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May 2016

Issue 29

Moving Forward with

Assessment

& Feedback 6

16

10

ravery

Mock Feedback

The Jaffa Cake Conundrum

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Issue 29: May 2016

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From the Editor

4 A Beginner’s Guide to EAL learners

Diane Leedham writes her introductory guide to help you support EAL learners in your class and school.

6 Now More Than Ever, We Need Bravery

Conor Heaven sounds out a battle cry asking teachers to be brave and take the correct decisions for their students in the face of adversity.

7 Choosing a Quizzing System

James Abela explores how technology can be used to get instant feedback and data using quizzes in the classroom.

8 Poetry Slam

Graham Chisnell explains how you can engage your students with poetry by making it interactive through performance and recitals.

10 The Jaffa Cake Conundrum: Writing Less, Better

Michael Smyth explores a sweet writing technique to improve the composition of your students work.

13 ICTmagic Edtech Resources 14 Two Stars and Wishful Thinking?

Julian Lewis shares his experience of engaging pupils with SEN in their own assessment and gives ideas for all teachers to try.

15 Assessment - Who needs assessing then?

Nick Overton discusses the reasons behind why teachers assess and how a particular ethos can send you down a different assessment path.

16 Mock Feedback

David Carpenter shares his insight of feedback discussing activities to bring a personal and bespoke experience to his students.

20 If you want to beat them, join them: exam boards Chris Eyre discusses the advantages of becoming an exam board examiner and how this can help you gain CPD opportunities.

22 Turning the School Yard, into a Farm Yard, into a School Curriculum

Hayley Simpkin returns to update us about what is happening down on the school farm and how their are developing the curriculum.

24 UKEd Resource How to plot a line graph Contact & Social Media

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Some super heroes have the ability to fly, while others have great strength or speed. Yet there is a super heroes sense that all teachers must develop which mere mortals from outside the profession fail to comprehend. Instant x-ray assessment vision. Together with feedback, formative assessment is one of the main aspects of teaching. But, assessment and feedback is a complicated topic. As well as every teacher having their own view on what are the best methods for a given situation, each school has a different approach, with Governments and other agencies also exerting their influence. In this issue of UKED Magazine we hone your super powers of assessment and feedback to find out where you and your students have been, where they are now, and where you will journey next. Martin Burrett @ICTmagic - Editor

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Contributors

Diane Leedham @dileed Conor Heaven @ConorHeaven James Abela @eslweb Graham Chisnell @chizkent Michael Smyth @tlamjs Julian Lewis @JulianRLewis Nick Overton @nickotkdV @UKEd_EMids David Carpenter @dizzleeducation Nicole Brown @ncjbrown Sally Johnstone @Sally_Johnstone Raymond Gallagher @HDHSenglish Chris Eyre @chris_eyre Howard Pitler @hpitler Jo Gibbs @mrsjgibbs Tammie Prince @Ed_Tmprince Hayley Simpkin @pipkinzoo Claire Loizos @primary_sci

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A Beginner ’s Guide to EAL learners By Diane Leedham One of the most stimulating aspects of teaching EAL learners is that, whatever your experience and acquired expertise with one particular EAL pupil group or context, any one of us can quickly feel like a rookie again in relation to a different EAL pupil demographic or individual EAL pupil situation. So although this guide may seem aimed at new teachers or those teaching EAL children for the first time, it could equally be relevant for readers who are encountering EAL learners with different languages and/or ethnicities and/or fluencies or someone taking up leadership responsibility for EAL and needing to think more strategically. Step One: Recognise the unbearable lightness of labels EAL learners are not all the same. What do you need to know about an EAL learner in your class? • Current fluency in English and individual language targets appropriate for fluency stage. For an absolute beginner these may relate to speaking and listening only. • How long they have been learning English (remember it takes 5+ years to reach age related fluency for most). • L1 fluency/fluencies and L1 literacy/literacies. This helps you judge when L1 will support learning English or be a pragmatic choice to capture curriculum understanding ahead of current expressive English fluency bit.ly/ uked16may01. • Prior education and in what context. No point translating something a child has never studied and you don’t want to miss the chance to velcro learning in English onto what they have already achieved in another language. • Context : ethnicity, cultural background, socio economic factors, social emotional factors, any additional needs – just as varied as any monolingual learner.

04 UKED Magazine

EAL as a pupil descriptor incorporates a very broad pupil group. Each of the areas above will vary across individual learner profiles and impact on both the provision needed at any one time and progress – though it’s important to remember that if an EAL learner does not make faster progress than

monolingual peers they will never catch up long term. The most effective EAL assessment captures the essentials from a more detailed profile for mainstream teachers and ensures they are provided with individual English fluency targets suitable for their teaching subject. This helps identify differentiation needed. It’s a challenge for EAL leadership to make sure individual teachers are not trying to second guess these details at the same time as teaching. Step Two: Establish big picture priorities for curriculum planning and delivery. Don’t be a top tips junkie without relating strategies to a rationale for EAL differentiation. EAL Learners need the following three things but different EAL learners will need adjustments according to the fluency of their receptive and expressive English and their prior experience of education. • comprehensible input: make the curriculum content as understandable as you can via key visuals, diagrams, concrete objects and experience. • appropriate cognitive challenge : create opportunities for EAL learners to show what they know and understand ahead of their expressive English fluency. These will be most important when English is least fluent. It’s when collaborative learning collaborativelearning.org and the use of images and activities like card sorts are so essential. • Language Development: EAL learners need to learn English via your subject content with models and scaffolding matched to their current English fluency. Learning new vocabulary is an important part of this process but not enough without consideration of the collocations, idioms and language structures used.

