our Virtual 6th form Open evening

Ordinarily our doors would be open and we would be welcoming Year 11 students into our school for our Headteacher’s speech and to speak with our current Sixth Form and their subject teachers.

This year we don’t have the chance to speak directly to you about our Sixth Form opportunities, the range of courses that we offer and to find out why we are so proud of our Sixth Form:

http://www.westfield.herts.sch.uk/sixth-form/sixth-form-open-evening

As an alternative, our subject teachers and Heads of Faculty have kindly compiled presentations about their subject areas:

http://www.westfield.herts.sch.uk/sixth-form/courses

Please have a browse, and get in touch with us, db@westfield.academy

westfield Way Consistency across the Academy

Consistency for our students is essential, never more so than during these difficult times. We have distilled our Covid edition of the Westfield Way to 6 simple steps for the start of the lesson, alongside end-of-the-lesson routines. These steps must be followed by all teachers in each lesson, if we are to support each other and create a “united front” :

Step One: Teacher enters. ‘Good Morning / Afternoon everyone, please stand in silence.’ This
must be used to mark the formal start of the lesson.
Step Two: Students must sanitise and have their equipment ready. This should be modelled by the teacher as they sanitise and spray / wipe down surfaces and log-in. Students should be asked to sit when the teacher is ready and has the full attention of the class.
Step Three: Book monitors bring round books for the lesson. Title and date are to be written up on whiteboard for students to copy into their books
Step Four: Pop Quiz and G4S should be readied.
Step Five / Six: Registration must be completed in silence. Pop Quiz on board and completed, gone through and /10 marks recorded.
Lesson commences, with lesson objectives explained and referenced during the lesson.

End of lesson

  1. Log Off
  2. Wipe down / spray keyboard
  3. Monitors collect books
  4. All colleagues must leave the classroom as we would wish to find it. This is essential.
  5. Masks for corridors.
    This approach demands collegiality with this set of procedures, in ensuring that consistency is provided by all of us, thus supporting the students, their learning and each other.
    To support, Heads of Faculty and Senior staff will be on corridors and monitoring will ensure that this set of steps is consistently embedded.
    Laminates have been displayed in classrooms and corridors. ‘Credit card’ aide memoires will be available on the signing-in desk on Monday for all staff.

This foundation is not just for health and safety, but for a settled environment conducive for the best learning to take place.

Westfield way (Covid edition)

We have been busy and focused all week, with Tuesday induction for our new staff followed by Inset days – all designed to ensure that we are ready for the return of students on Friday.

it was fantastic to see our new year 7s, as well as the returning 6th form. Safety is paramount in these times, so adapting and embedding what we do has been a priority.

The Westfield Way (Covid edition) will continue as the foundation for all that we do as teachers.This is an explicit expectation of all Westfield teachers – that we plan and teach engaging, challenging and supportive lessons for all our students. In doing this, we must use and embed a consistency of approach across all of our lessons.

Form Time

  • Form tutors will bring students to the class by the designated route.
  • Students will stand behind desks, in their seating plan and once silent, be asked to sit down and hand-sanitise. 
  • At the end of activities, they will hand-sanitise again and get out their reading books. 
  • The tutor will wipe their area, and leave the class at this point. Doors will be left open.

Lesson 1 onwards:

  • The new teacher will enter the class. Any students not reading/off task, will be reported to the Form tutor, via email.
  • The teacher should wipe down the teacher area and log on and prepare for the start of the lesson. 
  • When ready, students should be instructed to put books away and stand.
  • The lesson starter (hook) will be the quiz from the previous lessons’ Out of Hours Learning. This will be out of 10, with marks to be entered onto G4S later. 
  • Books should be given out by a chosen student.
  • Teacher introduces the lesson objectives, whilst students put date and title into their books.
  • Lesson should proceed from this point. 
  • Any student needing the toilet should initially be discouraged, then procedures followed where necessary. 
  • Whilst students are working, the teacher can take the opportunity of entering the quiz marks on G4S, if not already done
  • As the final 5 minutes approaches, the teacher should consolidate learning with Q&A on lesson key points, and also set the Out of Hours Learning task, in planners.
  • At this point books should be collected by the student, and the teacher should wipe down surfaces and all students hand-sanitise. 
  • The teacher must log off and take their equipment bags with them.
  • Students should take out reading books for the lesson transition, and the teacher will leave the room, with the door remaining open.

