Monthly Archives: May 2014

Magic Observation Moments

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

 

English

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

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

http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=180

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

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

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

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Spanish

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

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

Language Survey Language Survey Results

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

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

 

Maths

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

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

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

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Art

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

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She used an overlay placed over 2 drawings to provoke discussion

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And then introduced the new technique which she had filmed herself modelling- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvhVxGX0RhM

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

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English

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

Unique point of view

Expressing personal viewpoint and accepting alternatives

Independent reading to further class work

Use of literary devices

Development of explanations

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

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

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History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

PE

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

2nd Learning episode:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All students will remember their roles.

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

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

 

Magic Moments-Unsung Heroes

Much of what we read and share about our schools relates to the students and their teachers. Often forgotten are the army of support staff whose work ensures that great learning and teaching are in a position to happen. Everybody, everything and every bit of hard work in this school is focused on providing the very best learning for our students-without a clean, inviting environment, without totally focused financial and administrative management, without learning and emotional support for many of our vulnerable children, without fully functioning technology, without healthy food, without committed governors and without the collaborative sharing and commitment of all support staff and all in our local community-our students and teachers would not be able to learn and teach so wonderfully well.

I revealed some of their stories in September http://blog.meolscophighschool.co.uk/?p=95 in our “To me—to you” series of staff shared ideas and the impact they have had on student learning. Our oldest member of staff is our cleaner Joe who keeps the corridors and dining room spotlessly clean all day long-Joe is 75 and refuses to retire because he loves working here and the students love him too! Sandra, our examinations officer, clerk to the governors and much more besides, attended Meols Cop as a girl and has stayed for 39 years!  I can think of at least 7 other colleagues who came here and many are parents of ex or current students/partners/relatives of staff etc. Maureen Fearn, our ex chair of governors and long-time governor, friend of the school and Mayor of Sefton; attended Meols Cop when it opened in 1941! They are quite a shy bunch, [although not at staff do’s!] and I haven’t shared photos or slides of their work BUT I have asked all of our staff to share their ‘Magic Moments’ with each other since Easter. They were asked to talk to each other and then feed comments back on behalf of someone else! The rota finishes in June but I couldn’t wait to share some of the ‘moments’ with a wider audience-some are funny, many touching and all indicative of the care and dedication that the unsung heroes-the support staff-provide for schools and children across our country. Thank you to all of them.

Names of students and colleagues have been removed.

1] A is a young man who arrived at Meols Cop with many anxieties and a very negative report around his behaviour at Primary school. He had also recently suffered a parental bereavement. A had a number of social and communication difficulties and was demonstrating traits/issues that led us to make a referral to both the speech & language service as well as CAMHS. A was regularly accessing support from the base and would get quite anxious if there were any changes to his normal or desired daily routine and structure.

However, despite all these issues and struggles, the key thing is A had a really strong desire for things to be better than they currently were.

I have communicated with and worked very closely with his T.A, over the last couple of years to put together a support system that both meets A’s present needs as well as challenges him to make changes which will help him develop holistically. A does struggle with new ideas, but after a lot of encouragement and giving it some though, A trusts us enough to give something a try.

A HUGE step forward for A is the fact that in the last few months, he has started doing extra-curricular activities.

A significant challenge was getting him to be involved with our Inclusion Cabaret Evening, attend rehearsals, and then perform on stage.

Last week A did his first Inter-form. A real heart-warming moment was seeing him smiling and celebrating his forms WIN in modern sportsmanship style (lots of hugs with the other lads and rolling around the floor celebrating!) Not bad for a kid who shunned and squirmed at physical contact a few months back.

Yesterday A joined me on an after-school session with some other Year 8 lads down at the YMCA doing his first ever climbing wall session. Despite some initial apprehensions and a short chat, A then entered into the session undertaking every instruction, request and activity with full enthusiasm. He climbed to the top of the wall confidently and enjoyed the company of a group of other Year 8 boys.

