Saturday, 21 November 2015

Moving from the classroom to the SLT

Recently, I have been made deputy head teacher after just over six years of teaching. I'm not sure if this is fast progression or not, as I don't think there are any time limits on moving into senior leadership. Above all, you need to want to move into rjos position and understand what will be expected of you. It goes without saying, but to move up you need to be a strong teacher but I want to explore the other factors that I feel have helped me to develop.

1. Twitter - share your own ideas, learn from others and engage in educational debate. The debate and discussion will help to develop your own educational philosophy and the values that you believe in. In interviews, you will be questioned about this so it's good to develop one and share it so that you fully believe it too.

2. Move
As much as you are able to move around. Within your school move around to as many different year groups as you can. Many teachers believe in staying in the same year to gain experience of that year group. However, they are just repeating one year of experience. This year, is the first I have stayed in the same year group. Going into Foundation stage was a brilliant experience that allowed me to see the starting point of children and also unpick the key issues within the school. Moving from Foundation to Year 6 was again another excellent personal learning experience. Understanding the process of external tests is also essential for the move into SLT. Finally, and this is dependent on your situation, try to move to a variety of schools. Working in different sizes of school and socio-economic areas really broadens your craft as well as your outlook on teaching. Teaching a hungry child is much more of a challenge than teaching a child who has lovingly been given their breakfast. Increasingly, schools have been looking for candidates who have worked under different LEAs so moving further afield could be advantageous.

3. Apply, Apply, Apply
Apply for jobs. Be honest with your headteacher, a good head will always support you and often give you an insight into the type of school you are applying to. Writing your covering letter and selling yourself are skills that can be honed. Most interviews will gave a teaching, presentation and interview element. Depending on the school, you may also gave a data task or a letter writing task. Usually this involves creating an action plan and explaining how you would implement it. Practising these skills under pressure at interview will prepare you for the next step.

4. Personal CPD

Go and speak at Teach Meets, conferences and staff meetings. This helped develop my confidence enormously. Not only in speaking to large audiences but also the confidence to believe that what I was doing in my classroom was worth sharing. And if you don't have a Teach Meet nearby.... Organise your own. This is a great asset to bring to an interview for SLT, knowing that you can organise a CPD event and how this has developed you as a leader will always create nods in the interview room.

5. #volunteer

Depending on your circumstances try to volunteer for as many things as possible. During a busy period, offer to cover a playground duty so that you solve a problem for the SLT. The same applies to assemblies, being able to 'stand-in' and making it known you are capable is vital when moving from a classroom to whole school outlook. Become a school governor: having an in-depth knowledge of how a school runs is an enormous advantage. If possible try and join the business committee, as a teacher, you will know about teaching and learning within your school, understanding the impact of staff sickness, building repairs and asbestos really help give you an idea of what is needed to run a school. Lastly, always try and run an after school club throughout the year. This gives you a chance to work with children in other age groups and increase your reputation around the school. The more you give, the more experience you'll gain, which can then be used as examples in the lottery of the interview questioning.

There is obviously a lot more to becoming a senior leader than this, but I really felt that these things have given me the edge in interviews, especially when coming against colleagues with twice as much experience as myself. My final suggestion would be to ensure your safeguarding knowledge is up to date and you have some experience in following policy. Good luck if you are applying! 

Monday, 7 September 2015

#pedagoo Hampshire Learning Conversation

#volunteering via @martynreah has led me to leading a ,earning conversation at #pedagoo Hampshire.
My conservation will centre around learning without levels and without limits. This is based on a piece of action research I carried out last year. You can read my post and associated poster here

My conversation will look at how we could assess children's learning without levels and, more importantly, how assessment impacts teaching and learning (without limits)
To develop my thinking, I'd welcome any comments or feedback via Twitter to these questions, hopefully creating more questions.

The HOW:

How do we assess now?
How do we ensure assessment is rigorous, standardised and fair?
What guidance is available?
Can we still assess accurately without detailed guidance?
How can assessment be judged across different schools or LEAs?
How can we manage this new data?
How can we show progress?

Should children know where they are working at?
How will new assessment affect classroom structure?
How will it affect pedagogy?
How can children close the gap?
Will TAs be used differently?

