar with peer assessment. Target: to reinforce SPaG at GCSE and link to mark scheme Target:  trial dot marking, particularly with KS3 to target SPaG errors. Dot to show error in paragraph that pupils must find themselves (Dot on problem line maybe for low ability).

Martin choose these targets;


Self/peer crit Literacy Initiatives General
T Self-assessment to be developed at KS4 through the year especially in exam style q’sT:Will now continue to develop the 3 way marking process across all sets and especially assessed pieces.  T Need to introduce DOT marking for literacy in both KS3 and 4 T Introducing purple pens into books over the next term from GT’s idea T I would like to collaborate with other department to share more strategies/what’s worked for them

The feedback helps me to monitor the whole school situation but the reflection involved helps our NQTs especially to tell me where they feel they need to develop next with their marking so I can point them in the direction of experienced markers. The bottom line is that we have to mark our books, however I want colleagues to find out for themselves which types of marking have the biggest impact on learning-this is often very different with different classes-and I want them to mark smartly by choosing from circulated ideas to suit their professional needs. Martin, for example has kindly taken on Helen’s year 11 classes whilst still fulfilling his main role in school as year 8 progress manager. His increased work-load may mean a necessary change in his marking habits-how can I help and how can we all support each other’s marking?

Some of Emma’s marking can be seen below with my commentary. The first one shows some peer/self-critique comments and simple advice from a low/mid ability class and the improved piece after feedback [as directed 13 pages on by the student!] Absolutely crucial that we don’t miss this opportunity.


07 08

With the same class Miss encouraged them to write their own G.C.S.E style mark-schemes in preparation for year 9 and to get them thinking hard about the answers and knowledge needed to achieve mastery [Gold!] in their assessments. I teach the same class for history and this was a good challenge for them.



All teachers will recognise the first feedback comment below! Miss doesn’t stand for it and insists on a higher quality of response.



Our students often miss vital examination marks in geography and other subjects when they forget to include data to support their answers. Emma targets this below with a specific question aimed to increase the assessment score from 5-6. Dropping 1 mark for every question could prove costly for this year 11 student.



The geographers have taken on the peer verification aspect of peer marking began by the historians to allow the students to discuss each other’s work and to compromise with 2 other students. Some students love the conversations-others don’t!



The year 11 students create their own mark schemes and you can see that 1 student has peer marked another’s work according to their criteria [not sure where 5/6 went!] and added improvement points which the initial student has then responded to. Miss has verified the process and added to it.



Martin has also shared some of his marking and please remember what I have said about his increased work-load-how has he managed to mark effectively and still manage to watch a little bit of rugby on a Saturday?

The red pen [he is going to get some more colours!] indicates peer critique with green for Sir’s advice before the final red shows the student’s improved piece as a response to the feedback given.


14 15

The year 11 learning on Vietnam sees Martin raise pertinent questions aimed at knowledge needed for the exam-answered in red during DIRT and then verified by Sir that his feedback has been successfully met.


16 17

When the skills of peer/self-critique are taught and practised, then they have their place in our marking policy-if they aren’t taught well, then the inaccuracy of them hinders learning and gives the teacher even more to mark as they rectify the damage caused. When I came up with the peer verification idea I wanted it to help peer critique a far more worthwhile activity than it usually was so that both students and teachers could benefit. Martin has embraced the idea but it isn’t for everyone and that’s absolutely fine-as long as they have something equally as good to show!



Biggest impact on learning your marking has had this year? Martin

I feel that the marking has helped the students to understand the exam framework more clearly- even at KS3. The time it has saved me by using tools such as verification and peer marking has not hampered the quality of feedback because students understand the 3 way marking process and how it benefits them. It has gone beyond just seeing what grade you get and scribbling a quick response in red pen to actually improving work to reach the next level of progress and get that verified. This process has shown me that DIRT and peer verification are now fully embedded into the department.

DIRTy geography

I had an interesting bit of a twitter discussion re DIRT last week with someone who had been criticised in a lesson observation for allowing DIRT to take away from the main focus of the lesson. That isn’t an issue here-the time to experiment is when you are being observed so we can help and be an extra pair of hands and eyes HOWEVER making the most of giving the students’ time to improve and reflect is a matter of trial and error for us all as we work out what works best. I gave lots of different ideas out before Easter and changed the D to F for FEEDBACK on your learning-didn’t stick though! Few of the slides here for new colleagues to give you some ideas. The quality of the feedback back to the teacher from the students is the key to using DIRT or any other form of ‘dialogue’ marking.

