Last week at school we had a ‘Vision Meeting’ about developing as a growth mindset school. I blogged about it here. As usual, I was amazed at the enthusiasm and passion that came from the meeting – and the sense of wanting to get things done. At the end of the post, I put together a ‘Mindset Manifesto’. Ex-DHS teacher Jason Ramasami has taken this manifesto and made it look rather smart:
So, as a result of this meeting, some great plans are already underway. This is what we’re going to do.
For starters, Jason’s great graphic (above) will feature heavily next year – student planners, assemblies, staff planners, stickers for exercise books, posters in classrooms etc.
Pete Jones has created this amazing ‘Ethic of Excellence’ wall in his school:
Inspired by this, we are aiming to do something similar, with the help of our brilliantly creative cover supervisor Sarah Tester. We are going to create a wall like this, with the title ‘Going Beyond Our Best’ (discussions about colour underway – our Headteacher has suggested lime green!) to display examples of excellent student work. We are also going to empty the outdated trophy cabinet in the corner of the corridor and transform this into a fantastic display of excellent student work. Watch this space.
So that we continue to be inspired and challenged by research evidence and best practice from elsewhere, we are looking to create a new leadership post within the school – ‘Research & Development Leader’. This is an exciting new role that will support our journey to becoming a research engaged school.
Our new ‘Feedback Policy’ comes into play next half term. Each department has been given the responsibility to outline what effective feedback will look like in their subject area – underpinned by the following principles:
As we look to develop our new KS3 curriculum, we are thinking carefully about challenge, by considering surface and deep learning in our planning documents – see here, by identifying hinge questions for both.
We want to ensure that we are focused on the surface learning, the key knowledge that students need to pick up, before we move on to the deep learning – doing stuff with the knowledge. In the words of Hattie ‘The art of great teaching is knowing when to go from surface learing to deep learning’. We’re also looking to support the idea of ‘interleaving’ by explicitly identifying and using ‘links to other learning’ to support deep learning.
Our approach to assessment without levels is based on the principle of students aspiring to excellence. Our staff will determine the standards of excellence that they expect from students, in order to be successful at the end of KS4, and then use this to give useful feedback to students to work through the thresholds towards excellence.
PSHCE teacher Frankie Morton recently attended a conference for PSHCE teachers on building resilience. I saw a snapshot of this during a ‘bright spots’ visit this week. Frankie is working with her Subject Leader, Sharon Nixon, to embed resilience into our school PSHCE programme – a really important and exciting development.
Our 15 minute forums continue to go from strength to strength and are a great way of teachers supporting and encouraging each other to try new things out in the classroom. This has become a really important part of our school culture and will certainly continue next year. It has been suggested that we put on 15MF for students, by students, to support them with becoming better learners. An interesting idea that we’ll explore next year.
We’ve also made some cracking appointments for September who will make a huge contribution to this journey. Alongside an amazing group of NQTs, we have two new, fantastic leaders. Martyn Simmonds will ne joining us as Director of Humanities and Carole Burden as Director of Science. Two very exciting appointments who will be pushing us on in these two very important curriculum areas.
So, the journey continues. There’s lots more on the list, but for now we’ll focus on this….and then work our way through the others.
But for now….it’s half term…..rest!