Category Archives: Professonal portfolio/beyond NC levels

Beyond National Curriculum Levels part 2 – a whole school discussion

Our AHT Leon Walker was asked to write an article for the SSAT after discussing how we were moving Meols Cop to life beyond NC levels at an autumnal SSAT up-date meeting in Macclesfield. We were the only school present who had stopped using the old NC levels and had taken steps in introducing something different and I guess Leon aroused some curiosity! The link to his article is here; https://t.co/40aHbSzwDe. Please do have a look-it is freely and openly shared, as with all of our ideas and other schools have already contacted Leon to find out more and he has spoken about our approach at different conferences. The title is perhaps a misnomer in that we haven’t abandoned ‘levels’, although we have had a long and continuing discussion about what exactly we should use to measure learning progress, what we mean by ‘learning progress’, what should we assess and measure and so on. At the moment, as you can see in the article we have settled on all students aiming for GOLD each year in KS3 in an appropriate pathway [3 pathways based on prior attainment/actual attainment] in the different subjects. This will, we hope, help all students to achieve the +1 target we have set for our school. From a below average KS2 initial intake, we must give our students the best possible opportunity to be in a position when they leave us of being able to possess individual attainment and achievement data to match the aspirations and mind-set we have worked so hard to instil.

A couple of examples from our year 7 higher pathway are shown here for English and maths.

B …. can select and apply appropriate textual reference to the point being made

S….. has the ability to draw on knowledge from other points in the text to further support an argument.

G…. uses carefully chosen textual evidence to comment fully on significant and particular words, making subtle and discriminating links.

B….. has a solid understanding of number and the methodology for multiplying and dividing numbers. Questions involving calculators and rounding answers are answered accurately.

S….. has a secure understanding of number-can multiply decimal numbers and has developed division skills. Complex questions involving order of operations using a calculator are answered accurately.

G….. has mastered techniques in number:- can divide using decimals and can use calculators to interpret complex decimal calculations, for example convert between units of time.

Achieving GOLD will require hard work and commitment from both students and teachers! This post shares the questions we have asked of ourselves about our initiative, the questions asked by others of our new system, highlights our mistakes and as ever is filled with my optimistic future hopes based on the professionalism and dedication of my colleagues. Thinking out policy aloud and seeking honest specific feedback from all involved will ensure that whatever system we finally decide upon, the process will provide a great CPD/learning experience for all and our students will benefit from an improved assessment structure.

This BSG described above is quite a simplistic description and we are keen to follow current educational discussions about the nature of learning, progress measures, assessing the whole child not just academic factors, not limiting the chances of any student when placed in a ‘set’ or given a target and enjoyed Mary Myatt’s recent post, ‘The Progress Myth’ http://t.co/sIAx6PuBT9 and Alison Peacock’s http://t.co/m3p4Pk5rxv post about Wroxham where no levels are used. Dan Brinton’s work at Belmont Community School offers a different mind-set approach towards assessment and is a recommended read  http://t.co/0RNKcjNokd whilst Stephen Tierney http://leadinglearner.me/2015/03/24/life-after-levels-an-assessment-revolution/# summarised some of the key assessment factors he considers to be crucial and includes some additional reading to cover primary views and other external agencies. For an interesting assessment system without levels, Chris Waugh’s http://chris.edutronic.net/unlock-achievement/ work with the English department at the London Nautical School is fabulous, although I’m not sure if ‘unlocking potential’ extends across other subjects.

I first shared our initial thoughts last summer in the second part of this post. http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=722

Have I asked too much of colleagues?

Apart from myself and 4 other 50+ colleagues, none of our staff taught before the days of National Curriculum and therefore the majority of teachers have only ever been used to assessing students based on levels enforced on them. When I asked them to consider developing their own ideas based on what they believed their students should learn and linking any possible assessment ideas to their new schemes of learning, I possibly underestimated the genuine alarm and professional concern that quickly became apparent! My excitement at this once in a lifetime opportunity and a couple of ‘carpe diem’ speeches rallied our subject leaders to the cause but then the size of the task, lack of experience in pursuing such a dream and the realisation that this would be a fair old slog, slowed procedures as subject leaders went back to their faculties to persuade their teams that the end product would be worth it for our students. Middle leaders are the engine of our school and they have driven the changes through so that by now we have been able to report to parents on 3 occasions using the new criteria. Not all colleagues will have agreed with all of the ideas but they have pulled together in a common cause and Leon with his technical wizardry and patient explanations has supported colleagues through their misgivings and worries. It has taken Alison and Leon ages to match the new system to the reports and to support colleagues with the process of writing their banks of comments/BSG ladders. They occasionally chuck an expletive my way [Alison that is not Leon!] and I thank them for their resilience and grit!

It has been a salutary lesson for my leadership and I owe lots of favours! It was good idea and I had read and shared the experiences of other similar schools e.g. Durrington and the advice of the NAHT but my vision imposed a lot of work on others. Although they will have benefitted from the leadership lessons they will have learned in ‘selling’ the idea to their faculties and making it happen in the classrooms, they may not be quite ready to thank me for it YET! Maths have changed their initial strategy 3 times already and because we encourage risk taking and flexibility, colleagues know that we will change readily if systems aren’t working for the benefit of both students and staff. We have to be convinced though with good arguments and evidence and have opened up a 3 way discussion with our parents, students and staff to gather opinions and ideas to help us move forwards again next year. Leon had explained the basic BSG system to parents on various KS3 information evenings and fielded questions but I wanted to know what their thoughts were after their experience of it in action via reports and discussions with their children and learning tutors.

On our Easter Review Day parental survey for years 7, 8 and 9 I asked the question; We have changed our assessment system [no national curriculum levels anymore] and our reporting system to provide information on our new Bronze, Silver, Gold approach-have you found the information informative/clear/understandable? Has your child mentioned anything positive/negative about BSG?

My answer shared on our web-site and bulletin

Thank you for the feedback given re our BSG assessment system-this will really help us plan the next stage. Mr Walker was asked to write an article on our new development by the SSAT, a national organisation thousands of schools are members of, to share our ideas. The link is here if you would like to read it. https://t.co/40aHbSzwDe

  • 44 parents added positive comments on the system and these included; great incentive, great motivator, child very positive, more motivational, very clear and informative, clearer and comprehensive, more motivational than numbers.
  • The majority of parents didn’t add a comment but 2 said that they preferred the old system with the a.b.c. style making for more accuracy.
  • A couple said that at first they were concerned with a ‘bronze’ award but they then realised that there was an intentional graded progression-we need to make this clear again following this feedback.
  • Another parent wondered how it linked to national standards of attainment. We will show this next time, as the article explains.
  • Another important point was mentioned when we were asked to make it clearer if the Gold level hadn’t been reached because the skills/knowledge hadn’t been covered yet. We use the term ‘working towards’ on the reports but perhaps need to make this clearer. Thank you for raising these points.

Flight paths and core faculty leaders

I had originally been keen for our students to develop their own’ flight path’ in each subject to track their own progress and intervention [which would have linked to national standards] and ‘sold’ the idea a couple of years ago. I envisaged students having their own flight paths to discuss with parents on parent’s evenings and review days. At that stage it was an initiative too far but the need to show ‘national standards’ for parents, students and other agencies [otherwise BSG may not be understood] and how BSG links to them has made Leon think again about showing flight paths on each report and he has been trying out ideas and sharing them with Sarah, Jen and Carmel our core subject leaders. This example is a prototype he doesn’t want me to ‘tweet’ and he calls a fail but it gives a crude picture of his thoughts.

Dear all

Tried to put all three BSG pathways onto one flightpath.

It’s a bit messy.

Want to display the idea that students can change to a higher pathway and finish with a higher GCSE target. Think this one is a fail!!

BSG1

Carmel has always worried in science that progress is rarely linear and that trying to have flight paths that go in a nice upwards flight trajectory doesn’t work. For those who tried the originals, I explained that one of the learning curves that the students needed to make was that their ‘progress’ would go up and down according to the different strands of subjects and that they would have to learn how to explain and justify their own reactions and interventions to this.

Jen’s response to Leon’s draft was this;

What I do like is the idea that you can fluctuate within the pathway. Previous flight paths are based on a linear progression and we all know learners don’t progress this way..

BSG2

I would say Pathway 3 needs to be wider as <4 covers a wider variety of our students (3,2,1) and I don’t want them to feel constantly below where they ‘should’ be.

Good start though. Need to meet with Dept for BSG moderation certainly to iron out some flaws.

Seeking the views of students and staff

I had been concerned when reading reports that, as the parents mentioned, we needed to make it clear that bronze would be acceptable at Xmas and silver at Easter etc. and I wasn’t convinced that when a student had achieved GOLD by Easter that we had mentioned the aspirational platinum or next steps-we didn’t say much about where their learning would go in terms of consolidation or next steps in the summer term. ‘Keep this up’ isn’t good enough!

I wanted to know how the students felt that the system was helping their learning and asked that in the first week back after Easter, KS3 learning tutors discussed BSG with their tutor groups and sent their feedback to me.

I also wanted to know how our teachers were feeling about BSG and asked that faculties discuss it in their directed time meeting.

bsg3 bsg4

I try to use directed time positively to provide time to discuss, moderate, plan, collaborate etc. but with the current hour a week, I struggle to ever provide enough time but hope colleagues value the thought behind the plan!

Tuesday Meeting
April 21 Faculty discussion of BSG questionnaire
28 Faculty BSG moderationQuestions
May 5 INSET DAY
12 Learning hubs to follow up INSET
19 Professional portfolio follow up to inset
26 Half-term
June 2 Lesson obs planning
9 Learning hubs
16 Lesson study feedback share
23 Subject leaders/progress leaders
30 Year teams
July 7 Faculties-sharing of good practice from lesson obs/book monitoring
14 Faculties-final BSG moderation/plans for next term
21 Break-up for summer!

