Continuing professional development

With Christmas a mere five days away and the cold starting to bite, it’s hard to believe we were having a late summer heatwave on those first few days of term in September. A lot has happened since then – both in Southwark and the world outside – and, as is traditional at this time of year, I thought it worth a quick look back on the autumn term that was.

school-visits-autumn-2016

Since taking up post in September, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting primary, secondary and special schools across the borough and beyond (as indicated by the stars on the map). I am very grateful to the headteachers who have welcomed me and shared the many exciting things going on in their schools. An important task in the months ahead is to ensure we become more effective in identifying, signposting and spreading excellent practice wherever it is found, so that it impacts on as many learners as possible. If there’s something good going on in your school you’d like to share, please get in touch.

Other highlights of the term include:

Initial Teacher Training

  • Our Schools Direct partnership, led by John Donne, doing better than the national average (of 30,000 places awarded from 65,000 bid) to secure 18 of the 25 places they requested for trainees this year

Continuing Professional Development and Leadership Development

  • Launch of a new Middle Leaders’ Programme, being offered in partnership with UCL/IOE
  • Holding the first two of seven sessions in our second cycle of Leading Impact – NPQSL, run in partnership with Ambition School Leadership (formerly The Future Leaders Trust)
  • Securing money from the NCTL Leadership Equality and Diversity Fund to launch two programmes for female leaders; one for serving heads and executive heads exploring Headship Beyond One School, and the other for Senior Leaders contemplating their next steps towards headship
  • Shorter courses led by our Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) on fabulous phonics, spelling in the new curriculum and pupil wellbeing, among others

School-to-school support

  • SLEs using their expertise to provide bespoke support to schools in Southwark, Smethwick and Uganda in topics ranging from phonics to SEND to school business management
  • Ongoing success of our pilot peer review cluster, with a second round of visits prompting detailed scrutiny, deep thinking and development of improvement plans in areas identified by hosting headteachers
  • Working with Mime and Southwark Council to give all Southwark primary schools access to data about how their pupils do at secondary school
  • Our first headteacher hot topic session, considering collective approaches to recruitment and retention, with key proposals being taken forward by Southwark Council

Research and development

  • Being one of only 11 schools/TSAs accepted (from 158 who bid) for funding as part of the workload challenge. The money will support a project involving 8 schools to examine the impact on pupil outcomes and teacher workload of dropping written marking in favour of verbal feedback
  • Continuation of the Connecting Knowledge Project with UCL/IOE and nine schools in Lambeth and Southwark – using Lesson Study to explore strategies to raise attainment in writing for disadvantaged children

Huge thanks to all the schools in our alliance who have contributed to such a successful autumn term. I look forward to working with you to widen and deepen our partnership and impact on pupil outcomes in 2017.

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recruitment-and-retention-pictureOn 8 November a group of headteachers came together to consider how to meet the challenges we face around the recruitment and retention of great teachers and leaders in Southwark. By the end of the morning we had a good grasp of the issues; some ideas to tackle them; and the suggestion of forming a working party to develop the best ideas further.

We started the morning with an overview from Derek Boyle from the Pan-London Strategy Group for ITT who shared figures suggesting that at the time of the last school workforce census, there were only 3 full-time teaching vacancies and 13 posts filled temporarily in the whole of Southwark! Recognising that this presents a far from accurate picture and says nothing of the appointments made simply to have someone in post, regardless of suitability, Derek encouraged us to all fill in these (non-mandatory) fields in the next school workforce census, as it is where the Department for Education and Ministers get their data from. No wonder they keep asking “what crisis?”

What we do know from the Southwark data, presented by Cara Cahill from Southwark Council, is that we are not holding onto all our initial teacher trainees and have particular challenges in retaining teachers and middle leaders who are 3-7 years qualified. Some of this is explained by the absence of affordable housing for teachers reaching the stage in life where they want a decent family home and we need to keep the pressure on our councillors and the GLA to address this pan-London issue, as well as thinking creatively about what we can do ourselves.

