A really busy last 2 weeks. We had a very successful Year 8 Curriculum information evening on Monday. This was followed by 2 days of one to one interviews with senior members of staff. Parents were very positive about the school and they were certainly very complimentary of the options process and presentations by Curriculum Leaders. We have seen GCSEs starting last week, with Year 11s tackling the French & Spanish speaking exams. Students have come out of the exams, relieved, but quietly confident that their revision/support from teachers has hit the mark.
Curriculum and Timetable An Update From Graeme
Nic Reed has made excellent progress on the timetable so far – we were quickly able to answer the most important question of whether we could successfully staff the school from September and have a rough plan in place for the timetable for years 11 to 8. Curriculum leaders should now be having a good think about which members of staff they would ideally like in front of which classes and we will do our best to meet these requests where we can. The staffing for year 10 to 11 will generally roll forward with the same staff where possible but everything is open to negotiation if staffing and timings across the week allow. Nic and I have started having meetings with core leaders and will now begin to meet with other departments to confirm staffing plans for September.
The year 9 options are in and Kim Warren has been instrumental in the process of ‘tweaking’ classes and choices to give us the most effective combinations and groupings. Students have chosen three options on top of the core subjects with the vast majority continuing with either History, Geography or Computer Science as one of those choices. After an experiment with last year’s options, English Literature will no longer be in the options blocks for years other than year 11 and will return to core curriculum English lessons.
The year 8 options are in a sense less complicated as there is more choice for students in double blocks across the week. This does not make the timetabling of staff any easier though as each option block requires so many staff to be deployed on each occasion so this can have a knock on effect on whether ‘first choices’ of teacher are available to teach at any time. This week, members of the senior team have completed the usual series of appointments with parents to make these initial option choices that will be further reduced and focused next year. We will let you know the lists of students that have chosen any given subject, along with any changes to year 9 lists, as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about the options process then please come and see me, otherwise, we will be in touch soon to discuss staffing and next stages
Year 7 and 8 Homework Projects
Year 7 and 8 homework booklets have all been given out and the first projects are underway. Effective practice is to ensure that:
- you talk through the project carefully with your class
- show good examples to your classes from previous years
- set interim deadlines so that students work on it steadily over the period rather than rushing it
- support your students with SEND and low literacy levels by chunking the project down
End of Year Exams Years 7 – 10
End of year exams run for two weeks commencing on 18th June. The purpose is to familiarise students with the process of planning for revision, completing revision and then taking terminal exams where they need to have retained a quantity of knowledge as well as demonstrate an ability to apply skills in an exam setting. Please, can you plan the content of your exams and how you will support students to prepare for these exams? We need the students to have an authentic experience so open book type exams are not suitable. We do want students to have a good understanding of the content they need to know, therefore knowledge checklists/topic lists would be very helpful. Some time set aside in class to complete revision activities and knowledge recall will support students well, and good use of homework tasks all help. Then thinking about how you will feedback on the exams is also essential to build confidence and enhance the experience.
Please ensure that all members of the department are clear of the plans in good time to allow them to prepare. There is also a great CPD opportunity here to build teachers exam knowledge around new specifications through moderated marking and discussion
School Performance Data – Monday 4th June (1st Monday after half term)
As a school we have used SISRA since I started at Harrow Way in 2012 as our school’s data solutions provider. This has proved invaluable in supporting our data journey and we will continue using this going forward. This year we have also been trialling 4 Matrix with SLT and 1/2 departments. We are planning on rolling this out to middle leaders on Monday 4th June during a ‘hands on’ data session. 4Matrix is a powerful, networked application that is designed to look and feel like other Microsoft programs, and is easy-to-use with the help of over two hours of built-in video tutorials.
4Matrix provides power tools for use at key stages 3 & 4 , to analyse, compare, forecast and report on the performance of subjects, the progress made by different groups of pupils, the consistency and impact of teaching, and key school performance indicators.
4Matrix Infinity, The new web version of 4Matrix, is being rolled out to schools over the coming months.
Below are some examples of the whole school screenshots for Year 10
The way that schools plan and deliver their curriculum is a current focus for Ofsted. Sean Harford has written an article and presented at the SSAT conference about the findings from the first round of research.
Inspectors have identified some common strengths in successful approaches to the allocation of pupil premium funding.
Education Endowment Foundation.
An important new summary on metacognition and self-regulated learning from the Education Endowment Foundation.
An excellent summary of retrieval practice and low stakes testing
Live coaching and how it helps new teachers get into good habits quickly
Monitoring and Evaluation calendar Summer term
Section 2 – Middle Leaders at Harrow Way – Professional Development
David Weston, the founder/CEO of the Teacher Development Trust and the chair of the U.K. Department for Education’s Teacher Professional Development Expert Group, outlines how developing great teachers can change the world!