Growth Mind Set-a year on-are we opening and growing our minds?

It was nice this week to be able to welcome 2 colleagues from Marple Hall School in Stockport. Ana and Rhian have been great supporters of our blog with lots of retweets and positive comments and Ana had also very kindly arranged for our Spanish subject leader Bronagh to visit her faculty previously. On twitter they are known as @ana_castillo and @_rhia_rhia and they asked if they could come and see how we are implementing growth mind set and our new assessment/tracking system. This is a welcome collaborative friendship between 2 very different schools and has come via the increasing and valuable use of social media as a form of professional development.

A couple of weeks ago I explained the role visiting schools have in developing the reflective and self-critical professional development of our staff-many teachers still don’t like to be quizzed about their practice or have visitors actually enter their classrooms but times are changing and visits to other schools and vice-versa are welcome opportunities for our staff to sharpen, adapt and improve their own practice. We can hardly talk about GM for teachers and then not support open and honest collaboration to seek out and share the best practice. Ana and Rhian were asking about my own career and I explained that I did, after 20 or so years, do some consultancy for 2 and a half years and it was a lovely break sharing all of the good ideas I gleaned from schools and research. BUT whilst it is much easier advising folks how to do things, the challenge of returning into school to put the theory into practice was my driving force. Anyone can talk a good game but school leadership at any level has to deliver the learning and teaching goods and we are judged in the harsh environment of the real world of inspections, tables and our own community and peers. Writing blogs and sharing our ideas is a late in my career acquired pleasure! However the success of them can only be judged if they are not found wanting when visitors call and hopefully don’t find a shallowness to our practice where only a few colleagues actively support what I have said, some may pay lip-service only and that actually I’m only writing about my own views!



It goes without saying that the GM attitude has to begin at home and an email just landed before I began to write from Sarah who was sending me her feedback on Katie’s observation.

For the observed!

What would you like to develop next with either subject or general pedagogy? How can we [or others] help? How did today help your appraisal targets? Where next with this particular target?
Implementing more discussion and group work into my lessons rather than getting students to write for the majority of the lesson. ‘Letting go’ of control and trusting the students to stay on task. I am observing Sarah on Thursday with her year 9s where she will be using group discussion within her lesson. 



How to challenge students in the most effective way. Push more group activities. Ensure modelled answers are succinct.

It was great to see Katie asking for her own area of weakness as her PD focus [as all GM teachers should!] and equally pleasing to see that she is going to informally observe her subject leader in action. [Sarah has instigated and offered this] How widespread and consistently excellent is this practice though across our school? Ana and Rhian’s visit provided me with the chance to re-assess all aspects of our GM journey for the final time this year.

Ana is an avid reader of everything to do with GM and attendee of teacher sharing events such as Northern Rocks. She has devoured the recent GM discussions from Dweck and commentaries at the Wellington conference e.g. and I knew that she would want to see much more than a plethora of GM posters and a few assembly PowerPoints! Yes GM is for both teachers and students and yes any visitor should expect to see examples of GM beginning to be rooted in classroom practice. I know that both Ana and Rhian both realised that on a whole school scale, the push for any initiative has to come with some clout behind it before hearts and minds can begin to be gently persuaded and then won. In my new position, if I believe in GM and want to see it embedded at MCHS, I have to be the living embodiment of it and model it in every aspect of my role. I can’t pick and choose aspects of it that I find easiest and then stand up in assembly or inset and hold forth about it and then not adhere to the principles myself!

I came up with a couple of acronyms for the Sefton Head’s Conference last week to explain the philosophy we have been developing and will share it again with our middle leaders tonight, when I talk about my views on leadership and share the questions and activities from our AHT and DHT interviews. I want all to see see my expectations openly explained so that everyone can prepare to ready themselves for SLT should they wish to. I used an old fashioned home-made poster-it looked something like this!







Most school leaders and teachers have the occasional great idea, but the key to consistent excellence and long term sustainable development is to ensure that the idea is evidenced in every teacher, student, classroom, and action etc. for all of the time. I need to consider GREAT WHAM every time I begin to think about any new or current initiative.