Please feel free to add thoughts, answers etc. below or via @mistercollard

Then, get your tickets via and join me and @braunteaches in Room D at 2pm, session 4! It would be great to see you all and hopefully take another step in finding some light in the current assessment quagmire.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

WE ICT 2015 Notes

WE ICT 1st July

Alan Winfield-Robotics
Robots in real world perform routine tasks. 1st wave
2nd wave robots designed to work alongside people.  Anthropomorphic
Robots vs
Bio mimicry-animals and technology to interest more children. Not just robots. 
Design your own biometric robot:
1 what problem does your robot solve
2 what animals have inspired you
3 what would your robot be made from
4 what problems could you have

Esafety at Walliscote, WSM

Esafety weeks and theme days. Eg. Dress as a game character
N Somerset site has lots of resources, drama packs. 
Guides for parents- how to change settings in facebook etc.
Part of a safety week- road, beach, sun, first aid etc lots of free people from local area to come in and do workshops. 

Nessy-online version children can play at home
IPad apps coming September

Computational Thinking

Logic, algorithms, decomposition, pattern, problem solving, abstract thinking
Thinking at heart of computing curriculum.
Not always using a computer
Assessing the thinking- using unplugged methods.
Design technologies on paper- A computer system  to protect the kingdom from a dragon. 
Children work collaboratively, create flow charts using symbols to think computationally. Computer architecture. Children create a common language.
Provide good assessment opportunities and the chance to scaffold learning before using the computer. Children will be more confident when using computers as they have rehearsed the thinking.
Devon Teaching School Partnership Teach Meet

Oliver Quinlan
Digital Making- Nesta report called Young Digital Leaders survey of digital creativity across UK. 
Apps for - building app projects
Make things do stuff- a portal to digital making. Make it digital project with BBC resources on BBC website-Dr who coding game. 
Only 11% of primary teachers have a computing qualification.
Half of boys think technology is interesting only a third of girls. making jewellery using technology. 
Make things creatively with computers. 
Literacy- scratch animations, animation, filming interviews, presenting learning in different ways.
Computers can only perform binary calculations but quickly, so you need to creatively apply your ideas to this platform. 
Seymour Papert- Mindstorms book
Algorithms underpin thinking
Minecraft Edu- teachers need to become familiar with children's digital making. Adults can be easily impressed even though the child hasn't learnt that much and could create something even better with some support. You can use Minecraft to build functioning sensors. 
Making is seen as the end product, however making can form part of the learning process, where problems are solved. 
Learning to make or making to learn?

BLOGGING - Ian Rockey head at Westwood with iford, Wiltshire.

The Focus-
Quality Posts
Quality Comments-KSH
accurate punctuation
Creating an audience
SDP Raising writing standards, Internationalism
@DeputyMitchell  Quadblogging
Take it in turns to comment on blog so work is produced every four weeks by one school. Commenting is weekly.
Add a revolver map to inspire children. Where is my writing being seen? Can inspire reluctant writers to write for a reason.
Use picture prompts with 5 quality sentences-puzzle boxes
SPAG activities
Develop feedback comments to encourage specific comments. 
5sc, 100wc
Use the blog for homework- support e-safety.
Maths word/picture problems
Effect on standards - 80%2b+ 31% 3
At KS2 41% below national average. Now 100% attain L4
DeputyMitchell led CPD- an INSPIRE event?
create opportunities for writing
Engage all writers
KS1 Class blog
KS2 individual blogs to support writing. 
Use of big writing
School hosts own blogs now! Via WordPress 
Comments from famous authors etc. 
Use blog to upload sounds, video etc. Need to make sure all content works. 
Use Twitter to encourage more views.
Create codes for posts and stick them in books with a comment. Evidence of marking. 
Most classes have over 4000 views over the year.
Lots of different types of writing, little but often.
Embed video etc. Into blog.
This must be straightforward and guaranteed to work.
Use twitter to publicise posts, use Pie Corbett, DeputyMitchell and Tim Rylands- over 60000 followers, massive audience.
Thank people for comments and visit their blog, develop international links.
Use: Animoto, linoit,audioboom, podomatic, thinglink,, piclits, qr-code-generator - to add sparkle.
Use as a window into school life. Google Apps for Education


Use google chrome with google tone to get everyone in the room on the same page.
Using technology to reach more children. 
Everybody has an IEP children can find their own way to learning by using technology and being engaged. 
QR codes around school that link to videos to explain how things work around school. Child made videos. 
Using augmented images over other images- eg. Football match
Constellation apps that show you constellations against the night sky.
Use Aurasma for before and after pictures using image overlays.
Technology quest-using qr codes, languages etc. utilising all of technology. use this to change the reading level of text without changing the content. Allow children to access texts that their reading level can't access. 