EAL

learners are not all the same


National Centre for Citizenship and the Law National Centre for Citizenship and the Law

Make the curriculum content as understandable as you can via key visuals, diagrams, concrete objects and experience

The EAL Nexus site eal.britishcouncil.org models practical approaches and resources for all three aspects of differentiation for different fluencies and contexts. Look out for their Great Ideas pages. It’s important to collaborate as much as you can. There is no need to plan a different lesson for every EAL child but collective conversations about the language demands of your current SoW and a divvy up production of adaptable templates and key visuals saves individual teachers time and stress. It also means that you can liaise more effectively with any available support to prep ahead of the lesson and consolidate after. Step Three: Draw upon external resources and support networks. Not many schools have EAL support available via LAs any more but do explore what is available via your local and regional school networks. Try not to just download uncritically but discuss theory and practice in your school context and advocate for targeted CPD when necessary. NALDIC naldic.org.uk is the EAL Subject Association and the site links to an associated Google group community where you can post questions. EAL MESH bit.ly/uked16may02 collates strategies in relation to research. NASSEA bit.ly/uked16may03 has one example of a very accessible approach to EAL assessment. Supplementary Schools bit.ly/uked16may04 and local community groups can be very helpful with insights about language, culture and overseas curriculum as well as possible bilingual support for translation and interpretation.

Diane Leedham @dileed is an independent teacher, consultant, trainer and writer, specialising in English, Literacy and EAL and multilingualism. She has more than 30 years experience in teaching, teacher development/ training and subject/school leadership, EYFS to KS5. Read her blog flexilingual.wordpress.com.

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Now more than ever, we need

ravery

Mention assessment without levels, reception baselines, a new curriculum and new end of Key Stage tests and Teacher Assessment and any teacher will inevitably tell you the biggest impact of all of these changes: bigger workload. What else did the government expect? We would like you to completely change the curriculum. Does anyone remember any training, resources or planning? We want you to find the time and resources to test all four year olds, plus you can choose which provider. Should we even do this? Do we agree with it in principle? Well, if we must… oh, they’ve been scrapped! We would also like you to not just change your assessment systems but create your own. pardon? Finally, we are going to drip feed information slowly, confusingly and terrifyingly late and send positive messages through from the DfE about it informing you that you are great but you’re wrong.

ressure

In a world of high stakes testing and accountability, and with the threat of inspections around the corner, a range of initiatives and administration can be introduced with the aim of chasing an outstanding grade. We need to be brave leaders, schools and teachers who truly reflect on our moral compass when decision making. If you need to talk about inspections when doing this, you’re on the wrong track. I hear of so many teachers drowning in their workload. Workload created from policies aimed at pleasing the Inspectors. Please, have some serious discussions in your school if you find yourself on the end of some time consuming paper trail, especially if it is not for the children. We need some deep discussions going on in schools about what will benefit the children and their learning. What is your vision for education? How do we get there? On this journey, workload is only created when it is needed and we can make the right choices for the children and their learning. Empower your staff with decision making policies. Give teachers a stake in what will benefit the pupils in their class. Mark when it will correct misunderstanding. Speak to children when they need to be told immediately about their misconceptions. Don’t just impose onerous policies – it won’t benefit the children or teachers.

06 UKED Magazine

by Conor Heaven

An

pportunity

Now we can’t ignore the issues mentioned at the start of this article. The new curriculum is mandatory by law in local authority schools. Yet actually, we currently have an opportunity. Rather than thinking about the negatives facing us, we must take the steps forward for our children’s sake. We have spent hours as a staff creating new topics, units of work, lesson plans, ideas and resources for the new curriculum. We have improved them in their second year, and now we are definitely delivering more exciting topics than the old units. We had incredible discussions about testing and our views on baselines for reception and the current end of key stage requirements. We decided on daily 10 minute SPaG sessions and this decision has paid dividends as our children have a much deeper knowledge of the spelling and grammar sections of the curriculum. What seemed scary at first turned into a perfect opportunity to reflect, adapt and improve what we were currently doing.

e brave Grasp the opportunities. When I hear teachers currently getting stressed out by all of the changes at the minute including exemplification mess ups, I sympathise. At first, I wanted to get out of the classroom! Having worked with a brave leader, who decided that we knew best for the children in our class and took the pressure off from us has allowed us to do our job, and do it better. We are free to choose what works best, with positive, supportive accountability in place to make sure we still do our job. At the same time, we got over the fear of change and used it to reflect on current practice and seek ways to improve it. At the end of the day, change and uncertainty will ultimately impact on the children in our school. It is up to us to stand up for what is right for them and in doing so, it might even ease our workload. Now more than ever, we need bravery. Share your throughts on Twitter on the #UKEdChat hashtag.

Conor Heaven @ConorHeaven is a Middle Leader and Class Teacher at an Infant School in Essex. He speaks at conferences and Teach Meets and wants to spread passion for the incredible job of teaching.


Choosing a Quizzing System By James Abela

A

With the proliferation of mobile phones, tablets and laptops a new generation of cross-platform quizzing systems has come about. These are great tools that generate near instantaneous assessment data, whilst at the same time being very motivational. Each quizzing system has its strengths and weaknesses and it is a really good idea to use a mix of the tools. In our school we use a wide range of tools, but the most popular by far is Kahoot getkahoot.com. There’s a very large selection of ready-made quizzes, which you can use or edit. The students have been using it for over a year and are still find it very enjoyable. I would strongly recommend only using Kahoot as a plenary, because after the excitement of a Kahoot students often do not want to settle down to do a task that requires thinking time. The designers of kahoots have been very careful to minimise their use of bandwidth and I have found it the most reliable platform to play with large players and have had a group of 80 teachers play at once. This could be used as a tool in assembly with longer time limits and each class playing as a team.

B

The disadvantage of Kahoot is that it requires every group in a quiz to play at the same time and be able to see a main board with the questions on. To address there is Quizizz quizizz.com, which is more flexible allowing different start times and you can even set quizzes for homework where you are confident children will have Internet access at home. It is a newer tool and so there are not quite as many ready made quizzes, but we have found it to be highly effective as a game students can play upon completion of a main task. It’s other big advantage is that students do not have to be able to see the main board, because questions are put directly onto the device. The Grandaddy of quizzing systems quizlet.com has come back with fire recently. Unlike Quizizz and Kahoot this is a team game where you compete against other teams. Teams are randomly formed, but if you don't like the make up they can be reshuffled. I'd also say it's better if you've got portable devices for this. Oddly enough, a computer lab isn't actually the best place to play this, because teams get shuffled frequently.

