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Teaching and Learning Bulletin Issue Six - May 2015


GOVERNORS RISE TO THE CURRICULUM CHALLENGE! On Saturday 25th April the Governing Body rose early, not to spend the day in the sun, but to discuss the curriculum that they want for St.Chad’s. These are exciting times as we embrace the large number of local and national changes facing the education system in collaboration with All

Design by Adam Tate

Following a well-deserved break staff and students returned to school with new energy and purpose prepared to continue the good work identified during HM Inspectors visit in March. The first key step for the final term of the academic year involved the third

SEF lesson observation week which took place during the last week of April. With involvement again from staff from All Hallows our national support school the week once more proved to be a useful stepping stone towards the improvements being made.

Hallows, our National Support School.

for the curriculum for September 2015 using the software used to draw up the timetable and saw how this was used to identify the required staffing levels to deliver the curriculum.

The governors experienced a TEEP style training session on Curriculum and Timetable delivered by Mr Lear and Mrs Burke. During the course of the morning, as well as learning firsthand about TEEP strategies used in school, the governors were able to state their ambitious aims for an outstanding curriculum within our individual context as a faith based school. Marie Tierney, Chair of Governors said, “Governors were asked to line up by the back wall of the classroom in order of month of birth, we were then asked to sit at tables in the same order. As the slides were shown we were given various tasks to discuss including, what an outstanding curriculum looks like, sounds like and feels like and what we would like on a wish list for the curriculum. We were introduced to the raising hands technique to connect with the teacher routine at the end of each discussion time. We discussed at length the proposals

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Our exit task was to answer at least one of the four questions on the final slide which tested us on what we had learnt. Whilst giving us lots of information about how the curriculum and timetable are put together we also had the “TEEP” experience which was very enlightening.”

understand the family backgrounds of their students and improve their job satisfaction. Most importantly it can help to boost the reputation of the school and their role in the community.

A great deal of research has been carried out into the impact of involving parents in a child’s education. For the child, children whose parents are kept informed about their progress tend to achieve more, regardless of ethnic or racial background, socioeconomic status, or parents’ education level. They get better grades, consistently complete more homework, have better self-esteem, are more disciplined and have higher aspirations. Their positive attitude to school often results in better behaviour and they are able to face the transitions between key stages of their education better.

them more responsive to their social, emotional and intellectual developmental needs. It can make them more confident parents and they are able to use affection and positive reinforcement to encourage their child’s progress more effectively. It can help parents to understand the role of the teacher and how the school is organised and will make them more responsive to teacher’s requests for support. Overall it can help to build better ties between the parents and the teachers.

For the teachers and the school it can raise staff morale and help to develop greater respect for the teaching profession and improve the For the parents their interaction communication between teachers with their child’s education makes and parents. Teachers can better


You can use this as a lesson starter to establish pupils’ understanding of a subject area by asking ‘What has Mr. Wrong got Wrong?’. The idea is the pupils can explain why he’s wrong and give the correct answer, therefore showing how well they understand the concept. By knowing the aspects of a concept which would be deemed as being correct, they can produce ‘wrong ideas’. Try it out, it can be good fun.

With this in mind St Chad’s have had a close look at their current parental learning gateway and decided that it does not provide the access and usability to encourage positive parental engagement. Therefore a new parental portal is now in place which will offer parents greater access to their children’s attendance details, behaviour and achievement records and the assessments they have completed. It will also help a parent to better understand the progress their child is making, provide them with the ability to book appointments for parent’s evenings as well offering a wide range of useful information such as details about the child’s timetable and important school notices. A parent’s workshop for INSIGHT is scheduled for 5th May so we will report back on this in our next issue.




in a world of new technology and perhaps engaging young people to read through the use of technology may be the best way forward for some of our youngsters. The second of our recommended books is ‘Engaging adolescents in reading’ by John Guthrie. This insightful book shows educators how to: »» »» »»

READING s r e g a n e e t o t

There are a number of themes in this month’s edition of The Steep Learning Curve, but two of the key features are reading and parental engagement. These lead nicely Infuse reading assignments with into a discussion about whether reading with your child is still significance and meaning. Present choices that encourage important when they reach their students to take charge of their teenager years. On this point a recent survey in the United States learning. Tap into adolescents’ social that led to the publication of the natures through group activities. ‘Kids and Family Reading Report’ Build proficiency and confidence found that only 17% of parents of children ages 9–11 read aloud to in struggling readers. their children. Yet 83% of children ages 6–17 say being read to is something they either loved or liked a lot.