I know that colleagues have already began to call me ‘the boss’ and there are times when fast decisions have to be made [snow!] but if I believe in GM then I do have to listen and seek honest criticism and allow discussions which may disagree with my views-e.g. our BSG assessment! But I do know that if we are to move forward as a school then my mind set has to be the least fixed of anyone-bring it on!

The agenda for Marple’s visit was this;

Ana [Spanish] and Rhian maths and AHT arrive at 9 .30

Meet me briefly-down to Aimee to look at her GM food tech plenary


Rhian to meet Alex and Beth in Beth’s room to chat about Alex’s GM questions and GM learning hub/Beth’s maths hints and general maths GM.

Ana to meet Jennie in her room to discuss GM in RE then to Greg to see his GM work.


Rhian to Zoe to join Jen in her observation-Zoe is working on differentiating the Maths hint for very low ability.

Ana to Phil’s room to discuss his recent science lesson obs –GM for the students and staff



Ana and Rhian to meet Andy and Anne in my office to chat about Andy’s GM questions and GM learning hub and Anne’s year 7 residential GM.

11.50-back to me

12.20-1.10 Lunch


Ana to meet Leon and discuss our BSG approach

Rhian to visit Jen’s year 9 maths to see GM in the classroom

2.10-2.20-back to me

I tried to include a variety of different subjects, NQTs to AHTs, visits to lessons, examples from throughout the year and examples from colleagues who were teaching or out on courses/area athletics. Some of the ideas are quick classroom activities, others are designed to support the drive to embed thoroughly-all matter and all count.

Students [and parents]

After the London Olympics I began to grow interested in Brailsford’s much lauded cycling marginal gains tactics which combined my interests in sport and school before moving on to Dweck and Syed and sharing early ideas with staff 2013-14 cumulating in sharing Huntington’s staff GM survey and surveying the whole of the school via form time surveys just to gauge how far marginal gains were being talked about and to test out the waters for a GM push. Was there a groundswell of opinion and support available that would make it worth my while launching a GM initiative. I was convinced that it would prove to be worthwhile the time and drive I would have to provide. After years of teaching your gut instincts usually tell you what will work and what won’t. I actually quite like SOLO taxonomy and was ready to launch with the whole staff and had some very willing converts but something wasn’t quite right at that time [probably Ofsted being just around the corner and then one of the damn inspectors criticising a SOLO lesson!] I didn’t push-this felt different. During the summer of 2014 I got the posters ready, staff briefings and form time activities were all written and ready to go.

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I explained the early days in this post and mentioned all of the other schools who we were grateful to for their shared GM ideas;

Our ideas were shared at different gatherings of parents throughout autumn of 2014 with maths sharing their notion of GM.


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And I asked the parents for their views of GM in our annual Review Day questionnaire;

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?

We have gradually introduced the idea of the positive aspects of developing a Growth Mind Set into our lessons, assemblies and reward systems. We would like our parents to support this initiative-we think that it will make a big difference to student learning- but wonder if you understand what GM involves/would like to know more. What do you think?

Their answers were shared on our bulletin and are in this post.

Our students love stickers and stampers-even year 11-so they are always a way to engage them or at least give them the message that the in initiative is important and won’t be going away!



Postcards home based on successful learning [represented by hundreds of posters around school] have proved to be popular with both students and parents and are a great way to celebrate the learning successes of as many students as possible. Names are proposed by colleagues and appear on our weekly bulletin with specific GM or learning triumphs.




Year 8

Sarah Lyon, Ellie Blundell, Martha Jenkinson, Leonie Birch and Lizzie Gerrard have filmed scenes and edited them together with music and slides to create their own silent movie in drama recently. They have really gone above and beyond, thinking carefully about their actions and the story line as well as adding sound effects and appropriate music.

Asher Nix, Owen Campbell, Kim Machin-Grove, Farrah Evans, Tyler Shaw, Carla Rigby, Katie Hudson, Joel Silva, Jakub Ciechlecki, Luke Kelly, Max Moyle, Bianca Nascimento, Jim O’Keefe and Becky Segar have produced fantastic pieces of work while studying ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’ in English recently. They completed an extended piece of writing and a letter, which were both of a very high standard, and worked tirelessly and passionately on the independent tasks. Well done to you all; Mrs Jordan says you are such a pleasure to teach. An extra special mention goes to Bianca, who reminded her peers about the importance of using capital letters. Well done!