The moderation questions devised by Leon are;

Questions for moderation session on BSG

Using the spreadsheets in the progress folder

Year 7 is here

Year 8 is here

Year 9 is here

Are there any differences in the residuals for each class or teacher? What are the reasons for these differences?

Are there any differences between the rates of progress for each ability band? Do you expect similar numbers to reach gold from each ability band?

Have any students reached gold already? What are your plans for these students for the rest of the academic year?

Do you have examples of a piece of work that was awarded – Gold. Is there agreement from all members of the department in the awarding of this grade?

Over Easter, Leon had worked hard on producing;

Spring progress data is now available for years 7-10

The updated spreadsheet are available in the progress folders for each year group. There is a spreadsheet for each subject and a master spreadsheet containing progress data for all subjects.

The new spreadsheets have the facility for subject teachers to generate a matrix for individual classes and also generate seating plan cards for each student.

The features of the seating plan cards are:

BSG5

Please let me know if you use them for your planning and how they can be improved to help you further.

This is a huge help for individual teachers and subject leaders [and workload!] We can clearly see relevant KS3 assessment matrixes for classes, cohorts, in the same way as we would for G.C.S.E. students. I was interested to see if the support was well received in the faculty meetings and if colleagues felt that this was an effective use of data. [The tables are too detailed to show but if others are interested-shout!]

Answering questions raised

We are strong believers in developing a trust between ourselves as school leaders and everyone in our community. You can see that we constantly ask questions about our policies internally and are big enough to accept and publish answers which don’t necessarily agree with SLT views. I had originally suggested different wordings e.g. developing, developed, mastered-other currently trendy names but subject leaders wanted BSG to fit in with the Going for Gold BFL approach-I gave in-and I had also hoped that some of the BSG descriptors would have been creatively different than old NC ones [based more on perceived subject learning needs over time] This was a big ask, although to be fair the example of history in the article isn’t perhaps representative of all, and many are quite different and will change again. Before I share our internal questions and answers, I did note Leon fielding some questions on twitter from @dawncox and this is really helpful too in evaluating our initial system.

Dawn. Using KS2 data? Or?

Leon. Yes average KS2. Fits with P8 and our vision for a +1 residual for all our students.

Dawn. Why do you go from g/s/b to grades? Why not use grades straight away?

Leon. We liked the idea of every student aiming to achieve gold it also fits with our BFL rewards scheme and also did not want our system to be seen by the students as just preparing for GCSE’s. Each year was important.

Dawn. What’s the difference between ‘several ‘,’more detail’ and ‘in depth’? Isn’t the language same as old levels?

Leon Some statements were taken from KS3 levels. Some were written to prepare for new specs. I suspect that this term we will rewrite several of the statements as we unpick what bits are targeted in the right area.

Staff views

I know that our meetings have been worthwhile when I hear that they have become ‘heated’! When strong views are expressed about assessment I know that I’m in the right school still-if we can’t get passionate about how, why and what we assess-what can we get passionate about!

English sent the briefest of responses after an action packed meeting!; “After much deliberation (sorry Leon) we have realised that our current system and reports are far too complex. Hopefully when year 11 have gone and we get some gained time we could work as a dept to adapt the BSG in line with the new GCSE criteria and then adapt our year 7 and 8 reports.”

Absolutely right to change tack and go again. I don’t want colleagues to stick with something because they think either it might be too much trouble to change or SLT might not like it. If it isn’t benefitting the students and faculty members aren’t happy-come up with something that will be better. I will share an exciting new feedback/tracking/intervention idea English are currently working on towards the end of the term and am delighted that they are streamlining effective practice to aid workload and sharpen their focus.

ICT teach in individual units and they were concerned that different levels of BSG were often recorded for different units so if the next unit received a lower BSG, it may look as though the students have regressed. Giving an overall BSG at the end of the year has prompted them to work on an algorithm to solve the problem!

Their BSG spreadsheet has enabled them to see at a glance which topics specific students need to have intervention support on.

The humanities staff have adapted previous assessments to add in G.C.S.E. criteria/skills and have found the new BSG easier to plan for and track progress. They have produced marking grids to help and feel that self, peer and teacher assessment has been made easier and that the students understand BSG better than the NC levels.

They preferred the Excel format to SIMS for reports and expressed their desire to build in more DIRT/self/peer critique which although ‘lost’ content time was worth the time spent in terms of learning. They favoured a return to a flight-path so the students could see their progress and they also would like to see a motivation/effort grade on the reports. Sometimes students can be well behaved but not fulfilling their potential. The drop-down comments can seem to be inflexible feeding back on this.

The scientists also tried to convince me when I popped into their meeting to have an effort grade [Growth Mind Set criteria]. I did mention I had a nice post for them to read from Pete Jones http://t.co/k5cd3uMPCM and mentioned that I hadn’t pushed my original overarching student skills which I had wanted on the reports [there was so much to plan, I let this go for the time being] Here are a few of them again and perhaps I can do a simple BSG one for subjects. I had already introduced mind-set comments into the SLT report comments as explained in a March blog to emphasise effort and hard-work. http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=1773

You try your best to be positive about your learning in this subject and try to participate enthusiastically. You think; “I can do it” and are developing into a resilient learner. You enjoy the success of others in your class too-you help them if they are struggling and know that teaching others helps your own learning You want to work with students who are stronger than you to push yourself-not to copy but to engage with them and challenge your own learning-you know that there is always going to be someone cleverer, faster, and stronger!
You are prepared to look for any small piece of learning that you have found tricky and challenging and conquer it! You focus on your weaknesses and know that you might need to spend a long time perfecting them. You will try to use your prior knowledge to help but will actively seek advice if you need to You can plan time-tables, set your own targets and STICK to them! You have a life outside of school but know there are times when learning has to happen and you can make yourself do it!

 

Your behaviour is supportive of great individual and class learning and you have no MCs. You are respectful and helpful to other students and adults in your class You will lead learning and take responsibility for ‘flipped learning’, ‘co-construction’, take leadership roles You lead other classes and students, as well as your own class. When asked in surveys and ‘student voice’ activities you respond honestly and thoughtfully so that your comments and feedback are valuable, valued and help to ensure the most effective learning and teaching for all
You take responsibility for your own self critique as much as possible and know what you have to improve on and work on to achieve subject mastery. You check that you have successfully met feedback advice and that the learning you give in for marking, is as near to perfect as it can be!Get very DIRTY! You use teacher or peer supportive criticism to improve your own learning, respond in detail to dialogue and feedback and can evaluate the impact of the advice on your learningYou are skilled at re-drafting and are prepared to make mistakes until you get the quality you want and know will achieve subject masteryUse DIRT effectively and put up with repetition and ‘going over’ stuff again. If you have successfully achieved your own feedback-you actively seek out a further challenge. If the feedback is too easy-you say so and push yourself upwards and onwards. If you don’t understand the feedback advice-you say so and don’t pretend that you do!

Science wrote theirs so they are relevant to the subject knowledge needed but would like sub-levels for each BSG to direct students more. They saw this as a disadvantage in comparison to the NC system and this was echoed by some of the students in their answers and a couple of other faculties.

They had found the recording of BSG tricky and matching the BSG to report comments is their next summer focus. They haven’t come up with an easy solution to the time needed for tracking and administration-they have a lot of learning points to assess and have also found that assessing students through skills doesn’t correlate to their end of unit G.C.S.E. skills and a discussion re the balance of skills/knowledge followed.

RE are re-writing their BSG statements to make them more student friendly but as with science and humanities, felt that they had got the core purpose of their assessment right. They liked the fact that students equated BSG with Going for Gold which gave a uniform progression between pastoral and academic performance and felt it encouraged growth mind-set because there is a lack of intimidation caused by levels comparison. Everyone can go for appropriate GOLD and progress can be measured without damaging esteem. Interestingly one of the year 9 students didn’t like this approach-“a person in set 7 can get gold and so can a person in set 1-this is dishonest” A very different perception!

MFL told me that they found BSG more flexible and could get to a high level with the students [they had written their own success criteria] but hankered for the sub levels so they could be more accurate. Progression wasn’t always obvious as sometimes higher levels were reached without fully reaching some of the lower level skills. Recall, which has been a low level skill, is actually such an important aspect of language learning that they felt that they need to reflect this in the BSG criteria.

They echoed RE’s point about all students being able to GOLD and this motivates their students although the students needed help in recalling what they have to do to reach their BSG levels. [Key part of our teaching of course] The benefits for their leadership were that the process had made them think about what they teach in 7 and 8 and they had broken down the skills. This helped to standardize across the faculty.

The disadvantages were the complexity of the system and the need to re-write. There lots of criteria which made it harder to pin-point which one was holding the students back.

Maths The mathematicians felt that “BSG has now proved more detail to parents of topics, based on assessments, students are struggling with and gives them ideas of where they need to get to. What’s tricky is to match our assessments into a whole overview of BSG and with such a large curriculum of skills” They have been whittling these down and it has been hard work producing new assessments to fit BSG and the new curriculum. The BSG information that goes home isn’t as detailed as the internal tracking and intervention sheets and the faculty would like to report home the assessment scores using percentages matched to BSG rather than the old levels way. Some parents on Review Day were concerned that their child was still on bronze and to counter this worry they suggested the introduction of;

B-/B+/S-/S+/G is vital to help parents see some progress students are taking. We as a department would find this easy to implement by simply splitting up further the boundaries

bsg6

Our BSG reports our based on a ‘best of 3 average’ from each of the main six areas in the

Our BSG reports our based on a ‘best of 3 average’ from each of the main six areas in the curriculum.

Bronze 40

Silver 40-70

Gold 70

Which could quite easily adapt to

B- 0-20

B+ 20-40

S- 40-55

S+ 55-70

G 70

We are also keen to share the data we gather, example above, with our parents to help further indicate progress by curriculum area.

“What we have found we do differently from other departments is targeting BSG in a whole lesson, as for example there are some lessons where we would only be covering what we see as Bronze skill (essential) and there are topics that we would call a Gold skill for their ability/age. And so rather than a BSG system for assessments we have used since the start of September a worded level based on assessment to allow students to assess their progress in a particular area.