Photo Math- scans and shows answer and steps! Means maths must be taught in a meaningful way and deeper understanding NOT lists of sums. 

Using technology to enable all children to learn in their own way.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Action Research-Managing and Leading Assessment Change

I have just completed a year long action research project working with the inspirational @fullonlearning and other senior leaders from my area.
My research question was: How can new assessment guidelines be implemented so that assessment is simple, effective and raises standards?

Personally, it has been a great learning journey. I have developed my techniques of leading whole staff groups and encouraging 'buy-in' into new approaches. I have been able to clarify my vision for moving forward and have been able to make that clear to all staff so that they have felt comfortable and secure in their judgements. 
The thing link below details the academic poster I made to share the process, outcomes and journey of the research. 
Please comment or tweet me if you have any questions or feedback

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Wellbeing Day

Our last INSET was on May 22nd, however, we didn't have time to plan, back boards or even listen to a speaker, we had time to enjoy each other's company. Back in February, at a leadership meeting, a wellbeing afternoon was mooted. I'd been reading a lot about #teacherwellbeing and #teacher5aday and the great work of @martynreah so I offered to lead the afternoon.

My first step was to setup a Wellbeing Task Force. The makeup of this group was key. As a large primary school we have 17 class teachers with at least 30 TAs and LSAs, it was important to get a mix of staff, Key Stage and interests. Our first meeting was great, we had about 20 ideas for activities with the WTF group offering to take the lead on most of them. This was great because our budget for the afternoon was minimal. As leader, our first meeting was really important as I learnt two things: wellbeing for most staff meant getting to other staff members and feeling comfortable at work, secondly, staff were not prepared to do something well out of their comfort zone in the name of wellbeing.

Afternoon to Day
I took these ideas to leadership team. It was quickly decided that an afternoon wasn't enough so a full day was granted! 
Future planning sessions honed in on the activities that we could run. All members of my group offered to lead a session bringing forward their skills. We had massage, reiki, singing, knitting, ukulele, roller skating and cooking all on our agenda. As a bonus, we were able to get a qualified Yoga instructor to come in (we did pay for this) and a personal trainer interested in working within the school.
The next stage was to organise lunch. Although invited, our kitchen staff weren't able to take part in the day but we're happy to provide us lunch. We planned a picnic, with the emphasis on mixing staff up so they weren't sat in their year group teams.
The week before, I put a sheet in the staff room listing the morning activities and afternoon activities. Staff were asked to sign up for the activity they would be interested in doing so that I could see which activities were popular and which ones could be dropped.

The Day
A few days before the INSET, I put a timetable for staff to sign up to. We planned two hour long sessions in the morning followed by lunch and an hour session in the afternoon followed by whole staff rounders and cocktails and cream teas. I arranged the day so that those who offered to help had a chance to try another activity and were only constrained to one hour of leading. 
Session One: Staff could choose- circuit training, badminton, crochet and knitting, massage, reiki or a walk to the local park.
Session Two: Roller Skating, pampering, bike ride, singing (with the school singing teacher), walk to the woods nearby or you could relax in the meditation room.
Session Three: Yoga, ukulele, reading group, badminton, scone baking  or relaxing.

It was important to get a balance of non-physical and physical activities, with a range of abilities catered for.

The day stared well, the buzz around school was tangible. I shared the concept of wellbeing and teacher 5a day based on the 5 fundamentals: connect, volunteer, exercise, learn and notice.
I used this Haiku Deck 
and shared this excellent video from Edward Monkton
We discussed how the day was to promote Happy Pigs and to continue being Happy Pigs by organising further activities together. We also discussed the children as being the happy sheep and the parents as happy chickens.
I then explained Wellbeing Buddies and asked staff to complete a 'likes' form. I then collected all of the forms, mixed them up and assigned a buddy with the mission to go forth and spread happiness.
Suitably enthused, staff left and had a great day!