Year 10

Aaron Core, Bethany Greenfield, Kieran Mills, Ben Shields and Lewis Hitchcock all revised really hard to achieve success in science. Whatever their GCSE result is, they can know that they’ve tried their very best. Well done!

Year 7 students were all pushed to develop growth mind set on the residential, moving out of their comfort zones and being encouraged to do a little more than they wanted to do. There was a prize in each group for the person who was the ‘bravest’ and had pushed their limits the most. There was also a prize for the best team player. All prize winners were awarded a PGL cap.

Luke Tilley, Craig Black, Naomi Sutton, Aodhan Blackburn, Michael Lawton, Domantas Karbauskas and Daniel Hitchcock stood out on the residential for being good team players and really supportive of others.

I’ve written in more detail about our GM stars in this post;

By January, I wanted to ask the students themselves how GM was embedding in their lessons and in their approach towards learning. I used our annual Learning Walks to quiz them more.

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We can’t pretend to be a school which promotes and is embedding GM unless our staff are open to the views of our students! A full account of what was said is here;

By July, each year group will have received the annual written reports and this time, the SLT comments are firmly rooted in GM language so that both parents and students can become more familiar with, and hopefully talk about, GM in embedded action. The comments below are from our year 7 selection.

Having settled so well into secondary school it is important that you maintain your good start and begin to take even more responsibility for constantly evaluating how well your learning is progressing and what you will need to do to make further progress. Focus on any areas of weaknesses or anything you don’t clearly understand and challenge yourself to use a marginal gains approach to master difficult skills. This positive learning mind set will really help you throughout school. Aim for the stars!
Having settled well into secondary school it is important that you maintain your good start and begin to learn how to take more responsibility for constantly evaluating how well your learning is progressing and what you will need to do to make further progress. Focus on any areas of weaknesses or anything you don’t clearly understand and challenge yourself to use a marginal gains approach to master difficult skills. This positive learning mind set will really help you throughout school. Remember the key word YET!
Having settled quite well into secondary school it is important that you learn how to work consistently and effectively in all of your subjects. Read the advice that your teachers have given you carefully and challenge yourself to master any areas of weakness. Always think hard yourself about what strategies you could use when faced with a difficult aspect of learning and seek and use feedback from your peers and teachers to help you further.
I know that you will want to be much more focused on your learning in year 8 so that you are able to take home an excellent report next year. Think about the lessons that you have been successful in. What is it about your learning in these lessons that makes you such a good learner in them? I believe that you can transfer those skills into every lesson, even if you find some lessons more challenging than others. Do be ready to listen to feedback and advice from your teachers and peers so that you can use their help and your own hard work to make progress.
I can see that you have already developed an excellent attitude towards home-learning and as you move through the school, practising hard at home will really help you to strengthen your classroom learning. Keep this up!

I explained our approach here; in an earlier GM progress review.


It’s a lovely sunny day today and if my career had taken a different turn a couple of months ago, I could be lying in my garden, listening to the afternoon play on radio 4 before walking the new dog I had adopted and stopping on the way, outside the Belgian beer shop for a nice cold beer! Luxury and surely nobody could begrudge me that! The simple reason why I’m not, as I explained to staff last night, is THEM [and the students]. The huge new responsibility of the role of Headteacher is daunting, especially when I’m expected to sustain the meteoric rise of everything associated with MCHS BUT I have a magnificent team of staff to support me. I’m nowt without ‘em and for all of my mithering and cajoling, it is the staff who have adopted and delivered the Meols Cop version of GM. They got it going, they shared with each other and they modelled GM to me, each other and our students far more effectively than I can on my own. I knew that I wouldn’t have to wait long for their contributions and an early autumn post shows positive responses.

I shared more at Xmas-

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Some faculties, such as maths really began to focus on GM and saw the potential it had for their students, especially the more reluctant ones and they had a blog to themselves!

