Harrow Way Middle Leader Bulletin’ Edition ‘6’ 28th November

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Welcome to Edition 6 of the ‘Harrow Way Middle Leader Bulletin’ a fortnightly digest of news for middle leaders at Harrow Way Community School. I hope this will streamline communication and help you stay up-to-date with the latest key dates, education policy, research and best practice.

Last week we had a number of activities planned, including mock examinations and all seem to have gone really well. Thank you to all the staff involved. We had our year 7 ‘Harry Potter’ literacy day on Friday looking at our literacy DNA strands of iWRITE, iREAD and iCOMMUNICATE across various Hogwarts and magic themed lessons across the school. We also had a number educational visits to Warner Bros studios, Roman Baths and Cadbury World as well as our iWRITE literacy day on Tuesday.  These were placed in the Calendar in the summer term ensuring we don’t have too much disruption to the timetable in the run up to the end of term

As a follow on from Monday’s meeting I would ask all middle leaders to read through these again and share with your teams the implementation slides below.



Self Evaluation

Like many schools we are currently looking at the data from last year’s Year 11 cohort via RAISE & FFT.  The various documents have reinforced where we need to put our improvement efforts to ensure current students’ future success.


HWCS Summary and Full SEF November 2016

hwcs-sef-summary-2016                   hwcs-sef-nov-2016

RAISE and the FFT analyses are useful in terms of comparing performance against other schools and national norms but the real school improvement focus is often missed; “it matters much more which classroom you go to than which school”.  Much has been written about in-school variation, a major cause of underperformance, but politicians (in my view) still spend far too much time and energy on structural reform.

It’s not about snooping to identify a few underperforming or great teachers.  This is much more about identifying what elements of the curriculum a teacher is good at teaching.  And conversely, what elements a teacher is not so great at teaching.  By forensically identifying issues and securing improvements we will actually increase the number of great teachers quite significantly.  This process is the precursor to moving from imposed accountability to professional responsibility.  It is one small step for each teacher but one giant leap for the teaching profession.

John Hattie’s paper What Works Best in Education: The Politics of Collaborative Expertise provides a blueprint or roadmap for the journey.  It takes you deep inside the classroom and requires teachers and school leaders to re-imagine what and how they are working together.  It’s about cultural shift.  The paper’s section (the roadmap) headings are below and I’ve given you a mini extract from some of them. It’s well worth taking the time to read the whole paper.

Ofqual -Grades 9 & 8 – what you can expect in 2017


The approach to awarding the new top grades of 9 and 8 will be the same for all GCSE subjects. Following the reforms, we expect about 5% of awards to be a grade 9 on average across all GCSE subjects, compared to about 8% at A* today.

This infographic (above)shows a summary of how the process will work. There are some technicalities that you can explore in more depth here, but, in more simple terms, the grade boundaries will be set as follows:

Stage 1: Grade boundaries for grades 7, 4 and 1 will be set statistically so that broadly the same proportions of students will achieve grades 7, 4 and 1 and above in the first year of awarding in each new subject as currently achieve grades A, C and G and above.

Stage 2: The grade 9 formula will then be applied in each subject to the percentage of students who get a grade 7 or better. The formula is: 7% + 0.5 x [the percentage who get a grade 7 or better]. Let’s assume that exactly 20% of students in a subject get a grade 7 or above. Plugging ’20’ into our equation gives 17% [7+0.5×20]. That means 17% of the students who get a grade 7 or better would get a grade 9.

Stage 3: The grade 8 boundary is set half way between the grade 7 and grade 9 boundaries (to the closest whole mark). Grade boundaries for grades 6 & 5 and grades 3 & 2 will also be set arithmetically.

Free webinars on 9 to 1 grading – Please do sign up

From Ofqual -At Ofqual, we want to make sure everyone understands the introduction of a new GCSE grading system with as much clarity as possible.

There will be nine grades instead of eight and students will be getting a mix of numbers and letters during the transition. In particular, schools, parents and pupils will want to know how the old and the new systems compare.

We are holding free webinars to explain the changes and how they will happen. The first two webinars, held yesterday (Wednesday), were fully booked and, owing to popular demand, we will hold another two webinars at 11am and 5pm on Monday 12 December. We will make the recordings available shortly.

To attend one of the webinars on 12 December, please register here and select the most convenient time from the drop-down menu. Please ensure you enter your email address correctly in order to receive the access link, and remember to cancel your place if you cannot attend, so someone else may take it.

All you need to watch the webinar is a computer with an internet connection and a means of listening to the audio (speakers, headphones or you can dial in on the phone). You do not need a microphone as you can communicate via a ‘chat’ function.

A reminder from Graeme – Disadvantaged Students

Following feedback from our Inset day on ‘Minding the Gap’ I would like to invite departments to nominate somebody to join a group that will meet to share good practice and discuss approaches. With all departments developing such good ideas for supporting DAP students I agree with the various comments that suggested more time to share these approaches could only be a good thing.

Many of staff have performance managements objectives, triad plans or a responsibility within the department for monitoring DAP students – or you may just be really passionate about supporting these students towards making the progress that they deserve. Please can departments liaise to nominate somebody that will attend these short meetings and I will organise the first for before the end of term. I may even provide cakes but will not be ‘bake offing’ them myself -it’s never too early for Mince Pies.

It may be sensible for smaller departments to work together. Business/PSHE/H&SC should send one representative, as should ICT/D&T, Humanities and Performing Arts. It would be wonderful to have a representative from the Inclusion department present as well or anyone who fancies coming along.

Please make decisions about who will be attending next week and I will confirm when we shall gather. We can then vote on what we call ourselves… Champions (too ‘Avengers’?) Coordinators (too ‘corporate’?)… it’s all about the semantics.

Monitoring and Evaluation Calendar Autumn Term

Please see below the plan for the last few weeks. Please can you ensure Mark has a copy of all lesson observation by Friday 9th December 2016



The Art of Learning and Teaching – Harrow Way Website


Just a reminder of the wonderful website that Lily has set up.


How well do secondary schools prepare young people for work?


I have attached the final Ofsted report. getting_ready_for_work.  We were involved in this thematic inspection last year and even get a brief mention on page 20 point 56!

Also interesting to note from Inspection November update

Finally, our most recent evaluation of section 5 inspection reports suggests that for some secondary schools, inspectors are giving too little attention to assessing the effectiveness of careers education, information, advice and guidance. Too often, reporting is brief or generic, and it is unclear whether the provision is a strength or weakness of the school. We are soon to publish a survey report on how secondary schools are preparing pupils for the world of work. It is clear from the survey how important high-quality careers advice is for pupils, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Therefore, can I please ask that inspectors thoroughly assess and report on the effectiveness of this important provision in secondary schools?


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