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Teaching and Learning Bulletin Issue Ten - October 2015

CONTENTS Stretch and Challenge Excellent Ofsted Progress Guided Independent Study Time (GIST) Rigorous, Robust Assessments

Design by Adam Tate

MAKING EXCELLENT PROGRESS IN OFSTED REPORTS Following a successful Open Evening it was nice to see good news in the local press about the positive progress being made in our quest to return St Chad’s to its respected position of excellent education provision for young people in Runcorn. The Open Evening proved to be an opportunity to show parents and their children the features of school life that sets the school apart from others in the area. Executive head teacher Tony Billings said: “Parents and visitors were able to see expert

teaching methods using a whole school framework for teaching and learning which helps every student stay engaged.” He went on to say “Anyone who enters St Chad’s is struck by the sense of family, high aspirations and the focus on how to make learning fun.”

process. This academic year we have focused attention on ensuring that our sixth form students have opportunities to work independently on work provided by their subject teachers. In sessions entitled GIST students are able to spend dedicated time working at their

own pace to improve or enhance assignments or coursework in the Learning Zone.

The changes have been extremely positive and it is little wonder that St Chad’s has now become a beacon and is being visited by other schools as it showcases continuous improvement.

Blogging Suggested Reading A look back at previous STEEP editions

Guided Independent Study Time (GIST)

One of the key responsibilities of a good school is to provide opportunities for students to become independent learners. “Learning to learn” is a complex process that entails pupils taking responsibility and playing their part within the educational

To contribute to this bulletin please forward any thoughts you have about TEEP or associated topics to

Having additional time in a suitable learning environment will hopefully improve the overall quality of work being produced and encourage students to become better independent learners.

model themselves as planets!

Providing students with challenging opportunities which stretch them to learn more begins early at St Chad’s with a developing programme of transition activities involving our local primary schools. One example of this came at the beginning of October when more than twenty Year 5 students arrived at the school on the morning of Saturday 3rd to participate in the first ever stretch and challenge day at St. Chad’s with Mr Houslay, Miss Brennan and Mr Coyle.

Creating a suitable sound track for a film was the aim of Mr Coyle’s lesson with students impressing him with their knowledge and understanding of all things musical. The students’ efforts were excellent and their enthusiasm contagious, particularly with such challenging lessons to work with. We are already involving how to calculate scales so planning the next primary stretch that they could make scale models and challenge day for February of the distances of the planets from 2016. the earth! They also re-created the

All of the sessions were based around the idea of space and what might be out there! Comets were the focus of Mr Houslay’s lesson and the comets created were very impressive! The maths that students had to work out with Miss Brennan was very taxing -

What everyone should know about... Blogging can take a number of forms; teacher communication, teachers blogging about their subject, students blogging about their subject. They encourage students to debate and actively engage with the content by leaving comments and opinions. Sharing ideas can be motivating. Pupils can link with like-minded people, their ideas may be challenged, and they may need to defend their opinions- ideal for 6th formers preparing for university. Blogging about a subject can be

more encouraging than simply reading a textbook. When blogging, students need to know their subject which encourages a deeper understanding and invites others to engage with their work. With ICT at our fingertips, blogging has never been easier and the sites are usually free and developed for educational use. Weebly, Kidblog and 21publish are simple platforms which guide you through the process of getting set up in a straight forward stress free way.

With careful monitoring from you, and clear guidelines of acceptable use, you and your students will be blogging away in no time. Keep a look out in the next issue for tips about how to set up and get your blog started. Helen Aspinall TEEP Champion Computer Science