The biggest test of the impact in teacher’s heads of GM came at our Whit inset when colleagues discussed the most important aspects of learning and teaching that they felt should be seen in all of our classrooms.  There was no interference from me or any other senior leaders-staff choices only-and I was pleased to see that GM appeared in their final choices. Each choice then led to a learning hub being allocated to it with a volunteer leader.

When Ana and Rhian visited, I asked a couple of the GM hub colleagues to briefly explain what they had been trialling. Alex, and the others, have been discussing GM and in particular how they can talk about effort and possibly record/self-assess effort incorporating a GM approach.


These were Alex’s questions that she was developing and had used during the previous week. She also showed her RAG marking which she uses on the student marginal gains wheels to self-assess their own intervention needs. Andrew also shared his geography set of plenary questions with completed student versions and a snap of his GM display and Aimee, her lovely food technology GM plenary dice.


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Ana met Jennie our subject leader for RE who explained her changing GM themes which have gone from butterflies and surfing to next year’s diamonds! Both ladies are very creative and no doubt had an imaginative and alternative conversation, whilst Rhian talked maths! Jennie has already planned her initial approach for September and I’ll share a couple of the slides she sent me and showed to Ana.

She told me that her GM belief to share with her students is, “The idea that we should trust in what we believe gets results.  Should that result in criticism, odd looks or suspicion coated in tolerance!  Who cares? “

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I am really grateful to Zoe and Jen for opening their classrooms to our visitor so they could see what we have shared in real action. Rhian moved from her conversation with Alex and Beth [maths NQT who shared her GM ideas] to Zoe’s formal lesson observation with her subject leader Jen. Maths colleagues have been working on their hints/tips to help their students access the ‘yet’ aspect of GM. I’ve previously shared Beth and Jen’s work in this area in the GM maths post and Zoe has been trying to differentiate the tactics for her low ability class so they can access the learning involved.

Context of lesson

This is the first lesson on the topic of Sequences. The students have briefly looked at identifying and following the rules of a sequence, and using this to find missing terms in starter activities prior to this lesson. The level of recall skills for the majority of the students in this class can be significantly low and often require generous reinforcement and reminders of prior learning.

Is there an area of their learning/your teaching that you have found to be challenging and have decided to focus on?

The focus for this lesson will be on encouraging challenge and growth mind set using differentiated options which allow students to set their own aims regarding how much support they require to make progress.

Getting your skates on! Which is the biggest anticipated risk/chance of failure you have planned to take in the lesson? How can we help?

Some of these students find it difficult to critique their own work and recognise improvements that could be made, even with the support of a hint. These students will be encouraged to use their hint to complete an entirely new answer which they can compare to their original afterwards.

Learning objectives/WALT

1 to be able to

Recognise and understand patterns in numbers and diagrams

2 to be able to

Apply sequences to solve problems

3 Growth mind set

Self-differentiated challenge and re-draft opportunities

4 Literacy

Use of keywords and correct terminology


I really like the maths hints after their FAIL [first attempt at learning] so that the ‘we haven’t achieved it YET’ is now possible with support. Most students can’t be asked to try harder or to ‘get tough when the going gets tough-they need tactics and support’ to help them take on and be successful in their SAIL [second attempt at learning]

Rhian enjoyed the part of the lesson she observed but the aspect she wanted to talk about most was the after lesson feedback session. She could see the powerful and meaningful conversation about actual learning and teaching that concentrating on using our lesson observations developmentally and not for grading brings.

Whilst Rhian was in maths, Ana talked to Phil who explained his recent observation when he had tried to flip his learning, with the use of his own films and had recorded the lesson using the IRIS cameras. She was interested in our lesson plans which openly ask and encourage staff to take risks and in the feedback session Ana had observed. I explained that I’m the 3rd person in the observations as much as humanly possible and my role is to coach the feedback person and to develop their mind-set to give honest professional critique. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t want to develop a few coaches amongst the staff, I want every single teacher to be involved in observations and giving feedback advice-what better professional development can you get than that! Phil was observed by Hannah, the 2nd in science who is very new to giving feedback but who has seen me do it for both lesson study and our normal [ish] observations. I couldn’t make her feedback session but was delighted to read the conversation both teachers had had. Phil has been teaching for longer than Hannah [he is a progress leader] but he has the mind-set that her views do matter and will be helpful. [How many young leaders are met with hostility, and put off leadership, when dealing with more experienced staff-not here-if you are good enough, age doesn’t come into it and all opinions matter] I could follow the conversation and see how it went and shared the paper-work with Ana and Rhian as Phil sought critical feedback and Hannah was prepared to give it, as she must.