19 20 21 22 23 24

One of my concerns when I monitor the books and look at DIRT activities has always been the quality of the questions set-that’s why one of our key areas on our book monitoring self-analysis forms is QUESTIONING! This is especially so with our lowest ability students when the questions spotted can be closed and basic-there is nothing wrong with basic knowledge and SPaG prompts-the students do need these to help their recall/retention, fill gaps in their knowledge and patient build-up of their marginal gains is absolutely fine and necessary. Closed questions help and should be used but more challenging deeper questions should be part of the mix too. Although my year 8 class struggle with writing their thoughts down accurately and some get very frustrated with ‘all the writing’ stuff they do need to be challenged with some big thinking questions. I tried these made up scenarios on Monday with them.


25 26

We have been studying earthquakes and in the current geography affairs section of the lesson looked at the heavy snow fall in the USA. A few points about my thinking.

  • The ability to consider 2 things at the same time and draw a conclusion is the basis of most G.C.S.E. questions-it shouldn’t be avoided with our low sets. How we get them to be able to answer these tough questions is down to our growth mind-set!
  • Don’t forget that most of these students [all probably] will have a scribe in their exams-speaking and listening is crucial and must be developed. Having to write answers down does hinder some of their thought processes-they are capable of some great thinking but can’t always commit it to paper. This shouldn’t be a barrier to us trying to extend their thinking capacity. They did find this activity tricky and told me it was hard BUT two of the students who find writing the most frustrating due to dyslexia told me that they really enjoyed the discussion. Their oral answers were far stronger than the written DIRT. I did then wonder when I was reading their answers-why the hell have I asked them to write this down! Probably because that’s the way it’s always been done, we value the written word more than the spoken and so on. I suppose that I justify it by thinking that they do need help with their written work to gain more success and this may help-realistically it probably just frustrated!
  • Writing down feedback questions/advice is time consuming-stickers don’t work for me-and most of us tend to have 4 or 5 differentiated comments that we use to cover 20 plus students. Some do use named question on the IWB to save time and I did this with the small class and after their initial thoughts on their own, I despatched them to pair up with blue or red partners to add to their original answer/thoughts.

When I came towards the end of a very long sporting career playing something every Saturday from 14 to 47, I probably became far more thoughtful a player and possibly better and more skilful. As some physical faculties began to fail-speed, energy, hand-eye co-ordination-others skills-spatial awareness, conserving energy until needed most, not relying on pace but slight of foot or hand-came to the fore. Perhaps that’s the same in teaching and school leadership-the initial rush of 20 something enthusiasm and exuberance is gradually replaced by experience [no place for cynicism at MCHS!] and a willingness to listen more and admit when I’ve got it wrong in the class or outside of it! Much of what we‘ve taken for granted in terms of ‘good’ pedagogy or ‘great’ leadership may just be simply wrong. Sometimes it needs Peaky Blinders coming to town to see different ways of doing things to help us to re-assess our own contributions and to up our own games. Long may it continue!




Magic Peer Critique Moments

Half term has been and gone and our lesson observations continue to provide a rich source of internal research and ideas for all colleagues to share and ‘magpie’ from. Peer critique/assessment is a continuing source of innovation, intrigue and inimitable ideas and resources and whilst the lesson observations have offered so much more than just PA; I know that many colleague at Meols Cop and further afield, like to see the approaches currently being trialled. I will collate student responses-dialogue/feedback DIRT etc. later in the term in readiness for new teachers arriving in September so that they can see what is expected of their marking. I’ve added other interesting techniques and ideas too!

Karen and I opened our week with a period 1 back to school visit to Lisa and year 7 who were going to;


We both love the ‘Big Thinking Question’ approach shared at the beginning and again when appropriate. It is the central aspect of our quick lesson plans and for me the key to all great lessons-what do you want your learners to know by the end-how you get there is down to your planning and skills as a teacher! You might have to be flexible along the way!


