Welcome back to the new school year and to the data checking exercise that the DfE have sent you whilst you were away enjoying a well earned break!
I strongly suspect that your priorities on the first day back with pupils are likely to be firmly focused elsewhere, and rightly so. You have new pupils and staff to greet and settle, a whole new academic year to set the tone for . The important thing is to get the climate right for learning and to set out your vision and redefine your values. Last year was tough. The new curriculum and its proper assessment dominated and uncertainty reigned. A whole year on and you should be in a better place, more equipped to know how to cope and what needs to change if things are to improve.
INSPIR.ED remains committed to supporting you and will be organising networks and INSET throughout the year specifically to explore the things that really make a difference to learning in modern Primary Schools. This year we want to take our successful Mastery Model of Classroom Practice further and develop the understanding of how to deepen and embed new learning. Exploring what that looks like in a range of contexts in quadrant 4 of our model will be a strong focus in 2016/17. Equally important will be our understanding of how to develop Growth Mindsets in our young learners. Carol Dweck’s recent tour underlined how important it is not to treat this at face value . Telling learners they CAN succeed if they just believe it won’t work! There is a whole lot more to the psychology of success, and if we want to reap the benefits of her amazing work we need to train our teachers to use a range of practical approaches in classrooms that set out to teach Growth Mindset and to model and develop the attitudes and behaviours that support the theories.
We are also currently revisiting John Hattie’s invaluable research with reference to his new book and this will inform and influence all the training we develop in the coming months. Watch the calendar for details of upcoming events and network meetings. Visit the site regularly and check the resources section. There is much there to help you but the most recent addition regarding Policy Creation is a particularly helpful document with examples based upon an effective Teaching and Learning Policy. This includes ideas about Mastery and exemplifies what outstanding practice might look like, and leads you through the process of developing sound policy that is owned by all and implemented consistently as a result. Take a look. You won’t be disappointed, and if you are a new Head Teacher just in post, it will give you a wealth of ideas on which to base your leadership.
It will be interesting to see what the new Raise on Line looks like and rest assured we can support you with its interpretation once published. In the meantime, you do need to get your heads around the data checking exercise as it has to be completed by 16th September. Details of the new language of reporting attainment and progress, primary floor standards and coasting definitions are all outlined in the September 2016 Primary School Accountability document available from DfE. Schools with whom I work as a School Professional Partner will receive my simple guide to interpreting the numbers – (those both outside and inside the brackets!) that indicate progress and their statistical significance. If you are not one of those schools and you need help please contact me for the guide.
I wish you all a very successful 2016/17 and would urge you to consider making a late application for the AAIA Annual Conference which will take place in Bournemouth 6-8th October. The usual one day event on the middle day is open to non members and promises to be really buzzing this year. The conference focus is Creating a Learning School and details can be found at https://www.aaia.org.uk/about-us/conference-2016. It’s not too late to book so take a look, and while you are at it why not consider joining this Association for Achievement and Improvement Through Assessment? In it’s 27th year it is the most reliable source of information and inspiration I know.