Meols Cop Great Teaching Observer feedback comments to support development.How did each chosen strategy impact on learning? Anything you spotted for future devpt advice? Teacher view-did your teaching of each priority meet your predicted outcome and impact on student learning? Did you have to change tactics?
Flip learning


Impact:Previous homework was linked into the final activity where homework related to the questions given.  Those who had done their homework and retained the information could answer this question well.  This was evidenced by a random name generator.


Videos to support independent learning and for students to relay information to their groups was well thought out.  Most groups did send a student to watch the video, this definitely helped the groups work as a team and as guidance.


Students used their conclusion to teach others about their practical.  PJ had not said whether they were right or wrong, but they had seen model answers.  This was taken away, most students described the pattern in their results but did not explain why scientifically.


Future development:

Getting students to ask why and to explain their results.


The flipped learning aspect of this lesson worked as predicted. The students were able to tell me at the end of the lesson how concentration and temperature affected the rate of reaction without me telling them. The students could pull together the information they gained from carrying out activities in the lesson and from their homework to achieve the lesson outcomes.Students could recall their answers at the end of the lesson via a random name generator. This questioning was used to elevate any bias.


To confirm all have completed needs to be teacher checked for evidence.

During the plenary students peer assessed the work. I think it would have been better if I had put a box on the worksheet so they could have given a grade as to what they think that student achieved, this would have given students an idea as to whether or not they had achieved Gold there and then rather than waiting for it to be checked by the teacher and informing them during the starter of the next lesson where they will re draft their work.

Independent learning


Impact:Finding definitions was a good activity where students had to use books they wouldn’t normally use to find the answers.  The use of praises to encourage others to use a glossary was good.  However this did lead to a bit of coach trying to direct student’s attention to what you were doing with the praises.


Practical activity was supported with a video, each student in the group had a roll to complete the practical, and majority of groups took very well to this, and shared ideas.  They showed very good independence during this activity.


The independent learning helped students with their growth mind-set, finding out answers by not relying on the resources they’d normally use e.g. teacher, computers at the start, wrong book etc.


Future development:

Less coaching at the start, leave time for the students to look in the wrong place first and figure out not all books have the answer but need to be cross-referenced.


To have evidence of the students understanding.  Some students could verbally answer when questions but had little evidence in their booklet.

Students could be trusted to get their equipment and complete the practical without telling them how. 

Coached a little too much when looking for the definitions.

During the starter activity I would have like to have given students more time to find the definitions of the keywords as I felt I had to direct some of them as they were using the wrong textbooks. I should have just left them to realise they were the wrong ones. I also praised students who went straight to the glossary and upon reflection I should not have said why I had praised them and let the other students figure out why. The problem is that this would have taken the starter from 5mins to 15mins and this time was valuable for the independent practical, but should I have sacrificed that time for the starter?




Use of a timer allowed students to be aware of how fast to work and gave them a clear deadline.  They all finished on time at the end of the lesson.


Had to change some timing as packing away equipment took a little longer than expected. However all activities were covered in the lesson and it finished exactly on the bell.

For the observer

3 bits of great teaching that inspired and that you are definitely going to use tomorrow! Your favourite piece of student learning-best penny dropping moment-what and with whom! What did you learn most as a teacher from today’s observation?
1.       Praises for independent work, without telling them what they’re for.  Allowing other students to notice and try to figure out what that student was doing and thus helping their own independent work.2.       Resources to support independence, like the videos on the computer for them to refer too.  This could be done with many other resources to support learning too.

3.       Trust students to be independent and make the mistakes to learn from.

1.       Mae’s group worked very well, Mae took control and led her group to finishing before time.  The group worked as a team top reach a conclusion, but it was Mae who managed to link the energy types of heat and kinetic and how that means more successful collisions.2.       One group predicted the “wrong” thing.  They managed to disprove their hypothesis and explain why they had done that. 1.       To trust my students when working independently, especially with the younger classes.2.       Link homework into the lesson as extra marks etc.

