Harrow Way Middle Leader Bulletin Edition ‘10’ 19th February 2018

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I hope you have all had a good half term break. Welcome to the 10th 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.

The blog is divided 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

Spring Term Data Collection

Please note that the Spring Term Data Collection exercise on ARR Marksheets will start on Monday 19th February after half term. Further details will follow from Nicola and Kim. Time should be set aside for department planning meetings to moderate data entry. Class teachers and the Curriculum leader need to moderate and enter data, identify students causing concern and action required.


Year 11

I am sure you have all been busy marking mock examination papers. Year 11 will continue to be our No 1 Priority over the coming months. It is vital now as a department you identify the right students to work with to enable laser sharp intervention over the next few months, using L20 (lowest 20 students) The suggestion is that you identify between 10-20% of your examination cohort who have the potential to move up to the next grade?

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

Below is the slide we used in the Middle Leader briefing in November. Please, can I draw particular attention to the “blue diamond boys” below? These are our underachieving boys who had Level 4s and 5s at KS2 and currently (Autumn Predictions) have very low Progress 8 (estimated scores)

Will McHardy Callum Dewhurst Josh Bosley Rhys Evans Cameron Walker Liam Guiver
Sam Kew Brandon Smith Callum Edmonds Michael Majid

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 10.32.07

PIXL Independence and new PIXL Knowledge

Please don’t forget these excellent resources from PIXL that can be used to support Year 11. Nicola has downloaded them all and they are in the staff drive under PIXL

PiXL Knowledge, which is made up of three parts:

  • KnowIT, which applies to GCSE grades 1- 3, where students need to recall basic knowledge
  • GraspIT, grades 4 – 6, where students have to start applying and expanding on the knowledge
  • and ThinkIT, grades7 – 9, where understanding is deepened and higher order thinking skills used.

PIXL Knowledge

  • The idea is that you identify who the mats would benefit i.e. key marginals or the whole class.
  • Identify the most powerful way the mats can be used in your department i.e. as a diagnostic tool, interleaving or as independent work, etc.

Department Planning Meetings – A reminder from Caroline

The next 4 weeks after half term we have 4 Planning sessions on Mondays so please think carefully about how you use that time. Below is the feedback from the survey that took place before half term. Please do look through and discuss with your team.


The aim was always to achieve better consistency and to improve teaching and learning. It is perfectly acceptable to do marking/ moderation in these sessions or any other strategic work that the department has to do.

Feedback from Departmental Planning Sessions Survey


  • Most people prefer the new structure
  • Most report getting an agenda ahead of the meeting but it needs to be all!
  • 75% of teachers say that they come away from sessions with the same amount or more work to do
  • 60% think that sessions have resulted in more consistency
  • Only 50% feel that sessions have positive impact on teaching and learning in the department


  • Some comments that Tuesday briefings are less effective because of Monday meetings (we are looking to address)
  • Some comments from Year Leaders that they would like YL meeting
  • Some main scale teachers feel that it adds to workload
  • Some comments that meetings are or should be used for more than planning


Broadly, curriculum leaders and their teams need to drive the agendas of meetings to what is required at the time.

  1.  All CLs to publish short agendas ahead of the meeting AND to plan ahead by looking at the calendar (e.g. we have Mock exams next week, we should mark and moderate)
  2. Agendas to be specific – perhaps look at one scheme of work over three meetings OR just look at one small area e.g. producing resources for a unit on genetics.
  3. CLs to decide what to focus on- some weeks it can be planning and other weeks it can be marking. Please try to get a balance between routine work that needs to be done and strategic planning for the future!
  4. There needs to be a large element of ‘doing’ during meetings so that staff come away having ticked something off a list (e.g. planned lessons or marked work)

The New IDSR (Inspection Data Summary Report)

The senior team spent a meeting before half term looking at the new The IDSR – Ofsted’s replacement for the inspection dashboard – is the first port of call for inspectors as part of their preparation. In a short inspection, it will inform likely key lines of enquiry, although these should always be discussed and agreed with school leaders before any activity takes place.

It is a significant departure from the old dashboard, with a look and feels similar to the new performance tables and the RAISE replacement, ASP. The IDSR puts the school’s context right at the front of the document instead of being hidden away at the end, as it was in the old dashboard. That emphasises Ofsted’s commitment to considering data in the light of the school’s context and the importance of taking the wider picture into account before reaching any preliminary judgements.

The front page no longer provides strengths and weaknesses, judgements that were purely data-driven with no human mediation. Instead, we have ’areas to investigate’, which has an altogether different emphasis and connotation.

Harrow Way areas to develop in the IDSR

No surprises here for us! – Middle Attainers (SEND Support and Disadvantaged) and Disadvantaged overall. I would ask you continue to monitor carefully these groups.

Overall Progress 8

  • Progress 8 was below the national for other pupils for at least two years for the following groups: overall disadvantaged, disadvantaged middle prior attainers.
  • Progress 8 for SEN support middle prior attainers was below the national for all pupils over the last two years.

One intention behind the new format was to move away from data that could be over-analysed. For example, drilling down to disadvantaged students by their prior attainment grouping often produced numbers too small to make any justifiable judgements and could lead inspectors away from key issues elsewhere. The IDSR urges caution by identifying in grey any group of 10 or fewer and, more importantly, does not break down performance by more than one characteristic; so we have attainment by prior attainment and for disadvantaged students but not a combination of both. The aim is to reduce content to include only ’meaningful and significant data’.

Teaching Staff Performance Management Mid-Year Reviews 

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 09.29.06

Performance Management Mid Year meetings should be starting after half term – further details will follow from Caroline.  Please make sure that you book your meeting this week (approx 15 minutes).

Teaching Staff Performance Management Mid-Year Reviews.This meeting should be booked in advance with your Reviewer

Questions to consider in discussion

  • Are the Objectives set in September still relevant? New colleagues will need new objectives setting and to be approved by me.
  • Do they need amending? (if so then I need to be e-mailed eg person x objective 2 has changed to …… because – this should also apply to success criteria)
  • How are the Actions progressing?
  • Is any support needed?
  • Are the observations on schedule? – Remember that they should have been planned within a half term time frame

Section 2 – Middle Leaders at Harrow Way – Professional Development

CPD 1 – The Puzzle of Motivation Daniel Pink (10-minute video)

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace.





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