Successive governments in the UK »» have attempted to address the need for young children to read correctly and perhaps more importantly want to read both for learning and for pleasure. With a raft of research pointing to the advantages of being able to read they have expressed the need for an effective reading programme in our school’s for a number of years. So why has the need to read become such an emotive issue? The fact is that an inability to read well risks a life of poverty and a struggle for too many of today’s children and a widening It is always good to have something gap is developing between those to discuss in the staff room and this who can read effectively and those week a debate has been raging who cannot. following an article that featured in the Guardian newspaper entitled In September as a further way of ’Google should be allowed in improving the quality of teaching exams’. The suggestion had come and learning at St Chads’ a reading from Mark Dawe, chief executive programme will be introduced of the OCR exam board who told which will provide all students with the Today programme on Radio 4 dedicated reading time. that allowing access to the Internet in tests, including GCSEs and With this in mind we are including A-levels, reflects the way students two books in our suggested learn and was “inevitable”. But research feature. The first is by the comments led to criticism from Stephen Krashen and is called Chris McGovern, chairman of the ‘The Power of Reading’. In this Campaign for Real Education, book the author looks at the who said the idea would lead to a research surrounding reading “dumbing down of standards”. The incentive/rewards programs and debate is certainly an interesting specifically at the research on AR one and one that will continue (Accelerated Reader) and other to raise its head as technology electronic reading products. It is continues to become a major part important to remember that we live of our lives in the coming decades.




As we embark on our school reading programme in the next academic school year a challenge we will undoubtably face is engaging our older students and developing them as active readers. Reading to them or with them is still an acceptable way of encouraging them to become enthusiastic readers. It is also important to note that often teenagers who are disengaged when it comes to rewarding have often found it difficult to learn to read at an early age. So clearly the key is to develop the skills at an early age, encourage them to read as often as possible and read to them to help demonstrate your own love of reading.

Having spent time developing the skills of our teaching staff as they adopt the new TEEP learning cycle it is important to reflect on the role of the learner in this process so that they can make the best progress possible. This can often be a difficult task as it can in some cases involve changing a learning mindset. Students with a fixed mindset believe their intelligence and talent are fixed traits that cannot be

improved. Therefore they are less likely to try to develop these traits. They believe that their talent and intelligence should not require effort and they lack perseverance when faced with difficult challenges. They think that the need for a lot of effort means that they are not clever enough and therefore it is better to not try and risk failure or to look foolish in front of their friends. Learning to be resilient learners is the key to adapting to

SUGGESTED RESEARCH Continuing the case for free voluntary reading set out in the book’s 1993 first edition, this new, updated, and much-looked-for second edition explores new research done on the topic in the last ten years as well as looking anew at some of the original research reviewed. Krashen also explores research surrounding the role of school and public libraries and the research indicating the necessity of a print-rich environment that provides light reading (comics, teen romances, magazines) as well as the best in literature to assist in educating children to read with understanding and in second language acquisition. He looks at the research surrounding reading incentive/ rewards programs and specifically at the research on AR (Accelerated Reader) and other electronic reading products.

the new demands they face and being prepared to take risks. So what is the difference? Those students who have a growth mindset believe that their talent and intelligence can be increased through effort and by working hard at a task. Therefore they love learning, enjoy challenges and they persevere towards their long-term goals. They do not see mistakes or errors as failure, but as feedback for how to improve and succeed. They believe effort to learn difficult tasks increases their intelligence. The challenge for St Chad’s is to remove the barriers some students feel they have ahead of them and to develop a true culture for learning as we approach a new school year and our second phase of the TEEP programme. The mindset wall is a useful prompt for students and would make a good feature in all classrooms.

Teachers in secondary schools regularly face students who are unmotivated to engage in essential classroom reading assignments. Beginning with an examination of the reasons students avoid such reading assignments, this resource aims to arm teachers with solutions. Written by teachers, in collaboration with John Guthrie, renowned researcher Engaging Adolescents in Reading depicts five vital classroom practices for engaging adolescents in reading. Each practice is linked to a key motivational quality such as interest, ownership, confidence, collaboration, and the desire to understand texts fully. These motivational strategies can be initiated immediately in any subject matter that involves books and texts, and can become the foundation of a renewed structure for teaching in a school.

The Steep Learning Curve - Issue Six  

St Chad's Catholic and Church of England High School - The Steep Learning Curve - TEEP Bulletin

The Steep Learning Curve - Issue Six  

St Chad's Catholic and Church of England High School - The Steep Learning Curve - TEEP Bulletin