Heads of Year and SLT will then monitor the corridor

New teacher will enter the room, and the process should be repeated.

  • If the next lesson is an option/tiered subject lesson, students remain reading in silence until the new teacher arrives who will direct the students to their option/tiered subject class. 
  • If teaching in a specialist room, the teacher must come to the corridor to collect.
  • On completing the lesson, students should stay in the room until collected by the next teacher. 
  • Students in a specialist room will be led by their teacher to the corridor to move to the appropriate room.

Break and Lunch

  • P2 Year 7 and 8 teachers stay in the classroom with their class until 10.55am.  They are either continuing the lesson, or doing reading/current affairs/literacy activities. Students may eat a snack.
  • Hand-sanitising must follow the change in the lesson
  • Year 7 teachers, take the students to the Astro at 10.55am, Year 8 teachers, take the students to the tennis courts at 10.55am.
  • Teachers go on break and do not need to come back and collect students.
  • P2 Years 9-11 teachers bring the students down to their areas at 10.35am – Year 9 – tennis courts, Year 10 – astro, Year 11 – hall
  • Teachers then go on break
  • Teachers must meet the students at 10.50am in the area they took them to
  • Teachers take the students back to the room they taught them in for P2
  • Teachers must ensure that students hand-sanitise when they come back in the room

Lunch

  • On the whole, P4 teachers will have lunch with their classes in the room they teach them in.
  • Students must hand-sanitise at the start of lunch before they eat.
  • If students are in options/tiered subject lessons, they must go back to their home base classrooms for lunch.
  • Teachers must check their timetables to see which room they have been allocated to have lunch with the students.
  • Students must dispose of all rubbish
  • Students must hand-sanitise after eating.

The importance of Stimulating Learning Environments

If like me, you have been scrolling the pages of Pinterest for inspiration for home interiors, clothing or crafts to entertain the kids, you might have also realised how amazing Pinterest can be as an educational tool.

In this very strange time of working from home, it can be a little daunting to know the true impact your work is having or what indeed you can do to prepare for September.

One area I thought would be a good focus and priority for the Academy next year is to think about the impact our classrooms have on the teaching and learning that happens in there.

Our display boards should be used to help pupil progress, showcase best work, display key words and key literacy foci for our subject.

Below are a few examples to get your ideas flowing, and give you the opportunity to design, create and store resources ready to build the perfect stimulating and purposeful classroom, to help September 2020 start with a bang!

Literacy and Keyword support for your subject

These help guide pupils to improving their literacy and understanding of key words necessary for success in your subject. They can be used for inputs and reminders for weaker students during independent work. They should be clear, bright and visually attractive so as to be memorable in the students’ mind.

Using Displays to showcase students’ work or ‘working walls’

This type of display are good in showcasing what a grade 7-9 looks like and can create an aspirational target for pupils. Pupils can have a look at the board during a lesson if they are unsure, or they can take pictures of steps to get their own work to a higher grade.

Challenge Wall Displays

These are perfect to create fun and engaging extension tasks and allow variety to G&T students’ learning. They do require pre-planning of the tasks but help to reduce monotony or boredom with similar repetitive extension tasks- such as ‘write an additional paragraph’ or ‘complete more maths tasks’. It allows the pupils to have choice and keeps them interested.

Student Revision and progress boards

This is a great way to show pupil progress but in a purposeful and aspirational manner. It allows you to communicate student’s current modules, learning map, and allows them to see what the ‘data’ looks like in comparison to their FFT Target. One thing to be mindful of is to ensure all pupils feel secure and nurtured in their progress and know how to improve-( see revision wall) otherwise it could be quite demoralising to have their name on a ‘leader board’ but not aware of how to progress or make improvements.

So there you have it- simple ways to make your classroom work for you. Happy planning and let’s aim to make our classrooms a place where students feel stimulated, supported and inspired to learn.

Virtual Teaching- A new and exciting CHallenge!

I don’t think we ever thought this day would arrive, and the world feels very much upside down and inside out. But- virtual and remote teaching is very possible and this post is going to give you a few top tips to keep pupils focused and engaged in education- from afar.

First off- what to avoid.

It is one thing to start downloading every app possible, to whack every resource you have ever made online for your pupils, but first off slow it right down and think very clearly- what do they actually need and secondly what can they access?

