Thinking Time

This is one of the first times when we  have time to think about what education is in the country, the community, our school, and our classroom.

For Education Ministers and policy makers

This is your time now things are really stripped back to understand what the essential aspects of education are. What as a country is our main bread and butter, day to day service so we are clear what our provision must be. What then are the next factors we need to consider. These are things that definitely need funding and funding well. As you reintroduce things after the coronavirus peak this will give you a clearer understanding of what order things are necessary and what is icing on the cake because as a country we can provide it. From their real value policy decisions can be made and planning for the vision for the next five -ten years will be made all the easier.

Headteachers and Senior leaders

As the education policy makers in your school you also have time to think about what the educational setting is all about. You should be clearer at knowing what needs to be a priority and not. Unusual since these tend to happen through normal days with various interruptions and extended over weeks depending on calendars, timetables, illness and general day to day activities which take away good valuable thinking time. As above school 5 year plans and departmental plans can all be re-examined in the wake of this virus. With this different time that we have, you can ensure all planning will take you and the school through the next challenges and changes successfully.

For schools in special measures or serious weaknesses you have an unprecedented time to rethink, take all evidence on board, and come up with a vision, or examine and be ready to re-promote the vision. There is time to put things in place so that on reopening schools everyone from the leader to the final member of teaching and non-teaching staff feels ready to engage and engage well. As the e-learning successes and inevitable failures come to light, it will be even more evidence for you to understand even more so why you believe the vison and the measures will work. It should also support your thinking when making these challenging decisions. At a time when so many parents have realised how important school is to them not necessarily from a learning point of view, but also it allows them to be part of the workforce, have their own space to improve their wellbeing and give their child a chance that maybe they didn’t have, it is easier to encompass all of the schools community into the vision and why the measures put in place will support this.

Teachers

As all above you also have time to think about how you will fulfil the vision for the school, what role you will play and plan what learning will look like in your classroom. With new resources being opened daily there is so much now to see and also challenges on how to interact with learners in their home environment. Some of these things we are doing now will be successful, but also due to the type of learning experience there will also be things that don’t work out as we would have hoped. This is all good learning and as a reflective practitioner it helps to know why we do the things we do and sometimes why we don’t.

If you have any resources that you would like to share or know that are good resources let me know and I can write about it during the coming weeks

However we use this time #staysafe 

 

 

Coronavirus – distance, online and e-learning ideas.

Well this is such a strange time with everyone in lockdown due to the pandemic of coronavirus. I hadn’t realised how long it was since I last posted. As usual life took over mainly health related to family and sadness and has been a big part of that.

I am currently still teaching albeit it remotely so thought as all my lessons are ready for delivery next week I would start to continue my journey with this blog as well. As many of you know I have been blessed with a very varied teaching life in England and Wales, a teacher of many subjects, to HoD of both English and Science, HoY, SLT, DH and consultant for schools in special measures. In this role I was actively in schools to see exactly what needed changing as my feeling is it isn’t helpful for OFSTED or ESTYN to come along and say this needs changing if there isn’t the follow up of experience and knowledge to make this happen. The last role being my favourite as I love the challenge of keeping staff jobs safe, learners getting the best possible experience and ultimately results for them and the school being relabelled Good. Of the three schools I actively supported all moved from special measures to Good and 1 with excellent aspects.

Important things for families and teachers to know starting next week.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zn9447h – From 20 April, you’ll be able to access regular daily lessons in English and Maths, as well as other core subjects, in an expanded version of our website and also on special programmes broadcast on BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button.

Science resources.

Maggie Moate – https://www.maddiemoate.com/   brings science to life so may support families depending on their current topic.

8 Planets, 8 Experiments, 8 Minutes! | Maddie Moate – really interesting youtube video

https://www.sciencekids.co.nz/videos/physics/gravity.html – cool site for secondary use 7th and 8th grade although the others are fun to watch as well.

https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/category/discover/science/ – may look primary but for secondary its worth dipping into. For example in Secondary one topic is habitats here is a good link to look at one specific animal https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/primary-resource/siberian-tiger-primary-resource/

https://www.homeschooling-ideas.com/easy-science-experiments.html – it has an easy to understand explanation of why the experiments work. Most things c an be found in the home ….. or just do the things you are interested in or supports the topic you are doing with your teacher.

