Butterfly #37: Knowledge is the Key to Success

This week Teresa and Emma presented on  how we can use student books not only to maintain high expectations but also through our marking and feedback support students in their development and achievement.

Exercise books serve many needs: evidence of progress over time, of student learning and teacher planning and teaching, and how we maintain this with high expectations is a challenge for next year. How students start the year must be maintained in terms of their efforts, and we can support this with a consistent approach to the standards that we expect.

Alongside this, our marking and assessing is central to getting the very best out of students, and supporting and challenging them to achieve this. So making ourselves aware of their knowledge and how they work,in their books, is the key to our success as a teacher.

how to move forward 010
Pursed lips are optional

Emma presented on a variety of strategies for our marking:

assessment sheet

This is an example of a mark sheet that you can stick into the students books and they mark their won work- with your guidance and support.

You would then sign and amend if need be.

assessment 2

This is an example of a sheet you should use in science.

You can change the Yes/No boxes to a grade

You could then use this along side a GCSE mark scheme.

2 stars and a wish extended

Peer assessment, self assessment or teacher assessment

Identify two positive things the student has done well and what you wish they could do in the future.

It may be assessment, behaviour or presentation driven. Ask if they can act on the wish next time or there and then for immediate action.

This could be recorded in their books,or on a sheet.

knowledge is key1

So why do all this? what are the rewards?

  • Feedback, marking and assessment is statistically proven to be 124 times more effective than reducing class sizes.
  • Feedback, marking and assessment is the quickest and easiest way to gauge a learner’s progress
  • Oral Feedback: stampers/ signatures/ peer’s reiterate in their books your oral feedback
  • Assessment sheets- reduce marking
  • AFL reduces teacher marking & increases Peer awareness
our motto!
our motto!

Teresa brought to our attention her own Science strategies, designed to map progress through assessment, and keep students focused and driven across the year.

how to move forward 011 Teresa talked about how we enable our learners to take responsibility for their marks and keep a track of them. By doing this we are allowing pupils access to vital information about them and their progress- doesn’t really make sense not to, does it? If we want them to improve we need to give them the tools and knowledge to enable them to make these improvements to their work.

Science put an assessment tracker on the front of each pupil book.

An example of a pupil trcaker
An example of a pupil tracker

After each assessment they fill it in and judge how well they have done, compared to their target grade.

to accompany this- science also get their pupils to complete an assessment feedback and reflection sheet- Again this cuts down on their physical marking and puts the onus on the pupils to reflect on how to improve.

mock reflection

Making time for marking during the working week is essential, with steady-steady as opposed to taking-on-the-mountain probably being the best way round this.

how to move forward 012

Next week is our final Butterfly session for the year – 35 sessions in total, 37 posts, so thank you to everyone for their coming together on a Tuesday and having a peak at the Blog.

Butterfly #38: Think Goose

Last session done this week, so that makes a whole school year of Tuesday Butterflies – 36 in total, 20+ staff delivering strategies that work at Westfield.

If we go back to September 2014 the Butterfly sessions started with the idea that we could come together and share practice that made a difference with our type of students. Throughout the year sessions have taken pedagogy outside of Westfield and given it a tweak for what we know works within. All of this has been based on the premise of sharing and collaborating. Which brings us to geese!

The Goose Story

by Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes



fall, when

you see Geese

heading South for

the Winter, flying along

in V formation, you might

consider what science has discovered

as to why they fly that way:

as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an

uplift for the bird immediately following. By

flying in V formation the whole flock adds at least

71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and sense of community

can get where they are going more quickly and easily

because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.


a goose falls

out of formation,

it suddenly feels the drag

and resistance of trying to go it alone

and quickly gets back into formation to take

advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose,

we will stay in formation

with those who are headed the same way we are.


the Head Goose

gets tired, it rotates back

in the wing and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs

with people or with geese flying South.


honk from behind to

encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

What do we say when we honk from behind?


and this is important,

when a goose gets sick, or is

wounded by gunshots and falls out

of formation, two other geese fall out with that

goose and follow it down to lend help and protection.

They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly, or until

it dies. Only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation

to catch up with their group.




(Reprinted from materials provided by Bonnie J. Collins, EdM, LCSW‐R)


Taking things forward for next year, we want to further develop practice from this year:

  • Establish consistent expectations in the classroom, in behaviour and in our planning and delivery
  • Embed the 6 key ingredients, particularly differentiation and questioning
  • Develop the collaboration, teamwork and distributed leadership that the Butterfly sessions have highlighted

The latter point is central to further development in teaching and learning, particularly in how all staff can contribute to our drive to an outstanding Academy.

Alongside this, a menu of CPD opportunities will be offered to all staff.  This will be rolled out in September, but will involve setting personal teaching and learning developmental goals such as…

  • Pedagogy Reading groups
  • Blogging
  • Videoing lessons
  • Staff well-being
  • Butterfly delivery
  • Technology / IPad development
  • Community links

All of these integrate with our Academy priorities and will further develop learning, progress and classroom standards. As well as that,  they also fit with what we looked at in one of the 1st Butterfly sessions.This was the aspiration and ethos for the year, and continues to be so:

The Passionate Teacher.

“Of some of our teachers, we remember the foibles and mannerisms, of others, their kindness and encouragement, or their fierce devotion to standards of work that we probably didn’t share at the time. And of those we remember most, we remember what they cared about and that they cared about us and the person we might become. It is this quality of caring about ideas and values, this fascination with the potential for growth within people, this depth and fervour about doing things well and striving for excellence, that comes closest to what I mean in describing ‘passionate teaching’”. (Robert Fried, from ‘The Passionate Teacher’)

Butterfly #36: Only Connect

The Session this week aimed to draw together all our research and strategies around the 6 Key Ingredients , with the aim of joining them as a whole:

1. Knowing the Students

2. Relationships and Behaviour management

3. Subject Knowledge and the Learning Direction of the lesson 

4. Digging for knowledge with questioning

5. Untangling the Web, with AfL

6. The Walking stick – our scaffolding and differentiation

Putting the pieces together into a composite whole is the ideal, but no lesson is ever the same, it is the mixing and matching and juxtaposition of these 6 ingredients that counts, with the added variable of our students in the mix.

Wednesday on Croxley View

On the subject of connecting, the recent review highlighted just how strong  relationships and the community is at Westfield. Wednesday was sweltering, yet throughout the day students were totally engaged in their learning, loving what was being imparted in their lessons. Despite the heat staff and students just kept on, and this is testimony to the continued community spirit, as well as just how much the students value their lessons, learning and teachers.

Only connect

EM Forster coined this phrase and it encapsulates his work – ‘the moral importance of connection between individuals, across the barriers of race, class and nation.’ Can’t say fairer than that!


And on that note, what else but Grease…