Remember your resources are Teacher resources– made with the premise that you will be in the classroom facilitating their learning and unpicking their misconceptions. A power point sent via Google classroom,Go4S or Edmodo is not going to suddenly make them understand the purpose of the Learning Objective.

Let us take a quick trip back to an earlier blog post where we discussed the importance of Clarity and the COIK fallacy

How can Teachers avoid the COIK fallacy?

Poor teaching, like bad directions, can leave a student lost.  Teachers who lead their students into new territories need to avoid the COIK fallacy by striving for instructional clarity.

Hines, Cruickshank and Kennedy found a link between teacher clarity and student achievement and satisfaction.  They identified twelve behaviours that contribute to instructional clarity.  Instructional clarity involves:

  1. using relevant examples during explanation
  2. reviewing material (Daily Review)
  3. asking questions to find out if students understood
  4. answering student questions appropriately
  5. repeating things when students did not understand
  6. teaching in a step-by-step manner
  7. providing students with sufficient examples of how to do the work
  8. providing time for practice
  9. teaching the lesson at a pace appropriate to students
  10. explaining things and then stopping so that students could think about it
  11. informing students of lesson objectives or what they were expected to be able to do on completion of instruction
  12. presenting the lesson in a logical manner

[Hines, Cruickshank and Kennedy, “Teacher Clarity and Its Relationship to Student Achievement and Satisfaction,” American Educational Research Journal 22 (1985): 87-99.]

Virtual learning is our new territory and therefore we need to think very carefully about how we approach this new form of teaching.

How to approach Planning Virtual Resources

Worksheets– ensure they follow the natural flow a lesson would; including the basic principles of Learning Objective, success criteria and a clear pattern of learning.

Input-Activity-Review- How to keep to this on a worksheet or an online platform?

How would your input usually go? You would introduce the topic/ scenario and you would talk it through. You can do this by writing a summary paragraph and then follow this with some questions you would like the students to consider. If your class are weak you can always follow with the answers so they are making progress and not feeling overwhelmed.

For my year 11 Class we looked at an exam question on Duality. I imagined I was standing in front of them and I used the highlighter tool to go through key points that I wanted to focus their attention on.

The activity- needs to be clear in your instruction- a step by step or bullet point format is usually the easiest. If you want them to write a response- what should this look like? Is there a writing frame/ quantity you want them to use/complete? Make this all explicitly clear. review of learning

For this part I thought about the steps I would encourage them to take in the lesson- so I used a step 1,2,3 guide to help them approach the question.

How do I review their learning needs on a 1-1 basis?

This is where our clever platforms such a Edmodo and Google Classroom come in to play.

Using a platform like Edmodo allows pupils to ask questions, for you to reply within an acceptable time frame and that parents can see what they are learning and support them from home. You can add extra differentiated resources, video links and even a voice recorded response!

In Edmodo you can add wellness checks, short quizzes and more robust assignments. Google classroom has many similar features and enables full class discussions and online marking and submission. Go4S allows similar opportunities to upload resources and set homework for parents and pupils to see.

And lastly, during this very strange and uncertain time for pupils- make learning fun, inspiring and help them remain motivated in your subject.

Stay safe everyone and enjoy this new challenge of teaching remotely- It will only make you a better more reflective and inspiring practitioner!

The Impact and Importance of Positive Student-Teacher Relationships

It is the final day of a very very long January and the mornings are becoming that little bit brighter. There is hope on the horizon of spring.

Spring brings us growth, new life and an opportunity for us to reflect and bring a lease of life to our teaching and the relationships we have with the students we teach.

This week I keep thinking about the impact we have as Teachers. Not just in the vast repertoire of subject knowledge we possess, but in the kindness of our words, the modelling of our actions and the support in the choices we make in our classroom.

The relationship between student and teacher plays a large role in the trajectory of a child’s academic success and social development. Establishing a positive relationship with their teacher helps a student feel more comfortable and safe in their classroom environments. We want our students to do well and we want them to get good grades- to improve their opportunities for the future, but if a child doesn’t feel nurtured and supported in our classroom- then really our planning, marking and hours of work go to waste. A child will not learn from someone they are intimidated by or someone they feel doesn’t respect or support them.

So how can we ensure our classrooms are encouraging, supportive and engaging? How can we ensure that pupils want to learn and thrive? That they believe, strive and want to achieve?

Creating a successful classroom environment

How does a teacher’s approach affect that relationship?