For Teachers

https://www.stem.org.uk/secondary-science – lots of different things for Biology, Chemistry and physics. Many can be used with the new AoLe’s in the new curriculum.

https://www.thenational.academy/ – Example below of year 7 lessons but look for all other years as well. Starts on 20 April 2020

Year Group Subject Focus
Year 7 English

● Intro to Greek Myths: The Myth of Prometheus
● Pandora’s Box and the creation of mankind
Maths ● Algebra
Science

● Biology – Ecology + digestion
● Chemistry – Chemical reactions + Atoms
● Physics – Forces + energy
● Ecology – Feeding relationships and adaptations
History Medieval power and rebellion, Medieval life and War of the Roses
● Barons or families: who had most power?
Geography ● Map Skills
● Weather & Climate
Spanish ● Surviving in Spain. A focus on transactions.
● Arriving in Spain
French ● Surviving in France. A focus on transactions.
● Arriving in France
Latin ● Chapter 1: Subjects and Objects; Gladiators & the amphitheatre
RE ● Judaism: beliefs, teachings and practices
● Jewish beliefs, teachings and practices
Art ● Approaches to drawing, painting and sculpture
● Artist research, responding to an artists work

Maggie Moate as above

BBC Bitesize – I think we all know about this but it is worth remembering there are tests for the e-learners to help them see what they have learnt and what they need to review.

https://www.teachitscience.co.uk/ – usually a mix of free and paid items but currently all is available.

hhtps://thescienceteacher.co.uk/ – all subjects with some interesting video links. Some need to be paid for but many free.

#StaySafe

SOLD OUT

Thank you to everyone who has bought the paperback version of A Practical Guide to Supporting EAL and SEN Learners.

Sadly we are sold out ………. However there are lots of digital versions available for £15.00.

Just pay via paypal and it will be sent by return.

 

 

Good Practice – Improving pupils bilingual experience

Estyn highlights the good work at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman and their belief in improving their pupils bilingual experience.

Good Practice - Bilingual Education

Good Practice – Bilingual Education

 

To read more of this report visit  http://www.estyn.gov.uk/english/docViewer/265765.5/improving-welsh-language-provision/?navmap=33,53,159,

If you have any good ideas or see good practice in progress let us know.

 

 

Interested in becoming a Headteacher?

The guardian have kindly pulled the standards for headteachers in 2015 in their blog Standards for headteachers 2015 . If you are interested in further reading the standards can be found on the DfE website – Standards for Headteachers 2015  So if you are an aspiring head this a good place to start as it is next reviewed in 2020.

It includes;

The Four Domains The National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers are set out in four domains.
• Qualities and knowledge
• Pupils and staff
• Systems and process
• The self-improving school system
Within each domain there are six key characteristics expected of the nation’s headteachers.

Domain One

Excellent headteachers: qualities and knowledge 

Headteachers:

1. Hold and articulate clear values and moral purpose, focused on providing a worldclass education for the pupils they serve.

2. Demonstrate optimistic personal behaviour, positive relationships and attitudes towards their pupils and staff, and towards parents, governors and members of the local community. 3. Lead by example – with integrity, creativity, resilience, and clarity – drawing on their own scholarship, expertise and skills, and that of those around them.

4. Sustain wide, current knowledge and understanding of education and school systems locally, nationally and globally, and pursue continuous professional development.

5. Work with political and financial astuteness, within a clear set of principles centred on the school’s vision, ably translating local and national policy into the school’s context.

6. Communicate compellingly the school’s vision and drive the strategic leadership, empowering all pupils and staff to excel.

 

Domain Two

Excellent headteachers: pupils and staff

Headteachers:

1. Demand ambitious standards for all pupils, overcoming disadvantage and advancing equality, instilling a strong sense of accountability in staff for the impact of their work on pupils’ outcomes.