A is now doing a number of activities outside his ‘comfort zone’. Personally, I see this as MASSIVE progress and light years difference from the boy that was described by Primary school.

2] I called into a shop and an ex student was currently working there. She was really pleased to see me and updated on what had happened since she left 6 years ago.  She is settled in a relationship and has a young child and has just moved into her own home. 

During the time she spent at Meols Cop she could be very quick tempered and would often walk into a classroom in a bad mood and get into conflict with her teachers. We spent time discussing how when her mood wasn’t right and she felt she was being challenged for her behaviour, she would put her defences up to protect herself.  Over the weeks she identified that she was little a hedgehog, plodding along but if stood on her prickles or spines her spines would come out to protect herself.  This she found a great way to understand how prickly her attitude could be perceived in the classroom.  I would then call her “Prickles”

On the day she left Meols Cop I purchased an outdoor garden hedgehog boot cleaner, with clear instructions for her to wipe her bad mood as she approached the door on the back on the hedgehog.Whilst talking to her in the shop she told me with a big smile on her face, “I still have my hedgehog and I love it, I brush off the bad things from my day, leave them at the back door, thanks Miss”

3] B arrived in the mentor’s office with her mock Maths exam paper.  She was so pleased and very proud of herself as she had a very strong grade C.  She has worked hard over the last few months and attended after school revision and home tutor.  Her hard work is paying off and I hope this will give her a real confidence boost ready for the exam.

4] My Magic Moment has to be last week with C. In an English Literature class he managed to annotate a poem on his own. In the resit class he wrote the answers to three questions on a past paper and wrote a page and a half and used quotes!!!! In the time limit too!!!!!

5] We feel our greatest contribution has been simply keeping things running, dealing with phone calls etc. and staying on top of photocopying, letters and Progress Stars!

2] What has been your Magic Moment involving the students this year-what made it so special?

Helping students with first aid – seeing some who are crying or ill or in pain come back later/the next day looking themselves again.

6] My “Magic Moments” are often indirect, the one I had recently was with a member of staff working with a student from the ASD Base.The student was uncooperative and difficult with a member of staff who was working 1:1 with him.I passed on a number of strategies to support the student, the member of staff said that she  felt much more empowered to help him, and the outcome was made special for me from the  feedback that the strategies had had a positive effect

Another example of indirect support for a student, was to explain and relate the difficulties of a child with ASD to the” Triad of Impairments” to his parents, who were totally bewildered as to how to handle their child’s unusual behaviours and anxieties.

Discussing with them the problems common to many of our students with ASD,  helped to alleviate some of their anxieties and gave them more confidence in  their parenting skills, plus the knowledge that other children experience challenges to their condition, and that their child is understood and will be supported in school.

A typical example of how a small intervention can impact on a students learning resulted from a parents telephone call early in the day, it was explained to me that the student was extremely anxious about an exam taking place that day.

Speaking to the student I could pass on to him where to access the advice he needed before the exam began, going through a step by step procedure of what to expect to happen, lessened his anxieties and gave him confidence and equipped him with independence strategies to resolve his own challenges.

Afterwards asking the student how the exam had gone the student’s reply was “it was alright” told me he had coped well, and in future he will be able to draw on that experience and realise that he did it himself with just a little back up.

Facilitating small changes for any student can make all the difference to them, and this makes my role in school feel worthwhile.

Over a period of time staff can build up relationships and good communication between students on the Autistic spectrum and it is the most valuable tool in supporting them.

7] My “Magic Moment” was preparing a student for exams, e.g. devising a revision time table for him to follow at home. Because I am reinforcing coping strategies, organisational skills and resources, he is becoming more independent and carrying out these tasks in lessons automatically, using time management.

This was made special for me as the student has got into his own routine and become more self- reliant. This support has had the biggest impact in respect of how unsettled he had been before I started to support him, and now he is less anxious, he is using strategies to help him manage, he is more organised and confident.

I have been able to guide, advise and pre-empt difficult social situations for him, helping him to understand them as they have happened. Hopefully evidence of my support for him will show in his exams and how he is able to cope in them.

