Monthly Archives: January 2014

Week ‘Fourtitude’

A big thank you for moderating this week. The folders are in E7 – in hiding under my desk.  As always there are still folders to check. You may take away any folders that have been moderated. If you have completely finished with them I am sure that Kellie will lock them away for you for safekeeping. There is still time to resit controlled assessments if you are convinced/confident it will make a difference. If there are any folders that you are worried about please share.

I will need you to update the tracker to give us a clear picture on the students’ progress.

English Subject Review starts next week.

Good luck everyone. Remember the focus is on the students and their learning not your ‘performance’.

Here’s some interesting advice on observations from Kristian Still from Wellington Academy following their recent inspection:

  • Teach to the top – have high expectations
  • Questioning – probe, dig, challenge
  • Do not use one resource for the whole class
  • Model or share with the class what you expect to see
  • Address homework – has it been set? Marked? Used to promote progress?


Typical questions for individual students:

  1. What are you learning today?
  2. How are you learning today?
  3. Why is it important to know…
  4. What grade are you working at?
  5. What grade are you striving for?
  6. How are you going to get there?
  7. Is today’s lesson, a typical lesson?
  8. Is this lesson challenging?



Have your data to hand – does it show progress?

Annotated seating plan


SEN information

Lesson plan – I know this is now optional but it certainly makes me feel safer and more prepared having one! However, don’t fall into the trap of over-planning and trying to include too many activities. I am guilty of this when feeling nervous.


Marking and Feedback

Are your books up to date?.

Do they show evidence of you beginning to use WWW and EBI?

Is there lots of green pen to indicate student response.


Presentation (Environment and Books)

We now have a rota for keeping on top of the tidiness of The Hub. Help each other.

Try to have spare just in case pens etc. Consider the impression the presentation of books and folders creates.

Basically we need to embed routines in every lesson –  our review is a great opportunity to rehearse.

Here’s the timetable for observations – make a note of when and where. Try to avoid interruptions during these times and just watch out for each other.

“It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.”

R.J. Palacio, Wonder


Student Voice

I have written a questionnaire for Year 9 on Feedback – which I will give you next week. Please ask students to complete in class and then return to me. I think they’ll make interesting reading.

Date Period To observe Observer
B Tuesday 4th Feb 4 MDa Yr 9 DCl
B Wednesday 5th Feb 1 MNe Yr 9 SSa
B Wednesday 5th Feb 2 KBl Yr 9 MAn
B Thursday 6th Feb 3 STa Yr 9 SSa
B Friday 7th Feb 2 RUr Yr 9 MAn
A Monday 10th Feb 1 SLo Yr 7 CJo
A Monday 10th Feb 2 SSa Yr 7 SHi
A Tuesday 11th Feb 1 CMa Yr 10 DCl
A Tuesday 11th Feb 2 HHa Yr 10 THa
A Tuesday 5th Feb 5 DAn Yr 9 RPr
A Wednesday 12th Feb 4 JRo Yr 10 LTi
A Thursday 13th Feb 2 CSl Yr 9 SHi


This was sent to LG recently and I thought it might be useful when planning

The following points about teaching have been taken from the December 2013 Review.

  • Planning did not always take into account the needs of students of different ability levels – work was often pitched at a broadly average level
  • In some lessons, insufficient demands were placed on pupils and consequently, planning needs to introduce more challenge
  • Where progress is not checked while students are working “drift” resulted and a lack of urgency was noted

Areas to focus on include:

  • Ensuring learning is planned on the basis of students’ prior achievement and targets to match their needs more effectively
  • Providing sufficient challenge to students of all abilities
  • Clarity about what students will know, understand and be able to do / do better, by the end of each and every lesson
  • Planning activities to lead to the intended learning outcomes and including opportunities for independent learning
  • Frequent monitoring of student progress to move them on more rapidly to the next stage in their learning.

‘Our world is fine.’

What an extraordinary first week back. We have had three brand new teachers starting, 2 new intervention groups starting and 1 brand new Year 7 group starting. We have also had a run of  ‘bad luck’ (understatement) for individuals in the team who have coped with and are coping with this magnificently.