We had a good discussion at the end re reading out aloud in class. Some teachers may let the students read because they are being observed and think that they better not talk too much themselves! Does it have a learning purpose [we teach listening and speaking skills]-if it does, should we teach it as a discernible skill? I have encouraged this before and can see the benefits and in fact opened up a good twitter discussion on the pros and cons-most went for the pros! It’s a very difficult skill or are there more positive aspects to the teacher reading in an engaging manner, perhaps emphasising the important literary devices? It is certainly a skill that frightens students, slows down the lesson and is often done so badly that you wonder why on earth you allowed it to happen. What do you think?

The English faculty are adopting a uniform approach with their bronze, silver gold criteria and Lisa used Katie’s peer critique slide to develop peer responses that have already been established and observed in book monitoring.

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The students responded well and we discussed the time implications-the skill needs perhaps a full lesson at first to work through and model each stage, especially with questions 4 and 5. Photo WAGOLLS with the visualizer and show them to the other classes so that their subject specific examples are more than ‘write more.’ Interestingly one of the students fed-back that robbed, annoyed and exciting were all spelled wrong. This gave us the chance to push the assessor to think about why and the rules of spelling-this needs time and neither self nor peer assessment can be rushed if it is to have an impact on all the learners involved-DIRT please-it is worth the learning time given up to it.

Karen in her own lesson with year 10 was looking at;

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The discussion afterwards is always good fun and I was really interested in her desire to develop ‘Scholars of English’

We discussed the notion of being an ‘English Scholar’-being responsible for their own learning, proud of their ‘scholarly’ status and the status having legitimacy-this is a key element of learning and being a successful learner in your lessons and should be in others too. The students often want to be spoon-fed and it is easy to give in at times, especially when you have a class to take over and results to be achieved!

Developing a ‘mastery’ of a subject is key to our next year’s assessment criteria-Beyond Levels-and key to teacher CPD too! I like the word ‘scholar’-it means slightly different things to different colleagues but it has connotations of high expectations and challenging individual academic hard work-what do others think?


The students worked well together to gather their information before peer assessing other group’s learning, leaving advice on post-its and taking back good ideas that they had spotted. We were both delighted with the response of the students to their 2 medals and a mission feedback after their written task [produced using the group information]. I try to encourage trialling as many different ideas as possible with regards to developing feedback and I had shown some marking ideas from my partner-who I tease about her medals and missions-to Karen who didn’t believe such a daft idea existed! It does and she has nabbed it! She used the second medal to encourage the students to feedback positive comments on attainment and the students provided really specific ‘mission’ advice. We felt this was because the word mission or successful mission, has an expectation of good planning/thorough research/advice-the students told me it was a far more mature word for them to use than ‘wish’ as in 2 stars and a wish, that primary students and some secondary’s use. Wish is ‘wishy washy’ and wishes don’t always come true-missions at Meols Cop support successful learning and learners!

Adele planned a singing lesson for Sophie and me and the lesson began with the song of the week-‘Tell me ma’ This is a routine established in all music lessons-1 a week-and the students know to fill in their thoughts on the song. This encourages immediate reflection using specific musical literacy. Each group has a different key musical feature to focus on e.g. instruments, dynamics and a ‘numbered head’ e.g. no 2 feeds back on the discussion. This supports previous conversations about questioning and musical literacy and works well. The teaching key now is to think how it can work even better! When we have successfully trialled an initiative that has worked well, I encourage colleagues to tweak it at the optimum moment-that has to be when it has shown an impact on learning. When Ofsted last visited, a couple of inspectors were taken aback when after telling teachers that their lessons were ‘outstanding’ they were asked, “so how can I make it better still?” I expect and welcome this conversation; it’s exactly what we want to hear and if I can’t offer advice, I shouldn’t be doing this job!! A new to observations colleague was alarmed when I joined in their lesson and modelled ideas-they thought that they had done something wrong! Observations and feedback are for development-the more people in the room, joining in and offering their professional support-the better!


It was great to see, and appreciated by the students; Adele playing the guitar and singing/modelling for the students and good to know that singing is coming back into the musical curriculum-it didn’t really go away but you know what I mean! The students used the success criteria to self and peer critique-to be continued next week.