Students seem to like this measure and some have spoken take learning into their own hands and have asked for extra work when they’ve achieved ‘needs intervention’. However we are finding that as our BSG relies so heavily on these assessment scores some students that are really struggling to pull up their percentages my never make it to Gold. We need to look at our assessments further and see if we need to make any changes.

BSG7

With the BSG solely relying on raw data we are a little concerned about the number of students not going to make the Gold target by the end of the year. I wait to see the percentage of students that are on target and below. This also leads on to the discussion of how can we reward and praise students like we have in the past for above target. Some great ideas from the department to introduce platinum for the end of the year for the top 10% say of the students that are awarded Gold. We don’t feel the need to ‘explain’ platinum or even go into detail as to how to get there other than this is awarded to those who have produced consistently high results and therefore ‘mastered’ our subject.”

Art and DT “Having used the B/S/G system, we have realised that the initial statements and comments that were created with advice and guidance now need to be related much more specifically to skills and topics; to account for the wide variety of skills, knowledge and understanding that is developed though Art and Design Technology.

Within a term’s work or the termly rotation, progress cannot clearly be achieved by all students from Bronze to Silver or Silver to Gold, as they may not have achieved all necessary skills in the time, or in Design Technology favour a particular specialism over another. This can make it seem, like students are not progressing as desired during their lessons in the Faculty. We can understand a need to include sub-levels, but as a department we do not wish to over complicate the system.”

Katy and Josie liked the narrowing down to 3 levels for their subjects which resulted in increased and more focussed feedback to students which helps to motivate progress and felt that the students enjoy the simplicity and understand that there are only 2 steps from Bronze to Gold, which is less daunting in a practical subject. They have had to change their comments a few times and have found the time constraint difficult. They have wondered if they should include a distinction level for those students who achieve an early gold [or consider is the gold standard too easy if lots of students achieve it early?] and raised the question that went back to the beginning of our discussions about using 1-9 rather than BSG.

PE Our performing artists were involved in a dress rehearsal on our Tuesday discussion time and PE had a couple of fixtures. Just to fit in with our deadlines are some PE thoughts gathered over the last couple of days.

  • Like the idea that all students are all aiming for gold and students feel proud to achieve gold regardless of the pathway they are on.
  • Students can get confused as to what pathway they are on and what they need to do to improve and why they aren’t on a different pathway.
  • Difficult for class teacher to make pupil friendly resources to display what it actually is they need to do to improve in each category B/S/G.
  • Objectives are hard to write as a result to make it personalised for each pathway student, a lot of it is given verbally and generic when setting objectives.
  • Peer assessment difficult with mixed ability/pathway groups.
  • Possibility of sub levels between BSG to allow for identifiable progression.
  • Planning takes longer for each lesson to accommodate for all pathways within PE groupings which can become more difficult.
  • Designed our own assessment framework linked to GCSE PE criteria is a positive and allows the department to identify potential GCSE PE students.
  • Staff need to get used to the new system framework which has taken time to accurately assess in PE.,
  • Based on the seven different strands of PE activities, it has proved difficult to assess outdoors. As we have three pathways including seven different assessment strands within each pathway.
  • Translating our information from our data inputting onto Leon’s spreadsheet.
  • Solution- linking B/S/G spreadsheet to transfer data to SIMs to save time.

Student voice

There wasn’t a whole school consultation before we moved from NC levels to BSG with our students. We left it to subject teachers to explain and put into practice-it would be very difficult for the students to think about a new assessment system from scratch and to come up with ideas-BUT I could be wrong. However I felt that it was better to run with the idea and then let them speak so we can listen to their views and feedback.

I was a bit naughty with the first question in asking if they could talk about their learning in terms of BSG and in the second if they knew how to get to the next level of BSG. It was a bit like the old worry that an Ofsted inspector would plonk themselves down in your lesson and ask a student “what level are you on and how will you get to the next level?” Do you recall trying to prepare for that? I thought that some students would raise an objection [or a learning tutor would chip in!] but they didn’t and therefore the comments flooded back that they weren’t too sure, the BSG was too complex to remember or they knew the level but weren’t sure why etc. Some of course did know them and what to do to get to the next BSG and subjects such as science and maths were given as subjects which supported this development.

When I interviewed students on our winter Learning Walk I made the comment that,

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

I’m happy when I talk to the students if they can tell me where they feel that they have come from in terms of subject specific skills and knowledge over the year or term and then to tell me, in subject student speak what they are currently working on, what they have struggled with and need to focus on, what their next anticipated level of learning success will look like and what support they will need from their teacher or peers. That doesn’t necessarily mean using BSG as terms of reference or recalling accurately everything that is on their intervention sheets.

Part of me would scrap any notions of progress type descriptors but the reality is that everyone wants to see them, including the students and that I’m not sure how we could assess progress without using some form of grading as external exams do. They want to know how well they are doing and what they need to do next and many preferred the old NC number system and liked the sub-levels.

Different responses included;

Why do you think that we thought about changing our assessment system and produced this one?

To make their lives more difficult!!

  • It is harder as it is not as specific for levels so it is hard to give them an accurate mark.
  • Teachers need to further explain what it means to achieve each one- you just know when on silver you’re in the middle, when on gold you’re doing well and when on bronze you need to improve.
  • There should be more than just bronze silver gold, before there were loads of levels and now they have gone to three categories.
  • I understand what gold/ silver/ bronze means however I don’t understand what each category means for each subject.
  • Put numbers back.
  • Change back to old system.
  • Put in sub-levels like bronze plus, gold minus
  • Majority of students understand and can see their progress using the BSG, some find it confusing when they are in-between grades for example
  • Pupils wish there was an opportunity to get higher grades, as there are only BSG and previous NC had levels 3-7, they feel they would like to know sub-levels within each, so are they a upper or lower Gold.
  • Within each BSG they want to know sub levels
  • A majority of pupils believe we should go back to the number NC system, they like to see the progress in their performance up the scale rather than BSG.
  • Prefer old levels, as you could keep improving not go from gold back to bronze if you get better.
  • One student felt that it wasn’t detailed enough-the purpose should be to tell us what to improve and the BSG system is too vague [staff think it is too detailed!] and she asked BSG be made more specific with silver-/+ etc.

The year 9 students tended to dislike BSG more and a few forms made the good point that for some of them having the BSG system and G.C.S.E. system running concurrently was confusing and some wanted to know how BSG related in G.C.S.E. grade terms. We did discuss using 1-9 G.C.S.E. grades from year 7 or at least ensuring they were in the BSG-should we re-think?

The younger students were more placatory and some felt that BSG was helpful in self and peer critique whilst year 9 students returned to the need for sub-levels and they ‘didn’t get it’ One year 7 form said that BSG was a good idea as it is easy to understand and everyone can get gold or try to achieve it.

When asked about if there was anything else they thought we should assess; a couple mentioned behaviour but effort got the most shouts.

  • We would like an effort grade so that our parents could see how hard we are working, even in the subjects we might not be on target in.
  • Effort in lessons [because even though you might not achieve your target, you may have put a lot of effort in to trying to reach it.
  • Effort in class, contribution to class, team and collaborative assessment

Reports

Apart from MFL who wanted to go back to writing comments to personalise, most were happy with the current drop-down system with some wanting the opportunity to fiddle with the comments on SIMS to adapt if necessary. Ideally there might be more opportunity to suggest interventions, a couple of staff thought, but even they decided this was probably unrealistic. There is, of course, the opportunity provided by parent’s evenings, review days and information evenings to discuss progress in further detail.

From both staff and students came requests for effort grades and it may be time to consider re-introducing these with a tighter criteria than previously when we last used them [and decided to scarp them because measuring effort proved to be contentious and imprecise] One form suggested scrapping the picture of themselves on front of the report, a couple wanted them to be less impersonal and most others quite liked them, especially when they were rewarded for them!

Where next?

When I first stood up and talked to our subject leaders about moving away from NC levels and the opportunity that provided I vaguely recall that I mentioned the chance for us all to consider;

  • Thinking about the subject specific skills and knowledge our students need by the time they leave us-these might be different than previous NC ones/other external bodies
  • Thinking about these in terms of our different learners-should we have different ones for our high/middle/lower abilities of students to realistically aim for?
  • Would the changing curriculum and exams require different skills and knowledge to be assessed-what should we assess, why, how. What were other schools doing?
  • Should we track G.C.S.E. requirements back to year 7 and build them up?
  • Getting rid of aspects of NC levels we didn’t like-usually, sometimes etc./sub levels, too much information, inaccessible language [for teachers as well as students]
  • Introducing factors based on the specific needs of our students/teachers-perhaps a weakness spotted in external exams/reports/moderation or by us in a lesson study/gut feeling/professional knowledge.
  • Making the system student, parent and teacher friendly.
  • Having an assessment system that helped the students to know what they were doing well and how they could do even better.
  • Probably other things that I’ve forgotten!

