Having already blogged on why I don't think 'whatever it takes' is always the best way to view intervention, I presented on preventative intervention strategies at Red House School TeachMeet earlier this week. We're in the middle of exam season and there's a lot of last minute pushes, final revision sessions, drop ins and other inteventions. But it's… Continue reading Preventative intervention strategies
I used to believe that'whatever it takes' was a sign of commitment and high expectations. I don't any more. 'Whatever it takes' risks increasing teacher workload for limited gain, allows students to abdicate responsibility for their own learning and can promote a culture of low expectations. Imagine a teacher writing lesson plans outlining what they're doing for every single… Continue reading ‘Whatever it takes’ Some reflections on intervention
'Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid' This quotation tends to lend itself to the idea that curriculum, assessment and differentiation should lead us to expect, and accept, different things for different students due… Continue reading What about the tree? Why knowledge is empowering.
"Inspectors reported concerns about Key Stage 3 in one in five of the routine inspections analysed, particularly in relation to the slow progress made in English and mathematics and the lack of challenge for the most able pupils." (Ofsted, KS3 'The Wasted Years', 2015) When I trained, the common approach to differentiation was to teach to… Continue reading Rethinking differentiation: getting the most out of questions
When looking at examiners' reports at KS5, there's been a welcome move in recent years warning staff not to send students into exams with pre-prepared essay frames, writing templates and other formulaic crutches designed to get students through exams with the minimum of independent thought. Aside from my personal feelings about endless writing frames, they send the message to students… Continue reading Reclaiming KS3: Driving questions for rapid progress
In earlier blog posts I've been exploring the ways that KS3 can be reclaimed to have a positive impact on student achievement over time. Ofsted's document KS3: The Wasted Years explores the issues affecting KS3 at the moment and, to me, gives very clear guidance to schools about what is required for them to be successful. Firstly, Ofsted… Continue reading Rethinking KS3: Early Intervention
In a time when Ofsted no longer grade individual lessons and there's a move towards demonstrating 'progress over time', a new focus for observation, scrutiny and inspection has been identified: marking. The major problem with this focus on marking is that - like when 'Ofsted wants to see...' was the be all and end all of… Continue reading Progress over time: Why there may be still a place for ‘well done’
There's been a lot of focus on KS3 and the role it plays in achievement at KS4. Sometimes I wonder if due to pressures in the upper school, KS3 risks becoming the neglected sibling of KS4/5. It shouldn't be. If KS3 is purposeful, challenging and engaging, the chances of having the progress gaps to be filled… Continue reading Reclaiming KS3: Challenge