C However that didn't get in the way of most of my students who found ways to dash to each other, grab phones and generally work it out! The compulsory team element differentiates it from Quizizz and Kahoot, but it also opens up a new type of challenge. Quizlet have thought it through that for the kind of sets they have this kind of game will work better. The other point to note is that Quizlet games take a fraction longer to setup. I've played Kahoots in under 5 minutes, but Quizlet seems to need at least 10 minutes and more than that the first time students play. For those with good quality WIFI and want to use videos on devices Edpuzzle edpuzzle.com provides a great quizzing platform and is perfect for Geography and other humanities where you would like students to watch a video snippet and answer questions on it. If you need to put more than one video together then zaption.com is an option.

D

On the other hand, if you want students to take their reflections and answers seriously, I have always found Google Forms to be the tool of choice. You can include video snippets, pictures short answer, multiple choice and long answer questions and if you use it together with the Google Sheets add-on Flubaroo it makes for a very powerful testing system that will collect, collate and mark your work. Recently they have also integrated it with Google Classroom, so that you can see at a glance how many students have completed the form. All of the above tools offer a good level of functionality for free and my view is that as a teacher you should not be paying to MAKE your own quizzes, but where they supply excellent quality content for your subject area and exam board then it could well be worth the money. Some premium options for students including mathletics.com, educationcity.com (primary) and languageperfect.com. All of which offer large amounts of content, assessment and value beyond simple quizzing systems.

James Abela @eslweb is the Lead teacher of Computer Science in Garden International School, Kuala Lumpur. He is a Google certified innovator, Apple Distinguished Educator and the 21st Century Teacher of the year 2014. View his website at jamesabela.co.uk. ukedchat.com/magazine 07


Poetry Slam By Graham Chisnell Summer is a great time for teachers. We can gloat about our long break and bask in the joy of a lifetime in shorts and open toed sandals. As a father of three teenage children, I faced the challenge of engaging the little darlings in a good old British summertime holiday. "Guess what?" I piped up with the usual aplomb of a court jester. "We're going to hire a VW camper van, see the Cerne Abbas Giant and finish the week at a folk festival in Purbeck." We hired Ruby, a beautiful 1978 VW Campervan. Ruby squeezed the five of us in and pootled along the open road at a lightening top speed of 50mph. The open road was a delight ahead of us as we rolled through the Dorset countryside. The stream of traffic trailing behind left a small pang of guilt. The guilt soon passed. The week was spent talking, laughing and becoming a family once again. The absence of electrical hook up at the campsite ensured the children's telephones and devices were a distant memory and out came the football and my guitar. My phone even gave up the ghost and I was reminded that playing with my children and chatting to my wife without the phone going ping was a real blessing. Winding through the small lanes and steep inclines around Corfe Castle we found our way to the entrance of the camp field at the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival. After donning our festival wristband, brewing a cup of tea in a tin cup and cutting into the banana cake; we were set to enter the festival. Prior to the festival, I signed up to enter the Purbeck Folk Festival Poetry Slam competition. The Poetry Slam was organised by a talented and charismatic poet called Steve Biddle. To enter the competition, each poet had three minutes to recite a poem while four randomly selected members of the audience voted on each poem. The winning poets then entered the next heat. The final heat then saw three poets go through to the final slam. Reading one of my poems on the outdoor stage gave me a nervous twang I had not felt for many years. As a headteacher, I was well versed in standing up and speaking in public, but this felt different. The stage, a converted caravan, was host to a single microphone. My name was called and I walked the slope to the stage. I had in my hand a range of poems ranging from the rather 'politically ranty' poems from my Teachers' Lament series to the silly and infantile poems written for my children. I gauged the audience, took advice from my three children and elected to recite a poem about pants. Bertie Brown and the Pants Thief went down a storm and I was voted by the audience through to the next round. The stage was set for day two of the Poetry Slam where I had been entered in the semi-final. In order to perform a fresh poem, I decided to write a poem relating to the Purbeck Folk Festival. Bertie Brown again appeared as the star of the poem as he struggled to find a suitable festival toilet to relieve him from his escalating predicament. The poem once again went down well with the four judges selected from the audience. The voting was tense and placed me joint second place with three poets. As my poem slipped beyond the three minute deadline, the compare gave the grave news I had not been selected as a finalist. I experienced a moment of disappointment that was followed by the warm glow of being involved in this exhilarating competition. 08 UKED Magazine

Performing and reciting poetry was a true thrill. The audience amplified the excitement and I felt thrilled to be on stage in a gladiatorial dance with my fellow poets. This, I thought, is the excitement I want to see in the children at my school. Could a Poetry Slam work in school? The Poetry Slam poets learnt their poems by heart and their recitations captivated the audience and were a true inspiration. Our literacy curriculum encourages our children to learn and recite poems, the Poetry Slam gave me a glimpse of how inspiring this skill is. The Poetry Slam provided me with a powerful platform to give our children opportunities to explore poetry, to write poetry, to recite poetry, to learn poetry and to perform poetry. The hook for the Poetry Slam needed to be powerful so we decided to ask a local arts group @BigfootEKent to find a poet. We were put in contact with Kotchin, a hip hop artist. Kotchin led an assembly for the whole school delivering his poetry and rap. The children, especially our hard to engage boys, were enthralled. Kotchin talked to the children about their inner voice and how everyone had this inside them. Children were hooked in to poetry, stage one accomplished. The children then set about writing their own performance poetry. The poem had to be personal as children sought to find their 'inner voice'. Children were asked to refine their poetry through performance. It was through performance that children refine their poem; they test how words scan and how the rhythm and rhyme interplayed and how the timing and intonation impacts on the structural elements of the grammar. Some found the process of refining their performance tough. This is an element of language and communication we often miss and undervalue. Learning takes time and determination. Some children found learning their poem easy, some didn't. The process of writing, learning and performing challenged children at differing levels of ability. Some less able writers were exceptional at the performance; a dyslexic pupil with speech and language needs performed an awe inspiring poem in the final and performed amidst his most able peers as an academic equal. Some very able writers found the performance a real challenge, developing their 'Growth Mindset' throughout this