Throughout the day, I observed staff relaxing, forming new friendships and above all, having a great time. At lunch, the mixture of staff was amazing as groupings had followed on from their previous activities. Rounders at the end of the day was a great ice breaker and the cocktails were a lovely way to end. An impromptu outing to the pub also occurred! 

The day was an overwhelming success, lots of chatter and a great atmosphere. The real test will be whether or not activities continue on a more social level and for staff to make a positive change to improve their own wellbeing. I hope to have a board in the staff room to share positive changes and to thank wellbeing buddies.

Next Time:

If we have this opportunity again or you have been inspired to run a similar day I would change a few things.
- From the outset, make it clear that the activities on the day are a means to an end and that being together in a relaxed atmosphere is the main point.
- Staffing Issues: ideally I wanted all of our staff to take part, cleaners, kitchen staff and part time staff. We couldn't pay everyone to take part in the day but the offer was to come in for your contracted hours and then you could stay all day unpaid if you wanted too. Some staff had specific jobs to do so that ruled them out and the amount of different contracts people were on was bamboozling. A bit of a minefield which I tried to steer clear of.
- It was an INSET day: Some staff had ideas about meeting at the park, bringing in dogs etc. it all got a bit too much. This was still an INSET day, parents were sorting out childcare and whilst we were having a fun day, the benefits to the children need to be visible.

Finally, I would love to have included pictures in this post, however, I may not have been the most popular person at school, particularly after the circuit training. Look out for more posts as I examine the effect and legacy of the day.
If you want more information comment below or get in touch via @mistercollard

Friday, 13 March 2015

Formative Assessment notes with Dylan Wiliam

Embedding Formative Assessment with Teacher Learning Communities
Dylan Wiliam - 6.3.15

Why we need to raise achievement and why it's not working
improving student achievement requires improving teachers
Changing learning styles is hard work but it results in better, more retained learning
Resilience is the best form of learning.
A need to take children out of their comfort zone (or preferred learning style) 
Good teachers benefit children for 3 years because of the foundations they have laid. You need 30 observations by different observers to attain how good a teacher is.
KS2 -Narrowing of curriculum=better results yet PISA scores have stayed the same for 20years.
Forcing chn to make decisions about their learning increase levels of dopamine and they are more interested in the answer when they commit to one. More likely to learn from a wrong answer.
Skills for work are increasing faster than education can keep up with. Eg. Insurance claims now calculated by computers not people.
Learners today are required to: know what to do, when they don't know what to do
Livingstone 1941- the best school master is known by the number of valuable subjects that they decline to teach.
UK curriculum is a mile wide and an inch deep.
Deeper, embedded learning in a range of styles.
Teaching: what do you want them to learn? What activities will you do? How will technology help you structure your teaching?
Evidence of work is usually seen as writing - no writing = no work? Not true, learning has many forms.
Employ TAs effectively- not with the lowest achievers? A qualified teacher is far more effective. TAs could mark and teachers could make diagnostic plans.
BEST teachers should teach weaker students, good students will learn from any teacher.

