CPD session: Supporting the learning and development of our students

This week, our whole staff CPD session was led by our amazing SEN Team, who were delivering on how to best support our pupils and use LSAs effectively. The topics they presented on were the following:

  • Reflect on our teaching
  • Question our practice
  • Focus our thoughts
  • Use our voices


I was inspired to work in Education because…

As a starting point, and to make the staff really reflect on their role as a teacher, Paula had everyone think back to the main reason they wanted to work in Education. 

inspiration 1

The responses varied and were highly emotive:

“to help children love learning”

“to give children a better Education than I received as a child”

“people told me I was born to care and create opportunities for children”

“to teach the subject I love and inspire children to love my subject”

Supporting students’ learning and development

  • Who does this?
  • How do we do this?

What Support Type should you be using? (U), (T) & (S)

  • Universal support : that’s what teachers are asked to do every day. Meet the needs of all
  • learners –Quality First Teaching
  • Targeted support : this is support that is specific to meet a particular pupil’s or group of pupils, needs that can typically be advised by your SENCo
  • Specialist support: support that is delivered through a specialist intervention, typically from external agencies

What do we really mean by Quality First Teaching?= Universal

  • Highly focused lessons designed with sharp objectives.
  • High demands of pupil involvement and engagement.
  • High levels of interaction for all pupils.
  • Appropriate use of teacher questioning.
  • Emphasis on learning through dialogue – pupils talking for themselves and in groups.
  • Expectation that pupils take responsibility for their own learning and work independently.
  • Regular use of “good praise” to motivate and engage.


Targeted support

  • Effective use of the additional adult

How to successfully work with your LSA 


Clear specific role in the lesson & Behaviour management strategy:

Our LSAs have kindly given us their expertise on what works for them and most importantly the students. 

  1. “Introduce us to the class at the beginning of term
  2. Detailed lesson plans – maximising the opportunity for progress
  3. Let me know how you would like me to handle behaviour”

The best lessons are collaborative:


“Teacher to touch base with our students-Before, during and after.”

Check in on the student’s progress that you have asked us to work with.

It is IMPERATIVE that LSAs and Teachers collaborate BEFORE a lesson. Plan ahead for the week or every couple of lessons. For support to work and be EFFECTIVE teachers must discuss the learning direction and requirements before the lesson has begun. ( not a quick run down whilst books are being given out!)

Believe it or not, we are not experts – give us a clue!

EAL students:

We don’t usually speak multiple languages, but, if you are really lucky we might be able to speak one or two. However, we require support and direction on how you would like us to proceed with an EAL learner within your subject. it is important to realise that EAL is NOT an SEN need. It requires a separate layer of support. Some schools will be lucky to have EAL support embedded in their support plans, others will rely on collaboration and team work from the teacher and the LSA. 

eal students

Staff on task: in groups, staff were asked to sort which strategies they believed best fit into the following categories:

  • Universal
  • Targeted
  • Specialist


Staff pledge- I will…

  • Choose a strategy today that will help a learner/ group of learners tomorrow.
  • Use the SEND book to reflect regularly on how to improve the learning of my pupils.
  • Continue to question my practice as an educationalist.

i pledge

Provision plan strategies listed in the SEND Booklet universal targeted and specialist labels

Paula and her team have created a wonderful document, filled with an abundance of strategies to improve your teaching and collaboration with your LSAs. Please read and stick to your pledge!



Improving ABCs and 123s within schools

This week Chris and Fiachra led our Butterfly session on how to improve literacy and numeracy across the school. This is a message and ethos which needs to be intrinsic across a school in order for it to make any real impact. Thankfully, Chris and Fiachra gave us some great tips on how we can kick-start our improvements at Westfield Academy.

What does Literacy matter for Secondary School teachers?

According to a 2010 study by Dr Sammy Rashid and Professor Greg Brooks for the University of Sheffield, although literacy is a key focus in primary schools, the emphasis can often be lost at secondary level. Researchers found that almost a fifth of 16- to 19-year-olds have a reading age at or below 11 years and 17% of teenagers are leaving school functionally illiterate.

In January 2012, the National Literacy Trust updated its State of the nation review of literacy.  It found that one in every six adults struggles with literacy, with a literacy level below that expected of an 11-year-old. Levels of achievement are often associated with pupils’ levels of deprivation meaning FSM kids are affected the most.

Picture1words read

What can we do?

Make book recommendations. When I do this, students often respond, “Yeah, but you’re an English teacher. You like reading.” Hearing a book recommendation from a teacher of another subject can help make reluctant readers reconsider reading.