3.       Give praises in a different way to usual to encourage student, not only through behaviour and outstanding work, but through initiative too.

For the observed!

What would you like to develop next with either subject or general pedagogy? How can we [or others] help? How did today help your appraisal targets? Where next with this particular target?
To have evidence written down for future reference that all students have made progress.  Random name generator can question students at random, but written evidence may not be recorded. This was the case with Freya. During the plenary her name came up on the random name generator and she was able to give an answer to my question “how does temperature affect the speed of a reaction” in scientific detail. However, she had not written this in her booklet. If I was to do the lesson again I need to make it more explicit to the students that they need to write something down. To look out for this evidence during the next round of observations.I would like the observer to check that students are writing something down when they are walking around the classrooms and feedback to me if they are not. This would be useful especially in a lesson such as this as the students needed help with the pouring of certain chemicals as they were too hot for them to handle.




This lesson made me realise that the Year 7 students are able to work independently, and I needed to take a risk to discover this.Next time, extend their science skills, e.g. can you devise a table for the practical.

Bringing GM into our lesson observation planning ensures that staff, if they didn’t already, are expected to plan for it-how well it is planned for and taught is open to discussion afterwards and best practice shared. I observed two teachers last week displaying their own mind-set in pushing their own practice out of any ‘comfort zone’ and also, of course, seeking to develop GM in their students. I shared my observations on the lessons with Ana and Rhian to show how far I feel we have moved.

Sarah delivered a wonderful poetry lesson in English and I loved her plan designed to challenge her own teaching.

Appraisal Lesson Observations

Teacher S Cunliffe  Subject English Set 9.1
Action points from the last observation Relevant appraisal learning and teaching objectives.  Which MCHS ‘great teaching’ criteria have you planned to model? 
n/a  Aim for +1 targetsChallenge HA students using higher order thinking skills and independent learning activities. Use models that show A* examples. Give them A* criteria.


Building student resilience – self-belief / aspirationsEngaging delivery – relevant / responsive

Risk taking – self discovery

Active learning


Promote independence


Context of lesson 40% of marks from the new GCSE Lit exam comes from poetry analysis. Students analysed unseen poems in Term 1. We are currently revisiting the skills required to access the higher grades – developing analysis in a detailed way and offering reasons why a writer has used certain stylistic features.

Is there an area of their learning/your teaching that you have found to be challenging and have decided to focus on?

Poetry is an area that a lot of the students lack confidence in. They understand poems but struggle at times to probe the sub-text and extend their answers by exploring the effect of stylistic features and find it difficult to offer alternative comments. They must ensure that they justify their opinions with relevant evidence.

Getting your skates on! Which is the biggest anticipated risk/chance of failure you have planned to take in the lesson? How can we help?

It is an unseen poem GCSE poem that deals with mature themes. As it is a subverted love poem it could be difficult for students to comprehend the emotions the character is feeling due to the relationship break down. It is also based on a character from Charles Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’ and contains the word ‘spinster’. Students will doubtfully know about 19th century connotations of this word and that could limit understanding of character motivation.

This was followed with just 1 GM lesson success criteria –not a whiff of must, should, could-just all go for it!

Success Criteria

Students have a +1 target grade – class aiming for A/A*. Share A* only criteria with the class. The model answer will be A* quality.

Independent task – analysing poetic techniques – self-assessed. Exploring the how Havisham is presented in the poem – peer and teacher assessed.

Discussion of the poem using higher order thinking questions. Group feedback.

Increase their confidence in approaching an unseen poem. Create a ‘can do’ atmosphere. Group discussions – model answer before an independent task. No model given to push independent thinking and learning.

Students will be encouraged to write accurately using ambitious vocabulary. They will have access to thesauruses and dictionaries to independently look up unfamiliar vocab. Developing inference skills and probing the sub-text.

Sam and I trotted out onto a very windy field to observe Tom and his year 7 cricketers. Tom was working on a key area of mind-set and feedback- peer critique as well as trying to develop a belief in themselves so they don’t give up. Cricket is a difficult game to teach!