The problem with the blog and survey answers is that they can paint quite a black and white picture and don’t actually represent what is happening in the classrooms. I need to know if people aren’t happy or have solutions to offer but also need to see assessment in action and the wordy BSG comments that may be seen on paper reports [probably our fault for giving too much work in too short a time] aren’t replicated in lessons I see and work I monitor. Students are discussing their learning and self and peer assessing with friendly criteria and assessment seems to be fit for the day to day purpose in which it was intended of allowing both teacher and student to see the next steps where learning should go. The use of the assessment for data to support intervention, feedback to parents and information regarding learning progress of individuals, cohorts etc. whilst being problematic, has probably worked as well, if not better than the old NC system. However the main points that have come out of this huge discussion seem to be; [and tell me if I’ve missed a key aspect]

  • The comments are too NC wordy/not student friendly enough in some cases-hence most of you are changing them/working on them based on your experience this year
  • Some still have too many comments/too many skills/knowledge to assess/just too much! We did try to encourage at the beginning the slimming down of any system BUT the hardest part of any evaluation is often deciding what needs to be left out! English are thinking about everything again, others are cutting to the chase of what is really important.
  • I would be worried if the students couldn’t tell me what the current state of play with their subject specific learning was and couldn’t say what they needed to do to improve/progress. Are some of them saying this or are they saying that in terms of BSG they aren’t sure for whatever reason? If it’s the latter, shouldn’t we rethink how we use BSG and perhaps talk to them about the key learning requirements for each skill needed to be achieved for GOLD by the end of the year [or term] If they achieve them all they get gold, if they get a certain number silver etc. We can discuss this in the September inset.
  • Some subjects and students would prefer sub levels back again and certainly something at either end [below bronze, above gold]. Others don’t want them and as with marking/feedback I’m not against individual subjects adapting the system to suit their learners and their particular needs. All I ask for the time being is that if you feel that sub-levels would help is that you are able to tell me why and consider if there is an alternative solution. The feedback to parents via progress and written reports would have to be as standardized as possible but a good flight path would aid individual student interpretations for parents and link to G.C.S.E. and national standards.
  • There was a push for effort assessment/reporting from some staff and students and we could incorporate a GM grading system into the autumn progress grades if that was acceptable.
  • The students weren’t so sure-they are always conservative in their views and don’t like change. Perhaps we should have explained more to them [we did to the parents on information evenings who usually have their children with them] as to why we were changing and said more about the benefits of BSG as year groups at the start rather than letting the system develop in front of them. I’m hopeful that when the changes are made and they get use to the system, they will grow fonder and see the value. They are always hard task-masters and critical friends!
  • Staff were kind in their feedback-I have asked for too much in terms of work-load and some of the comments were probably produced too quickly [and borrowed too readily from the old NC] because of the pressure of time. It’s good to learn from mistakes but not when they are caused by pressure from above! I’ll try to give as much time as possible for the re-thinks and adaptations.

Has the time spent been worth it professionally or should we just have stuck with what we had?

The issues with individual schools setting out on their own assessment paths and the inherent problems of transition, varying standards and accountability has been well documented. The decision to end NC levels came from above and schools have reacted differently. Dame Sally Coates in her recent book ‘Headstrong’ where she outlines her beliefs re school leadership [well worth reading, although her approach is very different than our way!] berates the government for their “dereliction of duty” in leaving such a fundamental issue to schools. She wrote that “experts not classroom teachers and school leaders should be thrashing out these issues and creating a coherent framework.” Any internal discussion of assessment systems would she felt be; “distracting from the core purpose of improving outcomes for young people.”

I did feel pangs of guilt when reading this over the holidays-but not for too long! The conversations within our school have focused on our core purpose and assessment is part of that and worthy of finding time to discuss, implement and discuss again. It’s easy to look at the tiny sample of BSG criteria I’ve shared to think that for all of our talking, we haven’t actually got anywhere! They look like old levels and there are calls for sub levels to come back. There has been no radical revolution. And yet, I can’t recall more heated discussions and both senior and middle leaders having to stand their ground and justify their cases against articulate spirited dissention! This is the way schools should be led and if you have managed to get to the end of the blog and have read it because you are interested in the AHT learning and teaching post currently advertised at MCHS and still believe that this might be the perfect school for you; get your application in and convince us that you possess the skills, qualities and mind-set to make a real difference here to the learning and development of all in our community.

 

 

 

 

 

Leading a Reflective Science Faculty

The blog this week is one that I originally wrote in July after a request from the SSAT Leading Edge partnership to contribute an article to the autumn 2014 edition of their Leading Change magazine. The Leading Edge partnership invites schools deemed to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ in Ofsted terms with rising trends of exam results [I think I’ve got that bit right!] to join in their group of schools to share ideas and support each other. I contributed an article on peer critique [peer verification] when we were invited to join and they contacted us last summer to ask if we could write something on our ‘reflective science faculty’ I’m not sure why they asked or how they came to think that our scientists might be reflective-I just write this stuff! Our scientists are busy teaching and being reflective so I wrote up some of the ideas that I am aware of via my observations and CPD discussions with them all. I can’t quite recreate the ‘glossy’ nature of the magazine but here is the original draft and a few links to other science based blogs. The pace of school moves so quickly! Re-reading this a couple of months on actually gave me a chance to reflect myself on some of the key issues covered-the development of our professional portfolio, NTEN lesson study and CPD in general-and to think again about the opening slide [below] at our subject leaders meeting last night [and raised in our last blog]. The science faculty is a vibrant place to work and learn-I hope this is a true reflection of our whole school! In last week’s Sutton Report, Dr Lee Elliot Major wrote that; ‘It’s a scandal that we are so concerned with the learning of pupils, yet neglect the professional development of teachers themselves’. This cannot happen here and hopefully in the article you will see that we are moving rapidly towards; and are totally supportive of the TDA’s view of CPD, as outlined by David Weston.

“For CPD to be effective, it should be teacher-led and targeted at supporting student needs in a teacher’s own classroom, helping them to thrive and improve year-on-year.  Effective CPD is possible and can be realised within a teaching community that is based on collaboration, sharing of best practice and using evidence effectively. Our research demonstrates a desire for professional development that engages teachers and ensures impact”

01

Reflective Scientists

How many times over the last couple of years have you been told that- “being a reflective practitioner `is good for your CPD”? Lost count? It may well be but- what it actually means in practice in different schools and with different individuals is open to much debate. For our developing teachers in their second year of teaching, our professional portfolio aims to guide them towards the skills and professional development appropriate to their experience and aims to celebrate their own learning and teaching successes-we cannot as a profession continue to lose potentially great teachers and leaders-this is one of our ways to ensure this doesn’t happen. Below are 4 of our key drivers for individual contributions to whole school great quality of teaching for ‘developing’ or ‘emerging’ teachers. NQTs, subject leaders and progress managers have their own criteria but you can clearly see how we are trying to create an ethos of reflection, collaboration and aspiration in every teacher and every faculty.

Key QT driver Developing Developed Aspirational
Lesson observations Two formal lesson obs every year [unless others are required] with feedback given-1 with the line-manager and one peer. Triads in most cases. Mixture of classes observed-examples please. What were the key criteria points for exceptional teaching that was chosen? Which predicted learning outcomes were different than you expected-why? Advice given has been acted on-examples please. What was the biggest risk you took in your lesson obs? What happened! Lesson plan produced –all key areas verified by observer. Each lesson observed has shown teaching skill development based on advice from the last observation and have met the appraisal targets.Which areas of the subject specific criteria that you are weakest at, have you been working on-any measured impact yet? Which areas of your teaching skills do you want to focus on next year?Are there any types of classes, students that you will meet that will bring a new challenge? How can we help?
CPD Which learning hubs have you attended? What did you trial after the hubs? Which other internal training have you attended? What were the key learning points from this training? Which external training have you attended? What were the key learning points from this training? How have you used research to support your own development?Please give examples.Why did you choose to research these areas?Which CPD activities have had the biggest impact on learning in your classroom? What is your evidence? What would you like next in terms of internal/external CPD?What would your priority be and why?
Collaboration-learning Which lessons have you informally observed? What did you hope to gain from these obs? What were the key learning points you gathered from these? Which target groups did you aim your hub resources/ideas at? Why? Which ideas/resources have you ‘borrowed’ from colleagues and who did you target them at/why? What did you try out in your lessons as a result of informal lesson obs?What was the impact on learning and how did you measure it?What was the impact on learning in your lessons of any hub/borrowed ideas? What is your evidence? Any specific groups/cohorts of learners?Have you managed to share any of your ideas in any forum? How will you take your lesson study forward to develop your ideas further? Which aspects of our collaborative work do you need support with or need more of?
Collaboration-teaching Have you contributed to any of the FOCALS when we have discussed generic teaching issues? E.g.?Have you contributed to dept meetings when learning and teaching is discussed? E.g.?Have you been in involved with joint planning of lessons? Have you contributed ideas to the dept SEF?If a colleague has been having difficulties/concerns with a class-have you been able to offer advice and support? Have you sought help and advice when it was needed? For each of the examples you chose; how did your intervention make an impact on the teaching of others or yourself? How do you know? How did this then impact on student learning? How would you like to develop your contribution to the discussion and support of ‘teaching’?

 

We are keen to develop our teachers to consider their own classroom based research and to measure the impact of trialled ideas on an area of practice that was self-evaluated as a weakness either of student learning or pedagogy. When I read about lesson study early in the school year it seemed not only to fit in with our move away from graded observations towards developmental feedback for informal or formal peer observations BUT decisively offered an opportunity to enhance further the depth of teacher feedback focusing on the impact of the teaching on student learning.

02

Joe, Rachael, Hannah and Holly all 2nd year developing teachers and scientists have volunteered to take part this year.  Joe and Rachael chose as their enquiry question “would a new tactic [focusing on command words and reading of the question] improve the G.C.S.E. students 6 mark question answers?” They planned together, observed as each other taught and then discussed the impact their teaching had had on just 3 students who were chosen to focus on. This was a different idea than used previously and the planning, unusually at this point, involved predicting how each student [you can see in the feedback examples why 3 was enough!] would respond to the various teaching episodes. Their actual response was noted by the observer and formed the deep learning feedback that followed. A new method of analysing exam questions was introduced and the students tested before and after the dissecting of the command words.

03

 

Success Criteria Pupil A  Pupil B  Pupil C 
  1. Student will show improvement to mark in exam question during lesson.
  2. Student will have more confidence in answering extended answer questions.
  3. Student will perform better on exam on Friday 8th November.
2 grades below targetEoY 10 Target BEoY 11 Target A 2 grades below targetEoY 10 Target AEoY 11 Target A* 2 grades below targetEoY 10 Target BEoY 11 Target A 

 

Stage Predicted Response Actual Response
1 Starter – Exam Words Students will be able to name some simple exam words. Listed over 8 different examples. Listed 7 different examples. Listed 4 simple words.
2 Six mark exam question Students will write a low level answer, scoring between 0-2marks. Scored 1/6Didn’t read the exam question properly.  Slow to start, scored 2/6.Didn’t read the exam question properly. Scored 2/6.Didn’t read the exam question properly. 
3 Exam words – which is higher level pyramid activity Students will have different ideas as to which command word requires more detail in their answer. Worked in a pair, discussed the command words. Identified which words were high level. Placed words in different arrangements. Identified low level command words.   Discussed with peers meanings of other words.

