Harrow Way Middle Leader Bulletin Edition ‘3’ 9th October 2017

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Welcome to the third edition of the ‘Harrow Way Middle Leader Bulletin‘  a fortnightly digest of news for middle leaders at Harrow Way Community School. (Curriculum Leaders, Year Leaders, Lead Practitioners) I hope this will streamline communication and help you stay up-to-date with the latest key dates, education policy, research and best practice.

I will now divide the blog into 2 sections – The first section will be general messages for all Middle Leaders at Harrow Way. The second section will be focused on our ongoing professional development as Leaders. It strikes me that it would be a huge benefit to us all if we’re more or less on the same page when we’re discussing contemporary ideas about pedagogy, learning, assessment, motivation, neuroscience and so on.

Section 1 – Middle Leaders at Harrow Way – Updates

Exam meetings and Year 11 Outcomes

As I mentioned in my email last week, I’ve had a number of very positive meetings regarding last years results and predictions for the class of 2018. We need to remember our current Year 11 has a very similar profile to the class of 2017. The year group have 89 girls and 83 boys (+ a few students at the AEC).  Priority 4 in our New 3 Year Plan is focused just on Outcomes – it states:

Outstanding and ambitious progress for all our students that compares highly favourably with national and local averages in respect of new performance indicators and new grading system and leaves no group falling behind our highest expectations of attainment. Our Mantra is “No GAPs, No Dips, No Excuses.’’

In Particular: Disadvantaged students and boys continue to make rapid progress so their outcomes are equal to others within school and nationally. This will be a key focus over the coming years.

I also really like these 2 slides from PiXL – Do reflect on these with your line manager over the coming weeks.

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Performance Management 

As I mentioned last Wednesday Caroline and  I will moderating all PM reviews for 2016/17 and Objectives for 2017/18 over the next week.

SLT/Curriculum Leader Learning Walk. 


Caroline will be feeding back briefly during our Monday department planning meetings

Our learning focus was:

  • Is Classroom Voices being implemented consistently in Year 7?
  • Is the mastery curriculum having an impact in the classroom?
  • Are teachers catering for the needs of all students?

Why this focus?

  • To review the impact that Classroom Voices is having on low-level disruption, and therefore, on progress
  • To review the Mastery curriculum and whether this approach is consistently leading to progress for all groups

Curriculum Review 


Thank you to all those departments who have contributed to our curriculum review. If anyone is still left to do this, the link is below. Graham and Nick will be pulling these findings together for when we meet as a senior team after half term to evaluate this years curriculum/timetable and start our planning for September 2018.


Sam Learning 

I was really impressed with the resources that are available on Sam Learning following the presentation last week. If you haven’t logged in or have forgotten your login then the details are below. Please talk to Kevin if you need further support or guidance.

As a teacher you can use SAM Learning to create and set tasks, and monitor your students’ progress through detailed reports. Set up your SAM Learning account now by clicking on the account set-up page here.

Sam Learning Login

Selfie stick – amazing work


I’ve really enjoyed looking at these from a number of departments, if you would like to know next steps on how to do this, please talk to Caroline, Christina Brown or Kelly Campbell. The concept is simple; students take a camera peg from the display and peg it over a page in their exercise book they would like sent home. The teacher can then take a picture of the page later on and send it home either in an email or as a postcard.

This is a great way for students to take ownership and pride in their classwork, as well as allowing teachers to positively communicate home.

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Section 2 – Middle Leaders at Harrow Way – Professional Development

As Headteacher of Harrow Way I am very confident that all Middle Leaders are as up-to-date as possible within their own subject domains. All should know the latest Ofsted position and be up to speed with exam specifications and assessment requirements. Subject knowledge and subject-specific pedagogical knowledge, are going to be key drivers of everything we do over the next few years

However, in order to fuel the collaborative effort of reaching the ambitious goals we have for the school I would like in our fortnightly blogs , as part of your on-going professional development,  to update you on some whole school and national agenda items,  that I believe middle leaders at Harrow Way should be aware of. It strikes me that it would be a huge benefit to us all if we’re more or less on the same page when we’re discussing contemporary ideas about pedagogy, learning, assessment, motivation, neuroscience and so on.

CPD 1 Middle Leaders Think Piece ‘Behaviour’


Last March the DfE published Tom Bennetts behaviour report ‘Creating a Culture’ in which it outlined some of the strategies most commonly found to be effective by schools that had managed to achieve fantastic behaviour despite difficult circumstances. One of the most commonly encountered strategies was the use of well-described routines, defined, embedded and maintained by an alert and consistent staff, and self-sustained by the community of students. One of the best blogs I have read and fits in very well with the Harrow way principles.


CPD 2 Middle Leaders Ofsted Short inspections


Ofsted has published the outcome of its consultation on the conversion of short inspections. As a result of the feedback received, Ofsted has now also published a second set of proposals, including the suggestion that some schools would be given up to two years (typically at least a year) between short and full inspections, in order for schools to secure necessary improvements and to avoid being downgraded. You can see both of Ofsted’s documents


Inspection Data Summary Reports

Ofsted has published the prototypes of its Inspection Data Summary Reports which replace the old dashboard Key Stage 4 IDSR Prototype

CPD 3 Middle Leaders – Leadership From @LeadingLearner



The Lazy Leader’s Approach to Being Organised

You can’t take up a lazy approach to leadership if you are continually running around.  You’ve got your priorities; you’ve got your plans.  Now you’ve got to get the job done.  A couple of times a week a look forward to activities, events, meetings coming up in the next three to four weeks.  Some tasks have quite long lead in times, for example, papers for Directors’ Meeting, whilst others like preparing for a meeting I like to do no more than a day or two in advance.  Some larger tasks need to be chunked down and completed over a few weeks; this requires planning into your busy schedule.

Working backwards allows me to make sure I have things done in good time; hopefully avoiding last minute panics.  A couple of tips; be systematic, I only use Google Calendar and Tasks.  No two calendars or separate lists, everything is in one place.  Tasks that need doing have to be matched to available time.  It’s no good putting ten tasks on a day you have back to back meetings or lessons; they won’t get done.  Life won’t always go according to your plan, so leave some time available on a day to sort the mundane or the emergency; if not needed get ahead with some of your tasks.

The Lazy Leader’s Approach to Getting the Job Done

Focus or forget it; this is one I’m still working and failing on.  It’s far too easy to flick onto twitter or my latest distractor, 2048 (highest score so far 80,492; took some practice).  Emails are another nightmare; continually flicking on and off the various inboxes I have.

There are various techniques suggested in management books and on websites but they all require you to stop faffing about and actually do the job.  You’ll find your own way; I tend to work best when completing something well in advance, so it’s ready to go, or leaving it to just before the deadline.  The latter focuses the mind as I hate missing deadlines but is also fraught with danger.  The unforeseen emergency can easily implode your day.

The key is not to sit at your desk getting nothing done; if it’s not happening, forget it and come back to it later.  Use the time more productively chatting/planning/getting another job done with family, friends or colleagues.

The Lazy Leader’s Approach to Perfection

“Leave perfection to God” was one of the most liberating statements I ever heard on a leadership course.  I had spent far too long in my career trying to perfect this or that document or activity.  Not everything needs to be executed to near perfection; the time costs of perfecting things aren’t always worth the effort.  When looking at an activity, event or set of documentation try to think about the standard required.  You don’t want it to be sloppy but you do need to consider what is good enough.  The time saved can be invested in other important aspects of your work or home life.

I hope my approach is beginning to lead to an efficient focus on the few things that matter most.  It’s that or I’m just getting old and slowing down.


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