Category Archives: Uncategorized

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



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.

Image 2
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

Image 1

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


Here I go again…

Which exercise books should I use?

Year 7 – red A4 and blue vocab/spelling books

Year 8 – yellow A4

Year 9 – green A4

Year 10 – purple A4 and a document wallet to store controlled assessments

Year 11 – red A4 and a document wallet to store controlled assessments

Where can I find books, folders and paper?

Year 7 books are stored with RPr

Year 8 books are stored in the cupboard behind G21

Years 9, 10 and 11 are stored in the stationery cupboard in E1

A4 paper, sugar paper and flipchart paper is kept in the stationery cupboard in E1

Other resources?

SA glue, crayons, highlighters etc are stored in the stationery cupboard. Some items will be kept in E7. Please return. Please inform CSl, JRo or CMa when supplies are looking depleted.

Where can I find books and textbooks?

SA stock is largely kept in the tall cupboards in E1

JA stock is kept in the cupboard behind G21

Please return to the right place when resources are not being used – especially textbooks used for individual lessons – many books are used by more than one class at a time.

How do I book resources?

CMa is in charge of Yr 7 and 8 stock – the booking sheet will be on the wall in the cupboard behind G21

JRo is in charge of Yr 9, 10 and 11 stock.

Where can I find schemes of work?

We have a department site Our aim is for all schemes to be uploaded on here. We are in the process of rewriting all KS3 schemes. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

There is also an old google site which still has lots of resources – see CMa

What is the homework policy?

You will receive a copy of the whole school marking policy. Homework must be set online using

There are set timings but not set days of the week.

JA and Year 9 = 60 mins

Years 10 and 11 = 90 minutes

How often should I be marking?

School policy is that we mark books fortnightly or every 6 lessons.

Establish a rota straight away – think about coupling ‘light’ and ‘heavy’ classes.

NB: It is essential that we ensure that the marking of books of split classes is particularly thorough.

We aim to conduct work scrutinies throughout the year on a fortnightly rota.

More on Marking (MOM?)

You will receive a copy of the whole school marking policy.

But in brief:

Use WWW/EBI – stamps and yellow stickers and the school marking symbols

Students respond in green ink. Teachers mark in a contrasting colour. I like purple and pink!

Make sure that you allocate time for student response to feedback and make sure that students know how to respond. Once you are confident that they can do this it can be set as a homework task

Avoid ‘secretarial’ marking – do not simply correct – encourage students to search for errors.

Check that students have responded. Be absolutely relentless. One strategy is to stick page markers in their books where they still need to respond. These should not be removed until the response has been completed.

There should be a target sheet stuck in the front of all exercise books – one style for JA and one style for SA.

Encourage peer and self assessment – use postits and critique partners

Printing and copying

Please make this the year we can afford to buy more books!!!!! I really, really, really don’t want to put limits on individuals but…

Unless it is an emergency or an outstandingly spontaneous lesson or less than 10 use Jon Masters – email him resources or place in the tray by the copier in the staffroom.

No photocopying of poems for Year 10/11 – we have thousands of WJEC anthologies in the cupboards.

Use wordpress and showmyhomework sites to upload resources for students.


There is a new whole school behaviour policy being written.

What about if I’m absent?

Again there are detailed whole school cover guidelines that explain what to do in the case of planned absence or illness.

We have bought the teachit Take Cover programmes for KS3 and 4. These are for emergencies and so please don’t remove from the workroom.

If you can (of course I realise that this is not always possible) please let me or JRo or CMa know the night before if you are going to be away just in case we need to get into school earlier to arrange lessons for you.

I’m pretty sure that I won’t have covered all questions. Please just ask – over and over if needs be.


Claire S