The power of yet

Inspired by Carol Dweck and Jenny’s display – go and take a look…

A reminder – because we are not there …yet

Why is feedback so important?
‘Research has shown a clear link between the quality of teacher written feedback and students’ own perception of worth and ability’
Black and Wiliams 1998

There are 3 stages to feedback:
1. Your positive comment
2. Your next steps/action points for the students
3. Student response

Our Pledge

We are committed to the language of WWW and EBI to identify strengths and weaknesses

  • Success criteria and models need to be shared, understood and manageable
  • Plan opportunities for peer and self assessment in lessons
  • Effective self and peer assessment is dependent on clear success criteria
  • Every student’s book needs to be marked 2/3 times each term
  • Use yellow stickers, stamps (if you still have one), WWW/EBI
  • Make sure that your feedback is specific to the individual – use student names in your initial positive comment to help personalise comments
  • Use positive language that is encouraging ‘Perhaps you could…’ ‘I wonder if…’
  • Think about the effect/impact of your comments on the student
  • One specific, very clear EBI might be enough
  • Ask questions to stimulate thinking and direct the students to develop their work
  • Compare the work to exam criteria and use this criteria to show student what they need to do in order to make progress
  • Do not use grades, levels and marks on every piece of work
  • Do use stickers for general learning targets
  • Use the SBL literacy policy and marking code – do not correct all errors. Students need to do the work and be independent.
  • Consider marking just 3 spellings so that we do not overload. Each corrected spelling should be written out in new sentence during response time
  • Write R, or highlight, or use a coloured sticker in the margin by the work that you would like developed or corrected.
  • Build in regular response time and remember to use the green pens. Response time needs to be given on the day that students receive their feedback
  • Be organised – plan and timetable your marking so you can keep on top of it. Keep a record of the students whose books have not been marked!



My Christmas card to you.

Last Christmas we were in a very different ‘place’. There was a sense of impending troubles ahead as we hurtled towards the inevitable Ofsted visit.
This Christmas although we are still ‘special’ I have a real sense of optimism and excitement. What a wonderful way to end the term with our successful HMI visit. I felt really proud of our school as I read the feedback.
I am really looking forward to us being together next term in and around The Hub – perhaps we should rename the rooms to generate a new sense of identity?
I love being part of a team and we know that some of that has been lost over the last 15 months. At last we will have no excuse not to collaborate. Think of the time saved by not having to commute!
A big thank you to Tim, Cheryl and Kerri for having settled in so quickly with resilience, patience and humour.
A huge thank you to Caroline for leading KS3 and PBL. A huge thank you to Jenny for magnificently leading us through the challenges of the new igcse course and for managing our recent cover situation so ably.
My hugest thank you to all of you – still standing and still smiling… most of the time.



Much love


‘…only perfect practice makes perfect.’ (Vince Lombardi)

Revisiting feedback.

If you look through the short term targets from our review you will see that one is to ‘Achieve consistency in: marking / feedback and pupils’ responses/ expectations of presentation / use of seating plans’. This post revisits feedback.

Please scrutinise your books:

  1. Is there a target sheet in the front of the book?
  2. Have the students written in at least 2 EBIs?
  3. Have the students written in the level for their assessments? Yr 9 should have completed 2 assessments if following the WW1 scheme in Term 1 or 1 assessment if studying Shakespeare in Term 1.
  4. What has been written in the spelling column? How are you assessing SP&G? How would you like to assess SP&G?
  5. How many times have you marked their books? School policy is that books are marked fortnightly or every 6 lessons.
  6. Have you given enough time to students to respond to your feedback? There must be evidence of a developing learning conversation and the students must respond using green pens. Students should spend more time on their responses than you have spent marking them!
  7. Our protocols state that we need to use the marking policy. It isn’t enough to write the symbols in the margin you should check that your students have corrected and improved their work.


  1. These (see above) help to highlight where students need to direct their attention. Although of course we should be aiming for students to do this actively, for themselves.
  2. If you took a sample of your exercise books would differentiation be evident? Or would you see the same tasks/objectives repeated throughout the class?
  3. How are you guiding your students so that they understand how to respond? Is your feedback feeding forward?

Some examples:

  • Underline the verbs in this piece. Change the tense to the present.
  • Find examples of 3 persuasive techniques that you used and highlight them in red. Name the technique. Explain the effect of the technique on the reader.
  • Why have I underlined a elephant?
  • Underline the punctuation marks that you have used. How many different punctuation marks have you used? Aim for 5.
  • Select a word that deliberately chose for its effect on the reader. Write the word below and explain the effect you intended on the reader.
  • Rewrite the section that I have bracketed making sure that you have used a range of sentence lengths.
  • Underline the openings of your sentences – what did you notice?




Thank you for Term 1 – let’s make Term 2 a time to push forward with the many exciting changes that are coming our way.
We have now experienced the first new style Subject Review/Quality Assurance at SBL. You can find the full final report above but I have copied our targets below for easy referral.

