Well, what a fantastic night,our very first TeachMeet turned out to be a huge success!
Our theme was ‘accessible learning’ and we had a range of fantastic speakers from Westfield Academy and schools from the surrounding area. We believed this was our opportunity to create a learning community; where passionate teachers could share their ideas and strategies to improve the learning in pupils and the progress they make during their time at school.
I came across a great quote on twitter, when I was preparing for the TeachMeet- and I felt it completely encompassed our ethos and challenge for the night:
The best classrooms are those where nobody feels anonymous, unsupported or undervalued- and that includes the teachers & teaching assistants
Our first speaker was Chris Black– our More Able lead at Westfield Academy. He opened up our TeachMeet looking at strategies to stretch and challenge, not only our high achievers, but all pupils within the classroom.
Part 1 of 2: Strategies for having high expectations in order to create More Able learners
Using ICT to help reduce your workload: Use an automatically-updating Date box.
Contents Pages in Exercise Books.
- Get students to leave the first few pages of their exercise books blank.
- Get them to go through their book and put a number on every page.
- Get students to label the first blank page as ‘Contents’.
- At the end of the lesson get students to return to the ‘Contents’ page and add in the lesson title and the relevant page numbers for the lesson.
Planning for and eliminating common mistakes in advance.
Before setting students off on a piece of extended writing or exam practice, it is useful to remind them to avoid certain pitfalls we as teachers are too familiar with.
Part 2 of 2: Strategies for challenging More Able Learners
Ready-to-go extension lollypop sticks/extension capsules.
Match up extension tasks with levels or grades according to the national curriculum levels/GCSE mark scheme. Extension tasks can be colour-coded so that students can choose to do an extension that is one level (or one sub-level) above their most recent level. This way students can take some ownership over their own progress and achievement.
E.g. for MFL…
Level 3: Write a sentence using three different connectives
Level 6: Find an idiom, explain it in English, and use it in context in the Target Language
If you’re like me, then often it’s the students who need more support that get our attention during tasks and who are heard when they ask questions. A technique for countering this, and giving more voice to curious students who need less support during tasks is as follows:
- Create a space on your classroom wall called the ‘Wonder Wall’. You might like to make this look like a wall by chalking bricks onto black paper.
- When students think of questions and there is not enough time to explore these, ask them to write them down on a Post-It® note and to stick this on the Wonder Wall.
- When students have finished the tasks you have set in a lesson, ask them to fetch a question from the ‘Wonder Wall’ and to explore it either with a partner or in writing. Alternatively, once a week you might set aside time to respond to a question you picked off the wall and planned a response to in advance of the lesson. Use this as an opportunity to model a ‘Growth Mindset’ – explain to students you had to do some research to answer the question properly – show that teachers don’t know everything and have to try to understand or be able to explain things too.
Westfield’s More Able Learners: Our Objectives and Upcoming Challenges.
It has been highlighted in our most recent OFSTED report that Westfield would benefit from greater awareness of the Primary School Curriculum. Benefits include a greater awareness of the content that students are taught in Primary School in order to prevent repetition of teaching of the same content and an increased awareness of what a More Able learner looks at in Primary (which can in turn help us paint our picture of Key Stage 3 More Able Learners more vividly) and curriculum design which can build upon the knowledge we can reasonably expect students to already have obtained at Primary.
Westfield’s More Able Learners: Our Objectives and Upcoming Challenges.
We as secondary teachers have a duty to our students to know what they know by the time they arrive with us. Working closely with Primary Schools can only boost a sense of community and cohesion and could prove mutually beneficial (e.g. sharing of resources, shared interventions, shared CPD, shared good practice, all the way through to Sixth Form enrichment experiences helping out where needed in the local Primaries – an experience that would benefit our Sixth Form whilst also benefiting the Primary Schools with additional adults to use).
Our second Speaker was our SENCO Paula Creber, who talked to the audience about the importance of reading interventions in primary and secondary schools.
Paula began by showing us, the Watford community- how many schools make up our diverse and detailed information about pupils who will, eventually come to join us at Westfield Academy. This in itself is a wonderful example of a learning community already established.