Sam and I observed Tom’s indoor athletics [it was apparently too cold for the big fella outside!] and the students worked on a circuit of activities that used some of the skills outdoor athletics requires.


The national statistics, adapted slightly for our small gym, was a nice idea and the students worked very hard. Our discussion afterwards began with Sam raising the issue of how much physical activity should there be in comparison to the AFL aspects of the lesson. PE lessons have changed probably more than any others over the last 20 years and the sharing of objectives, feedback, written aspects of self and peer assessment does eat into the ‘physical’ part of the lesson. The continued national push on fitness and obesity does raise questions-I can’t answer them here!


But you can see that there was a key component of the lesson based around the recording and evaluating of the fitness techniques involved. The students self-evaluated and then peer evaluated and came up with considered answers. I suggested that adding ‘why’, from year 7 onwards, onto the sheets would help them to justify their reasons when they tried to do it orally and prepare them for G.C.S.E PE. The bronze, silver and gold criteria already developed in readiness for next year, links to G.C.S.E. skills and should really challenge the KS3 students to perform to an even higher level from the start.

Sam took the girls outside for rounder’s and Tom and I both felt that the use of, and quality of the year 8 PE leaders was simply outstanding! The 4 girls, 1 in particular, were better than some of the teachers I’ve seen on interview! Most subjects use leaders to differentiate activities and this worked really well in this lesson and again in science with Rachael.  Sam used the new assessment criteria and as with music, and Tom’s lesson, the constant questioning and expectation of subject specific literacy in the oral responses was really pleasing. Rounder’s isn’t the easiest sport to teach and the numbers in the class meant that there wasn’t enough for 2 games and too many for 1 when it came to putting the skills into a larger game situation. We had a good chat about this and came up with a novel rotation of fielder’s idea which sounded brilliant [it was one of mine!]-let me know if it works!

The skill of the leaders in adapting their routines was tremendous and reflected great teaching and coaching upon which the students had obviously modelled their behaviour.

Jen’s maths lesson with year 9 for Alex and me actually challenged my mathematical skills and offered a superb example of a teacher being flexible and changing tactics and her plan when her probing and checking showed that the students were struggling with the concept.


The class were also very quiet in their responses to Miss, although their maths talk to each other was excellent so she used the mini-whiteboards to check their understanding in a variety of novel ways. I haven’t seen a teacher ask the students to write a ? on them to show that they weren’t sure. We loved them being challenged to beat the teacher-Miss gave them a sum with the wrong answer/or not for them to check and correct quickly and we liked the more able writing their own questions for the class, if they finished-they were tough questions [they had to have the answers on!]


The highlight of the lesson was probably the speed-dating and this engendered great mathematical discussions. Alex’s favourite moment was hearing one of the lads with a ‘silent’ date say, “this is supposed to be a trading exchange!”

Katrina joined me to visit Joanne’s year 9 geographers and Jo showed her fast paced, time orientated approach to gathering information, sharing it, using it in a G.C.S.E question and then self/peer assessing-I 1 lesson! It took me a couple of lessons to catch her accent but the students being much younger are always on form and enjoy the challenge and machine-gun patter!


Jo explained that this particular class respond well to visual clues at the beginning of the lesson, which they did before skimming and scanning extracts to find relevant information. The class was split into 2 and then joined up as partners to share key information. Time given was challenging!


Using the information gathered, they then moved to their written task and assessment.


The first of my science observations saw Rachael, fresh from her NTEN lesson study teaching year 7 on graphs that Wendy felt was asking some great high quality questions of their skills and knowledge. The peer assessment aspect, allied to the quality dialogue in her books, showed students being comfortable with the FISH skills of peer critique and being able to provide scientific feedback that bodes well for their learning higher up school.


The overlay worked well to and fitted exactly the evaluations needed to improve their graphs. I haven’t got a photo, but the PA Royals who dutifully wore their crowns with pride, was a great way to use the better scientists-great teaching!


Wendy liked the high level criteria for TEAR where the  gold and platinum expectations took them to G.C.S.E. quality answers and thought.


