things I notice in schools

20 Jun 2015

John Tomsett: a deeper way of considering school improvement

You know the sort of book that, as you read it, it meets you half way. You recognize many of your own ideas, values, hopes and mistakes. Well 'Love over Fear' was it, for me. John Tomsett nails it. Everything he writes is focused on the core business: great teaching, great provision for every student. ‘Make sure your school leadership team is focused upon the core business of school, improving teaching and learning.’

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26 Mar 2015

Mastery - some considerations

There is a great deal of discussion about what 'mastery' means. The new national curriculum which came into effect from September 2014 is underpinned by the concept of mastery. This has a number of implications for lesson planning. The draft performance descriptors for use in key stage 1 and 2 statutory teacherassessment for 2015/2016 refer to four performance descriptors: mastery, national, working towards and below national standard.

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23 Jan 2015

Sensational SEN

Over a third of special schools received an outstanding grade in the Autumn term 2014. Writing in the Guardian, Laura McInerney was surprised that there hadn't been more publicity about this good news. It's a great article with insight into what it might be like for parents with a child in a special school and her observations from talking to heads of special schools. What is shameful is how little publicity this remarkable achievement received from politicians and officials.

 This is my take on why so many special schools have been rated as outstanding.

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18 Jan 2015

Data discussion: behind every statistic is a child

First of all the limitations of data: The figures can't tell us everything. They are usually out of date. And sometimes they are wrong. Which is why the data always, always needs a conversation around it. The main source of information for how well students are doing are in RaiseonLine. For each school there are six sections: context, absence and exclusions, prior attainment, attainment, progress and closing the gaps. Looking at a school's RoL helps to identify some lines of enquiry - namely, where a school is getting it right and where it might need to focus additional effort and resources.

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