2. Secure excellent teaching through an analytical understanding of how pupils learn and of the core features of successful classroom practice and curriculum design, leading to rich curriculum opportunities and pupils’ well-being.

3. Establish an educational culture of ‘open classrooms’ as a basis for sharing best practice within and between schools, drawing on and conducting relevant research and robust data analysis.

4. Create an ethos within which all staff are motivated and supported to develop their own skills and subject knowledge, and to support each other.

5. Identify emerging talents, coaching current and aspiring leaders in a climate where excellence is the standard, leading to clear succession planning.

6. Hold all staff to account for their professional conduct and practice.
Domain Three

Excellent headteachers: systems and process

Headteachers:

1. Ensure that the school’s systems, organisation and processes are well considered, efficient and fit for purpose, upholding the principles of transparency, integrity and probity.

2. Provide a safe, calm and well-ordered environment for all pupils and staff, focused on safeguarding pupils and developing their exemplary behaviour in school and in the wider society.

3. Establish rigorous, fair and transparent systems and measures for managing the performance of all staff, addressing any under-performance, supporting staff to improve and valuing excellent practice.

4. Welcome strong governance and actively support the governing board to understand its role and deliver its functions effectively – in particular its functions to set school strategy and hold the headteacher to account for pupil, staff and financial performance.
5. Exercise strategic, curriculum-led financial planning to ensure the equitable deployment of budgets and resources, in the best interests of pupils’ achievements and the school’s sustainability.

6. Distribute leadership throughout the organisation, forging teams of colleagues who have distinct roles and responsibilities and hold each other to account for their decision making.
Domain Four

Excellent headteachers: the self-improving school system

Headteachers:

1. Create outward-facing schools which work with other schools and organisations – in a climate of mutual challenge – to champion best practice and secure excellent achievements for all pupils.

2. Develop effective relationships with fellow professionals and colleagues in other public services to improve academic and social outcomes for all pupils.

3. Challenge educational orthodoxies in the best interests of achieving excellence, harnessing the findings of well evidenced research to frame self-regulating and selfimproving schools.

4. Shape the current and future quality of the teaching profession through high quality training and sustained professional development for all staff.

5. Model entrepreneurial and innovative approaches to school improvement, leadership and governance, confident of the vital contribution of internal and external accountability.

6. Inspire and influence others – within and beyond schools – to believe in the fundamental importance of education in young people’s lives and to promote the value of education.

 

 

Inclusion – Support for a professional discussion

I have just read and reblogged a reply to Tom Sherringhams post about inclusion and exclusion in relation to the learning of others by the small group who inevitably thwart our behaviour systems and sanctions. http://headguruteacher.com/2015/01/04/inclusion-and-exclusion-in-a-community-school/

Since doing this I have re. read some of it and began focussing on the SEND part of the article. The partially sighted boy is a great example to use (see below for an extract) for many to understand the entitlement of these students. However, there are many others out there on the autistic spectrum etc. that are just not being recognised.  Some of this is because the class teacher knows that something is wrong/different but cannot put their finger on it, hence the book A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN pupils. It is for these very practitioners so that they can then talk to the SEN department/ Headteacher/consultant with more evidence for a truly professional discussion.

Included in the book are tick boxes for class teachers to work out if they support the child in their classroom including asking, in relation to language development, whether the teacher speaks at a pace the child can follow, reinforces key messages and asks a range of open and closed questions.

Following on from that, is a comprehensive tick list that incorporates general learning difficulties which include all the following; Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, Speech,language and communication needs, Autism, Social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH), and Sensory impairment – Hearing and vision. By ticking the child’s traits it is easier to start working out where the child has a building block missing. In turn this allows the professional to have a more defined conversation rather than a vague ‘This child is not learning but distracting others. I am following our behaviour policy. What can I do?’

To support this there are further ideas throughout the book including looking at the classroom environment, provision mapping and ways to record evidence for those professional discussions. If you are interested in receiving a PDF copy or paperback @15.00 you can get more information by following the link above or email lsbooksinfo@gmail.com.