In Westfield Academy, we don’t simply rely on information from Key stage 1 and 2 at primary school, Paula and her fantastic team build upon this knowledge and collate their own data, to ensure we have as much information about pupils in our school and their learning journey. The following tests are used by the SEN team:
This enables Paula and her team to create trackers like the following:
When looking at which pupils require reading support and intervention- it is this information and testing which has become an integral part of pupils’ learning and progress at Westfield Academy.
READING BOX SCHEME
HERE questions are obvious in the text i.e. literal
HIDDEN questions can be drawn from one or more parts of the text
HEAD questions require the reader to bring their own knowledge or understanding to the information given in the text.
- A ‘personalised learning’ approach- pupils are placed
- A multisensory phonics approach.
- Focuses on improving reading comprehension
- Can be used at home- this is ideal for more able learners with Dyslexic type difficulties pupils
- Easily accessed reports inform planning and provide the evidence of pupil’s progress
Pupils at work on Lexia within their curriculum provision:
Latest news …developing our communication skills
The Narrative Programme– Year 7 Transition class
The programme focuses on enhancing the understanding and expression of vocabulary…
Year 7 Pupil Information booklet so that the staff teaching – know the needs
Paula has designed this booklet to enable all teachers to make learning accessible for all learners, despite the challenges they might face within the classroom. If you would like to know any more information on testing, reading intervention or how to compile data for teacher contact PCR@westfield.herts.sch.uk
Our next speaker was the amazingly talented Chris Sweetman from PennyDrop solutions. He talked to us about the importance of making learning accessible through ICT.
With ICT Strategy
Rule Number One!
It’s not OK to say…I don’t do technology!!
Rule Number Two!
There is no ‘right’ device-
Rule Number Three!
Have a Strategy-
- 3D goggles
Every Teacher Should Know!
All teachers should use the following as they are completely free!
Chris discussed the challenges we face as educators- and the advantages of using ICT alongside of Teaching and Learning. He talked a lot about the importance of using ICT but more importantly having a strategy. Without a clear focus and strategy- ICT will not aid learning but will inevitably become a ‘fad’ and hinder it.
If you would like more help or information on how to use ICT within your school contact Chris Sweetman on email@example.com
Our next speaker was Nicola Furey- Nuture Leader at Laurance Haines Primary School, one of our feeder schools, in Watford. She spoke to us about a wonderful initiative they have grown and developed in their school called the ‘Nuture Group’ and how this enables all pupils, no matter what circumstances they come from, or what learning needs they may have- and allows them to be successful in school.
Nicola talked through an array of benefits which they have noticed over the years at Laurance Haines. They have found that the above programmes and incentives have helped establish pupils with SEBD and those from disadvantaged backgrounds to strive and achieve and have enabled them to have the same opportunities as all pupils. They have enabled accessible learning for all of their pupils. If you have any questions or would like to talk to Nicola about their nurture group please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our next speaker was our wonderful Literacy Lead- Jodie Vincent who talked to us about the importance of transition teaching at Westfield Academy.
The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another- children go through so many changes when they grow up- new friends, new schools, teachers. It is such an overwhelming time and can be quite a scary period in their lives.
The transition from primary to secondary school is important in the lives of children and their families, yet research has shown that transitions can be stressful for children, that continuity of curriculum between primary and secondary school may suffer during transition and that some vulnerable children need intervention prior to transition (McGee et. al., 2004). In addition, the progress pupils make at primary school may not always be maintained after the move to secondary level. The Government’s Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners has acknowledged that “too many children still find the transition from primary to secondary school difficult –some fall back in their learning as a result” (DfES, 2004, p.61). As part of its commitment to ensuring that every young person achieves their full potential, Westfield Academy aims to provide all pupils with a smooth transition from primary to secondary school.
This is Our aim, at Westfield- to ensure that no pupil suffers ‘wasted years’ at school. Jodie and her fantastic LSA Bijou have worked so hard this year to ensure that pupils, who have entered into school with SAT scores well below the national average, can have an education which makes learning accessible to them, and enables them to make sufficient progress over time and be confident learners throughout their time in school.
Sort the statements into two piles; one that show what children should know by the end of Year 6 and one that shows what children should learn in secondary school.