 

You can see the changes in the individual student responses in these photos taken before, during and after the lesson study.

04 05 06 07

As the lesson study developed, the initial planning and feedback increased in detail. Hannah and Holly, with the same general issue in mind, focused on year 7 with this question;  How can we improve the understanding of the command words describe and explain  [and the use of correct connectives]to allow middle achieving year 7 boys to improve the quality of their answers and peer critique?  The class warmed up with describe and explain un-related exercises before a card-sort activity placing definitions next to key words in preparation for a written activity and peer critique. The lesson finished with a return to the original exercise to see if an improvement had been made.

08 09

 

Peer assess2.40 – 2.48Students will then use a generalised mark scheme to peer assess, this will be to test if the 3 chosen students can identify the difference between describe and explain when marking somebodies answer. They mark scheme makes it clear what is expected without giving answers.  This also allows these students to see other students work for ideas on how to improve their own. A: Will mark accurately but feedback can sometimes be limited, from this point in the lesson I expect the penny to drop for A of what is expected from the describe/explain questions.B: will be slow to start and will focus on SPaG marking. He will need encouragement to complete the marking.   He will realise at this point exactly what he had been doing incorrectly beforehand.C: will give detailed feedback of what was done well but limited feedback on what needs to be done to improve.   Encouragement/ guidance may be needed. A marked his partner’s work well and spotted that his peer needed to include more scientific key words, but when giving an example of those key words he used a connective. B identified that his partner had not described the trend correctly but he was unable to give an example of how to improve. C The feedback he gave was limited.   The praise was accurate but in the EBI and example he confused key words for being connectives.
Improve:2.48 – 2.54Students will then improve their answer using blue pen to increase the number of marks. All students will manage to improve to gain marks at this stage but this may not be enough for full marks. A improved his work massively at this point. However he missed the scientific key words until he was prompted.  His peer assessor had not mentioned key words in the feedback they gave him. B worked slowly to improve. He used the correct science verbally to explain but he worked to slow to write his explain answer down. C improved but with no use of scientific key words even after prompting, through verbally dialogue he displayed an understanding of the science however.

10

Just a small example of the predicted/actual feedback discussion gives a quick indication of the level of the deeper learning conversation that followed. All teachers involved plan and observe each other twice [although the trial of ideas continues and we will return to it] and the NTEN lesson study observations replaced the normal formal appraisal observation for the volunteers. [I’m involved as the other observer/coach!] In autumn and winter next year, we would hope to have involved all colleagues in the project-it has proved extremely popular and time to plan and feedback will be built into directed time meetings and inset. Colleagues involved shared their work in a market place activity and you can see Rachael entertaining her most difficult visitors on the market rota-the science faculty!

11

Our other peer lesson observations are not unsimilar in that the feedback [no grades] involves a discussion of the chosen criteria and a predicted/actual impact on learning before the observors select their favourite observed strategies and offer advice. ‘Magic Moments’ spotted during the observations, both formal and informal are shared in our internal blog/external blog for others to see and adapt if they so wish All staff are involved in our rota of sharing-no volunteers or opting out and the reflective practice of our young scientists goes out to the whole world to look at. Both Hannah and Rachael have received retweets, favorites and requests for their ideas and whilst recognition of a good idea is nice, professionally if you know that ideas and resources will be shared; you might just make sure that they’re pretty damn good to start with! The faculty shared their ‘fast feedback’ marking recently and 1000 interested people from elsewhere have already visited the post.

http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=1187

Hannah’s differentiated learning Mole mat for her high ability year 11 students proved to be very popular as did Rachael’s graph overlay to support peer critique with lower ability year 7 students.

http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=500 last winter’s science ‘Chucklevison!’

Much as we develop our student ‘talk for learning’ so we should help to develop our teacher’s articulation of their own learning too. The reflective science faculty develops good practice inwardly and shares it confidently outwardly and its members, no matter their length of experience should be given the opportunity to develop their own CPD potential by ‘bottom-up’ leadership of training. As NQT’s Joe and Rachael led learning hubs on peer critique and recently Rachael spoke at the local Headteacher’s conference about lesson study and Holly spoke to a visiting school’s SLT.

Rachael’s presentation is at the end of our Summer Lesson Study blog which includes a more detailed account of the science lesson study example and others.

http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=896

Are they ‘reflective practitioners’ and are we creating the right opportunities for self-critical reflection and the embedding and tranformation of science best practice-you decide!

12 13

 

 

May Inset-Life beyond graded lesson observations and national curriculum levels!

Life beyond lesson observation grades– developing a portfolio of evidence to celebrate individual contribution to whole school quality of teaching

We began looking at all of the different factors that make a great teacher at Meols Cop in our September inset, have shared our ideas on our blog and at teachmeets and finally used part of our inset day to give our teachers time and opportunity to reflect and consider the individual contribution each and every one of them has made to support overall quality of teaching at our school. The evidence gathered will be kept in a ‘Professional Portfolio’ and this allows self-evaluation and personal development in many areas of our work. I spoke very briefly so that they had lots of time and then hurtled around school to offer advice to individuals. To summarise my views on making the most use of CPD/inset time I thought of our own 5 R’s.

Responsibility

All of our staff has a professional responsibility for their own CPD in terms of constant evaluation and responding to changing situations so that they are always the ‘best teacher that they can be’ –or best TA/mentor etc. They need to decide and provide the evidence for where their current practice sits on a developing, developed and aspirational scale and to seek advice and support for their next development.

Reflective

Colleagues do need to reflect on their own practice and to think how they might change, tweak, adapt and sometimes-scrap and start again! I joked with them that leading teacher horses to the pool of professional reflection can see some unwilling nags-a few colleagues would probably prefer to be planning their lessons, catching up on marking rather than ‘reflecting’. It comes easier to some than others-teachers aren’t always narcissistic; many lack confidence and self-belief, some like very detailed guidance whilst others like a blank sheet so they can create their own responses. They’ll thank me for providing the opportunity when they are old and look back on the day!!

Research

CPD has to allow our staff the time and opportunity to seek out areas of practice that need developing and may need internal or external best practice to be sought, refined, and resourced and trialled. I mentioned in the last blog that this doesn’t mean lengthy readings of academic tomes but a very practical plan to use data to find an area of weakness use our own hubs/lessons study or visits to other schools/pick up ideas in blogs etc. to consider a change of tactics, before evaluating the impact on learning. A few really useful blogs from the York NTENRED conference are worth reading at this point.

Jerusalem and Babylon of Professional Development #NTENREDhttp://wp.me/p3Gre8-rJ Stephen Tierney

Micro research in a macro world http://marymyatt.com/blog/2014-05-05/micro-research-in-a-macro-world Mary Myatt and questions to ask about research and education http://t.co/lkWG681xbG by John Tomsett

And a couple of quotes that I think [hope] that Meols Cop staff would nod in agreement with;

Andyphilipday – action research allows teachers to take ownership of the profession back and establish ourselves as the experts #NTENRED

@cijane02 If you’re always tuned into impact of teaching ON learning (informed planning-delivery-evaluation) this = a researcher #NTENRED

Re-growth

It would be easier to just have growth-but then I wouldn’t have my 4th R!

The act or process, or a manner of growing; development; gradual increase.

2.

Size or stage of development:

3.

Completed development.

4.

Development from a simpler to a more complex stage:

5.

Development from another but related form or stage:

Effective CPD recognises and supports all of these stages and I deliberately devised 4 different pathways-NQTs, developing teachers [2-5 or no leadership responsibilities], subject leaders and progress managers for our staff to consider-each with a slightly different emphasis. I could have used re-birth, re-invent or regenerate but what I thought of was the often stop/start nature of a teachers’ CPD journey. We do often change roles quite drastically; we can for a variety of reasons [family] take a practical route and then change as circumstances change. Perhaps after a few years, we run out of steam, need a change and so on. CPD has to be able to flexible enough to support the needs of the individual-one size fits all isn’t practical and we might lose great teachers if we don’t recognise individuality and the need to re-grow new skills at times.

Resilience

NTENRED “I want to see people working hard at the margins of their practice in the classroom. To do this I need to remove fear” @johntomsett

CPD has to allow our staff to be innovative, creative, and imaginative and to have the courage and conviction to try new ideas. They may fail-fine-we tell the students to learn from failure, to accept constructive criticism, to be strong enough to seek out advice and to be resilient enough and gracious enough to celebrate the success of others-even if they have out-performed us-we have to be resilient learners too and our CPD has to encourage us to accept setbacks and to work around any potential or current barriers.

01

To support our 5R’s and CPD, my role is to create time and opportunities for the R’s to flourish and be celebrated and to ensure that all colleagues support each other’s development in the spirit of collaboration. I have to accept that we will lose great teachers-why wouldn’t another school want to take our best staff! But that doesn’t mean that we should selfishly ignore the aspirations and needs of colleagues who we know will fly-CPD benefits our students whilst our teachers are here. Great schools should in the words of John Burnham-West have; ‘moved beyond the historical boundaries of the school as an autonomous institution into recognition of a far wider, moral responsibility,’ He quoted Hargreaves and Fink and according to them,’ the hardest part of sustainable leadership is the part that provokes us to think beyond our own schools and ourselves. It is the part that calls us to serve the public good of all people’s children within and beyond our own community and not only the private interest of those who subscribe to our own institution…Sustainable leadership is socially just leadership’ We are committed to developing teachers, who will go on to serve children in many other schools not just Meols Cop.