7. Celebrate - Poetry Slam in the press and school community.

1. The Hook - Find a poet to engage the pupils. 2. Workshop - Work with the pupils to refine their ideas

Employ pupils to film and photograph the event

3. Composition - Give time to find the inner voice.

Music to punctuate poems Order trophy

6. Poetry Slam

Poetry Slam

Invite parents 5 sets of voting cards Staging, microphone and lighting process was invaluable as they overcame the obstacles they had previously not faced in their written work. Kotchin returned to work with the children a week later to refine their performances. This allowed the children's performance to improve before they faced their first public performances to their class in the Slam Down heats. Learning was measured, children were given time to refine their pieces and as a result, the outcome was of the highest quality and deeply valued by the children. The pace of learning often seems to be rushed in our education system, slowing down and really focusing on quality writing and performance in this project enabled children to reflect deeply on their work in order to produce something of great value to them and others. The class Slam Down took place in the week of the Poetry Slam and each class voted for their top two performances. Once decided, the finalists' parents were invited in to the Poetry Slam and the stage was set. The whole school were invited to watch the Poetry Slam. Five children randomly selected in the audience became the judges for each of the three heats. Each judge had a scorecard from 6-9 to vote for each performance. This added drama to the Poetry Slam as each judge delivered their score. The heats moved on and the tension rose in the hall

4. Recitation - Develop performance and memory skills in learning the poem. 5. Slam Down - Vote as a class on the best two performances to enter the Poetry Slam.

as three acts went forward to the Poetry Slam final. Each poet was so individual and entertained the audience with their great humour, insightful truth and confident performance. The final Poetry Slam Shield was awarded to Gabriel who performed a stunning poem about a fire. The Poetry Slam is now part of the culture at Warden House and it has taught us that writing poetry is inextricably linked to performing poetry; and that there is deep value in recognizing the importance of a writer connecting with their audience. The Poetry Slam format has enthused children to write meaningful poetry and produce poetry that has great value to both poet and audience.

Graham @chizkent has been a headteacher of three primary schools since 1998, a lecturer in primary science and is currently headteacher of Warden House Primary School in Kent. He is a National Leader of Education and passionate about developing a selfimproving, collaborative school system led by teachers for teachers.

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The Jaffa Cake Conundrum:

Writing Less, Better A focused and personalised technique

This article has nothing to do with the 1991 VAT tribunal whereby McVitie’s allegedly produced a giant Jaffa Cake to prove they were chocolate-covered cakes (and not VAT-incurring chocolate-covered biscuits). Secondly credit and thanks must be given to Dave Payne for the Jaffa Cake Conundrum and “writing less, better”. Without numerous discussions together I would not be writing the following.

by Michael Smyth

If students have adhered to the above acronyms the chances are they will have responded effectively and efficiently to the task or question. Perhaps you recognised some of the acronyms? If not these short explanations, worded for a student, might help:

(1&2) Read The Question or RTFQ*: Don’t rush and don’t assume you know what a task is about or what the question is asking you. Instead read instructions How do we help students to effectively respond to carefully and ask if you are unsure. This is so important written tasks? One scenario I go through with my classes that I would advise you to do it twice! is the Jaffa Cake Conundrum: it is late at night and a teacher has a huge pile of marking in front of them; the packet of Jaffa Cakes they have been using to keep them going is empty. With blood glucose levels dropping, the overworked and underpaid educator could be excused for not giving as much credit to a piece of work as it might deserve. Without the quick release of sugar from the biscuit-sized cakes it is vital that student responses are clear and address the task, thus solving the Jaffa Cake Conundrum. My classes seem to enjoy this story and I have been known to embellish it with the concept of satisfying the Jaffasaurus, a mythical beast that is kept happy by writing less, better. Both tales have the advantage of relating to students the issue of overplaying one’s hand and not responding efficiently to a task. This can be seen even more acutely when students answer examination-style questions; I have developed a checklist to aid students for any written task and ensure they write less, better. 4. Name it, don’t use “it” 1. RTQ 2. Repeat step 1

5. BUG

3. ATQ

6. KISS

10 UKED Magazine

(3) Answer The Question or ATFQ*: Having twice read through the question or task instructions, clarifying where necessary, start writing something that is directly relevant and meets the success criteria. Do not just repeat the instructions or question! * When particularly irked by a piece of work I often scribble RTFQ in the margin. Of course this stands for Read The Full Question… I hope you weren’t thinking of something else!


(4) Name it, don’t use “it”. Pronouns are a real nuisance in extended pieces of writing. They are liable to make me ask the following questions; what does “this” mean? To which character are you referring to when using “she” or “they”? “It” refers to what exactly? By using keywords and terminology your work will be more lucid and effective.

Although I fully support encouraging flair and verbosity in students, it should not be at the expense of clarity. An easy final strategy is simply reading aloud written work on completion (although I recognise this might not be such a good thing to do in an exam! In this scenario silently rereading will work much better). Prose that a student thinks is fluid and articulate on the page is often (5) Box the command word, Underline the key words revealed to be byzantine and convoluted. and Glance at the marks. This exam technique will By going through these ideas and framing the issue in help you drill down into exactly what is required when terms of the Jaffa Cake Conundrum students have a very responding to a question. The “U” helps you decide different perspective compared to the drilling exam what to write about, the “B” how you write about it and technique. Indeed writing less, better can become a key the “G” how much you write. So “Describe how starch is concept in all students’ work. broken down in the small intestine (2)” becomes: If you are further interested in Feedback and Assessment ideas, and local to Hertfordshire / London you may be interested in Forum on Education, a secondary education conference on Saturday 28th May. (6) Keep It Simple, Stupid. Why make things more All details can be found at bit.ly/uked16may05. complicated? Sometimes you might need to describe a complex mechanism or concept, but the art of Michael Smyth is a Biology teacher and Assistant Head making the complex understandable is more at St Albans School. A former HoD with a keen interest highly valued than that of making the simple in Teaching and Learning, Michael is also an A level examiner and strong proponent of promoting learning complicated. beyond results-based teaching. Find him on Twitter as @tlamjs or blogging at tlamjs.com.