Simon Wattam, co-head at John Donne Primary School and Schools Direct partnership lead, revealed that the partnership was only awarded 18 of the 25 places requested for this year’s recruitment – though this represents a higher success rate than the national picture of 30,000 places awarded against 65,000 requested. Getting more (all) Southwark schools involved in the partnership would be a good way of securing a bigger supply of teacher trainees for the borough.

On retention, Cassie Buchanan, headteacher at Charles Dickens Primary School, explained how she uses flexible working as one way to keep good teachers and middle leaders. Tim Mills, headteacher at Angel Oak Academy, shared the benefits of offering fully-funded MAs (plus study leave and the chance to leave early on MA days) in attracting and retaining a certain type of teacher to his school.

By the end of the morning, we had distilled from our speakers and discussions a set of “ideas with legs” to explore further with a wider group of heads, including:

  • Development of a collective approach (and collective “buying” power) on things like recruitment, ITT and a Southwark masters. The aim would be to benefit from having a bigger voice and economies of scale, while celebrating what is special and unique about each Southwark school.
  • A single portal for anyone looking to teach in Southwark to make it easier for them to navigate the confusing plethora of routes in, and to sell the many positives of a career in teaching (without hiding the realities around the need for hard work and resilience to realise these).
  • Tackling non-schools-based issues, like housing, and looking at the “offer” for Southwark teachers and leaders drawing on the many resources and opportunities across the borough (e.g. discounted gym membership, access to cultural institutions etc.).

In the coming weeks, Southwark Teaching School Alliance and the Council will be considering the best way to work with a wider group of Southwark heads – including existing headteacher groups – to develop these ideas further. If you’d like to find out more or get involved, please email kate.chhatwal@southwarktsa.co.uk.

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After a whirlwind seven weeks as the new Director of Southwark Teaching School Alliance (STSA), half term offers a moment to pause and reflect. The questions at the forefront of my mind were posed recently by a new-to-Southwark headteacher who asked what STSA is and where it fits in the wider Southwark landscape. The answers are beginning to take shape.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) defines teaching schools as:

“outstanding schools that work with others to provide high-quality training and development to new and experienced school staff. They are part of the government’s plan to give schools a central role in raising standards by developing a self-improving and sustainable school-led system”.

There are two of these at the heart of Southwark Teaching School Alliance: Charles Dickens Primary School and Crampton Primary School.

NCTL goes on to explain how “teaching school alliances are led by a teaching school and include schools that are benefiting from support, as well as strategic partners [which may include other schools, universities, multi-academy trusts, diocese, local authorities and private sector organisations] who lead some aspects of training and development”.

In reality, every teaching school alliance is organised and operates differently. All commit to delivering the “big 3” – initial teacher training (ITT), continuing professional development (CPD), and school-to-school support, with research a strand that runs throughout. But how they do so is a matter for them.

Within STSA, ITT takes the form of a salaried Schools Direct partnership led by John Donne Primary School and a non-salaried scheme based at Crampton Primary School. CPD for teachers, teaching assistants, and business and support staff is led by Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) drawn from seven schools across the borough. Leadership development programmes are provided in partnership with the UCL Institute of Education and The Future Leaders Trust. School-to-school support takes a variety of forms, from structured peer reviews using a model developed by the Education Development Trust, to consultancy from our three National Leaders of Education (NLEs) and 13 SLEs, to termly sessions where headteachers can work together on issues of common interest (our next being on recruitment and retention). Over time we expect all strands to be underpinned by and/or contribute to research into what drives the most effective practice.

What we do at STSA provides only part of the answer to the question of what STSA is; the other parts come from understanding why and how we do what we do. The answer to why lies in our vision of:

“a community where every child and young person is nurtured and challenged to flourish in all aspects of their life – academic, cultural, personal and social”.

It is about development of the whole child, through excellence across the whole curriculum and all aspects of school life. It is about impact on children’s and young people’s life chances.