TeacherTom Easom SubjectPE – Cricket Set7.1 all boy group
Action points from the last observation Relevant appraisal learning and teaching objectives Which MCHS ‘great teaching’ criteria have you planned to model?
N/A – Previous observation was GCSE PE theory  Development of assessment framework (BSG) allowing for continued progression.  ·          Students will be inspired and motivated to do their best and seek further improvement within lessons·          Students will be actively engaged and engrossed in their learning and will think for themselves where necessary


Context of lesson Students to develop the key skills within cricket, these skills have been ‘touched upon’ in previous lessons but the class require further development with key areas to further develop their overall skill level in preparation for competitive games.

Throughout the lesson students will be assessing themselves against set GM criteria and skill specific criteria.  Students will be working in small groups and will have the opportunity to observe their peers in an attempt to improve their own ability, or develop their ‘leadership’ skills and assist others through specific feedback.

Is there an area of their learning/your teaching that you have found to be challenging and have decided to focus on?

The majority of students within the class have never played cricket before, with some who play on a regular basis.  The challenge for me as a teacher is ensuring all progress and achieve gold alongside extending those students who already have a good understanding of the game.  Therefore I am aiming to use those students who have prior knowledge and experience to lead others within the class.

Getting your skates on! Which is the biggest anticipated risk/chance of failure you have planned to take in the lesson? How can we help?

The idea that the students themselves are in charge of themselves, giving criteria but allowing the students to complete the tasks themselves, working together to complete challenges.

In addition to this the key skills within cricket, being bowling and batting are very difficult skills to ‘master’ and are made increasingly more difficult with the playing surface at school which is uneven, and often the ball does not ‘bounce true’.  This can affect student progress and belief as they feel they cannot achieve and in some cases give up.


Learning objectives/WALT 1 To recap skills and activities previously taught, improving their skill level through repetition.


2. To get the students thinking for themselves and how they hope to achieve Gold in each activity


2 Growth mind set

To encourage learners to take an active role in their own learning within the lesson whilst supporting each other during tasks.

4 Literacy – To monitor and record my progress identifying areas to improve in my own performance, in some cases identifying specific drills/activities to do to further improve.

Success Criteria 

Growth mind set objectives/targets for all students

·          To have a mature approach to the lesson

·          To think for themselves

·          To offer advice to others and help them if they are struggling/ take advice in an attempt to improve

·          To use and understand specific terminology where appropriate

·          Be committed and determined to succeed and not give up



What are the deep learning questions which form the heart of learning in this lesson? The lesson hopes to get the students to become independent learners


Can the students;

·          have a mature approach to the lesson

·          think for themselves

·          offer advice to others and help them if they are struggling/ take advice in an attempt to improve

·          use and understand specific terminology where appropriate

·          be committed and determined to succeed and not give up


Surface level questions that will help you to get to your deep questions and deep learning [ questions you need to raise, questions you anticipate/hope the students will raise] 

Student questions / thoughts hopefully to be brought up throughout


What skills are required to complete the task set before them – e.g. how am I going to achieve 20 points in this task


Can I help others improve?


How can I get better, score more points etc?




I heard some great peer critique, especially when the more able cricketers were supporting their less able classmates. I walked behind the lads on the way in and listened to their conversation about their learning. “Did you achieve Gold today?” “No I got silver because I …” “What did you get?” “Gold because….” And then the conversation went into asking about which club the lad played for and the interest engendered in the lesson continued into break.

This was quite a new idea to Tom and he was extremely positive about the potential that trying out different GM perspectives in PE brings. His plenary sheets summarised the learning that had taken place.

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Josie wasn’t able to meet our visitors due to being on a course but she sent some art GM to share

Growth Mind-set in Art

In Art, I have started a focus on drawing skills and have been using growth mind-set as a way of developing resilience in the students to help them improve observational drawing skills.

I have been trialling a version of lesson diaries which are stapled into the back of the sketchbook and opened to cover the page/work the students are working on.