KISS leads directly to a book review Richard Dawkins wrote in Nature on Intellectual Impostures by Sokal and Bricmont. In the article Dawkins argues only those “with nothing to say” would cultivate a literary style that was neither clear nor lucid. Instead, to hide their lack of knowledge and understanding, they would create something that is quite the opposite (Dawkins, R, 1998, Postmodernism disrobes, Nature, vol. 394, pp141-143).

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Two Stars and

Wishful Thinking? by Julian Lewis

How can children with limited communication skills and conceptual development engage with self assessment in a genuine way? This is the challenge faced by staff working with children with special educational needs. At the level of communication the obvious question to ask is whether the child has the tools to communicate about their work. Are they verbal? If not, what other means do they have - signing, assistive technology, expressive body language and more general vocalisation. Can you understand them, or indeed do they even communicate at all? The more constrained a child's communication is the more important it is that those adults working with them know them intimately to be able to pick up on and reliably interpret their communication methods. But more fundamentally, does the child have the conceptual tools needed to self assess? Thinking in the abstract, and to be able to distance oneself from oneself are precisely abilities with which most children with significant SEN struggle. Developmentally, most are still at a very concrete level - reality is what I can perceive with my five conscious senses, and it is what is here, now in front of me or perhaps what I remember has happened to me though the further away in time it occurred the less real it is (a sensation those of us advancing in years may relate to only too well!). Thinking from within the SEN bubble about what self assessment may be like for mainstream children, it seems that it may be a discrete part of what they do. I believe that in special education it informs everything we do. It builds relationships through the time it takes to do properly. The adult must show that they are very interested in what the child thinks. The child with SEN has much experience of things being done to them, for them, without a great deal of consultation: the experience of time spent being listened to genuinely can be liberating ‌ and challenging. Again, they will need more time spent learning about what good quality work looks like. They will need more exposure to and practice using the type of language needed, or learning how to respond in their own way.

Time needs to be invested in supporting children to engage with the process. Many teachers will be familiar with the use of traffic lights in assessment, a quick way of children saying how they feel they have done. We use these with our higher ability children, with simple statements about what each light means. No doubt this is similar to practice up and down the country. However we continually work with our children to retain the concepts, every time we use it going through the meanings of the colours and reflecting back to the children whether their assessment is sound. Very often a child will say they were on green, perhaps meaning they finished the work, rather than thinking about their independence. This is a concept that they need support with. Looking at an example where two boys worked together building a Lego model, as a communication/partner work task, their self assessment was supported by referring back to the model, comparing it with the picture on the box and thinking about the words they used while they played. All the time the adult was mediating the discussion, prompting with closed then more open questions. This took about as long as the play itself, but supported the children well to think about what they had achieved and how they had done it. The process is broken down further according to the needs of the child concerned. For children with PMLD or SLD we use class iPads to record them doing their work to show back at the end of the session. This builds skills of self recognition and agency, and helps to establish a sense of time. The work is celebrated to encourage the child to take pleasure in their experience. I believe that pupil self assessment in special education is therefore an holistic and organic process which informs pedagogy in a most fundamental way. It is a vehicle for building relationships with a child, for enhancing their communication skills and for working with concepts in particular of time, future and improvement. It promotes a whole method of working, a virtuous cycle of feedback informing future - standard theory for all teaching and learning. Little of what we do in special education is theoretically different to mainstream. It's just our steps are smaller, taken with a higher (though hopefully diminishing) level of support and take longer to achieve. The greater the complexity and severity of the needs the smaller again those steps and progress will be. But they are steps in the same direction as mainstream children, and moreover steps that infuse everything that we do with our children in perhaps a more intense way than for those in mainstream.

Previously a charity sector project manager, Julian took his PGCE at Chester after time volunteering and as TA at his children’s school. He has spent most of his career in special education, and now works with children with complex needs at Ysgol Pen Coch, North Wales. Find him of Twitter at @JulianRLewis. 14 UKED Magazine


Assessment

Who needs assessing then? by Nick Overton Assessment... • Why do we assess? • What is the purpose of assessment? • Who do we assess for? These are all question that you hear being asked so often in modern education. I realise no one truly knows the answers to these questions. But this article will explore briefly two alternative perspectives. Lets consider the 2 contrasting opinions Opinion 1 - Against the current assessment system. What do we mean by assessments? Lets first find a definition for assessment: “the action of assessing someone or something.” So it is assessing what children are doing within education. Assessment is looking for the learning that has happened and reporting on it. Lets break this down then 1. Looking for learning that has happened - Books record most of the learning that is or has happened. 2. Reporting on it - Books again have the teachers marking within them, which shows if the objectives/lesson has been understood/covered. Teacher also plan in depth so their planning will inform whether objectives are being covered in lessons. Let put it another way :If you are asked to report on what you did at the weekend; do you • Go through a large tick box exercise breaking all the different parts down? • Measure what you have achieved by look at one stand alone point within the weekend? • Measure at 3 different point if you are closer to achieving the overall goal? I believe the answer to most of these is NO! So why are most assessments models built upon this system? Why do we have a system that measure progress and achievement by:• Lots of ticking and highlighting boxes • A 2 hour test which summons up 2 years worth of work • Assessment 3 times a year against the same set of objective Ok, Moan over!!