The conclusion? Secondary teachers have a tendency to underestimate what primary school children are capable of. It is important that we have high expectations and continue to push their abilities and not ‘dumb them down’ when they enter secondary education.
High Expectations with Support
- Give children the tools they need but then expect them to work to their best e.g word banks, sentence starters, group work, shared writing, visual displays
- Homework clubs, 1:1 support and resources provided.
- Lots of contact time with Form Tutor.
- Consolidate and extend learning from primary schools.
- Differentiated questioning including PPPB and Phone a Friend.
- Set challenges high and then scale up or down.
- Instant, effective feedback.
- Tailored timetable to suit the needs of the children.
Describe the transition phase at Westfield Academy in one word.
If you have any questions for Jodie , about transition teaching or literacy please contact her on email@example.com
Jen Dennis Head of Teaching and Learning at John Madejski Academy in Reading talked to us about crossing the Chasm from kS4 into ks5. To view her prezi presentation please follow the link:
Dan Finill then spoke about the role of Inclusion at Westfield,
Our Ethos of behavioural support
Ø Focussed around students accessing a mainstream
curriculum within a mainstream environment
Ø Support is targeted to students within
Ø Withdrawals from mainstream lessons are
kept to a maximum of 6 hours per week
Different types of Support at Westfield Academy
Ø Offers in class support to target students
ØSupport is targeted because of behavioural
difficulties but our primary aim is to engage
the student in learning
Ø Within lessons Mr Meale will support the teacher with
behaviour management but also motivating, stretching and
challenging the students learning.
ØOutside of lessons Mr Meale provides advice and guidance as well as extra curricular activities
Ø12 – 16 week programme designed to prevent permanent exclusion
ØInvolves intensive 1-1 support, alternative
curriculum, mentoring, feedback to parents
ØOutcomes: Stem poor behaviour and re-engage in education through positive learning experiences.
HOW DO WE CHALLENGE, IMPROVE AND MOFIFY BEHAVIOUR?
ØImproving and building relationships
ØPositive feedback to both students and parents
ØShowing understanding and allowing opportunity for discussion
ØShowing respect, being honest but in a non judgemental way
ØDealing with incidents of behaviour in a staged approach – allowing “get outs”
ØWhen things go wrong – opportunity for a resolution
Mentoring At Westfield Acadmey.
ØEvaluating strengths and areas of difficult
ØChallenging their thought process and decision making
ØAdvice, guidance & motivation
ØBook monitoring/learning walks
Ø1-1 sessions focussing on appropriate and inappropriate
behaviours and the importance of positive relation ships
ØExtra curricular sessions
HOW DO WE TRACK AND MONITOR PROGRESS?
ØInclusion Report Card
ØMonitoring Key Indicators over a period of 18 weeks (FTE’s, Isolations,
referrals and attendance)
Ø Go4Schools Data
SUCCESS AND IMPACT
Ø71% pass rate (10 out of 14 students)
ØOver 4000 lesson of which 87% were judged either good or outstanding
SUCCESS AND IMPACT
ØFor those 10 who passed, we compare their data 18 weeks prior to support and the 18 weeks during the support.
Exclusions = reduced by 53% Positive referrals = increased by 52%
Isolations = reduced by 50% Attendance = increased by 7.7%
Removal from lessons = reduced by 46%
Negative referrals = reduced by 18%
Extended services that we would highly recommend:
If you have any questions or would like more information on our programme please email Dan Finill- DF@westfield.herts.sch.uk
And last, but not least we have Gifton Noel- Williams an ex professional footballer, who is our coach for the Football Academy. Westfield Academy has a route for everyone and we believe that our football Academy offers boys and girls the opportunity to play football, alongside amazing coaches and gain coaching qualification and study sports, nutrition and fitness.
For more information on how your pupils or children could join our new, exciting Football Academy please see the information leaflet in the link below.
Overall, Our first TeachMeet was a phenomenal success, opening doors of opportunity with every speaker. Our guests were inspired, motivated and encouraged by our challenge of making all learning accessible. Our aim and hopes for the future is that we, as a learning community, ensure that all classrooms become the best classrooms. After all: The best classrooms are those where nobody feels anonymous, unsupported or undervalued- and that includes the teachers & teaching assistants.
Many thanks, and we look forward to the next one!