Harrow Way Middle Leader Bulletin Edition ‘1’ 17th September 2018

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18 months ago we launched our Harrow Way Middle Leaders Bulletin for Curriculum Leaders, Year Leaders, Lead Practitioners. This is produced every 2 weeks and is a digest of news for middle leaders at Harrow Way.  Using the guidance from the DfE on reducing workload we wanted to ensure we streamline communication and help you stay up-to-date with the latest key dates, Harrow Way news, education policy, research and best practice.  This year 2018/2019, we would like to set up some discussion forums in google drive to discuss topical issues or get feedback on certain areas of school improvement. Watch this space!

Start of Term

Thank you to everyone for your hard work during the first few weeks.  The term seems to have got off in a very positive way.  Please ensure that everyone in your department is meeting and greeting at the door and following our checklist for what to do before, during and at the end of the lesson. I was delighted that our commitment to the highest standards of teaching and learning was recognised by the Teacher Development Trust Network (TDNT). Receiving high praise from the auditors we were awarded their prestigious Silver Award.

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A reminder of our key priorities for 2018-2019

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Exam analysis and Dept Scorecards and Department Improvement Plans – Curriculum Leader and Year Leaders

The examination analysis template was sent out by Paul last week. You will also need to ensure your department scorecards and department improvement plan are complete.

During the INSET day on 28th June, we did allocate time for you to discuss this in your departments. Please remember that this process should be completely collaborative so all members of the department have an input. It should not be written by the Curriculum Leader in isolation.

The deadline will be  Friday 28th September 2018. The meetings will start the following week. Please ask Laura to obtain any examiners and moderators reports, examination scripts or access to exam board online tools which will assist with your exam analysis. Paul and Nicola are happy to help with data or analysis – please do not hesitate to ask.

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The new Subject Progress Index is a groundbreaking measure unique to SISRA that we believe is the only way to produce accurate and relevant subject-specific Value Added figures.

You can also view comparisons with:
• All Headline measures, broken down by Gender, Disadvantaged and SEN
• Subject-level DfE-style Transition Matrices

On Friday SISRA released the SPI Scattergraphs in the KS3/4 Reports! These are accessed via Grades > SPI Scattergraph > Students. Here you can compare your students’ performance in a qualification against our collaborative data for that qualification, in an interactive graph! Click on Vimeo to go to full screen.


Deputy Head’s Update – Nicola and Caroline

Retrieval practice


Just a reminder that every lesson must have an element of retrieval practice, preferably spaced practice. Of course, you are starting new topics and schemes of work in September but all students need to build on prior learning. Please do pop into lessons in your department and ask what retrieval practice they have been doing (I like to ask them what they studied last year and then how they remember … they don’t always know!)

Remember that retrieval practice only really works if students complete it in silence without their books/ folders. If they are allowed to discuss questions beforehand or use their materials you will only get a ‘performance’ and not a true measure of whether something has gone into long-term memory and been retrieved.

Classroom Voices

Excellent use of Classroom Voices in this first week with some great additions to the spinners (i.e. a bigger arrow) Please remind your departments that both Y7 and Y8 should be using it and that it is a good tool to use with all years where appropriate. As I explained on INSET day, periods of silence (of varying lengths) are important for all students when they complete independent work so they should be a regular feature in your department’s classrooms. When you pop into lessons please ask the students how the teacher uses Classroom Voices so that any issues can be addressed.

Seating Plans/ Data

As Nicola explained at the Middle Leaders’ meeting, all teachers need to have seating plans and class data in their teaching packs. This is not a paper-based exercise! It is important that teachers are fully informed about the classes that they are teaching and that they have considered this in their planning. Please make sure that your team has their teaching packs up-to-date. In terms of security, it is acceptable for them to be under laptops during lessons.

Disadvantaged Students


Disadvantaged students progress and attainment remains a focus for the school in 2018-19. I would just like to draw your attention to some key actions from our Pupil Premium Statement which will help focus our efforts. This is not just in year 11 but should include all disadvantaged students.