How we go about doing that is described in our mission, which is:

“To build a strong community of impactful teachers and leaders based on the sharing and development of practitioner excellence and evidence-based practice”.

That sense of “community” and “sharing” in our mission, and “alliance” in our name is crucial; it is about doing with, not doing to. Our strategic leads shape our areas of focus, but they do not have all the answers. STSA will only succeed if it continues to bring together a wide range of schools to develop and improve alongside each other, drawing on expertise that already exists in schools across the borough, and creating new best practice through purposeful collaboration. Ultimately, STSA is whatever those schools who engage in the alliance make it.

The answer to where STSA fits within the wider Southwark landscape is, for now, less clear – largely because that landscape is itself evolving. In the short-term we are working with the council, as well as schools, to ensure that between us we cater coherently for the needs of Southwark learners, schools and their staff. Beyond that, we look forward to playing our part in shaping the landscape of the future, realising fully our potential to provide a forum for collaboration and action that strengthens and benefits all Southwark schools and the children and young people they serve.

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At STSA we are always looking at ways to support schools in involving parental engagement.  We are now beginning to create a network of practitioners who are involved in working with parents and we are beginning to meet regularly meet to share good practice.  If you are interested in joining this group, please email enquiriesstsa@gmail.com.  Below is an account of a current research based parental engagement project which looked at the benefits of family learning.

 

Learning Together – at Charles Dickens Primary School!

 

Since January 2016, we have been running the Learning Together programme.  This is an exciting and effective programme to support both pupils and parents in learning together.  The aim of the programme is to provide learning opportunities for both the parent and the pupil to be involved in.  Parents have welcomed the opportunity to have time to spend 1:1 time with their child and to learn about strategies that can improve children’s learning.  The children have also really enjoyed the sessions and have enjoyed sharing their learning with their parents.

 

Here are some examples of sessions that we ran. For our first session we all worked together to create some origami masterpieces.  We had lots of fun creating dogs, cats and even penguins!  The children really enjoyed themselves and learnt a lot about following origami instructions.  It was a challenge as they had to fold the paper carefully and use their reading skills to follow the instructions.   Other creative workshops have included decorating mugs, decorating plates and making baskets.

 

To develop ICT skills Mr Bakas ran a session on the best Apps for Ipads and the children and parents worked together to create animations.  We also spent a number of sessions concentrating on puzzles by creating our own jigsaws and wordsearches.

 

We have also spent a lot of sessions working on cooking skills and many of the parents have led these sessions.  We have made pancakes, banana fritters, fruit salad, coconut ice and papaya and avocado smoothies.  Cooking is a wonderful way for parents to support children’s learning as it involves many skills.  For example, children need to be able to read and write recipes and measure out ingredients.

 

 

 

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Over the last 10 years the skills, tools and techniques from NLP have been increasingly useful for teachers in the classroom and with parents and colleagues. NLP can have a real impact on learning to learn and teaching, enabling teachers to become more reflective and skilful leaders of learning’.

Techniques taught in the Evolution NLP for Teachers’ Workshops are highly effective in supporting teachers with an understanding of how the brain works, and how learning happens best. NLP is helpful in a range of leadership activities, as well as in managing and supporting pupils directly. The skills are extremely useful in self management and helping develop a wealth of positive resources to support delivery at a high level.
NLP Development

NLP was developed using scientific methodology and is delivered by the Evolution Trainers in an open and approachable manner. NLP teaches you easy to follow clear methodologies and procedures to ensure that our courses will bring positive change, understanding and personal development.

Some of The Benefits for Teachers from Learning NLP

• Teachers are able to create rapport easily and consistently
• NLP builds resilience in teachers
• NLP supports learning to learn strategies
• Exclusion rates fall rapidly as support staff have more tools and techniques to use

At EVOLUTION TRAINING we have had 17 years of experience in training to individuals and all sizes of organisations, including many schools and colleges, in ‘how to’ techniques that work and let you see how to do things differently.

