‘Harrow Way Middle Leader Bulletin’ Edition ‘4’ 31st October

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Welcome to our fourth edition of the ‘Harrow Way Middle Leader Bulletin‘ a fortnightly digest of news for middle leaders at Harrow Way Community School.  As we indicated at the start of the year we hope this will streamline communication and help you stay up-to-date with the latest key dates, education policy, research and best practice. We would like to set up some discussion forums to discuss topical issues or get feedback.

Start of term – Consistency

At the start of term, I would like a real focus on all students being ready to learn within 2 minutes of the lesson starting. Can you remind all your team? As we mentioned in September we need everyone to consistently follow the checklist guide (above) of what we are going to do before, during and at the end of the lesson. These are small ideas that can make a small difference but… joined with everything else, can have a huge impact.

Curriculum leaders can you make sure your department are ready to hit the ground running after half term? This is a whole school approach, every adult singing from the same song sheet, and driven by the determination of all adults to create a school where excellent behaviour is normalised.

Department Meetings 31st October

The Data entry window opens and time should be set aside in department meetings to moderate data entry. Class teachers and the Curriculum leader need to moderate and enter data, identify students causing concern and action required. Nicola issued the document below to all teaching staff at the end of the last half term.

Our current Year 11 is the strongest cohort we have every had at Harrow Way. The year group has 91 girls and 80 boys. There is little difference on entry between girls and boys (using KS2 average points scores) but we can already see with predicted Progress 8 and Attainment 8 scores in SISRA, that the girls are significantly out performing the boys. In the outcomes section in the SIP for 2016/2017 our mantra is:

‪‘’No GAPs, No Dips, No Excuses.’’

Could I ask all departments to reflect on the current performance of Year 11 boys in your subject area?

Below are two questions from the 1-page summary SIP that I issued on the INSET day in September.

  • Am I striving for at least 3 levels of progress for every student that I teach, to ensure a positive Progress 8 score? (4 levels if they entered with a KS2 Level 5)
  • I need to be particularly mindful of students who are Boys, disadvantaged and SEND. How am I going to use the Harrow Way Breaking Barriers to Learning document to support me?

What are we going to do about the lazy boys? An interesting blog below and well worth a read. Teachers were asked, what they do to keep these boys focused and working hard.  Here is a summary of their responses – these are real teachers, talking about real ‘lazy boys’ that they are currently teaching and having success with:


Year Leaders

As you will be aware from the published calendar you are scheduled to do a Tutor Learning Walk during the first week back after half term – this is not a METAL but a brief visit to each group. Mark has produced the standard form for you to complete in the usual place:

Staff on Mars; Department Monitoring and Evaluation; Documentation: Tutor Learning Walk October 2016

Please complete this and save it into your own year file.


A reminder from Mark’s message last half term.

In KS4 this should be weekly in all subjects and I do feel that in our new assessment world homework has an important part to play as additional learning time. In KS3 it should be weekly for the Core and French, fortnightly for RE and other subjects have projects that are calendared. Please remember that homework does not always need to be written and marked by you – it can be reading in preparation or follow up to the current topic, research, preparation of a new topic, maybe to teach a partner, rote learning, preparing revision materials e.g. postcards, revisiting a previously taught topic to prepare for a short test etc.

Given that the timetable is published we are leaving ourselves open to parental criticism if we do not set homework in this way. I have asked Curriculum Leaders to monitor homework this week including a check on  SMHW as anything you set should be on there as well.

Lesson observations

A few years ago we moved away from lesson observations focusing on one lesson and over to lesson observations with a focus on the progress that particular group was making over time. This was a much more useful tool to inform feedback. The next logical step, and one that is advocated by much research is to move to lesson observations over time but without gradings. This will allow a much more focused discussion in terms of both strengths identified and areas where progress might be improved by the use of certain strategies.

In order to support those of you who observe lessons Mark and Caroline have endeavoured to ‘summarise’ this in the prompts after the Pro-forma (which has not changed at all, other than the removal of the grade box). It is not meant to be exhaustive or a checklist but I hope will serve to prompt you depending on the lesson you are watching. It may also serve to promote discussion during feedback.

The new form can be found in Staff on Mars O:\Lesson observations and it is the second one down – without gradings. Copies also below.



Monitoring and Evaluation

Just a reminder that your M&E activities for first three weeks of this half term12

Professional Development
Drowning in marking? Have a look at these tips for reducing your marking workload

Classroom displays

Classroom displays are a love/hate teacher thing. Some teachers take great pride in creating beautiful displays and enjoy creating their masterpieces. Other teachers can find it time consuming, especially when there is always a long list of other jobs that need doing, which are far more important! Do have look at the link. Classroom Display

10 Pitfalls

An excellent blog by Tom Sherrington. He suggests teachers should seek to avoid these pitfalls!

Teaching Pitfalls

Mike Sheridan, Regional Director for London, explains why Ofsted doesn’t look for a particular style of marking, assessment or way of grading lessons.

Mary Myatt

Mary Myatt author of High Challenge, Low Threat  produces a very helpful monthly school improvement update. You can sign up from the link Link to Mary Myatt Below is also her most recent TED talk.


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