things I notice in schools

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 The £2.5 billion allocated to closing the gap for this group, could be withdrawn if it doesn't make enough difference.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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27 Dec 2013

Nurture 1314

Neat idea. Look back over last year and, perching on the shoulders of the double faced Janus, imagine the next. I love the liminal, shifting sands of beginnings and endings. So, headlines for 2013.

Professionally the twitter thing. Eventually got the hang of this in August. So mega thanks to a dear friend and colleague, Sharon Artley. What a difference an app makes...

Started writing a blog in August. Now this has been so much more interesting and rewarding than I thought it would be. I found a few posts by David Didau, Alex Quigley, Stephen Tierney, Joe Kirby, Harry Webb, Old Andrew and co, and realised there was something important going on. Then read Tom Sherrington's about the different a year of blogging had made. So thought I'd give it a crack. It's opened up a lot of conversations, some of which have affirmed my practice. And others have challenged it. Sometimes I've changed my mind.

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15 Dec 2013

Reimagining Lesson Observations

So Sir Michael Wilshaw has been in the news this week. Whatever one thinks of the man, the underlying thread is a commentary on the extent to which schools are making a difference to the lives of the most disadvantaged. Nothing wrong with that.

But it is an understatment to say that the effect of Ofsted on behaviour and practice in some schools has become toxic. And yet it is very unlikely that Ofsted will go away. £88bn of public money in one sector is always going to have some form of quality assurance around it. So the question is, how to remove some of the toxic effects?

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20 Oct 2013

Data for dummies

Data isn’t king, it’s the queen. The king is the story behind the data. And if we don’t already, we need to learn to love the story. So, why is this important? The bottom line is ‘how much difference have I made to the children I’ve been teaching’. And at a school level, how much difference have we made to learning for all young people, including the vulnerable groups.

Some basics: we need to know the difference between attainment and achievement.

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13 Oct 2013

‘Should I be marking every piece of work?’

I first wrote 'Should I be marking every piece of work?' in 2013. The mammoth mountains of marking are still piling up. Why on earth is this the case? There is one rule for marking and feedback: if it's not making a difference to learning, don't do it.

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08 Sep 2013

red2013: five things I’ve learnt

One, the teaching community is doing things for itself. Good thing too. The top down, often stifling messages from the national strategies, local authorities and quangos mean that the hierarchies of command and control in terms of professional knowledge have largely disappeared. And like the wood after a storm, the great trees have been felled. New growth, vibrant, energetic and full of sap is rising to take its place.Two, that the principles of research from other disciplines have much to tell us. But not everything. Tom Bennett has written about dodgy research, with flimsy evidence bases which have gained currency. Anyone reading Teacher Proof will be armed with the right questions, if they weren’t already. The argument to draw on other professional modus operandi is powerful. But I had a real sense today that the community will use its professional wisdom to distil what it needs. And to dump what it doesn’t.

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