Monthly Archives: January 2013




Q: How does a Snowman get to work? A: By icicle.

This week’s issue will continue to focus on our subject review. You now all know your observation timetables and I think all glitches have been sorted. All of the observers took part in the recent training run by Paul Armitage re the changes to the Ofsted framework. It would be a good idea to talk to your observers and ask them about this training. My thoughts are that demonstrating progress is essential and I don’t just mean progress in the lesson. You need to be able to demonstrate that your students are making progress over time. How have you added value since September or even the end of July? How can you show this simply? This means all of your students and so differentiation will be key. Don’t assume that your differentiation is clear, make it very obvious! ‘Lead them by the nose’ Peter Blenkinsop OTP Education Consultant.

Observers are looking for evidence of ‘typical’ experience. We need to be consistent in our methods so that students can confidently talk about their learning and show that they know how to improve. Although there shouldn’t be an identikit lesson or teacher, the expectation is that all lessons contain challenge, engagement and progress in learning.

Caroline and I will be conducting a work scrutiny – Caroline will look at Year 8 and I will look at Year 9. Please can I have 3 books by the end of next week? I will be looking at your written feedback and how effective it is to ensure progress. Does your feedback make a difference?. If you haven’t done so already, read the article in Lead in Learning on p4.

Katherine’s Year 9 are going to create a questionnaire focusing on feedback which will be

distributed to a sample of KS3 groups.

The tes resources site (you will need to log in to access – is free) has a range of useful tips on lesson planning etc.

iPad news – we need to discuss the embedding of ipads in our units of work for Years 7 and Post 16. Huntington School, York’s English and Media Faculty posted this useful information Interestingly they have been working on a project that does not involve a 1:1 model.

Controlled Assessment Moderation – I will put top sheets in for printing. Please make sure that you have completed the ‘postcards’ and stuck them on the front of the folders. Another thank you to Katherine, Jenny and Sarah for their additional work on intervention; I do appreciate all the hard work that you are all putting in with your students in after school sessions.


Claire S



Thomas Wayne: And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

This week’s edition will be shorter as I’m immersed in exam entries and marking. I would like to focus on the Subject Review and I’m intending to give you some links to various sites that I have been reading during the holidays re feedback which is our focus. Please read and add to these via email or comments on our blogsite. I now know that we will be observed with our KS3 classes; unless you don’t have KS3! I am going to ask Claire for LG timetables on Monday and then I will start the process of arranging the observations. Please let me know if you can foresee any problems.

We will also undertake a work sample of KS3 and a student voice exercise to establish a clear picture of the different feedback strategies that we use. We could also film feedback in action and photograph any wow examples that we have. Please let me know of any examples of best practice that you have; these could be from any KS.

Feedback: Why don’t we try? Our very own…

Two posts from David Didau…

One of my favourite Northern bloggers…

And another Northerner…

An idea that Sarah has used successfully…

Can’t remember what this is… Of course how could I forget? There’s even a clue in the address!

And finally feedback of the future from Christopher Waugh. Controversial? Daunting or inspiring? I love it.

I’ve had a horrid week. Thanks so much for all of your support. Time to move forward.



Happy 2013!

Hope you’ve had a great Christmas holiday. I managed to watch a lot of films, including the Dark Knight Trilogy “It’s not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.”   and read a lot of ‘pulp fiction’. I’ve finally got a kindle and am taking advantage of the “12 Days of Kindle” special offers. My first read on it was an extraordinarily dark novel called ‘Black Heart Blue’ by Louisa Reid which reminded me how powerful teen fiction can be. I must remember how much I enjoy contemporary teen fiction in 2013; will try to read one a month. Next one is “Wonder” R.J. Palacio as recommended by GB.

So thought I’d indulge myself by sharing some ideas for 2013… Most of these have been found through Twitter and perhaps a New Year Aspiration would be for us all to open a team twitter account. It’s the blogs that the tweets lead me to that I find so inspirational and that remind me that we are all in this together which leads me to my first idea taken from Zoe Elder’s blog . We could use one of the notice boards in the English corridor to create a small scale version.

As some of you know I have finally taken the plunge and set up blogs for my KS3 classes. I was taken with the simplicity of @msfindlater’s creations. You can take a look at mine following these links, and Year 7 and 8 were particularly excited by the prospect of seeing their work published. My next step will be to email them the link so they and their parents can access the site from home. The challenge will be to have the confidence for the blogs to be fully interactive. Reminds me – have you written a comment on the departmental site yet?   Sarah is going to be delivering CPD on writing blogs on Wednesdays after school please try to attend one of these. I truly believe they are the vehicle for promoting beautiful work that students will be proud of and be motivated to share with the outside world.

See you very soon…