Option 2 - In favour of this system. What do we mean by assessments? Lets first define it: “the action of assessing someone or something.” So it is assessing what children are doing within education. Assessment is looking for the learning that has happened and reporting on it. Lets break this down then 1. Learning over time: In their books there is a snap shot of what has happened within that 1 hour lesson. Learning over time is more then meeting an objective. 2. Reporting - As teachers we need a system that allows us to report to other interested parties what the children have achieved. Let put it another way :If you are asked to report on what you did at the weekend; do you • know exactly what you did ever single second of the day? • Know whether what you did is comparative to others? I believe the answer to most of these is NO! So this is why we need assessment models that track in this way. We need a system that allow teachers to see all the objectives that need to be taught. We need to have a system that allows for progress (Beginning, Emerging, Secure, Mastered). We need a system that allows reports to be generated. We need a system that is easy to use and “parent” friendly. Conclusion At the moment we have many stems in the UK for assessing children and student. Personally I think whatever system we have there will be teachers who like it and those who do not. The Key question is this “What impact does it have on my teaching?” • If the answer is none, then the system is rightly wrong and should be avoided. • If the answer is some, then there are elements of the system that are correct and these should be used. The parts that do not impact should be scraped. • If the answer is a lot, then this is the system we should be using.

Nick Overton @nickotkdV is a primary teacher from Leicester and UKEdChat Ambassador for the East Midland @UKEd_EMids. Read his blog at mrovertonprimary.wordpress.com or on the UKEdChat site at ukedchat.com/east-midlands


Mock Feedback by David Carpenter I’m approaching one of the busiest times of the school year now as, being a teacher of A-Level Economics and Business, every one of the around 200 students I teach will be completing mock exams to help them fully prepare for the ‘real’ exams that are just around the corner. These mocks serve several purposes - hopefully they act as a ‘kick up the backside’ for those students who may have spent too much time playing Clash of Clans over the Easter brea. But more importantly, for all students, they provide vital feedback on their current performance in the subject. This is the students’ opportunity to fail- to make loads of mistakes now when, at the end of the day, it doesn’t count for anything, so that they can avoid these mistakes in those all-important A-Level exams.

to work out what their own specific needs are. However, they will obviously need significant help and guidance with this and so we provide them with individualised feedback sheets. These are adapted from a ‘5 minute exam review’ sheet created by @Laura_OLeary. You can see an example sheet below. It contains three main sections, which vary depending on which subject/exam they relate to as not all exams have the same structure. These three sections are:

1: Your results: This section gives the students their individual results for each question so they can immediately see where they’re getting it right and where they still need to work on things. It also gives them their overall mark and grade as well as the grade boundaries, so they can see how many more marks they need to get to move up to the Students can identify any areas where their subject next grade. knowledge is lacking and correct these but, more 2: What did you lose marks for?: Here the students list importantly, they can get that experience of completing the issues they have identified with their exam paper. I a whole exam paper in the right amount of time. Time will often monitor this closely to make sure students are management is a vital skill in an exam- for example, clearly picking up things, especially those students who knowing not to spend five minutes trying to work out the find it harder to accept weaknesses in their own work. answer to a multiple-choice question that’s only worth one mark and then running out of time for the final 20- 3: Next steps- probably the most important section- now mark essay question (a quarter of the marks in our new you’ve identified your problems, what are you going to do about it? ‘Revise more’ is not an accepted answer in this AS exams!). section! I will remind them of the importance of SMART So, getting back to all those mistakes the students have targets if needed. made, it’s important we spend time AFTER the mock exam has been sat seeking to correct these. In terms of feedback To assist with this process I also give out to each group for me, they help me plan our next few revision lessons, in the class the mark scheme and (if possible) examiners whether it’s particular topics to revise or particular report from that exam so they can independently look up types of questions the students need extra practice on. what is missing from their answers. However, the most vital thing for me is the first lesson To make this process work effectively, mail merging is after the exam. I will devote this whole hour-long lesson vital. If you’re not sure about how to do this, I strongly to helping students identify the mistakes they have made encourage you to look up some tutorials on the Internet. and plan their ‘next steps’ to ensure they can reach their It’s an incredibly useful and time-saving tool in many full potential in the summer exams. This requires a highly situations. So, I create a spreadsheet and enter in all the differentiated lesson- every student is going to have students’ marks for each question. The spreadsheet can made different mistakes, although there are often some then calculate the total mark and grade for each student common trends. (saving me the hassle of needing to add these up). I then Speaking of those trends, whilst marking I always have set up the mail merge in Word, ensuring that the marks a blank piece of paper next to me which, by the time a from each question will be put into the correct places set of exam papers is marked, is usually full of my barely on the page, and then simply print them all out ready to intelligible scribblings. These will be the common issues distribute in the lesson. I’ve identified across the exam paper, and I’ll use these as In addition to this review sheet, we have recently been the start to my lesson- discussing them with the whole making the students consider the revision activities class and including examples of students’ work (usually they completed in the run up to completing their mock anonymous) in my presentation to make these major issues exam, asking them what percentage of their time they clear. After that, though, it’s up to each individual student spent on different activities. This list starts with very


passive activities like reading a textbook down to completing practice questions, reading examiners reports, and such like. Hopefully, these can be used to show the class that those students who did more active activities have achieved more highly than those who focused on more passive activities, and this will again help to focus their minds on what they need to be doing in the next few weeks. Whilst it’s a long and time-consuming process, often leading to late nights marking whilst working my way through a large bar of chocolate (no, you can’t have any more until you’ve done another 2 exam papers!) I do feel that, as long as sufficient effort is put into the feedback after the mocks, this is a vital and highly rewarding process to undertake. If you would like to use or adapt any of the resources I have discussed in this article, please feel free to download via bit.ly/uked16may14. If you have any questions about how to make best use of them, please do get in touch on Twitter.

