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CPD, Leadership, Redesigning Classrooms

Leadership for Great Teaching @NRocks2015 #NRocks

We are going to collaboratively plan what we want to teach, teach it as well as we possibly can and then find out what worked and what didn’t.  It’s our new master plan.  This is the first part of my presentation for @NRocks2015. 

At this time of year leaders in schools across the land are beginning to turn their thoughts towards plans for the new academic year.  After a number of turbulent years involving multi-million pound capital building programmes and the formation of a multi-academy trust our eyes are firmly and solely fixed on teaching and learning, it’s the leadership necessity.  Our plan for data and feedback informed teaching has been adapted from a number of sources.  If you’ve been reading the blog over the past twelve months you may recognise a lot of what is below but this is my attempt to pull it into a coherent whole.


I sometimes think that we as a profession and me as a leader have tended to over complicate things so we’re going back to our core business, teaching and learning and streamlining our approach.

Collaborative Planning

Time will be built into “directed hours” for collaborative planning so it is seen as both a responsibility and an entitlement.  Too many teachers are left to plan on their own leaving them isolated and impoverished.  This can be more of a problem in the one person department or one form entry primary school but is too prevelant across the profession.  Planning schemes of learning is a complex tasks which benefits from the additionality and diversity that a team brings.  Our collaborative planning will be informed by experience, research and eventually data, from the outcomes of student assessment and lesson study projects, so that we redefine and capture curriculum excellence and share it as widely as possible.  Getting this right will mean that the bright spots, the best practice, will become available to all staff and all children benefit from it.

Collaborative Planning

To ensure we all have a common approach to planning I’m spending six days over a three week period providing professional instruction on how we should approach planning.  This shared understanding will be a starting point that will develop and deepen over time.  The basis of planning learning not lessons, starting with the key concept or main idea to be taught, determining challenging milestone and end point success critieria and pre-planned common, cumulative assessments which exemplify the expected level of challenge will be brought by everyone to the planning process.  After this the learning intentions and flow can be determined though in reality the whole process tends to be more iterative in nature.

Teachers can idenify, as part of the process, common misconceptions and how to address them, non-negotiable activities and assessment and strategies which may have been more successful previously or with certain groups of students can be discussed and explored.  Can we build greater quality into our teaching even before we have stepped into the classroom?

If you would like more information about this aspect of the presentation, the following might be useful:

The Year of #GreatTeaching

Classroom Excellence Requires Destination Clarity

#DIYTEACHINGCPD which is a page on the blog with a number of free downloadable resources

What Would an Assessment System Look Like if Teachers Rather than Leaders Designed It?

Understanding Assessment

One of the problems with our current assessment systems, in schools, is that they have been designed by leaders to feed the accountability monster rather than teachers to inform the learning of children.  We’ve all ended up with a perverse view of assessment and its purpose.  A lot of the problem is linked to the actual grain size (smallest package of assessment which is useful) considered of greatest value.  For a leader it is a whole level or grade, presented in a multitude of tables and graphs, but for a teacher and student it is at a much finer, more detailed level.  We’ve had whole school assessment policies which staff have manfully and womanfully tried to adhere to but our growing wisdom is that they are flawed as different subjects have different grain sizes.  A whole school assessment policy has to be the composite, within guiding principles determined at a school level, of the individual subjects’ assessment regimes.

Assessment Goals

In our new simplistic World, assessment is used to find out what a child doesn’t know and teach them it.  This gap in learning maybe addressed through; feedback to which a student responds or re-teaching an element of the scheme of learning or through in or beyond class intervention.

If you would like more information about this aspect of the presentation, the following might be useful:

Assessment: Teaching’s Hidden Gem

Life After Levels: It’s an Assessment Revolution?

Assessment Without Levels is Built on Trusting Teachers

The Leadership Necessity: Getting the Teaching Right

Leader’s have a massive impact on what it’s like to teach in a school including whether a teacher want’s to carry on teaching in the school or at all.  It’s important we use our leadership wisely.  Staff workload is an on-going issue.  This coming year we will rip out a number of activities, from the school calendar, and create massively more time for teachers to collbaratively plan together.  It’s important the time is used well.  The outcomes of students’ assessments will help identify what aspects need revising in schemes of learning.  The analysis may also help identify the teachers who get better student outcomes, in certain aspects of a course.  They can then be the leaders for that element in meetings.

Formative QoT Website

Reflecting as an individual teacher on what you do well and what gains in teaching you want to make need to become more systematic.  Lesson observations are becoming more formative, as a leader it is within you gift to make this happen in your school.  We will be seeking to gather data across the Trust on what one or two areas of class room practice a teacher wants to improve in.  We’ll also collect areas teachers are highly effective in, so they can share these with or mentor others.  Our final leadership tweak is the micro lesson observation, just get in alongside new staff for twenty minutes a week and provide specific feedback to them, leverage lesson observation style.  With new staff it will almost invariably be behaviour management for the first term or two.  Accelerating improvement in this area is good for everyone.  It’s a multi year implementation phase we are moving into.  There are no quick fixes.


If you’d like a PDF copy of the presentation please click on the link below:

Leadership for Great Teaching NRocks2015

Three questions for you to ponder:

How will you seek to build quality into every child’s learning experience?

How will you use assessment to support teaching & learning?

How will you develop teachers (and keep on developing them) to be the best they can be?

Thanks to everyone who supported #NRocks2015 but particularly Debra & Emma for their fantastic leadership of the whole event.

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2 thoughts on “Leadership for Great Teaching @NRocks2015 #NRocks

  1. Reblogged this on NRocks and commented:
    Thank you for the link to your presentation and for coming and supporting the event.

    Posted by northernrocks2014 | June 15, 2015, 12:19 pm


  1. Pingback: ORRsome blog posts June 2015 | high heels and high notes - July 1, 2015

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