We work in partnership with schools to deliver the NLP content dovetailed to the schools needed and outcomes. Our key question is ‘What do you want your staff to be able to do that they are not doing now?’

With the help of our training you can develop highly effective teachers and it is easier than you could imagine

NLP for Teachers with Roger Terry

Testimonials

‘Lots of tools and techniques to help me with my teaching and classroom behaviour management ’
Claire – AST
‘The most valuable training I have ever had. It will help me, and it will help me make my team be more effective’
Andrea – Head of Support Staff
‘Through the years, Evolution Training Ltd. has been on time and on budget with their projects for our company. I recommend them without hesitation and will hire them again.’
Richard Churches, – CfBT Education Consultant
NLP for Teachers training day – 7th May at Surrey Square Primary School

Programme
Introduction
o Modelling excellence
o Mind body link
Rapport Skills
o Read the signs
o Rapport Principles and exercises
o Group Rapport and exercises
Communication model
o How the brain processes incoming information
o Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic modes an NLP perspective
o Techniques for engagement
Managing behaviour in the classroom
o Conditioning behaviour
o State control
o Stage anchors

Our courses are comprised of short talks and practical exercises designed with NLP and accelerated learning in mind. To allow you learn and practice the skills so that you can put what you have learned into practice immediately.
Roger Terry CBiol MBS, INLPTA – Director of Training and Development

Roger Terry is a leader in the application of NLP to realise both professional & personal excellence. With twenty years experience and the rare accolade of International NLP Master Trainer, he can truly be referred to as an expert in the science. He has the benefit of both scientific and organisational backgrounds, which are much in evidence in the construction and concise delivery that is the hallmark of all his training. He engenders new strategies and mindsets, provides powerful, thought-provoking practical experiences, which create profound advances in communication skills, self confidence and personal development. His enthusiastic and forthright manner drives the sessions and brings out the very best in his delegates.

Among the books he has written are “NLP for Teachers” (nominated for the Education Resources Award 2008 – Best Primary & Secondary Resource) – now published in at least 8 languages, and his latest publication “The NLP Toolkit “(2010) Roger was deeply involved in research into NLP for teachers. During this ground-breaking project, he designed, ran and collated the results from the NLP for Teachers Fast-track training provided for the DFE by the CfBT international education charity. These results were used by Richard Churches & John West-Burnham in the paper-”Leading learning through relationships: the implications of Neuro Linguistic Programming for personalisation and the children’s agenda in England.”

Date: 7th May

Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm

Location: Surrey Square Primary School, Surrey Square, London SE17 2JY

Cost: £50

Refreshments and lunch will be provided

An e-mail will be sent to you confirming a place.

Closing date: Friday 29th April 2016

 

Sign up via the link below:

http://goo.gl/forms/LcRmNVbDEI

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STSA are offering two FREE sessions on effective leadership. These sessions will be run by Nicola Noble and Liz Robinson (NLE) both highly experienced trainers and headteachers. At each session they will be providing support on a variety of topics and participants will be able to choose which are the most appropriate sessions for them:

Session 1 will include support on the following:

Organisation – How to ensure effective time management.
Planning ahead to ensure impact.
Diary management/planning

Making things happen – action planning

Managing conflict

Date and time: 26th April 3.45 – 5.15pm
Session 2 will include support on the following:

Work/life balance
Prioritising and working smart

Date and time: 7th June 3.45 – 5.15pm

This course would be very suitable for anyone new to leadership or about to take a leadership role in the next academic year.

Location: Surrey Square Primary School, London SE17 2JY

Book now via the link below!

 

http://goo.gl/forms/yDUsJ53IKc

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‘Supporting children with SEND –  Strategies to develop early learning and communication.’

SEN

This term STSA ran a session on ‘Supporting children with SEND –  Strategies to develop early learning and communication.’  The session was run by Shona Morgan and covered the following:

Early learning – overview of EYFS and small steps to learning.

Developing an understanding of target setting and appropriate strategies .

Use of signs and symbols to support language development – including an introduction to Makaton.