8] My magic moment, of which there are many, happened recently with a student in Y10 who I have supported since Y7.  Their situation outside school is dire to say the least and most of us as mature, world weary adults would struggle to manage our day to day lives if we lived with such a situation.

However they arrive at school every day, they participate as much as they can and sometimes even achieve something whilst all the time carrying around their enormous burdens.  Sadly the one thing that they don’t understand just yet is that the adults around them may never change their behaviours and may continue on their disruptive path which in turn impacts so negatively on this young person.

My role is to help them understand this sad lesson in life and slowly and gently get them to that point where realisation hits that things may never change.

Yesterday that happened and I saw something shift in this young person which will never shift back and that young person realised that adults can let you down and may never change what they do despite it’s potential to destroy the people around them.  They were quiet and thoughtful and realisation was written all over their face – a magic moment filled with sadness – magic isn’t always about razzamataz!

Now we move forward and continue to support this student and quietly and gently ‘prepare them for life!’

9] As a student with very low attendance and lots of obstacles to overcome, the main difficulties that have come to light has been lack of subject knowledge in many areas. Despite the fact that over the years, a log of missed lessons have been recorded and sent home. More has been needed to be done and so since January this year I have taken more 1-1 sessions to focus on key subjects. I have done this with the student and we have worked through a timetable together. We have broken down past exam papers and worked through them to focus on getting the best out of an exam paper using books, internet, text books and resources collected from staff. We have built on confidence in subject knowledge. I have planned 1-1 sessions on a weekly basis and reviewed again to accommodate absence. I have had to explore subject knowledge that I was not familiar with however it has been a success. We have managed to pull grades up from getting a D grade to getting a B grade and we are confident that we will succeed to get the grades we deserve. This has to be a magic moment but only time will tell.

10] Our magic moment can almost be pin-pointed as happening overnight.

Since C arrived in year 7 we have always worked together closely.  C relied on the support of the base at morning registration, breaks and lunches, always needing to leave lessons a few minutes early to get his lunch as the queues were a real cause of anxiety.  He viewed the base as somewhere he felt safe and secure.  He required a lot of support to cope in lessons, especially with organisation and socially acceptable behaviour.

C is currently in year 9 at the beginning of March this year C decided, completely out of the blue, he would have lunch in the canteen. This progressed to him not being escorted at all, although he knows the base is there for him, he no longer uses it regularly. We have seen him become so independent right before our eyes; he has suddenly grown up and is taking responsibility for his homework and PE kit (also changing for PE in the changing room).  In lessons he has more confidence than ever before, putting his hand up to answer/ask questions without being prompted.  C is now engaging in friendships with peers, going outside at break/lunch and socialising – he appears to be much happier in himself.  Although things can still become too much at times, he knows our support is there to help him.

I hope that the daily support C has been given from everyone concerned since year 7 has eventually paid off and that he continues to grow into an intelligent, independent young man.

11] My magic moment was working closely with D in English; D tries hard in this lesson and has had many exams in it also. One particular exam we had revised and Dhad done extra revision at home, (I scribe for D because of his dyslexia which he gets really embarrassed about.) We worked hard on Macbeth which D hated, but we persevered, we looked at a cartoon version which he seemed to take to more than the book. Exam day came and it was tough going but he worked hard. Miss marked his exam the next week, D  had gone to see his teacher to find out his mark, and my magic moment was when I was sitting in the staffroom at break time and there was a knock on the door, It was for me and outside was Dscreaming he had achieved an A in his Macbeth exam thanking me for helping him get through it. It makes all the hard work worthwhile by getting a simple THANK YOU!

13] Through collecting and assessing our students’ progress levels and grades, I see how each student progresses so well from Year 7-11.  I have not only seen students achieve academically at both Key Stages, but I have seen behaviour, attitude and homework patterns change – some students improving beyond recognition!  Although the actual progress they make isn’t my doing, being able to provide up-to-date reports which show their individual strengths and progression is a great feeling.  This is also true for the Going for Gold incentive scheme.  It is inspiring to see our students working hard to achieve gold and enjoy their day out in the summer (and knowing I contributed to it, of course!)