David Carpenter is a Teacher of Economics & Business at Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School in south-east London. He can be found on Twitter @dizzleeducation. ukedchat.com/magazine 17


Book Shelf

Review by Nicole Brown @ncjbrown

The Art of Being a Brilliant Middle Leader by Gary Toward, Chris Henley and Andy Cope

The book: Middle leaders within education play an important role as mediators between the front-line teachers and the senior leaders of a school, from where many initiatives are introduced. Being a middle leader therefore is often difficult, in that leaders have to motivate staff to follow an initiative they do not necessarily believe in. Also, additional administrative tasks lead to increased workload and busier working lives. With their book the three authors Gary Toward, Chris Henley and Andy Cope provide practical ideas on how to develop the leadership skills of middle leaders in order to make change happen in schools, but also to help individual leaders become more efficient in their work. The structure: The book is divided into several chapters with different focuses on aspects of middle leadership in educational settings. Anecdotes and the chatty tone of style of writing make reading the book particularly easy. For example, in chapter 3 the authors discuss the ripple effect and how positivity needs to be actively spread, which they do by introducing an interesting story of a little girl and her grandpa, whose attitude and demeanour change drastically depending on the questions the little girl asks. The “thinking inside the box” and “top tips” boxes within the individual sections offer information, food for thought and relevant quotations about a wide range of issues pertaining to leadership. These little snippets of information make dipping in and out of chapters easy, too. The key messages: Throughout the book the authors focus on the special role middle leaders play and demonstrate that leadership is all about relationships with others and that by leading by example changes will eventually take place. There are clear practical examples of how relationships need to be fostered by thanking colleagues and helping out others when they may need support in difficult times. The authors suggest middle leaders need to promote a clear culture of collaboration where failures and successes are valued as learning opportunities and where positivity prevails.

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The readership: The book’s title is an unfortunate choice as it suggests the book’s readership should be middle leaders. Certainly, middle leaders will benefit greatly from the practical examples provided throughout the book, but really the book is about developing a culture of positivity and change, and this applies to leaders at all levels including teachers as leaders of learners in classrooms. Teachers need to motivate students to get engaged in subjects they may not necessarily be interested in, and senior managers also need to hold meetings where they may encounter negative attitudes towards change. So clearly, this book would be of benefit for all types of leaders within a school, not just middle leaders. What did I think? If you would like to become a brilliant leader, then this book definitely is for you. The style of writing makes this a fantastic and easy-to-read resource for anyone who would like to learn more about introducing changes to the existing culture within their educational settings. It is evident that the examples presented in the book are drawn from years of experience and the authors’ honesty about all aspects of leadership is refreshing. I particularly enjoyed the “thinking inside the box” and “top tips” boxes, which I will be quoting from and referring to in my own work as teacher educator.

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18 UKED Magazine

June 2016 Transition & Moving On Deadline: 9th May 2016

August 2016 Well Being (For teachers & pupils (PSHE)) Deadline: 17th June 2016

July 2016 Sport & PE (Olympics) Deadline: 20th May 2016

September 2016 Classroom Management Deadline: 22th July 2016


In Brief

Combating Teacher Fatigue

Teachers around the world are burnt out. While the reasons for this are varied, researchers have found that educators who are mentally and physically fatigued struggle to carry out their daily tasks. This, in turn, has a negative impact on student learning. Admittedly, there are numerous articles online which outline strategies one can use to overcome this exhaustion. Often, these papers talk about the importance of collaborating and reflecting on one’s teaching practice. However, very rarely do they comment on the importance of taking a break and letting students become responsible for their own education. Speaking from a personal perspective, it is easy to feel as though we have to do everything for our students. This is particularly true for those of us who work in contexts where we are assessed on the results our students receive in external examinations. Thus, it is tempting to stay up late editing worksheets or creating mentor texts. Nonetheless, we have to realise that it is not always possible, nor advisable, to do everything. @Sally_Johnstone History Teacher - Australia

Schools, be patient! A lot of schools have jumped on buzz words such as metacognition, mindfulness, mindset etc. There is obviously great merit in all these strategies, however as Carol Deweck has emphasised, in a lot of cases these methods are not always understood by school leaders leading to them not being integrated effectively and sustained. These theories are not fads but in many schools, they don’t give these methods the planning, time and evaluation that is required for success of any strategies that will benefit learning.Schools are looking for a quick fix and so latch on to ‘new, exciting and popular theories’. Metacognition for example is integral to success of students but this needs to be introduced in a strategic way, training the students, embedding it across the curriculum, giving the students time to develop their thinking and evaluating the success. Schools, be patient. Do your research and choose strategies, methods and theories that you believe in and are willing to invest in.If you only touch the surface, the outcomes will be minimum; embrace your strategy of choice and commit to it. @HDHSenglish Head of English - Essex, UK

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If you want to beat them, join them

The case for exam board work by Chris Eyre

Do you teach examination groups at GCSE and/or A level? If so, here’s a question: have you considered working as an examiner? I realise you are already ridiculously busy but bear with me. We all want our students work marked well and rather than sit by and get frustrated, here’s one area where we can be part of the solution. I realise there are downsides; taking on extra work at the only time of the year when school or college is slightly quieter is the main one. But what does it really involve? Essentially It is a commitment of 1-2 hours a day over a 3-4 week period. You might take 1 day off each week for good behaviour. So we are looking at about 10-15 hours a week and it’s not forever. Secondly, there are also a small minority of institutions where examination work is viewed negatively ‘you should be fully committed to the school’ or ‘you’re clearly not busy enough.’ Unfortunately this is very short-sighted. Given the difficulties exam boards are currently facing recruiting examiners I suspect the time is coming when schools and colleges will be incentivised to release examiners. I think if institutions were given a discount off exam fees for every examiner they provided, headteachers would soon change their views on this.

exam board money has been the difference between having a holiday or not, or being able to keep a car on the road.