The speech bubbles are then filled in at the beginning of the lesson as a prompt to remind students what they struggled with last lesson and that they managed to overcome that challenge. I have found that this has helped students to remind them that they can succeed, if even they struggle at first. It is also useful to help me see which students can recall the intricacies of observational drawing and the skills and control required.

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Greg was also out of school and he sent us his history examples. He has used every aspect of GM to challenge his learners-there are so many of his slides, I’ll just include the links and a couple of snaps!


Growth Mind Set 4     Growth Mind Set 3     Growth Mind Set 2    Growth Mind Set 1

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Anne our progress leader for year 7 came to tell us, with the aid of her assembly presentation [far too big for the blog!] about how she used a mind-set approach on the recent year 7 residential and how she has been developing ‘The Meols Cop Way’ with her year group. When faced with the daunting challenges of climbing walls and abseiling etc. she reminded the students that our way is to take on challenges and barriers-little by little if need be! An extra 6 inches up and over the top is achievable-think positively and go for it! Anne was telling us that the year 7 enjoy shouting ‘yet’ out in assembly when any barriers are mentioned and they are already using both classroom and extra-curricular activities to shape their approach towards learning anything new or difficult.


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Both Ana and Rhian split their afternoon sessions between watching Jen and her year 9 maths class and meeting Leon to discuss ‘life after levels’ A great data and intervention system supports a ‘can do’ attitude amongst both staff and students Rhian found our data systems and the way we use them to support our +1 challenge fascinating and I was able to share our latest whole staff BSG assessment discussions. Colleagues have been working on a GM approach to thinking about what the attributes of a great Meols Cop student of any ability should look like [as well as their subject specific skills and knowledge] and how we can include that in any assessment system. English had just sent their initial thoughts so I shared that!



This is just another example of how we are trying to embed GM into every aspect of school. I did share examples from NQTs of their book monitoring/professional portfolio to show how we expect a high level of self-reflection leading to a continuous desire to become an even better professional. I will add a section on GM to our feedback self-evaluation monitoring sheets for autumn to encourage the use of GM language in teacher feedback and student dialogue.

I’ve talked enough about feedback and CPD previously so will complete this huge sharing of ideas, exactly where I should do-in our classrooms!


Jen has been a tireless champion of tying out different GM approaches, usually including at some point the maths hints idea. I shared with Ana and Rhian one of Jen’s student surveys to show how she is prepared to think and act on their critique!

An interesting tactic I have seen Jen use before, is to ask the students to give an initial reflection on how hard they believe a number of sums to be.



The rest of the lesson, of course, is dedicated to developing strategies to support a ‘can do’ mind set including ‘Beat the Teacher and ‘Speed-Dating’ and the use of ‘hints’


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Venn Diagrams and Probability Growth Mindset


Complete the Venn diagram to show the number of black cards (clubs or spades) and picture cards (jack, queen, king) in a normal pack of 52 cards.

Using the Venn diagram calculate the following:

1)     What is the probability that a card picked at random from a pack will be black or a picture card?

2)    What is the probability that a card picked at random will be a black or a picture card?

3)    What is the probability that a card picked at random will not be a picture card?

4)    What is the probability that a card picked at random will not be a black picture card?


First Attempt
Second Attempt

Venn Diagrams and Probability Growth Mindset



First Attempt
Second Attempt
The support from each other and the teacher hopefully concludes with the students being able and prepared to successfully conquer the problems they previously thought too difficult. 


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We are on our way and after a full school year, I can see concrete examples of where both teacher and student growth mind-set have made a positive impact on learning and development. As with all initiatives there are huge areas to develop and tap into. The potential of mind-set if used properly is always open to discussion and we will continue to tread carefully sharing and evaluating constantly. Today is year 6 induction day and another group of year 7 students will soon join us along with our new teachers and the process of embedding GM will begin again for some and continue to develop for others. The circle of school life!

I may have time just for a final literacy and numeracy blog-we shall see-however, if you have read our blogs and found them useful and agree that more schools should join in and share ideas-great! I wouldn’t be much of a leader if I left an idea like this that can’t be sustained after I have moved on and I do want to step aside and let others share the new ideas that I’m sure will develop next year. I imagine that I may be quite busy with other issues that face community LA schools like ourselves-no promises though!

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