Formative Assessment
children need to know where they are in their learning and what their next step is - not which level they are at! They don't need to know.
Mable children will look after themselves, we need to focus on the children at the lower end because this will improve the level education within society. It is more important for primary leavers to access secondary school and achieve 5GCSEs so they can go on in life.
Long term- across units, terms, four weeks to one year, impact- student monitoring, curriculum alignment.
Medium cycle-within, between teaching units, one to four weeks, Impact- improved, student involved assessment, teacher cognition about learning.
Short cycle- within, between lessons, day-by-day, 24 to 48 hours, minute by minute. Impact-classroom practice, student involvement and engagement.
Give children no place to hide- they must answer. 
Feedback from marking is too late, expensive and is the last resort
Learning should be put back on track at the time, orally and when needed. You can put all learners back on track in one go not after writing the same thing 20 times in a book.
Unpacking Formative Assessment
where the learner is going- clarifying, sharing and understanding learning objectives. You don't need it at the beginning of a lesson, is it motivating? Get the students motivated-teacher needs to know where they are going but children should be curious.
Scottish Education has learning experiences without set objectives, it's a good thing for the children to do but the learning could look very different.
Where the learner is? Engineering effective discussions, tasks and activities that elicit evidence of learning.
How to get there? Providing feedback that moves learners forward don't reflect on a piece of work, what they should do next, not a postmortem.
Activating students as learning resources for one another.
Activating students as owners of their learning.
Teachers are often the hardest workers in a classroom. Children should be exhausted from learning.
"Memory is the residue of thought" so you need to control what the children are thinking about.
Interaction with teachers and students has assessment at its heart.
Using evidence of achievement to adapt what happens in classrooms to meet learner needs.
A good teacher: Establishes where students are in their learning, identifies learning destination, carefully plans a route, makes regular adjustments. 
Why progress the learning if the children aren't ready? Is progression between year groups valid? Children need to learn and apply before moving on. 
Wait time is most important after a child's response.
Reflecting upon own learning- teachers need to listen to children's ideas not synthesise, teacher makes statements for children to respond to not questions. Eg. You said this ... Children then respond without trying to aim for a 'correct' answer.
Differences of opinion create learning opportunities with children responding to each other-teacher says very little, doesn't question or synthesise.
Contextual response versus functional responses- as teachers we focus on functional-right or wrong? True learning comes from the contextual response. Reasoning, questioning etc. -BLP
High achieving pupils arrive in school knowing the formula for success, correct behaviour, answers etc. we need to teach all children what the route to success is.
Skills in isolation aren't valid, children must be able to generalise skills to any situation in the future. Is it important to correct a sum that was wrong? Will they be presented with that sum in the same context again? 
Learning is tied to the context of the learning
Explain learning intention
All children should have the same learning objective but can be differentiated by success criteria and how far from the context their knowledge can be applied.
Use posters of key words to talk about learning- describe, explain, evaluate BLP
Use planning and writing frames carefully, are they a support or a constraint? We need to let children have freedom to innovate and be creative.
Use annotated examples of different standards-WAGOLLS but with mistakes.
Children design their own tests with questions and answers, higher level learning.
Choosing questions carefully, don't ask questions that set children up to fail but instead give you evidence.
Ask random children and then ask the rest of the class.
A correct answer may indicate sound understanding but it does not evidence a correct or valid strategy.
Improving Questioning-
Move away from hands up (only to ask a question), class is driven by who is the fastest not the best examples of learning.
All student response systems-no opt out
Class polls, start debate through differences
Don't make up a multiple choice question on the spot, they need to be carefully planned.
Review responses quickly, do I need to revisit with whole class? Or just a select few? 
Get children to answer questions-leave cliff hangers..
Challenge 'Don't know' don't let children get out of it. 
Loving to be right-gets in the way of learning. Children are relieved when they are right but they shouldn't be because they should be confident that they are correct.
multiple choice questions- one answer that all children could get and another more subtle answer that will challenge higher thinkers. 
If children with the right thinking and the wrong thinking are able to give you the correct answer then it is not a useful question.
Lesson planning- follow a flow diagram format 
Using a hinge question based on the important concept that is critical for children to understand before you move the learning on.
Question should fall midway during the lesson
It must be diagnostic not a discussion
Every student must respond to the question 2 minutes, you must collect and interpret responses within 30seconds.
By using multiple choice questions you can decide which areas need more focus for the rest of the lesson. You can test, mark and feedback in 30seconds. Without marking and keeping evidence.
Distributed learning is much more effective. Short lessons focussed on a key skill. Review previous, last week's learning in short sections. Lots of revisiting, practises retrieval of information-this does not need to be marked. 
Marking your own test and seeing why you were wrong. The score isn't important, low stake testing that focuses on misconceptions.
