We are coming to the end of a very busy but successful Autumn term and I would like to thank you all for your ongoing dedication and commitment to Harrow Way. In my view, high-quality middle leadership is about more than managing a subject or an aspect of school life. Middle leaders are enthusiasts for their subject, great managers and administrators but to be truly effective you must embrace the more challenging characteristics of leadership, which are to do with vision, strategy and a drive towards further improvement.
After a very long-term, we are all tired and ready for a break. I would ask that you ensure your departments keep to the ‘Harrow Way checklist’ on what we do before during and at the end of lessons so we have consistency across the school over the last 8 days. Please also make sure teachers and TAs are on time for lessons and a prompt start is made for P3 and P5. SLT will be highly visible during the last 8 days and offer support where necessary. As we have discussed at the start of the year the best way to ensure settled behaviour is to stick to your routines and practice them so students fully understand how to conduct themselves in the classroom. The checklist might seem prescriptive, but routines and rituals provide a sense of security. Be persistent and consistent and drill students in your classroom routines until they are second nature to them and you. Make starts, ends and transitions orderly purposeful and safe.
In the last two weeks, we have appointed Neil Bates as Lead Practitioner for History starting in September 2018. Neil is an outstanding appointment (Fort Hill Since 1995 Head of History) (2009-2014 – Hampshire Advanced Skills History Teacher based at Fort Hill) Since the closure of Fort Hill and amalgamation with Cranbourne was made Lead Practitioner for Humanities. Neil is hugely experienced – Taught an incredible lesson to Year 11s (Caroline observed with me) fantastic interview, student voice and presentation. He also loved the school….
I will be presenting my Autumn Term Report to Governors and Scorecard/SIP Review (attached) at the FGB meeting on Monday. I am pleased to report that the documents reflect, not just the hard work by all the staff/leaders of the school but also measurably the fine level achievements this year to date. I will also be updating our SEF (Self Evaluation Form) ready for discussion in January. Please do have a read through the attachments it should feel like our school!
From Nicola and Caroline
Year Leaders – Nicola has recently noticed that some students have not signed their home school agreement, anti-bullying charter and Acceptable ICT use agreement, also that parents and tutors have not consistently signed the planner. Could ask tutors to push this again and then check it has been done, by Christmas?
Nicola has also sent out the Subject Attainment for Year 7 from Autumn Data Capture for your information. The aim is for all students to be at secure or better on their individual pathway at all times. There are still some teething problems with tracking the mastery curriculum and Nicola will be discussing this further in January.
Below is Caroline’s Autumn term Monitoring and Evaluation Report. It is so important that we get a realistic picture of what is happening in lessons and how effective learning is if we are to improve. This is something that I cannot (and should not!) do on my own so a huge thank you to all of you. We are all tired after a long-term but I am also still smiling because I work with such a great staff who all share the same goal- to improve the lives of our students. Caroline
A major facelift for Raiseonline and the inspection dashboard
RAISEonline will be replaced by Analyse School Performance (ASP). In fact, this went ‘live’ on Friday – you know I love my data! I will take Middle Leaders through this in the Spring term. What is less known is that its sister resource, the Ofsted inspection dashboard, is also undergoing a major facelift.
It represents a significant shift in the way that data is used to inform inspection activity. It is also a recognition that, as all good users know, it is dangerous to set too much store on what data seems to be saying about small groups of pupils. This can happen very often with primary school data, and it’s particularly applicable when not just groups of pupils but subgroups within them are identified and analysed. For example, if you look not only at pupil premium (disadvantaged) pupils but drill down to look at low prior attaining, pupil premium girls, the numbers involved make it unlikely that any hypotheses drawn from the data will be worth acting upon.
As Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director, says in the latest school inspection update, ‘Over-focusing on the performance of groups when these intersections mean the data are less than robust, can result in schools taking actions with individual groups when effort would be better spent on approaches that have an impact for all pupils.’
Inspection Dashboard Summary Report (IDSR)
As a result, the new inspection dashboard – renamed the Inspection Dashboard Summary Report (IDSR) – contains fewer pupil groups than its predecessor, and places more emphasis on trends over time. This doesn’t mean that the focus on disadvantaged and other vulnerable pupils has been downgraded. It does mean that attention will no longer be paid to making judgements on small numbers of pupils within those main groups.
The ISDR will have a completely different look and feel to the old dashboard. Gone are the strengths and weaknesses on the front page; they are to be replaced by ‘areas to investigate’. It will contain information about a school’s context, pupil characteristics, year groups and prior attainment, and an indication of whether it is meeting the floor standards or the coasting school’s definition.
Also new is the use of percentile ranks to compare a school’s progress scores with those of all other schools in the country in each of the past three years. These will be shown in quintiles together with an indication of a score’s statistical significance for each year.
Scatterplots, showing the performance of individual pupils compared with their starting points, will be included for key performance measures for the first time. Inspectors have been urged to exercise caution where a school’s progress measures are affected by outliers. And they have been reminded of some of the underlying reasons behind the low scores of individual pupils. Any ‘areas to investigate’ should already have taken account of these. However, a new team of regional data analysts will be on call to help inspectors interpret the impact of individual pupils on overall scores and to advise them on the reliability of any other data provided by a school.
Absence, persistent absence and exclusions will continue to feature, although exclusions for SEN pupils have been removed; however, this could still figure in the areas to investigate if necessary.
Section 2 – Middle Leaders at Harrow Way – Professional Development
A more supportive and collaborative approach to short inspections of good schools was announced by Ofsted today. This is good news for schools.
Curriculum and Teacher Workload
HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman discusses the curriculum and teacher workload at Ark’s Teach 2017 conference in Birmingham.
The Standards Benchmark that really counts – A Leader’s own expectations