Joanne’s reciprocal visit to Katrina’s drama lesson gave her the chance to give me some blarney about being an ‘All Ireland’ champion at drama-I knew she had to be good at something! She did join in enthusiastically though, along with Christine and Nemira, the 2 teaching assistants who accompany this particular lower ability year 7 set. Without their help, teaching in the exciting, challenging and group based way Katrina used would be very difficult indeed. All of the students in the class have a ‘special learning need’ and Katrina planned carefully so that they could all access the skills and be successful learners.


Jo and I knew that Katrina was going to try out her ‘Magic Carpet’ prompt mat for the first time and we were really keen to see it in action. The performing arts faculty have been trialling peer assessment prompt sheets which aim to encourage the students to use the relevant key words correctly in their peer critique-this builds up their confidence, creates a much higher quality and accurate standard of peer critique and supports their development of G.C.S.E. key skills in KS3. Katrina had already developed a mat as part of her lesson study but the carpet was adapted slightly differently in its use to cater for our least able students.


Rather than write their responses when they observed each other’s fairy tale performances and freeze frames, they were given coloured sticky dots to stick on the appropriate word when they saw it happening. Miss then followed this up by questioning them to allow them to explain their evidence for their choices. They tried their best to use key words-my feedback suggestions were using a mixture of the more confident students and then the TAs to model good answers with evidence.

difficult with this set to get them to provide the evidence-you could use the TAs at this point to articulate for them-they look out for great expressions/gestures/feedback/discussed evidence and then feedback for the less confident students to begin with to boost their confidence.

Katrina felt that they got a bit mixed up at first with where to put their stickers and decided that they she will make the words bolder to help them when choosing. We both thoroughly enjoyed the lesson and Katrina, like Jo, ended with a thunk to promote more discussion and thinking.

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Our feedback session was made more interesting by having our friends Kelly and Kayleigh from Astley Park Special School sit in on us and they could see my explanation of non-graded developmental feedback in action. Hope we convinced them that our way is the way to go! When I asked Joanne what she had learned most from the lesson, she made the point that literacy and peer critique doesn’t always have to have a written element. The more able can fill in the ‘Magic Carpet’ mat-the least able can use it to support their spoken responses-both are equally valid and worth researching, developing and trialling.

After Martin’s superb silent debate history lesson, Miss Rose had to pull out all the stops for the return history leg. No sympathy for the expectant mum-show us what you’ve got Helen! She didn’t disappoint and we saw a really interesting lesson where the students were asked to consider the individual responsibility of different characters involved in the holocaust. Using some ideas from the holocaust teaching packs, each student had their own character to think about before discussing as a group as you can see below.


Martin and I were pleased to see some great historical conversations happening as the students placed their characters in the zones of relevance and then justified their positioning.


The year 8 students then produced a written task before they were asked to ‘Peer Provide’ Helen prefers our peer verification tactics rather than FISH and I have to say that the quality of the feedback written in Peer Provider red pen was better than Helen normally writes! She will take some snaps of the finished work next week-they have some pretty colours to add as they verify-to contribute to my peer critique/DIRT /dialogue collection of great practice. The work is really worth seeing and sharing and the slide slightly under-sells what was actually achieved. Helen did pretend to be feeling sickly so we would be merciful in our feedback, before skipping off to scoff cakes in the ‘baby shower’ in the staff-room!!

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Magic Observation Moments

Our summer observations are well under way now [and a few interviews observing visiting teachers too!] so naturally I’m keen to share amongst our own staff, and colleagues from other schools who follow our blogs, some of the great ideas I’ve seen.



Hannah and I observed Katie teaching year 7 set 4 and this was a really challenging and interesting lesson and an opportunity again to observe Katie using her peer verification technique which, I feel has high expectations of the learners and is great preparation for the G.C.S.E. skills which are required in year 9 and beyond and which we will incorporate and assess from year 7 in our new assessment system beginning in September.


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I liked the gold challenge built onto every slide and learning episode that offers a good extension stretch and tweeted the idea out, along with the original in an up-dated blog last Friday.

There was a lot of interest again and this resulted in a conversation between some scientists and myself who adapted Katie’s original idea and shared their adaptation back-showing the power and utility of tweeting! mr.pepperell@st-lukes.devon.sch.ukPEE was then added. Worth a few minutes on twitter to gain so much!


