things I notice in schools

10 Dec 2014

Why box ticking British Values is a bad idea

There are three reasons why box ticking British values is a bad idea.

1 Capturing evidence for promoting British values doesn't work like this

2 It will annoy teachers, because of number 1

3 Ofsted teams don't look at tick boxes

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22 Oct 2014

Literacy policies: more than SPAG?

There's a great missed opportunity with literacy policies. They mostly focus on SPAG. And with good reason because spelling, punctuation and grammar are essential for clarity and consistency. The problem is that literacy has a bigger canvas than capital letters and full stops. Too few schools are looking to scope what high quality literacy looks like across different subjects in the curriculum. If being literate means being proficient and competent in reading, writing and oral expression across a range of disciplines how is this reflected in literacy policies? And how are these expectations shared with learners?

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10 Oct 2014

More on marking

It appears marking has replaced progress in lessons as the latest pressure point for teachers. I first wrote about marking overload a year ago and it's as urgent and live now as it was then. Ofsted has produced clarification on expectations here.  It makes it clear that Ofsted does not expect to see a particular frequency or quantity of work in pupils’ books or folders. Nor does it expect to see unnecessary or extensive written dialogue between teachers and pupils in exercise books and folders. Ofsted recognises the importance of different forms of feedback and inspectors will look at how these are used to promote learning.

There are three references to marking in the Ofsted Inspection Handbook. The first reference places marking in the context of what constitutes teaching; the second in terms of evaluating learning over time and the third is in the criteria for outstanding quality of teaching.

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16 May 2014

Our Ofsted Meeting

There’s the formal meeting, briefing papers, agenda and minutes. And there’s the informal meeting where none of the above applies.

Heather Leatt and I, as additional inspectors, met Mike Cladingbowl, National Director of schools at Ofsted. For an informal meeting. This is how it went:

We had asked on Twitter whether there were things which colleagues would like us to raise with Mike. So we started with those:

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05 May 2014

Micro research in a macro world

NTENRED in York, great gig hosted by John Tomsett and driven by David Weston, Tom Bennett and Helene Galdin-O'Shea. There has been some commentary on twitter about the extent to which it was actually about research in education. Good question and this is my take on it.

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14 Mar 2014

The problem with pupil premium

I attended The Key's conference in Birmingham recently. The brilliant Professor Steve Higgins, Durham University, Andrew Morrish, Victoria Park Academy and Dr John Dunford talked about the difference high quality provision makes to outcomes for pupil premiumm groups. So what's the problem? Well, it's the Treasury apparently. They haven't sent out a press release about this, but it was suggested at the conference that if funding doesn't have impact, it's likely to be under close scrutiny. The £2.5 billion allocated to closing the gap for this group, could be withdrawn if it doesn't make enough difference. In the 2014 to 2015 financial year, pupil premium funding will be £1,300 for each eligible primary-aged pupil and £935 for each eligible secondary-aged pupil, funding to support looked-after children will increase to £1,900 And the fact is, in too many schools the gaps are not closing.

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