02

I have explained before that we look at a variety of factors to help colleagues evaluate their own contribution and development needs with regards to the quality of teaching. I’ve included a developing teacher’s criteria and a subject leader one to show the slight difference and leadership responsibilities. The questions guide responses and the collation of supporting evidence into the portfolio whilst the tick box responses [developed, developing, aspirational] give me a very quick picture of where I need to focus CPD for individuals, groups and whole staff.

Contribution to Whole School Quality of Teaching               Name                                               Subject                                                       Date

2-5 years’ experience

Key QT driver Developing Developed Aspirational
Lesson observations      
CPD      
Collaboration-learning      
Collaboration-teaching      
Leadership      
Book monitoring      
Exam residuals      
Appraisal targets      
Other contributions      

 

Key QT driver Developing Developed Aspirational
Lesson observations Two formal lesson obs every year [unless others are required] with feedback given-1 with the line-manager and one peer. Triads in most cases. Mixture of classes observed-examples please. What were the key criteria points for exceptional teaching that was chosen? Which predicted learning outcomes were different than you expected-why? Advice given has been acted on-examples please. What was the biggest risk you took in your lesson obs? What happened! Lesson plan produced –all key areas verified by observer. Each lesson observed has shown teaching skill development based on advice from the last observation and have met the appraisal targets.Which areas of the subject specific criteria that you are weakest at, have you been working on-any measured impact yet? Which areas of your teaching skills do you want to focus on next year?Are there any types of classes, students that you will meet that will bring a new challenge? How can we help?
CPD Which learning hubs have you attended? What did you trial after the hubs? Which other internal training have you attended? What were the key learning points from this training? Which external training have you attended? What were the key learning points from this training? How have you used research to support your own development?Please give examples.Why did you choose to research these areas?Which CPD activities have had the biggest impact on learning in your classroom? What is your evidence? What would you like next in terms of internal/external CPD?What would your priority be and why?
Collaboration-learning Which lessons have you informally observed? What did you hope to gain from these obs? What were the key learning points you gathered from these? Which target groups did you aim your hub resources/ideas at? Why? Which ideas/resources have you ‘borrowed’ from colleagues and who did you target them at/why?  What did you try out in your lessons as a result of informal lesson obs?What was the impact on learning and how did you measure it?What was the impact on learning in your lessons of any hub/borrowed ideas? What is your evidence? Any specific groups/cohorts of learners?Have you managed to share any of your ideas in any forum? How will you take your lesson study forward to develop your ideas further? Which aspects of our collaborative work do you need support with or need more of?
Collaboration-teaching Have you contributed to any of the FOCALS when we have discussed generic teaching issues? E.g.?Have you contributed to dept meetings when learning and teaching is discussed? E.g.?Have you been in involved with joint planning of lessons? Have you contributed ideas to the dept SEF?If a colleague has been having difficulties/concerns with a class-have you been able to offer advice and support? Have you sought help and advice when it was needed? For each of the examples you chose; how did your intervention make an impact on the teaching of others or yourself? How do you know? How did this then impact on student learning? How would you like to develop your contribution to the discussion and support of ‘teaching’?
Leadership Have you been able to take any learning and teaching leadership roles yourself this year [provided to you]?Please explain.Have you been able to develop leadership roles in others e.g. students?What opportunities for leadership/leadership preparation have you actively sought?

What management roles have you taken on? Why have I differentiated between leadership and management?

What did you learn most from the experience-what would you do differently next time?Which areas of leadership do you feel you will find the most difficult? How will you prepare for this? How would you like to develop your leadership skills further? How can we help?
Book monitoring/learning walks What general advice did you receive from your book monitoring?Which were the areas that you need to develop after your feedback?What did you learn from your Learning Walk student survey?  How far have you got with ensuring that your feedback has been met? Are you able to provide evidence that your marking/feedback is having a positive impact on student learning? How have you measured this?How have you responded to your Learning Walk feedback? How has this made a difference to your teaching/student learning? What will be your focus on this year with your marking/feedback? Have you seen examples that you want to trial? What has your dept focused on? Apart from extra time-do you need anything more to support you?
Exam residuals/learning progress Your exams residuals are on 0 are close to 0 for your last year 11 class.The majority of your class in each year group is on track to reach/have met their end of year targetThe cohorts in each year group are on track to reach/have met their end of year target. You have completed your flight path student intervention sheets with each class.

You have kept your interventions up to date and are able to tell your faculty leader which ones have been successful?

Your analysis of last year’s results has given you improvement ideas to raise attainment further. To link with your appraisal for the next year; you will have specific success criteria and review dates.Where and when students have fallen behind their targets, you have intervened successfully [prove with evidence]You can show evidence that the flight paths have impacted positively on student learning.  New ideas to try that you have seen other colleagues use or have researched. Refinements to be made to the flight path idea. Any different intervention methods/recording you want to try?
Appraisal targets Successfully set and met targets 2 and 3 of your appraisal targets? What were they and how did you meet them? Were they verified by anyone? What has been the impact of your success on your teaching and the student’s learning-evidence pleaseHow did this success support your faculty and the school priorities? What would you like to focus on next in your appraisal? How will this match your own, the faculty and school priorities?How can we help?
Other contributions Any other choices-you may have supported a student who was struggling to learn well for a variety of reasons, you may have formed a good relationship with parents which supports learning and teaching, you may have organised extra-curricular support/activities which enhance learning-you choose! Impact on learning and evidence please! You decide where next.

 

Contribution to Whole School Quality of Teaching/CPD               Name                                               Subject                                                       Date

Subject leader

Key QT driver Developing Developed Aspirational
Lesson observations      
CPD      
Collaboration-learning      
Collaboration-teaching      
Leadership      
Book monitoring      
Exam residuals      
Appraisal targets      
Other contributions      

 

Key QT driver Developing Developed Aspirational
Lesson observations Two formal lesson obs every year [unless others are required] with feedback given-1 with the line-manager and one peer. Triads in most cases. Mixture of classes observed-examples please. What were the key criteria points for exceptional teaching that was chosen? Which predicted learning outcomes were different than you expected-why?Advice given has been acted on-examples please. What was the biggest risk you took in your lesson obs? What happened!

Who did you formally observe?

What feedback/advice did you give?

How will you check that it has been met and supported?

Have you shared any of the good practice you observed?

Lesson plan produced –all key areas verified by observer. Each lesson observed has shown teaching skill development based on advice from the last observation and have met the appraisal targets.Which areas of the subject specific criteria that you are weakest at, have you been working on-any measured impact yet?  

 

 

After the lesson observations, did you feedback and develop any responses to great practice or concerns that you observed? [individual or faculty]

 

 

Which areas of your teaching skills do you want to focus on next year?   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which areas of the faculty learning and teaching skills do you need to develop next-why and what are your initial plans?

Success criteria?

CPD Which learning hubs have you attended? What did you trial after the hubs? Which other internal training have you attended? What were the key learning points from this training? Which external training have you attended? What were the key learning points from this training?How have you encouraged and directed your faculty to both internal and external CPD-why was this needed? How have you used research to support your own development?Please give examples.Why did you choose to research these areas?Which CPD activities have had the biggest impact on learning in your classroom? What is your evidence?

How have you encouraged and directed your faculty to consider both internal and external research-why was this needed?

Have you been able to prove the impact the research has had on both learning and teaching?

What would you like next in terms of internal/external CPD?What would your priority be and why?  

 

What do individuals and the whole faculty need for their next CPD-why? Initial plans?

Success criteria?

Collaboration-learning Which lessons have you informally observed? What did you hope to gain from these obs? What were the key learning points you gathered from these? Which target groups did you aim your hub resources/ideas at? Why? Which ideas/resources have you ‘borrowed’ from colleagues and who did you target them at/why?  How have you encouraged and directed your faculty to informal lesson obs-why was this needed?

How have you shared their ideas and resources?

What did you try out in your lessons as a result of informal lesson obs?What was the impact on learning and how did you measure it?What was the impact on learning in your lessons of any hub/borrowed ideas? What is your evidence? Any specific groups/cohorts of learners?Have you managed to share any of your ideas in any forum?

How have you encouraged colleagues to measure the impact of their teaching strategies?

How will you take your lesson study forward to develop your ideas further? Which aspects of our collaborative work do you need support with or need more of?
Collaboration-teaching Have you contributed to any of the FOCALS when we have discussed generic teaching issues? E.g.?Have you contributed to faculty meetings when learning and teaching is discussed? E.g.?Have you ensured that learning and teaching is always discussed at faculty meetings?Have you been in involved with joint planning of lessons? Have you contributed ideas to the dept SEF?

If a colleague has been having difficulties/concerns with a class-have you been able to offer advice and support? Have you sought help and advice when it was needed?

Have you kept up to date yourself with subject specific developments and shared the ideas with your faculty?

For each of the examples you chose in the FOCALS or faculty meetings; how did your intervention make an impact on the teaching of others or yourself? How do you know? How did this then impact on student learning?   

 

Have you been able to encourage other colleagues to keep up to date with subject specific developments/general pedagogical developments?

What impact has their knowledge had on learning?

Have you coached or mentored outside of your faculty?

Have you modelled good practice or invited others to observe you?

Any impact?

Have you encouraged collaborative lesson planning and schemes of learning production?

How would you like to further develop your contribution to the discussion and support of ‘teaching’ across the school?   

 

 

 

How will you ensure that learning and teaching in your faculty is ‘cutting edge’ AND having a huge impact on progress and attainment?

Leadership What key areas of learning and teaching do you feel your leadership has impacted upon most this year? Please explain and give evidence.Have you been able to develop leadership roles in others e.g. students and colleagues.What opportunities for your own current leadership role development have you actively sought?Have you begun to seek out senior leadership preparation? [Only if you want to!]

All management tasks-reviews, exam entries, moderation completed to deadlines.

Have you sought advice from more experienced leaders/worked with them when necessary?