Year 7 beginning to peer -Critique using Katie’s guide. By attempting to follow the guidelines, they will grow in confidence and the idea will bring high level evaluation skills, connecting nicely to G.C.S.E. skills-we have to have the highest of expectations and keep encouraging FISHy evaluations.



I wasn’t able to observe Hannah with Katie due to the interviews so Leon took my place and was delighted to see Hannah analysing poetry with 7 set 3 and developing their peer critique skills [and as a consequence their own analysis] Hannah told me that she used the visualiser to model the process of gradually improving peer critique for her class as you can see below. Showing them the different stages of a developing skill is really interesting piece of teaching and her bronze, silver, gold simple criteria gives the students criteria that they can work with and understand.

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I observed Rebecca with Eddie and we enjoyed her use of ‘The Voice’ to engage with her year 8 Spanish class.


Even within one set there is a wide difference in ability, often based on which language was studied at primary school-hence the quite wide level difference [last observations to use them!!]  Interestingly the examination entries for Spanish continue to rise as French and German decline. More students now choose Spanish at Meols Cop as we begin year 9 and Helen, our MFL subject leader did use our student voice to see why those choices were being made. As subject leader she loves having talented Spanish teachers but as a French teacher, she felt that a small piece of research might help her to unravel the mystery of the current trend. I’ve attached the questions and results [without teacher names and sets] for others to see and consider.

Language Survey Language Survey Results

We were interested to see the whole class peer assess the presentations from class volunteers  based on the following criteria they were looking out for.

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The written task was supported by a vocab mat, although some didn’t need this and I suggested that the mat should be withheld unless asked for by the weaker linguists-the success criteria for Gold/Platinum/Scorching/Sprint would include ‘without the scaffold!



Alex has been trialling functional skills lower ability resources and ideas as part of her NTEN lesson study and Jen and I observed her with 7 set 7 as she related percentages and fractions to real life money!


The students loved the challenge of halving various amounts of money to share out and kept a basic self-progress check on how successfully they felt that they were grasping the key concepts. We sometimes forget how difficult some of our students find very basic functional maths, especially dealing with coinage. They are primary skills, which we tackle in lessons and with intervention-if our students leave us without them; they are not prepared for some of the basic life skills they need.

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Alex used her NTEN functional skills slide to help them with their questions and both Jen and I were delighted to see the students challenged to devise their own questions and to use simple subject specific literacy to help their maths skills/terms stick in their memory.




Rachel introduced her year 7 art class to a brand new technique-Notan!


She used an overlay placed over 2 drawings to provoke discussion


And then introduced the new technique which she had filmed herself modelling-

By using the film-shown a few times as they worked on their piece, Rachel was able to allow the students to check themselves that they were on task and she also modelled her other year 7’s work for them. Katie, more of an expert than I am, praised the quality of the product produced and the students peer critiqued the learning at the end.




Sarah, our new English subject leader, told me that her favourite female character in literature is Curley’s wife-I thought she meant Sarah Lancashire from Coronation St, but was pleasantly surprised that she was referring to the ‘Of Mice and Men’ character that Karen was going to discuss with her year 9 lower set class. The students began reading their feedback and I liked Karen’s awarding of Progress Stars for interesting individualistic skills;

Unique point of view

Expressing personal viewpoint and accepting alternatives

Independent reading to further class work

Use of literary devices

Development of explanations

It was also interesting for me as an historian to see the character being placed in an accurate historical context [often inaccurate when I observe-apologies!] Without an understanding of the attitude towards women at the time of the novel [of many people], it would be difficult to consider her portrayal accurately. Karen asked us to observe, for her subject specific criteria-‘encourages the separation of ideas about what a character’s intentions are and what they are perceived to be by others’-this was a concept demonstrating the highest of expectations and Sarah, in her feedback, in the section that asks the observer “What did you learn most as a teacher form today’s observation” told us ‘that low attaining students can achieve their learning objectives through challenging subject matter”

Karen used a Learning Line to chart the changing views of the class and introduced visual images of Hollywood screen sirens to ask the students to try to link quotes about Curley’s wife to them.  We enjoyed observing the students, using their texts and flicking back through their notes to speedily match characteristics with the images-this was obviously a well-established learning routine that allowed the students to access connecting information and build confidence when faced with the concluding written task.