In a 2018 study, Arizona State University researcher Victoria Theisen-Homer found different teacher-training programs prioritized different kinds of relationships with students:

• An instrumental focus involved a limited, one-way relationship in which teachers cull bits of information about students specifically to motivate them to behave well and focus on teacher-directed tasks. The relationships “were structured as a controlled means to a particular end: student compliance,” she found. “Students learned that their value was tied to the degree to which they worked hard and behaved in line with what mostly white authority figures demanded.”

• A reciprocal focus required teachers to gather complex information and develop a holistic understanding of their students, inviting the students to grapple with content and problems together. “These students not only learned to think for themselves, but also had adults who affirmed and responded to their thoughts and experiences. Such interactions prepared them to engage with authority figures, and to someday hold positions of authority themselves,” Theisen-Homer said.

The study also found in an analysis of two of these programs that teachers trained in the instrumental focus were more likely to go on to teach in low-income, high-minority schools, while those trained in reciprocal relationships ended up in schools with more high-income and white students. It was not clear why teachers ended up sorting in this way, but it raised concerns about differences in the kinds of relationships high- and low-income students might experience with teachers.

“Sometimes teachers don’t understand the importance that their relationship with each student has on that student’s identity and sense of belonging,” said Vicki Nishioka, a senior researcher with Education Northwest who studies teacher-student relationships. “What gets in the way of that is a more authoritarian kind of discipline and interaction approach with students, which really doesn’t work.”

For example, a 2016 study randomly assigned teachers to increase their positive interactions with students. Students of teachers who boosted their ratio to five positive comments and interactions for every negative one had significantly less disruptive behavior and more time on task academically than the students of a control group of teachers.

How can teachers improve their relationships with students?

In a word: Empathy. Across several recent studies, researchers have found that teachers who cultivate empathy for and with their students are able to manage students’ behavior and academic engagement better.

Nishioka finds that trying to suppress biases or stereotypes about students can sometimes make them worse, but practicing perspective-taking—actively imagining how a student might perceive or be affected by a situation—can reduce bias and deepen teacher-student relationships. She recommended teachers:

• Talk to students to understand differences in their perceptions and expectations in class.

• Research cultural differences between teachers and students to head off cultural misunderstandings, particularly around norms, styles, and language.

• Teach and model perspective-taking for students in class.

https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2019/03/13/why-teacher-student-relationships-matter.html

Vacancies at Westfield

We have just achieved our 3rd successive ‘Good’ Inspection from Ofsted, and 4th consecutive positive year with our Year 11 students, and are now seeking staff to work with us on our drive towards Outstanding!

Ofsted praised the quality of care and relationships at Westfield, and we fundamentally believe in the importance of people at our Academy. If you share our passion, please see our adverts for:

Head of RE

-Head of DT

-Head of Business and Computer Science Faculty

-Teacher of Science

These are on our Website at http://www.westfield.herts.sch.uk/

See our results in Hertfordshire as a non-selective school at https://www.gov.uk/school-performancetables

Our newest Ofsted report is here!

Click to access westfield-academy-ofsted-report-10th-11th-dec-2019.pdf

If you are interested in visiting us, please get in touch at Recruitment@westfield.academy and we will be delighted to show you around.

Routine is good

The basics, the 9-to-5, the nuts and bolts.

Call it what you will, the routines that we embed provide the consistency and foundations for  all learning to take place. It is these routines that we have been working on the last few weeks – to allow for the sparks, the creativity and the abolutely-bleeding-fantastic to take place.

First and foremost is the Meet and Greet, the smile and welcome at the door that starts the whole process of 60 minutes learning. This is the positive that can disarm, welcome and commence the teacher-student relationship.

outside JAO

 

Once they’re in, let’s get ready for learning with a formal stand and invitation to be seated, with books and equipment out. A starter to review prior learning should also be in evidence.

Once these expectations are secured, the lesson can kick on.

LOs

Clear learning objectives, written down might be old-school, but serve as crucial reminders and a focus for the lesson. The exercise book remains a key resource for revision – for our half-termly assessments, as well as final exams.

The LOs herald the new learning, flagged up and connected to the daily review. Formative assessment will check on student understanding of this new knowledge.

Silence and listening is of course expected.

Clear Blooms’d objectives will build the learning into a connected series, allowing for a learning cycle that will flow through the lesson.

next stage

These nuts and bolts hold the lesson together, providing the structure for great learning.

Westfield Academy's 10 Principles in Action