  1. Good or outstanding levels of progress for Pupil Premium students at least in line with other students
  2. Improved rates of progress and attainment for disadvantaged boys

Key Middle Leader Actions

  1. Data  and “Breaking Barriers” booklet used effectively to support setting, teacher allocation, planning and tracking of disadvantaged students
  2. Appropriate programme of support in place to support disadvantaged students in subjects where required


We all know instinctively that strong attendance gives students the best opportunity to achieve strong progress, but having looked at this years results by attendance group it really drives home the point. Please take every opportunity to support and recognise good or improved attendance with students and their parents and alert the tutor if you are concerned about an individuals attendance.

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Non-GCSE Courses

If you are running a VCert/BTEC/RSL or non “traditional” GCSE course please can you pass me your, assessment schedule, assessment moderation plan and any copies of verified assignments (if applicable) by the end of September to allow me to complete the required Quality Nominee actions? Please see me if you require any assistance completing this action on time.

Section 2 – Middle Leaders at Harrow Way – Professional Development

Leadership Matters – ANNA TRETHEWEY Estimated Reading Time:  4.2 minutes


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“You know those people who say that they have 15 years’ experience but what they really mean is one year over and over?”

Caroline McHugh, The Art of Being Yourself

Have you been a leader for years or are you new to the game? Either way, have you ever found yourself getting frustrated at the lack of impact you are having or do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? If so, read on. What follows is the first of three articles that each contain short exercises that I’ve found helpful over the years to help you reflect on your leadership journey to date, pinning down what motivates you and how to increase your impact.

First of all, find out what motivates you

Pinpointing what gets you out of bed in the morning is crucial as a leader. We all have moments when we feel we’re at the top of our game, as well as much darker moments. During my time as a school leader and now at LKMco, I know that I work well when I’m supporting other people to grow and get regular feedback from the team and those who manage me. I also know that I find things hardest when there is a lack of moral integrity and shared purpose in a team. Why is it important to figure this stuff out? Our LKMco research finds that the majority of teachers stay in teaching because they feel good at it. Figuring out what ‘good’ means to you and what conditions enable you and those you lead to flourish is therefore really important. What follows is an exercise to help you consider just that.


Time: 15 minutes

This is a good one to do in a pair, but if it’s just you, it still works. Take a big piece of paper and map out your education and work life as a timeline; the ups and downs, wobbles and triumphs. Add in details like any significant life events, times when you felt particularly successful, or equally, troubled or unhappy. Draw pictures, name significant people, and consider what threads run through different jobs.

Here’s mine:

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Now stop. Go and make yourself a cup of tea. Take a short break.

When you come back to your timeline, take a good look at what you’ve created. When have you been really motivated and felt like you’ve excelled? What were the conditions that enabled that to happen? And now, consider the times when you haven’t been able to flourish. What barriers were there that prevented you from being effective? Whilst some might be external factors, it’s important to be honest with yourself too – was there anything about how you were behaving at the time that meant you weren’t as motivated as you could have been?

Now, complete these three statements:

  1. 1. I am most motivated when I…
  2. 2. I am at my least motivated when ….
  3. 3. The leadership trait I most admire in others is…

What does it tell you about your current motivation levels and about the kind of conditions you work best in? Are there any small changes you can make to increase your energy levels and focus at work or is a more significant shift required?

Unsurprisingly, high on the list for what motivates many of us is an environment where praise and reward outweigh criticism and personal attacks. In her book, How to Have a Good Day, Caroline Webb talks us through the behavioural neuroscience of how to work effectively, highlighting that our brains work best when they are in ‘discovery’ mode, where we’re open to new opportunities and learning, instead of ‘defensive’ mode where we’re defending ourselves against criticism. In the book, she suggests a number of ways we can make every day count, even when we’re under pressure.

Although I’d recommend reading the whole book, one of the key takeaways is about intention setting, which goes something like this:

  • At the start of each day, write out your intentions for each part of the day, phrased positively. Webb explains that the evidence shows that going into a meeting negatively affects your perceptions of how that meeting goes – in short, you notice and amplify the bad things. One way to alter this is to set a positive intent before you go into that meeting. So, if you know you have a tricky meeting with a parent after school, although you might initially be dreading it, one of your intentions might be, “I want to listen to why this parent is disgruntled and collectively come up with a way we can help them and their child re-engage with the school”. Chances are it will go a whole lot better than if you’d gone in on the defensive.


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