2] What has been your Magic Moment involving the students this year-what made it so special?

The shining moment for me this year, and every year, has to be our annual rewards evening.  Each year I witness the enormous array of talented students we have here at Meols Cop. Through academic results, levels of endeavour and performing arts talent, I see just how special the Meols Cop experience is.  The recognition our ‘middle of the road’ student receive is so well deserved.  They can often go forgotten as they just ‘get on with it’ and fall off the radar.  There are several students who drift through 5 years un-noticed and it’s wonderful to celebrate their achievements each year.  As a past student, I always look back with great fondness for my time here.  Through managing the stage at the rewards evening I see first-hand just how proud our students are to come here and to represent their school – this is always a great moment for me.  I also had the honour of presenting the annual dance festival earlier this year.  Once again I saw how excited our students (and Primary school students who our students had taught) were to represent our school.  It was a great privilege to be involved.

14] One early morning, she walked into a base only to realise that a boy that she supports has been working at the computer independently, typing away something. Alongside on the table lie a card that she has given him a while ago. The card was a visual reminder to help him go over his written work, check capital letters, full stops, commas, paragraphs and other points to help him achieve higher level in his writing. She was really pleased about this as this meant that constant reminding, guiding and “nagging” has finally paid off! Magic…

Another one of her magic moments was during a PE lesson. The young man that she supports dislikes playing football, basketball or any ball games. One day during rounders with a lot of encouragement from his TA he joined the group and was able to take part in a game. He loved it and did so well that he said excitedly “I have worked out I can run”. I believe she felt proud of him as well as very happy as he managed to enjoy himself in a social situation.

15] A recent piece of descriptive writing for an English assessment showed just how far this student had come. This student was unable to structure a full sentence or understand a simple written instruction at the start of this school year. He has achieved so much, “a wonderful piece of descriptive writing written in the third person and an excellent structure using descriptive techniques such as similes, personification and adventurous vocabulary”.  We have worked together using different techniques from picture building to games and spider diagrams; we have built on using his imagination more and how to get his thoughts into words. He was truly amazed at what he achieved.

16] A told B that she has lots of magic moment’s everyday whilst working with 7.7, which is great to hear! She explained that lots of the support she gives is emotional support and is quite like’ being a mum’ to the year 7’s.

One particular moment in time came as a result of A taking time to recognise the artistic ability of a young man and commenting to him about how good his work was and encouraging him to draw more. By pointing this out to him and encouraging him in art lessons and finding out about the art club available after school, he has grown in confidence and has joined the art club. A few weeks later he turned to A and said, ‘there are only you and my Dad that cares about me’. I think she felt that she had made a great connection with the student and was able to offer him the support he needed.

Another moment, with a different student she was working closely with in Maths who did not know her 3 times tables and found this very difficult. By supporting her in lessons, one- to- one and using her fingers to count up each time and practising the times tables in class she has gradually  learned them. A would ask her surprise questions testing if she could remember the answers and then one lesson she said to A, “I know it now” and she could recall the table steadily and calmly. A told her she would ask her what 3 x 9 is on Monday morning to see if she could still remember the answer. She did remember and from that A was so proud of her and knew that she had made a difference.

17] My magic moment occurs every Wednesday P2 when I’m working with A. It’s such a pleasure working with someone who enjoys maths and is prepared to stretch himself and work hard.

Our whole hour session is dedicated to maths working on topics covered on the higher paper. It’s a joy watching him pick up methods and applying them to solve questions as he works solidly through the exercises. More often than not I leave him with a question to solve and without fail he hands it back to me the following week having attempted the question.

We are now working through past papers and when he answers questions correctly on topics we’ve covered together, I can’t keep the smile off my face!

I will share many more Magic Moments as the summer unfolds and will be asking the students to share theirs as well!

 

 

 

 

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.