Issue 61 – 4 March 2019
It was great to welcome many of you to the Learning Campus for the headteacher breakfast briefing on Friday, it provided yet another reminder of the generosity of the Buckinghamshire school community in sharing ideas and using the opportunity to learn from each other. Matthew Abbott and Sam Jones the headteacher and deputy of Waddesdon Church of England School talked with passion and conviction about the school’s ongoing work around curriculum development. It was a powerful reminder of the role determined leaders can play in driving improvements, engaging staff in meaningful discussions and ultimately taking responsibility for provision and quality. Their work has included establishing the ‘why’ behind decisions made about curriculum design and provision and the importance of placing values and students at the heart of any decision. The video clip put together for the briefing allowed the student voice to be heard and provided an opportunity for us to see just a little of the impact of the school’s work in this area.
Please do take the time to look at the slides, but also visit their website here to see more of the work of the school including the ‘Waddesdon Voice,’ a termly newsletter to promote and celebrate the work of students. (Link here.)
You can access the slides here, please use in whatever way is helpful.
Consider how your board and staff are engaged in discussions about curriculum provision. Are they familiar with the curriculum research undertaken and published by Ofsted over the last 2 years? What are the implications for your school? How will leaders take the lead in this area and be driven by pupil need rather than by Ofsted’s apparent requirements?
What discussions might you undertake to establish clarity about what you understand by intent, implementation and impact; words currently being introduced by Ofsted as they talk about curriculum provision? Consider developing a shared understanding of key vocabulary such as knowledge, skills and progression so that you have a common understanding of their meaning when used in your context.
If you do nothing else, please consider identifying and naming the values that you want to run as golden threads through provision. Establish what you want every pupil or student to experience whilst they are at your school and what the school will do/or already does really well that is distinctive or special.
Finally, if you don’t already occasionally look at other school’s websites and steal ideas, consider doing so. I regularly look at websites from schools recently judged good or outstanding from across the country. This is easily achieved by going to Ofsted report website and applying filters. It’s useful to see trends emerging from reports including aspects around governance, but it also provides a good opportunity to explore the school’s website as a result. Not all are perfect examples, but I can usually find something that excites, inspires or challenges me. Last week it was this, 50 fantastic things to do at Linthorpe Community Primary School – link here. An idea easily replicated with pupils, parents and leaders in any context.
Have a super week.
Director of Education Standards
Computer Science Accelerator Programme
Do you know a colleague who would benefit from professional development to qualify as a certified teacher for GCSE computer science? The National Centre for Computing Education offers regional CPD for secondary teachers, specifically designed to support those without a post A level qualification in computer science or a related subject.
With face-to-face courses covering topics including algorithms, programming and cybersecurity, teachers can gain confidence across the whole GCSE computer science curriculum. Generous bursaries are also available for schools and colleges across England to help cover the costs of attending CPD. Find out more here.
All Party Parliamentary Gap on Social Mobility: Closing the Regional Attainment Gap
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility have published findings of their inquiry into the regional attainment gap. The inquiry sought to explore the origins of differences in school outcomes between areas, what efforts have been made to close the gap, along with what we can learn from best practice across the country and how it could be shared and implemented.
Recommendations in the report relate to collaboration, teacher recruitment and retention and early years.
The report can be found here.
NFER: Teacher Labour Market in England, Annual Report 2019
The National Foundation for Educational Research has published their first annual report into the state of the teacher workforce.
The report, which can be found here measures the key indicators of the teacher labour market and teachers’ working conditions including recruitment, development and retention.
Department for Education Project to Connect Rural Primary Schools
The DfE has announced a £3million pilot programme to connect primary schools in rural areas. More than 100 rural primary schools across England are set to get gigabit-capable broadband connections within the next few months as part of the Government’s commitment to improve internet infrastructure in rural areas.
More details can be found here.
Statutory Guidance: Relationships and Sex Education
The Department for Education has published new statutory guidance on relationships and sex education following a consultation last year. From 2020 relationships, sex and health education will be compulsory subjects in all secondary schools, while all primaries will have to teach relationships and health education.
The consultation response and updated guidance (with minor changes since it was published in draft form last year) can be found here.
The Department for Education press release relating to the publication of the guidance can be found here.
Disadvantaged Families to Benefit from Free Learning Apps
The Secretary of State for Education has announced that families from disadvantaged backgrounds will benefit from free access to children’s educational apps. This is in a bid to encourage parents to think how to use children’s screen time constructively and a push to ensure that children start school ready to learn.
More information can be found here.
UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador Programme
Applications are being invited to the UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador Programme which aims to help pupils gain an understanding of Parliament and democracy.
More details of how to apply can be found here and the deadline is 21 April 2019. Successful applicants will attend a 3 day Teachers Institute workshop from 1-3 July 2019 with all costs covered by UK Parliament.
UK Parliament : School Trips and Outreach Visits
Visits to the Palace of Westminster with curricula linked workshops at the UK Parliament Education Centre can be booked on the UK Parliament website here This includes some short notice availability in March 2019. Visits are free and suitable for students aged 6-18.
Outreach workshops on a variety of topics and suitable for various age groups can also be booked here.