In addition, this can be an additional means of forging positive relationships with students. For instance, Sophia would often listen to student’s problems when they were sent out of class and then she would follow up with a book recommendation: “Do you know what I know you’d love reading? This book deals with a  lot of what you’re talking about and I loved that book. Check it out.” This gives more challenging students a chance to engage with characters that are going through similar circumstances and to get out of their own head, consider the effects of their own choices.

Kelly has added an extra personal touch and loaned students in my form her own copies of 1984 and Animal Farm. How do I know this? Because they were so excited that a teacher did this for them that they came and told me all about it!

Demanding high standards:

Jodie tells students that they will not get a positive for the lesson unless they copy down the title and date correctly. This is a fantastic and positive way of establishing minimum expectations – these are clearly displayed on the board. Students have no excuse to get the title and date wrong.

During DIRT (Directed Improvement Reflection Time) I make students correct incorrect spellings between 7-10 times. Why? It makes students focus on correct spellings because they do not want to have to spend time going through their books and correcting loads of spellings.

This is especially useful for those students who rush their work and write lots and lots of meaningless content down – they will think about their work in advance because they get sick of writing out the same spellings.

You could even have spelling books for certain students who require them – remember, correcting spellings is not meant to be punitive (except maybe for ‘rushing learners’), it is also meant to be a supportive and rewarded strategy.

However, do NOT correct more than 3 spelling error mistakes per page. We are not trying to damage the self-esteem of students – nobody likes to see a sea of red pen pointing out all their mistakes. I recommend focusing on key words.

key word sheet

Maximum chair time… 

maximum chair time

How to use…

Revision booklets at the end of topic.

Demand correct spelling, punctuation and grammar – how do you do this? Simple. Tell students they will not be given a vivo if they have key words spelled wrong.

Tell students they can get a vivo if…

  • Most to all of their grammar is correct
  • Most to all of their spelling is correct
  • Most to all of their punctuation is correct.



Numeracy is the knowledge, skills and language necessary to communicate about and use mathematics in everyday situations.

hate maths.jpg

I hate Maths

Where is this used in life?

When are we ever going to use this again?

so HOW do we actually kill this infectious mindset?


bad at maths.png

Fiachra told us how imperative it is that we, as a teaching body, support the challenges of Maths and help improve their mindset towards this subject. It is a common habit for people to share their woes about maths and say phrases like ‘uck but you just need to pass the exam’ or ‘ I know it’s hard and not enjoyable, but you have to pass it’. Instead Fiachra would like to see us include more numeracy within our lessons and draw upon stronger links to the subject- to promote a love for numeracy and problem-solving. 

positivity 3

Some tips to Integrate Numeracy into every classroom

  • Give test results as fractions and get students to convert the Fractions Percentages
  • When Maths topics come up in lessons. Don’t ignore them and swiftly move on. Try to ask a question to the class to develop their understanding
  • Always speak positively of Maths (even if you’re not a fan)

maths displays

Promotion of Whole School Numeracy

1 Display numeracy posters throughout the school

2 Puzzle of the week

3 Signs to office/classrooms should include distance

4 Students’ numeracy work displayed in classrooms/corridors

5 When returning students’ work give the mark as a fraction and ask them to convert it to a percentage

6 As part of our Numeracy Policy the language of numbers is taught in every class

Maths ans Cross-Curricular Subjects

maths cross curricular

Ways to support your child’s numeracy development

Research has shown that children’s motivation and achievement improve when their parents or carers are involved in their education. There are many everyday things you can do to encourage numeracy learning. These include: What is numeracy?

• encouraging your child to use mathematical language — how much, how big, how small, how many

• discussing the use of numbers, patterns and shapes in your day-to-day life — numbers found on library books, spatial patterns or shapes in playgrounds, in the home and architecture

• talking about occasions when you are using mathematics in daily jobs and reallife situations — cooking, map reading, building and playing sport

• exploring situations using money such as shopping, budgets and credit cards

• estimating, measuring and comparing lengths and heights, how heavy or light things are and how much containers hold

• talking about different ways to solve a problem

• using everyday tools like tape measures or kitchen scales and discussing the units of measure

• asking ‘does that make sense?’, ‘is the answer reasonable?’ or ‘what other ways could we do this?’

• observing and using timetables, calendars and clocks for different purposes like study periods, holiday planning and catching public transport

• helping your child to work out how much things cost and what change they will receive

• playing number games using magazines, books, newspapers and number plates

• organising, categorising and counting collections of things like toys, books, clothing and shoes.