Teach and test 3 times each piece
After testing questions, children could write about the feedback just given to them to move them forward. My Feedback
Israel study- grades resulted in no gain, comments resulted 30% gain.
Grades result in fight or flight mode, which means children don't look at their comments-is this the same for Housepoints?
Grades and praise marking increase ego-involvement but not learning.
Competition is good for some but some children avoid competing and the following year the children will expect the stakes to be raised.
Kruger & DeNisi (1996) review of 3000 research reports- on average feedback increases achievement however 38% resulted in negative results.
The important thing about feedback is what is done with it and the reaction of the child
You need to know your children, to know when to push and when to back off. 
Children need to trust you to accept your feedback and use it. The relationship is key
4 responses- change behaviour, change goal, abandon goal, reject feedback
Feedback should:
Cause thinking, provide guidance on how to improve
Comment only marking
Make time in class for valuing feedback-teacher shouldn't spend the most time working on this. If it is important to learning, then it will be important to do in class.
Make feedback a detective activity, this will help response to feedback- matching feedback to work.
Focused marking- don't mark everything, explicit reference to mark schemes, scoring guides.
 Don't tick every answer, ask children to find the mistakes- 5 are wrong, fix them!
Essential components- group goals working as a group, not just in a group.
Individual accountability- every contribution is important.
Cooperative Learning- 4 mechanisms- Motivation, social cohesion, personalisation, cognitive elaboration.
Peer Assessment- share comments, model feedback, choose-swap-choose- peer discussion- underline best thing, swap with partner they underline your best thing, discuss.
Training children to pose questions-tell children they are going to have to ask a question about a piece of learning. End of lesson review-children lead the plenary-captains log
Self-assessment- Red/green discs to indicate to teacher when to slow down. Red/green/yellow cups to indicate you need help or have a question.
Learning Portfolio- 
PMI-reflect upon their work something positive, minus and interesting.
Setting personal targets-give children the ability to talk about their learning, increases engagement.
A Model For Teacher Learning
content, then process, 
Content-what we want teachers to change Evidence, ideas.
Process- how to go about change-choice, flexibility, small steps, accountability, support
Teacher training- more productive to improve teacher strengths rather than develop areas that they are weaker in. We should allow different teachers to choose their own ways to develop rather than create cloned teachers who are teaching in a way that doesn't suit them.
Strategies vs Techniques - teachers are responsible for the choice of their techniques because strategies define formative assessment. Creates ownership and shares responsibility, they know their class the best.
Key requirements of techniques- they embody deep cognitive and affective principles that research shows are important. They are relevant, feasible and acceptable. 
Most powerful teacher knowledge is not explicit
Changing practice is about changing habits not knowledge
Not about new ideas but about getting the old ones out.
Changing your practice will enable you to see things you couldn't before.
stressful environments produce more cortisol in the brain which slows down learning so comparisons are ineffective between schools.
Making a commitment
Action planning, forces teachers to make ideas concrete, makes you accountable, requires focus, requires teachers to give things up or reduce.
a good action plan- don't change everything at once, spells out significant changes, relates to 5 key strategies of Afl, is achievable within a reasonable period of time, identifies something that the teacher will reduce.
Teacher learning communities-monthly workshops, time for personal development
A signature pedagogy Structure: introduction (aims) starter, feedback, new learning about formative assessment, personal action planning, review of learning.
Peer Observation- observed teacher; specifies focus, specifies what counts as evidence,  observed teacher owns all notes and process-not a form of appraisal.
Action Plan:
flow diagram of learning planning with hinge questions planned into sequence, these are the basis of AfL
Mix up the day, shorter focused lessons, revisit work lots, embed learning, not just one long period.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Audience for Writing

Improving writing, is high on my agenda at the moment and I've been looking at several tweaks.

The first of which is adding an 'audience' section to our planning. This fits in alongside the usual learning objective but importantly adds purpose. I've changed the way I work by also including an outcome in my planning. 
What is the final outcome of the block or sequence of lessons? My planning includes a skill objective linked to the new curriculum to ensure I'm covering the new stuff. Alongside this, is the work outcome that I expect the children to produce to evidence this. I then work backwards planning in the skills and knowledge the children need to achieve the work outcome. @alanpeat sentences are great for this as they can be linked to certain genres of writing.
Now, I have started adding an audience. Next week, we are looking at Avatar and writing non-chronological reports about Pandora courtesy of @literacyshed but the final output will be a podcast. This can then be shared via the class blog, school website and Twitter-audience. The following week, we have a school poetry competition so there is again a purpose. 
Last week, we made our own books based on the surreal book, Tuesday by David Wiesner. These books have been shared with Year 2. 

My class can write: they are creative and expressive with their language. However, they aren't always careful or absorbed in their work, hopefully, an audience will support this. I'm sure many teachers have an audience in mind when they plan or children work but making it explicit has certainly changed my mindset. #marginalgains