Rigorous, Robust Assessments October saw the first of our assessment weeks for this academic year and it is pleasing to report that all went well. It is also pleasing to note that these assessments now carry the necessary rigour and robustness needed to make them a true measure of what students know and have learnt. Having rigorous, robust assessment is the key to being able to show and justify real progress is being made in our teaching and learning. It is also an integral part of helping us demonstrate how effectively we are narrowing the gap in progress between pupils of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

consistent approach that is fit for the Excellence in Assessment purpose lies at the forefront of this (Schools) Award (EiA) – a sign process. that their assessment processes and procedures could be trusted. In 2014, the Chartered Institute In time gaining accreditation could of Educational Assessors (CIEA) help us prove that our internal carried out a small-scale pilot of a assessment process has all the scheme that it was hoped would qualities required to enable us to provide evidence of these crucial demonstrate how much progress facets in internal assessment we are making. programmes. The Excellence in Assessment (Schools) project involved the appraisal of schools’ own particular assessment procedures using a special tool, developed by the Institute, to check that they were rigorous, robust and overall consistent and fit for purpose.

Having a system in place that Schools achieving the expected provides clear assessment results outcome were accredited by has become vital in all schools the CIEA with and in every case developing a


The Teaching & Learning Team The drive for improvements in teaching and learning is at the heart of the work taking place at St Chad’s and key to these improvements has been the role of the Teaching and Learning team. Comprising of members of the senior leadership team and the TEEP Champions the team meet on a regular basis to consider developments in teaching and learning and have since the start of this academic year supported the new members of staff and those who are beginning to develop their TEEP skills for the new year.

The Value of the Having to resit examinations is not something any student wants to have to do. So when we introduced resits for the exams for assessment week one we knew that they would not be exactly popular. However, we know that they will become an important part of the assessment process and that they will encourage students to take these assessments seriously and begin to see them as a crucial element in the process of striving


for improvements. Converting a D grade into a C grade or a fail into a pass is both motivational and confidence boosting.

A look back over previous issues... December 2014

April 2015

July 2015

January 2015

May 2015

September 2015

February 2015

June 2015

March 2015

All previous issues are available for download on the St Chad’s website

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Assessment for Learning Effective use of ICT Working Wall TEEP Lesson Ideas

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Typing or Writing Take-Away Homework You Say, We Pay Ofsted thoughts Collaborative Learning

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Stick Pick Accelerated Learning TEEP Day Three Achievement Ladder Classroom Culture

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TEEP Assemblies ICT to Improve Literacy Dry Wipe Learning Environments Behaviour for Learning

HMI Visit Pupil Voice Pupil Premium CPD TEEP Champions

Google in Exams Changing Mindsets Reading to Teenagers The Insight Parent Portal The Power of Reading

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The Journey so far Presenting new information Thinking to Learn

Summer TEEP Training Powtoon Reading Improves Learning You Say, We Do! Dining Room Changes

PiXL Club Walking, Talking Mocks Six Word Sentences Active Learners Insight Parent Portal Update

SUGGESTED READING Rafe Esquith is an American teacher. His school, Hobart Elementary, serves some of the most deprived communities in Los Angeles. Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire documents his approach to “turning kids on to the wonder of learning and the power of imagination”. His book is a reminder that deprivation can never be an excuse for failure. However, unlike much modern day rhetoric on school improvement, his voice counters the argument for a prevalence of tests and assessments. Instead, he puts forward with much humour and candour the case for a valuescentred approach to learning, that is both about teaching children to read and write and about helping them to “become better human

beings”. This book contains an array of quotes that remind teachers that teaching is a special, precious profession. They include: “Never compare one student’s test score to another’s. Always measure a child’s progress against her past performance. There will always be a better reader, mathematician, or baseball player. Our goal is to help each student become as special as she can be as an individual-not to be more special than the kid sitting next to her” and “There are so many charlatans in the world of education. They teach for a couple of years, come up with a few clever slogans, build their websites, and hit the lecture circuit. In this fastfood-society, simple solutions to complex problems are embraced far too often. We can do better. I

hope that people who read this book realize that true excellence takes sacrifice, mistakes, and enormous amounts of effort. After all, there are no shortcuts.” Rafe Esquith

The STEEP Learning Curve - Issue 10 October 2015  

by St Chad's Catholic & Church of England High School

The STEEP Learning Curve - Issue 10 October 2015  

by St Chad's Catholic & Church of England High School