What have you learned most from your leadership experience this year-what would you do differently next time?Which areas of leadership have you found difficult and want to work on? How will you measure success in your chosen areas?Leadership/management tasks distributed-how has this worked and what lessons have you learned?Your vision for your faculty is clearly understood by all and you demonstrate your commitment to it every day! How would you like to develop your leadership skills further? How can we help?
Book monitoring/learning walks What general advice did you receive from your book monitoring?Which were the areas that you need to develop after your feedback?What did you learn from your Learning Walk student survey? 

 

As a leader-what patterns emerged re marking/feedback in your faculty?

How have you planned to tackle any weak areas with individuals or the whole faculty?

As a leader-what patterns emerged re Learning Walks/student voice in your faculty?

How have you planned to tackle any weak areas with individuals or the whole faculty?

How far have you got with ensuring that your feedback has been met? Are you able to provide evidence that your marking/feedback is having a positive impact on student learning? How have you measured this?How have you responded to your Learning Walk feedback? How has this made a difference to your teaching/student learning?Now consider the same questions [above] for your faculty as a whole. Can you summaries your evidence and impact?  What will be your focus on this year with your marking/feedback? Have you seen examples that you want to trial?    

 

 

What has your faculty focused on? Apart from extra time-do you need anything more to support you?

Exam residuals/learning progress Your exams residuals are on 0 are close to 0 for your last year 11 class.The majority of your class in each year group is on track to reach/have met their end of year targetThe cohorts in each year group are on track to reach/have met their end of year target. You have completed your flight path student intervention sheets with each class.

Any colleague, who failed to reach their exam residual target, has a support plan in place.

You have kept your faculty interventions up to date and are able to tell Alison which ones have been successful across the faculty and which areas need to be re-visited.

Your analysis of last year’s results has given you improvement ideas to raise attainment further. To link with your appraisal for the next year; you will have specific success criteria and review dates.Where and when students have fallen behind their targets, you have intervened successfully [prove with evidence] You can show evidence that the flight paths have impacted positively on student learning.

If more than one colleague has failed to reach their exam residual of 0, you may have planned whole faculty support/inset/CPD-please explain.

How has each cohort performed for individuals/whole faculty? Do you need to plan additional support/discuss tactics?

    

 

 

 

 

New ideas to try that you have seen other colleagues use or have researched. Refinements to be made to the flight path idea. Any different intervention methods/recording you want to try?

Constant checking of examination cohorts may be needed-what have you planned?

What will success look like?

Appraisal targets Successfully set and met targets 2 and 3 of your appraisal targets? What were they and how did you meet them? Were they verified by anyone? Which colleagues have you line-managed with the appraisal process?Were you able to help them to set relevant targets and to review them at appropriate times and adapt if necessary? What has been the impact of your success on your teaching and the student’s learning-evidence pleaseHow did this success support your faculty and the school priorities?What have been the most successful aspects of the appraisal targets for each faculty colleague in terms of the overall impact on the learning and teaching in the faculty?Are there any patterns emerging of unsuccessful targets and any plans to tackle these? What would you like to focus on next in your own appraisal and the faculty as a whole? How will this match school priorities?How can we help? 
Other contributions Any other choices-you may have supported a student who was struggling to learn well for a variety of reasons, you may have formed a good relationship with parents which supports learning and teaching, you may have organised extra-curricular support/activities which enhance learning-you choose! Impact on learning and evidence please! You decide where next.

 

I don’t want to ever again have to give a visiting inspector a list of names and lesson observation grades-these portfolio’s will provide a far more detailed analytical view of a ‘teacher’ We don’t grade lessons but this doesn’t mean that we don’t evaluate teaching, as you can see or that we don’t have agreed ideas of what great teaching is and what we should look for in lessons. We have agreed on generic ideas in the past but more recently faculties have agreed on subject specific skills that should be features of great learning and teaching and it is these that observers are guided to look for and students are taught that they should model in that subject.

Below is a very early example from a 2nd year teacher –very hot off the press-to share her evidence for her lesson observations section and her leadership section. If our portfolio can help our teachers to reflect and articulate their development and needs like this we will help our teachers to be the best that they can and by celebrating and valuing their professional practice, perhaps we will be able to retain our best and help them to become even better!

Developed Aspirational
I have ensured that students are always selected and random and never ask for ‘hands-up’ or volunteers until the end of the questioning so that students who have not answered, that want to, have an opportunity. I have also ensured that C/D borderline students have been supported through the use of tailored essay structure writing frames and a break-down of what the question is actually asking them. I do find certain aspects of English Language, such as teaching students how to use tone effectively, the most difficult. I have been working on this with year 10 currently, identifying tone in articles or letters and then trying to analyse the tone. For example I gave them an example letter that was written to Miss Heaton from the perspective of an elderly person from Meols Cop’s local community, the purpose of the letter was to complain about the students at the school. This letter used slang, incorrect punctuation and colloquial phrases. The students were easily able to identify that this letter was not formal, or polite enough for Miss Heaton to take concerns seriously, even though the example was written in a standard that some of them would use. I then showed them another letter where the tone was complimentary, polite and concerned and where most of the spelling and punctuation was correct. Students were able to appreciate how much the tone of something mattered and when then able to create their own letter trying to ensure their tone was appropriate to purpose and audience. Students successful in doing this in their mock exam and it was clear to see that they recognised what tone should be used, why and when. This must continue during exam preparation and be used in different forms of non-fiction writing. Next year I will be teaching 9.6 towards early entry GCSE Literature Unit 1. This will pose a challenge as the class are generally quite weak and the texts that are to be dealt with discuss some sophisticated subject matters. (Of Mice and Men and Macbeth) In order to fully prepare them for this I will need to ensure that lessons are broken down much more than I have done with these previous texts and as many activities as possible are practical. I would like to focus next year on pushing As to A* with my year ten, set one class in terms of exam preparation.
I took part in the research project, NTEN, in order to support the transferrable skills of reading and writing non-fiction texts. With a set 7, year 10 class I designed a lesson that would show them that being able to write using persuasive techniques, which the majority can do well, meant that they can also identify those persuasive techniques and explain why they have been used. Although it is evident to us that reading and writing are transferable skills they are very rarely clearly shown to be within lessons. Usually a reading OR a writing skill will be focused on due to time restrictions. I wanted to show that these skills were integral to each other in order to give them confidence in their own ability. This did have an impact on students’ learning and they went away being able to make the connection between the skills and were able to answer the question as it now made much more sense to them. Pushing As to A*s

 

By leading peer-assessment discussion and NTEN feedback I feel that I have been able to develop my own confidence in talking in front of other members of staff. I also attended MB’s session on middle leadership which gave me an insight into what makes an effective leader. I have managed the development of peer-assessment across the curriculum.   I have been given the opportunity to mentor an NQT next year which I am excited about doing as I feel, having just come out the other side, that I can offer advice that was given to me and that I have learnt along the way.

 

Life beyond national curriculum levels-how and what do we assess? Developing schemes of learning to reflect the needs of our learners.

The decision to not report in national curriculum levels, allied to the changing national curriculum has provided our staff with a once in a life-time opportunity! To consider what we think that our students should be learning and how they should be assessed hasn’t really happened before in my 30 plus years of teaching and despite the calls from some to wait and see what will happen or to continue using levels for the time being, I wanted our teachers to try to decide which subject specific knowledge and skills their professional judgement and the national curriculum told them our KS3 students should be learning and to devise a system of challenging assessment that would support their learning progress. There have been some other schools who have shared ideas and they have been sent to all of our staff, and I would hope that we can reciprocate.

http://thewingtoheaven.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/replacing-national-curriculum-levels/

http://www.naht.org.uk/EasysiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=37799&type=full&servicetype=Attachment

And only this morning, I sent round Shaun Allison’s blog;

http://t.co/i6uE17UxSM

Teachers are used to having an assessment system set in stone for them so to give them the freedom of discussion that the set task involved was both unusual and daunting in equal measures-but brilliant CPD! We have been discussing our approach in a variety of subject, FOCALS [focused conversations about learning] and subject leader meetings and one colleague felt that this was the best inset day we have had because we have been preparing and thinking long and hard about this before putting ideas into a format. Others enjoyed the discussions and chance to thrash out key priorities and some needed a break! Interestingly most faculties approached the task differently-that’s fine-BUT it was absolutely crucial that the conversations took place and that everyone was involved. They haven’t finished yet-a day isn’t long enough for most and we have to share cross-curricular ideas again in a few weeks too.

The discussions allowed the whole staff to re-visit some of the key essentials of as good assessment system-these are non-negotiable!

MCP 2014

A great assessment system should be;

Easily understood by the students

  • Explained that in each year group, the teachers have prioritised a set of skills/knowledge that each student should successfully achieve to gain mastery of that subject according to their age, prior attainment and ability
  • Student friendly but subject specific language
  • Clear descriptions of the skills and knowledge needed for each stage of progress [bronze, silver, gold]
  • Easy for them to be able to explain with evidence, which skills they have achieved in each stage of progress, which they need still to work on AND be able to explain using subject specific language and plan their next learning steps.
  • There will be a set of over-arching Meols Cop skills and aptitudes that represent great learning qualities and that without successful development, will limit subject and overall progress.

Easily understood by the parents/carers

  • Explained that in each year group, the teachers have prioritised a set of qualitative skills/knowledge that each student should successfully achieve to gain mastery of that subject according to their age, prior attainment and ability
  • In each year group Bronze will mean that some of the subject skills/knowledge is being developed but others need to be completed-this can be explained on the reports with advice as how to make further progress. Silver will mean that almost all of the mastery skills have been achieved-we can explain on the reports which ones and which still need attention [and offer guidance] Gold will mean that all of the skills have been achieved. We will have a ‘Platinum’ award that will be for students who go above and beyond Gold in certain aspects of their year’s work.