I have bombarded you with emails demanding information on SEN, homework, work scrutinies, progress checks, names of underachieving Year 11s and Year 10s. Some of you are about to mark Year 12 and 13 exams and we’re also hurtling towards Year 11 controlled assessment moderation.

Oh and I think there’s a subject review coming up!!! Oh and ‘a visit’ on the horizon.


Throughout this we are still laughing – perhaps a bit hysterically at times! –  and even more importantly being kind.


This made me smile on Friday night:

A small animal walks into a bar and asks for a drink. The barman says “You’ll have to speak up.”

“I’m a little hoarse.”

This from John Tomsett gave me a lump in my throat: – putting your family first

And I just like this ‘The Ocean’ Richard Hawley

Have a great weekend and am looking forward to another week of …whateverness.


Happy 2014!


You may have been reading the #nurture1314 collections on twitter and so here’s my attempt of 13 magic moments and 14 hopes. I’m going to use this idea with my Year 8 as a way of reviewing the year and looking to the future.

I also love this idea but may wait until September and then look back at any bright spots in the following July.


Here goes and in no particular order!!

Looking back on 2013

  1. I’s face when she saw that we had bought her Taylor Swift tickets.
  2. T’s exam results.
  3. Holidays to Sennen, Croyde, Porthgain, Torcross and Menorca – connection is the sea.
  4. Visit to High Tech High – witnessing the incredible warmth between teachers, students and families. They just like each other.
  5. My Year 8 TG. Perhaps we just like each other.
  6. Teaching PBL to my Year 8 TG. Feeling ‘teary’ when reading their ‘excellent’ work.
  7. The power of wordpress – 3 uploads from Year 8 on Christmas Eve!!!!!
  8. Watching ‘Sunshine on Leith’, ‘The Way, Way Back’ and a lot of superheroes.
  9. Friends – three highlights – drinks in ‘The Old Success Inn’, annual trip to Malvern pantomime and catching up with a university friend in Bristol after 8 years.
  10. My love affair with technology continues – kindle, apple tv and my first mobile phone!
  11. Reading – Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’, Palacio’s ‘Wonder’, Gaiman’s ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ and Mick Waters’ ‘Thinking Allowed’.
  12. Unpacking the last boxes in ‘The Hub’ and having a cup of tea and a biscuit to celebrate with you.
  13.  Being forced out of my comfort zone to speak – you know what I mean.

Looking forward to 2014

  1. Finding more thinking time – this may mean less reading as I tend to use books to escape and mean less time on twitter. I successfully banned myself from twitter during the week last term and I must continue to do so.  Am a bit concerned that the new phone makes it all a bit too easy.
  2. Working on the classroom environment. So many ideas that I never get round to starting. I must find ways of handing this over to students. We have been given the OK to display in The Hub but we must ensure its ‘excellence’.
  3. Exhibition – building in opportunities for parents to see what their children are creating.
  4. Building on our work on feedback and critique and finding ways of ensuring students regularly respond to our comments. Got a WWW EBI stamp for Christmas.
  5. Surviving Ofsted.
  6. Cooking properly once a week. Not sure if I really am looking forward to this but I need to show the family that I’m not just a marking machine.
  7. More holidays involving the sea
  8. Seeing friends – I neglected all my friends in 2013 and they have been remarkably understanding. Well I think they have perhaps they haven’t but I just haven’t seen enough of them to realise.
  9. Building in family time at the weekend – even if T and I want to be left alone.
  10. Going to York in February – haven’t been North for 18 months.
  11. Return to writing ‘A Bigger Boat’. This was weekly – then fortnightly and now it’s monthly.
  12. Becoming more organised and remember to file things. Will need to buy some files first. Good excuse for a stationeryfest.
  13. Use my office at school effectively; need to get over the weirdness of having one.
  14. Contradicts 1. Sometimes I think I spend too much time thinking when I should be ‘acting’ or ‘actioning’

Now off to work on 6. (Toad in the hole) Picture to follow?