Recently in school I met a very happy young man who was wheelchair bound, and had a voice recorder to express his very good sense of humour. It was quickly made clear by him that he was very able academically, and I could see that the school had in process some great practices which ensure that he can access the curriculum. He was being taught in main stream classrooms by qualified teachers and the support assistant as part of their remit ensured that tables were heightened to allow wheelchair access etc. (see the emboldening of the sections below).  Tom (Sherringham) is correct – learning what entitlement really means can be scary to start with, and mistakes will be made, but if we always start with the premise of Every child matters then entitlement/equality/diversity etc, etc are all covered as we make sure every child has the tools needed to thrive in school.

Tom writes …. I learned a lot about the principles of SEND inclusion from a boy at KEGS who was partially sighted. His parents had had to fight hard to get him into the school and then championed his needs with passion and determination thereafter. Everything we did wrong was ‘appalling’ in their eyes and that hurt.  We made lots of mistakes and learned a lot but ultimately he did extremely well at GCSE and A level.  Our main learning was to understand the concept of entitlement: we were not doing him a favour when we made special provision for him, we were just giving him what he was entitled to; we learned not to seek gratitude for doing routine tasks; we learned that his teachers needed to teach him directly, not through his Learning Support Assistants; we learned that helping him to access most work wasn’t good enough – it had to be everything, all of the time because anything less was unacceptable.  The key here was getting the resources in place and working with the student and the family, really listening to what they said without being defensive – even though that was hard at times. We got there in the end but he suffered – there’s no doubt about that.

As we start the new year I am sure that we will all strive to do our best, so I may just return to this towards the end of term when we are all tired and sometimes the basics can get lost in politics and all the other things that happen daily.

Inclusion and Exclusion in a Community School.

It was really refreshing to read this truthful insight into inclusion and exclusion. There are many senior teams with the same issues, and are addressing them, but keep tightly lipped. Well Done to Tom for having the confidence to broach this subject out aloud. From my experience and practice I think we must always think about the other 27/28/29 in the class. Their parents have sent them to school and expect the best and would be horrified if they saw exactly what went on in their child’s classroom/playground, by these few known individuals. On top of this many in the classes/groups do want to learn academically and socially and get frustrated at having their efforts thwarted daily. For them, we need to show that we are doing our best for them as well. So whilst considering what to do ‘ with a small handful of students. Most of them are in Year 9 but sadly one is in Year 7 … do all you can… but equally weigh up the impact on the other children they deserve as much of our attention as well.
I think the idea of looking outside the institution for help and support is also very brave and hope that the community and other professionals support you all in this.

teacherhead

inclusion-exclusion Taken from http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2014/01/02/inclusion-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt/

I’ve just read Nancy Gedge’s excellent, powerful blog ‘Battle Weary’ about her son’s experience of school and the challenges of parenting a child with Down’s Syndrome.  It encapsulates a range of issues around inclusion and the extent to which schools truly embrace the concept.   Since arriving at Highbury Grove, inclusion is something I’ve thought about a great deal, in different contexts.  Here are some of the issues we’ve been wrestling with:

Behaviour:

This is a daily challenge.  We are trying to set very high standards as part of our drive to secure ‘impeccable behaviour’ across the school.  I firmly believe that educating all children how to behave well is an inclusive agenda. However, our system has some strong sanctions and a built-in process that removes students from lessons and, if necessary, the mainstream school if their behaviour has an unacceptable effect on others.  That’s non-negotiable, in…

View original post 2,030 more words

2014 in review – Thanks to all my readers.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

OFSTED Updates for implementation in January 2015

Just as teachers are about to embark on the Christmas holidays OFSTED have just published a few documents for implementation in January.

