Welcome to another academic year. I hope you all enjoyed the break and return refreshed to tackle the job in hand! This year will provide plenty of challenge as schools enter a transition period between old and new curricula, and get to grips with the new assessment, recording and reporting arrangements required in 2016. These need tackling NOW because they will apply from September 2014 to all pupils other than the Y2 and Y6 pupils ( the last to be assessed under the old systems).
Tracking without levels needs to begin now! The locally agreed Policy for Assessment, Recording and Reporting developed with schools across the county last summer will be up and running from day 1 in participating schools. It will be supported by Schools IT with appropriate packages using SIMS. Thanks to Inspir.ed they got a head start and they know what they are doing! If anyone who did not participate in the original project wants access to the really useful documentation and associated materials that came out of it please contact me now!
The mastery of standards in the new national curriculum will require subtle, but very necessary changes to planning, teaching, and learning in classrooms. Ensuring that assessment remains reliable and valid will be a major task for leadership, but equally critical, any new processes must be manageable and useful to those for whom it matters most –the learners!
Inspir.ed is well placed to support schools as always. Soon to be available as e books, the concise, practical handbooks in the “Sound Policy in a Time of Change” series, developed over the past six months will be available for purchase through this site early in the term. Training and development based on these two documents, that draw on quality research and provide a wealth of ideas and practical advice, is available on request . Contact me and ask about “The Principled Use of Assessment in a Standards Based Curriculum, and “Your Curriculum Properly Assessed” for further details. It’s a good place to start!
Inspir.ed also facilitates leadership networks (Heads Together on The CASE, and Keeping Ahead) in the Bath and Frome areas, and is working collaboratively this year with Lighting Up Learning to provide a similar service in the Bristol area. The already established groups provide regular updates and opportunities to discuss the things that really make a difference to pupils, so if you want to join us please contact me as soon as possible.
I am currently planning a comprehensive offer for schools’ CPD that will focus in 2014/15 on the following key areas of urgent developmental need:
- Mastering teaching and learning and its proper assessment in a standards based curriculum
- Monitoring mastery for senior and middle leaders as well as governors
- Developing a working knowledge of taxonomies that are essential for planning mastery of standards (Blooms and Solo)
- The new language of progress: Developing pupils as advocates of their own learning journeys. How best to articulate and exemplify attainment and progress in the absence of levels.
- More effective approaches to classroom observation-going beyond the OFSTED criteria to establish outstanding practice.
Additionally I can offer quality support for leaders expecting OFSTED inspections in the next twelve months together with the updated ICE (in case of emergency)Pack for Heads-what to reach for when you get the phone call!
Those heads new to post or new to the local area might well be interested in an offer to set up a self help support network in your first year that I am keen to facilitate, or in the Visions and Values package on offer as an INSET day.
Full details of planned courses will be sent to all the schools I currently work with, but if you are not one of those and would like the details please e mail me.
Finally…..if you have not already done so make sure you take a look at the Day Conference on offer from AAIA October 3rd in Bournemouth and book a place for you or one of your staff. Shirley Clarke will be leading the day, supported by Di Pardoe and Tom Robson so it is bound to be good! AAIA SW will again be running a Day Conference at Engineer’s House in Bristol 11th March 2015 so make a date in the diary and watch this space and the AAIA website for further details from December as it is another event not to be missed!!
Enjoy the year! I look forward to working with you all again.