A practical session about how to apply the above learning to a mainstream setting including the opportunity to plan for any SEND children in the class you are currently working with.

The course had excellent feedback and we look forward to repeating this course next year.

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Maths course photoDay two of the STSA Outstanding Maths beyond the NQT year course was again packed with learning.  Students reflected on their gap tasks and discussed the impact that the course had had on their teaching so far.  As well as looking closely at differentiation and planning, the topics covered were:

  • Challenge & Engagement – instilling a sense of awe and wonder in mathematics
  • Teaching Calculation
  • Assessment and Feedback – marking for personalised progress.

Feedback from the course was again very positive.   Here are just a few of the quotes:

“I found the differentiation for high attainers very very useful”

“Questioning ideas – great! Especially pose, pause, pounce,bounce.”

“I enjoyed seeing the practical maths in KS1 with lots of focus on vocab.”

 

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Making Every Lesson Count

Outstanding Mathematics – Beyond the NQT Year (Key Stage 1 and 2)

STSA

“I have learnt lots of practical ideas that I can use in class. Also really interesting talking to other teachers in Year 1. Lesson observation was most useful.” (Course participant)

On 6th October Charles Dickens Primary School hosted the first day of a the STSA course : Outstanding Mathematics – Beyond the NQT Year (Key Stage 1 and 2).

This is an exciting three day course for teachers at the start of their career focusing on effective teaching and learning with a Mathematics focus. Each day consists of a whole lesson observation, taught subject knowledge, practical activities, quick wins and reflection time with colleagues.

The facilitators of the course are Dan Huxley (Head of Maths at Charles Dickens Primary School) and Jemima Rhys Evans (Lead Practitioner at Charles Dickens Primary School)- both are outstanding experienced teachers with significant experience of mentoring new teachers to outstanding levels of teaching and learning.

Day 1 was packed with learning and covered the following key areas along with a lesson observation:

  • Talk for maths and collaborative learning
  • Rigour in mathematical vocabulary
  • Effective starters and developing outstanding mental maths
  • Identifying areas for further reading and experimentation.

Here are just a selection of quotes we got during feedback after day 1

“I have learnt lots of practical ideas that I can use in class. Also really interesting talking to other teachers in Year 1. Lesson observation was most useful.”

“Observing the lesson was GREAT! Theory in action.”

“Really useful to see the AfL techniques in the lesson I watched as I never know how to use AfL on the hoof.”

“I now have lots of really good ideas for starters and mains”

“Very insightful and interesting to see how other schools work. Thank you.”

What makes this course different?

The success of this course is down to a number of factors including the opportunity for participants to observe real lessons by real teachers. The course is also facilitated by two, highly experienced trainers.   These trainers are also class teachers, and so participants can trust that their suggestions have been tried and tested in the classroom.  The course also engages participants in action research through gap tasks which are set after each session.

Alongside all of this, the course is linked to the effective coaching and mentoring course as part of the Making Every Lesson Count programme. Schools can opt to send teachers on both courses so that those on the coaching course can coach those on the Maths course. (We are very grateful to the Local Authority for subsidising both of these courses.)

For now, we are really excited to see what day 2 brings and to hear how all the participants have got on with their gap tasks!

 

 

 

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phonics

Full on phonics!

As part of our provision for Schools Direct Students in the Southwark Teaching School Alliance, we offer a supplementary programme of courses. The first of these courses was an introduction to teaching phonics for students.

The course focused on developing students’ phonics subject knowledge and explored a range of activities to support the teaching of phonics throughout Key Stage 1.

Students were also taught how to plan for, and assess, progression through the phonics phases.

This course was led by Ruth Dollner who was Regional Adviser for London on the Communication Language and Literacy Programme which launched ‘Letters and Sounds’.

Feedback from the students:

“I am currently two weeks into my schools direct course and I think this has been an excellent introduction to phonics. I feel much more comfortable surrounding phonics and how / why they’re used.”

“Excellent practical ideas for lessons, clear overview of expectations (progress and assessment).”

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