Short Term (To Dec ’14)
• Year 11 progress
• Identifying “skills” and where pupils should use them
• Achieve consistency in: marking / feedback and pupils’ responses/ expectations of presentation / use of seating plans
• Embed regular, rigorous standardisation and moderation – including of Key Stage 3 levelling
• Secure opportunities to discuss and agree strategies to address pupils’ learning deficits
• Review lesson observations summary and student voice report as a department

Medium Term (To July ’15)
• Focus on Progress
• Develop understanding of what 3 LoP and 4 LoP look like at KS3 and KS4 (Flightpaths)
• Learn how this feeds back into planning and teaching cycles
• Improve learning outcomes from the teaching of writing and structuring responses to gain marks
• Develop differentiation practice, including by the diverse methods suggested above for higher attainers
• Contextualise learning outcomes in terms of exam questions and grade descriptors
• Address student voice concerns about skills acquisition to address exam questions and particularly those of the written papers

• Review what happens as a result of tracking – ensure impact is effective
• Interventions: focus and appropriate addressing of learning deficits
• Roles and responsibilities need clarification and job descriptions formalised and written
• Review staff feedback, discuss with the English team and identify the priorities that can be addressed / funded
• Review PBL structure and non-specialist delivery of English
• Clarify a shared vision for the teaching of English at Sir Bernard Lovell School

We need to be more consistent and develop more strategies for enabling students to talk about their learning and for them to be able to articulate their next steps for improvement. I think we sometimes expect students to be able to do this naturally when in reality it is a skill that needs revisiting again and again. We know from performance management meetings that we find it difficult to put into words what we need to work on and we are meant to be the experts!

A key area is standardisation and moderation. We need to change the focus of our work scrutinies so that they are more about standardisation – please feel free to join us every other Tuesday after school for extra time to moderate work and join in our conversations about assessment. This Tuesday the focus is Yr 11’s coursework.

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We have come a long way in our approaches towards feedback but we still need to develop how students respond to our feedback. This is another skill that needs revisiting again and again. It is essential that it is built into your lesson plans and our schemes of learning.

An area in the leadership column that we have not addressed recently is our shared vision for the English department at SBL. The Hub is gradually becoming more of our space – what are our next steps? What do we want our students to experience and learn? How do we want them to feel in our classrooms and on leaving our classrooms? How can we put our vision into words?
As you know this website is entitled ‘A Bigger Boat’ – I wanted a title that expressed my feelings that we are always moving forward despite knowing that we will always need more time and more resources. I don’t mean this in a negative way but that we should approach the future as an exciting if terrifying challenge that we can meet successfully if we work together. Perhaps we need a fleet of bigger boats…?
Image 1

Week One!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

• The Hub’s new layout and the tables and chairs
• Finally using my office more effectively thanks to JRo moving in.
• Being able to display in The Hub
• A full stationery cupboard
• Tim and Cheryl – so patient, such good humour when it must have been a crazy week
• Wellsway visit and the excitement of planning and starting a new course
• You

• The glue sticks were returned
• I could find the missing 50 green exercise books
• I didn’t keep forgetting where I put things – e.g. iPad

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Cambridge IGCSE 0522
Following my meeting with Matt Reid at Wellsway I am confident that we will be following the Cambridge course with our Year 11 and Year 10. I absolutely think that this is the right decision and am pleased that Matt will provide us with the training that we need to give our students the best possible chances of success.
DCl is going to liaise and arrange a time asap for him to visit. We also talked about following the same GCSE courses in the future which will give us a great opportunity to collaborate across the schools.
Here is a link to the syllabus that we will be following. Please can you take a look (especially page 7 which will give you an overview of the course) – of course we will be looking through this together so that we can adapt our SOLs – bit more than adaptation!
Matt recommended that we follow the Extended path (Paper 2 Reading Passages) and the Coursework Portfolio. Our first step will be to look at our Year 11 descriptive/narrative controlled assessments and decide on one that we can use as the first piece of coursework. There are 3 pieces that students need to complete:
• Informative, analytical and/or argumentative
• Descriptive and/or narrative
• Response to texts
The pieces need to demonstrate different writing forms/styles.
Remember this is COURSEWORK so the students can draft and redraft. We will wordprocess the piece – students are even allowed to use spell check. Pages 24 onwards provide further guidance.

NB GCSE Literature
We will continue to follow WJEC GCSE Literature with our Year 11. This may mean that you will need to revisit the Shakespeare and Poetry CA.

Thank you for all of your hard work this week – looking forward to the year ahead.

Lovely Day



It’s that time of year again – have been looking through the posts of 2013-2014 and doing a bit of reminiscing whilst listening to some songs from my past. Perhaps a dangerously sentimental mix. Can’t believe that it’s all gone so fast. Can’t believe Mike and Sarah haven’t been with us forever or that we’re already saying goodbye to Sophie.

What a year. My most challenging 12 months so far and probably the year where my school eyes have leaked the most. However it is also the year where I have received the most literal and metaphorical hugs from you. My school family. ‘Special’.

This summer I am looking forward to:

Reminding my children that I am their Mum – again

Reading books without falling asleep in the middle of a sentence

Having the mental capacity to understand pedagogy and specifications first read through

Throwing things away

Writing a home action plan rather than a school action plan

Swimming in the ocean

Writing words that don’t relate to success criteria

Replying to ‘What are you thinking about?’ with a ‘Nothing’ and it being true.

Really, really smiling.

Laughing without wondering if it’s hysteria.

Being me.

Have a wonderful holiday with lots of lovely days.

All – not quite as I love my Slocombe 3 too, and there are a few others scattered about – my love