Focused as much as humanly possible on individual student progress

  • We will initially split the students and their stages of progress into distinct low, middle and high attainers-each group will have their own stages of skill/knowledge bronze, silver and gold stages of progress.
  • The student friendly descriptions will allow differentiated personal progress as much as we can. The students can progress at different rates e.g. be bronze in speaking, silver in writing etc.
  • If they are achieving well in their assessments and reach gold/platinum-consideration will be given to the low and middle attainers with regards to changing groups. Similarly if students are finding the learning too challenging [stuck on bronze] they may move to a lower band after consultation with SLT and parents.
  • The key will be successful intervention with the above scenario!
  • Some of the criteria will be similar in that a Gold low attainer may be able to successfully achieve some of the skills in a middle attainer’s bronze or silver grade and so on-you don’t have to think of different descriptors for every level!

Based on our teaching and support staff’s professional notion of what great assessment should measure and how it should support the planning and delivery of great learning

  • This is your opportunity to decide the key skills and knowledge that students of all abilities require, in your opinion, based on your professional knowledge of student needs; to gain age and ability related mastery of YOUR subject.
  • You might want to work backwards from year 11 and G.C.S.E. skills and introduce them at an appropriate level of understanding into year 7 OR you might want to use some of the NC level descriptors OR you might have some of your own priorities based on your professional judgement that our students have found difficult previously.
  • You need to prioritise as a faculty and not have so many descriptors that the students are overwhelmed. Your chosen priorities will then guide how you plan your schemes of learning and your assessment of these priorities will guide your day to day planning, teaching, assessment, dialogue and feedback/forward.
  • If assessment shows that the students as individuals, groups, cohorts or classes are not making expected progress [the data might tell us!]-we need to consider our pedagogy and change tactics before re-evaluating and using data to measure the success of our teaching. Enquiry questions, micro research and lesson study all support this approach-don’t wait and lose valuable learning time-use what the assessment is telling you!
  • It goes without saying that challenge and aspiration MUST be built in-our students may still join us with the lowest entry level in Sefton-they need our constant support, chasing, pushing, cajoling and loving! If they say we haven’t achieved Gold-we all shout YET!

Readily integrated into existing systems where possible

  • E.g. SIMS, reports etc.
  • Support current intervention policies and the Flight Path. It should be easy for students and staff to refer to the descriptors in bronze, silver and gold that need attention and to record intervention and measure the success of that intervention-as happens already.
  • At the end of the year, the class record will be passed on so that the next teacher can clearly see which areas of the progress stages have yet to be achieved and plan accordingly to close any learning gaps.
  • There will still be 3 lots of progress grades going home throughout the year to parents and the Review Meetings with Alison to discuss intervention/progress.
  • As a subject you will continue to assess and track progress when appropriate – [depending on how many lessons you have/year groups etc.] HOWEVER as individual teachers if your day to day assessment, interim assessment or professional judgement is telling you that a student is falling behind, struggling for whatever reason-please act straightaway and put intervention into place and plan your lessons accordingly. Keep a record of your intervention and supporting data and evidence.
  • Evidence of progress will be collected and collated in readiness for faculty moderation and the different stages of progress for low, middle and high attainers needs to be represented and exemplar evidence agreed upon for use not just to for teachers to agree on standards and quality of assessed learning but to model desirable assessment outcomes for the students too/or for them to use as part of DIRT activities or self/peer critique.
  • We may have to give an overall bronze, silver or gold for progress grade purposes and you may, with the students, use a simple totting up process-e.g. 5 silvers, 3 bronzes, 1 gold equals silver-as long as the students know and can articulate what they have achieved, can recognise that progress in all of the skills is usually variable and achieved at different times, know what they still need to achieve and how they can get there-I’m reasonably ok! I’m sure you can think of more subtle measures!

Is what is proposed manageable and useful-will it cover everything that we want our assessment system to be? What have I missed out? Am I wrong, in your opinion, on any of this? Is there a better way? NAHT suggest sticking with levels for the time being-we can easily switch back should we have to-but I don’t want to! Help needed, my imagination, like my body is tired! Too much thinking-your turn!

Primary information and our own base-line assessments will help to decide which band of attainers the students will be placed in for each subject and every student will be able to ‘Go for Gold’ which fits in with our current reward’s system and aim towards a challenging target that is based on their prior attainment and predicted G.C.S.E. scores. A platinum level will be used for truly aspirational performances.

There is a definite CPD swing back from generic teaching skills to subject specific and an on-going debate amongst some regarding the value of skills/knowledge in assessment/curriculum in guiding our decisions re what should be taught and assessed. We will have an over-arching set of Meols Cop skills that our students need to gain mastery of to support their learning in every lesson-this works for us, the students understand them and acknowledge their importance and their mastery. I feel that they are one of the contributory factors to rising achievement and progress measures here and these are the up-dated criteria.

Great Learning at Meols Cop High School

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

Bronze

Silver

Gold

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

 

All of the faculties tended to approach their task slightly differently –some split to look at different skills within their subject-reading, writing, speaking, listening before feeding back, some like PE tried to use current G.C.S.E criteria to create bronze, silver, gold student friendly sport specific targets e.g. basketball and others used our previous discussions to create assessments based on the 1-9 G.C.S.E. levelling to begin at appropriate levels for the bands of students. Maths for example, felt that a couple of the current NC level 5’s should really be level 4 [in old money] and all were encouraged to ensure any NC levels borrowed for the new systems, were suitable for our student needs, challenging and in language that the students [and teachers!] could understand-this in itself proved to be a valuable discussion. Subjects such as music tried to incorporate some of their professional association’s recommendations and all subjects were asked to consider and prioritise the skills and knowledge that they know from experience, our students find the most difficult to access at G.C.S.E. and to prepare them in KS3 to gain mastery of them. Once the basic principles and concepts have been thrashed out, we can begin to think about the best way in which assessment can support the retention of learning. We need to be aware of practical research which can provide helpful advice on testing/making knowledge stick! A good start sent to staff is this blog by Joe Kirby- http://t.co/wiOV8tGJHv

The historians have sent me their initial ideas for year 7 middle attainers-they have used current NC levels to support their progress measures and the numbers indicate the G.C.S.E level that they initially feel may equate to the skill/knowledge so that they can plan assessments accordingly. These are very early days-so forgiveness begged from the historians for sharing this at this stage!!                 

Middle attainers should demonstrate subject mastery by3/4 BronzeI understand how the past is split into millennia, centuries, decades and eras and define these key words (1)  I can identify several characteristic features of past societies and periods and start to describe 1 society or period. (1/2) I Identify several change and continuity within and across different periods of history and start to describe 1 similarity or difference. (1/2)

I identify several causes/ consequences of events and situations and start to describe one cause or consequence. (1/2).

 I identify different views and opinions of the past and begin to describe them  (1/2)

I identify sources that I cannot trust and can give a reason for bias (1)

I use information from the source to support my learning (1)

Literacy – I use given key historical terminology and write in full sentences and use paragraphs most of the time. (2)

SilverI understand how the past is split into millennia, centuries, decades and eras and define these key words (1)  I can describe some characteristic features of past societies and periods (2/3) I describe some change and continuity within and across different periods of history. (2/3)

I describe some causes/ consequences of events and situations (2/3).

 I recognise there are different views and opinions of the past and can accurately identify them from historical sources  (1/2)

I give a reason why I can or can’t trust a source (2)

I state where I found information that is helpful to my investigation. (3)

Literacy – I use some key historical terminology and write in full sentences and use paragraphs. (2)

GoldI understand how the past is split into millennia, centuries, decades and eras and define these key words (1)  I can describe some characteristic features of past societies and periods (2/3) I describe some change and continuity within and across different periods of history. (2/3)

I describe some causes/ consequences of events and situations (2/3). I can prioritise the causes/ consequences  but this may look like a list (2/3)

 I recognise there are different views and opinions of the past and attempt to describe them (2/3)

I give reasons why I can or can’t trust a source (2/3)

I select information from a source to support my investigation. (3)

 

Literacy – I use some key historical terminology and write with an appropriate structure for this task. (3)

PlatinumI understand how the past is split into millennia, centuries, decades and eras and define these key words (1)  I can describe several characteristic features of past societies and periods (3/4) I describe some change and continuity within and across different periods of history. (2/3)

I describe several causes/ consequences of events and situations (3/4). I can prioritise the causes/ consequences but with little explanation.

 I recognise there are different views and opinions of the past and  describe them(4)

I attempt to explain why I trust a source (3/4)

I select relevant information (in quotes) from a source to support my investigation. (3/4)

Literacy – I use key historical terminology and write in an appropriate style and structure for this task. (3/4)

 

Sometimes the content discussed on inset days isn’t as important as what colleagues learn about themselves and others. I’d heard that the cross-curricular meetings had been ‘lively’ on this issue and I’d fronted an equally ’lively’ subject leader’s meeting! A subject leader asked me if I was going to explain everything again to the whole staff-“NO-it’s your turn to convince your faculty and lead them” Middle leaders were tested, questioned, asked for justifications and probably learned more about leadership in 1 in-house session than whole days of expensive leadership courses! Other colleagues were able to have their say on one of the most important issues facing our school and education and have a little bit of time to consider their own CPD. As leaders we have to trust our staff and have confidence in their ability to ‘do the right thing’-this isn’t just the role of SLT-the future of our school lies in the hands of my colleagues not Alison or myself-we just want to leave Meols Cop in a position ready to move on to achieve the impossible dreams that 10 years ago seemed unachievable.

As a school we are in a fortunate position regarding Ofsted and have the breathing space and confidence to try out new ideas, to be creative and innovative and to do what is best for our students without looking over our shoulders and worrying about meeting certain criteria. Many schools are not so fortunate. We have worked incredibly hard as a staff to achieve what we have here and it is our responsibility to share ideas through any medium possible-visits, conferences, blogs-not because we are any better than anyone else or think that our way is right-we just should-it’s the right thing to do! I noticed an Everton fan wearing a t shirt against City, saying, ‘It’s the taking part that matters not the result!’ Whether other schools like our ideas or not-doesn’t matter-sharing them rather than selfishly hiding them and taking part in educational discussions does matter.