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I moved quickly from Karen to the other side of school to join Helen and find Martin’s year 7 historians ‘description bidding’ before revealing the big question for the lesson:

The use of slaves on the plantations was a crime against humanity?” Do you agree?


The students were assigned group roles, with the history leaders being judges [they had to look at 2 points of view/2 interpretations-not just 1] and others being slaves, owners, overseers and English shoppers! Sources were laid out for the groups to visit [example below- and they recorded their views in the role they had been given on their ‘scales’ sheets.

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This was the last lesson of the day but the students and Martin were on fire! Scorched earth around the room before a great silent debate task which is well worth stealing by everybody else!!


Placed into assigned groups with a representative from the previous groups in them, the students debated silently e.g.’ by writing their views onto sugar paper in the colour their name is in on the slide. Thus all views could be seen and all contributions evaluated. As one of Martin’s subject specific criteria he wanted us to observe was,

Students recognise how interpretations of the past have been made and why they may have changed.

I was pleased to see the lesson end with each student using their red pen to add an interpretation from their own character against the opinions of others. I was shattered at the end of the lesson just watching it! The follow up to this could be in the form of a written assessment which would link nicely to the G.C.S.E. 1-9 tracking that will begin in September.



Fortunately the rain held off for my jaunt on to the field to co-observe with Rosie, Aaron’s first NTEN lesson study adventure. They have decided to try to improve the quality of feedback in KS3 with low attaining students and from our internal sharing of ideas [Chucklevision/NTEN science and a learning hub] they decided to adapt a science overlay to see if that will help the students to use far more specific terminology when they are feeding back advice to each other and thus begin to sow the seeds for GC.S.E. skills which will be assessed in year 7 next year. Focusing in on 3 students of differing abilities, the teacher predicts what they think will be the learning response of the students. You can see part of the lesson plan and predictions below. The observers record the actual learning that occurs and feedback afterwards. The session was filmed by Stephen the PE technician to aid discussion afterwards and the 3 boys completed a questionnaire asking for their opinions of how the new idea had supported their learning. This morning, Rosie used the same techniques with the girls and despite the cold [I had to don my hat!] they used the key words well and modelled the techniques to support each other and improve their shot putting. TA Christine filmed, although the windy conditions may have an adverse effect on the sound quality. Rosie and Aaron will discuss their lessons after half-term and then plan together  in directed time for the next 2 lessons.

2nd Learning episode:

Pupils will be shown a breakdown of the discus technique and expected to remember it in phases.

They will also be told the different roles they must take up which are used in all athletics lessons:

  • ·         Performer- Performs the skill and listens to feedback.
  • ·         Assessor- Gives feedback to performer (using PEER resource).
  • ·         Official- Records distance of throw.

Pupils will then practice their technique and roles with teacher support. 

A: Will remember all of the phases showing good technique in most. He will remember two or three key words when giving feedback.

B: May forget one or two phases of the skill and may be prompted by peers to perform correctly. He will show good technique when performing the skill. He may remember one or two key words when giving feedback.

C: May forget one or two phases of the skill and may be prompted by peers to perform correctly. Will show poor technique when performing the skill. He may struggle to remember key words when giving feedback; he may also look to others for help.

All students will remember their roles.


I was equally interested to see the boys return to the changing room and look at 2 different visual resources. The PE Ladders of Glory which show best performances nationally by age for athletics events and our own PE faculties’ ‘Wall of Fame’ where current best performance are recorded and scrubbed off if they have been beaten in the lesson. This fosters good competition and I thought it was worth sharing!


When we ask the question in interviews, “What skills and qualities will you contribute to our….department”, in other words why should we give you the job-most candidates seem to feel that enthusiasm, commitment and making the lessons fun and engaging will be enough-it isn’t! The term ‘reflective practitioners’ has been somewhat over-used but if the reflection is about the learning that has occurred [and learning is usually damned hard work and not always enjoyable!] then we might begin to think-‘we have a teacher for us here’ Our move away from lesson grades and into lesson study, subject specific criteria for the observer to look for and feedback about the learning is mirrored and shared in our blogs-it’s the right way to go for our school and whilst we may not always get it right, the growth mind set we ask of our students is becoming embedded in the professional development minds of our teachers too. That’s a good thing!