Safeguarding – This is a comprehensive guide for inspectors on what to look for in schools  to ensure safeguarding is a priority in schools. – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inspecting-safeguarding-in-maintained-schools-and-academies-briefing-for-section-5-inspections

It states in section 9 that;

Definition of safeguarding

  1. Ofsted adopts the definition used in the Children Act 2004 and in ‘Working together to safeguard children’. This can be summarised as:
  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
  1. Safeguarding is not just about protecting children from deliberate harm. It relates to aspects of school life including:
  • pupils’ health and safety
  • the use of reasonable force
  • meeting the needs of pupils with medical conditions
  • providing first aid
  • educational visits
  • intimate care
  • internet or e-safety
  • appropriate arrangements to ensure school security, taking into account the local context.

Safeguarding can involve a range of potential issues such as:

  • bullying, including cyberbullying (by text message, on social networking sites, and so on) and prejudice-based bullying
  • racist, disability, and homophobic or transphobic abuse
  • radicalisation and extremist behaviour
  • child sexual exploitation
  •  sexting
  • substance misuse
  • issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence
  • particular issues affecting children including domestic violence, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

and section 30 describes … The responsibilities placed on governing bodies and proprietors include:

  • their contribution to inter-agency working, which includes providing a coordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified
  • ensuring that an effective child protection policy is in place, together with a staff behaviour policy
  • appointing a designated safeguarding lead who should undergo child protection training every two years
  • prioritising the welfare of children and young people and creating a culture where staff are confident to challenge senior leaders over any safeguarding concerns

Also new today are:

Inspecting schools: questionnaire for school staff – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inspection-questionnaire-for-school-staff  which includes;

 

(please tick) Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree
1 I am proud to be a member of staff at this school.
2 Children are safe at this school.
3 Behaviour is good in this school.
4 The behaviour of pupils is consistently well managed.
5 The school deals with any cases of bullying effectively (bullying includes persistent name-calling, cyber, racist and homophobic bullying).
6 Leaders do all they can to improve teaching.
7 The school makes appropriate provision for my professional development.
8 The school successfully meets the differing needs of individual pupils.
9 I know what we are trying to achieve as a school.
10 All staff consistently apply school policies.
11 The school is well led and managed.

Inspecting Schools Framework – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-framework-for-school-inspection

A handbook for Inspectors – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-handbook

 

Coaching for Learning

Those who know me know that I have a love for mentoring and coaching. This is based on all of my experiences where these styles of conversations actually improve learning.  I also follow a blog called whatedsaid and was really pleased to see some of the comments made by others including;

Action

If there’s no action, there is no point in coaching. What happens as a result of the reflective conversations? What do teachers do? How does practice change? How is learning affected?

This is so true, the whole point of these conversations is to move learning on. Also commented on was;

Evidence based

Coaching is grounded in evidence. From the first conversation, it’s about noticing and naming what the coachee is feeling, followed by gathering of agreed data through planned observation, to seeking evidence that change has taken place. How will the teacher know she has been successful? How is student learning impacted?

For those of us trying to support teachers whether experienced or new to the profession all conversations should be productive for the coachee rather than a time waster, that stops them from reflecting and moving forward. And finally;

Listening is a key element

Coaching is about LISTENING, not about TELLING. It’s like inquiry teaching… Listen to where the learner (teacher) is at and ask questions that help them figure out where to go next. The coach needs to get rid of their ‘internal dialogue’ – It’s not about you!

So many senior leaders think that they have to be the one in charge, really bad coaching can leave the coachee feeling very uninspired and demotivated. I know I have been there,and heard others. In the staff room I hear after appraisal ‘ they are giving me one last chance’, or ‘I tried to explain that over the course of the year x, y or z happened which was outside my remit, but they just wouldn’t listen and help me work out what to do if it happens next time’. and finally ‘it just feels like they are using appraisal to stop me getting paid any extra’. Just remember if you were the coach who wasn’t being an effective coach – None of these teachers deserved this as they were good solid teachers, none of the departments or their leaders needed the demotivated staff as it impacts not only on the coachee but all of the people around them. Finally if they get that demotivated they drag everyone down with their negative tones and/or eventually leave which is counter productive. Retention is clearly the best option as you know the person in front of you, anyone else will take more time and money to fit in…just worth thinking about.

If you want to see more on this blog visit http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/coaching-for-learning/#like-19189