3. One thing leads to another. You never know where it will lead. From my initial exam board work came opportunities to be a team leader, a principal examiner and then involvement in writing and revising exam papers. I have been asked to co-write textbooks and to speak at student conferences. At a time when the staffing structure at college was largely static, this was a Given that the disadvantages are not totally good way of building up my CV. insurmountable let’s consider the advantages As well as the advantages for you and your institution, 1. Most importantly, It’s the best CPD you can get there is also an argument from duty and responsibility. if you’re teaching an examination course. This is At a time when there is a shortage of examiners and particularly true if you get a face to face standardisation in particular teacher examiners, the system (and our meeting. Given that direct CPD from exam boards is students who are in it) needs as many of us as possible reduced following the scandals of a few years ago, this to step forward and play our part. It may be a little late may be your main chance to get into the head of senior for this summer (but check with your board they are examiners and understand how they think and mark. still advertising in a number of areas) but why not put This will improve your work in assessing your students examination work on your CPD plan for next year? the following year. You will become the departmental expert on that course. Chris Eyre @chris_eyre is Curriculum Manager for 2. You will be paid. It’s not the main reason to do it Religious Studies and Philosophy, and Lead Practitioner but important nonetheless. As a result of examiner for ILT at Stoke-on-Trent sixth form college. He is an shortages – which I have written on previously – the experienced examiner and has co-authored A Level fees have been increased in a lot of subject areas. It’s textbooks. He blogs on well being and other issues at not a fortune but there has been the odd year when my – chriseyreteaching.wordpress.com 20 UKED Magazine


Formative assessment is designed to give teachers useful information on where students are in their learning and what modifications need to be made in teaching and learning. Both teachers and students should view formative assessments as useful feedback to their teaching and learning process. If a goal formative assessment is to truly allow students to “try on” their new learning and push the limits of their understanding, it is likely they will sometimes fail. Failure is an important and necessary step in learning. We want students to feel free to experiment and sometimes miss the mark on their way to understanding. The word “fail” should be redefined as “First Attempt In Learning” and celebrated along the way. What students need to grow as learners is clear feedback – information on what they did correctly, where they went off track, and what their next step should be as they move toward understanding The incongruity between formative assessments and grades is clear. As a learner, I am not as likely to push the limits of my understanding if I know my practice and homework are going to receive a letter grade that will impact my report card and ultimately my class standing. A distinction should be made between true formative assessment — designed to provide information on where students are in their learning and for the teacher to modify instruction — and interim or benchmark assessments which are typically periodic or quarterly assessments designed to determine where students are in their learning progress and if they are on track to meeting expected learning standards. Interim and benchmark assessments, as well as summative assessments are more appropriate for grading. Formative assessment is not. @hpitler Consultant - coach - Denver, USA

Tarsia for Literature Revision

In Brief

Formative Assessment Should Not Be Graded

Formulator Tarsia is a free-to-download program, originally conceived for maths, which can be used to create a range of shape puzzles quickly and easily such as jigsaws, dominoes and matching cards. I used the program as revision tool for the AQA Poetry Anthology. Firstly, I created a fairly complex multi-sided sided shape constructed of smaller triangles. Along each side of every triangle I inserted the poets’ names, the title of the poems, short quotations and even poetic devices. This was then printed and cut into individual pieces ready for groups of students to put the puzzle together. Easily differentiated, and though it takes time to make initially, it can be laminated and reused. Great for new spec quote learning. Download the program from bit.ly/uked16may15. @mrsjgibbs Lead Practioner/teacher of English - London, UK

A Mindful Teacher School staff stress is at an all time high! Changes in curriculum and testing, children’s behaviour, workload impact and teacher shortages are jeopardising the mental health of teachers on a daily basis. Anxiety, depression and complete mental breakdowns are becoming common place. It becomes a vicious cycle; one that seems impossible to break. According to research conducted by Katherine Weare for the ‘.b (dot-Be) Mindfulness in Schools Project’ in association with University of Exeter, in her report named, Impacts on the Wellbeing and Performance of School Staff. Practicing mindfulness strategies have been shown to reduce stress, burnout and anxiety, increase mental well-being and enhance job performance. 3 Easy Beginning Strategies: 1. Breathe! When you feel yourself becoming stressed by a situation, stop and take a deep breathe that fills your entire body. Hold the breathe for a second and then slowly exhale as you allow your shoulders to fall and relax. Repeat from 3 to 15 times. Just focus on the breath and nothing else. 2. Find pleasure in everyday activities. Simple everyday activities can become a meditation as long as you focus on the activity at hand; how it feels, how it smells, the sensations it brings, the sounds it makes. Don’t multi task. Be mindful of the moment and allow other thoughts to float away. 3. Practising Gratitude – The act of kindness and gratitude triggers feelings of well-being. Remember, positivity begets positivity. Once you start to consciously show gratitude, it starts to become a good habit that happens naturally as that spiral of happiness feeds the cycle. @Ed_Tmprince Principal - Leeds, UK

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Turning the School Yard into a Farm Yard into a School Curriculum! By Hayley Simpkin Long-time readers may recall an article in the October 2014 issue of this magazine bit.ly/uked16may16 which featured the school farm at Hartshill School. At the time we had built up quite a collection of small animals, a small flock of sheep, and were keeping a couple of pigs every year. We had also just started attending agricultural shows. Fast-forward 18 months and the basic purpose and nature of the Land Studies department at Hartshill School are still very much the same, but with lots of additional, exciting features! Just after the article mentioned previously was published, a team of students took their pigs to the English Winter Fair, exhibited them, and sold them at auction. The students also participated in a Junior Pig Club sausage-making workshop and competition, and won! We returned to the same show in 2015 and came second in the sausage competition. This time, though, the pigs also won some prizes so it was a very good weekend! Students also enjoyed trips to various local and county shows over the year and gained some experience in pig rearing and handling. So much so that, just a few weeks ago, the school was selected to have two extremely rare pigs on loan from the British Pig Association and Rare Breeds Survival

Trust. The two organisations imported six female British Landrace pigs from Deerpark Pedigree Pigs in Northern Ireland just before Christmas. These six pigs were chosen as they represent very rare bloodlines that did not even exist on mainland UK any more. Additionally, the pedigree registered British Landrace is the rarest breed of pig in the UK according to the 2015 census and 65% of them are found in Northern Ireland. It is important, from a conservation perspective, to avoid having populations of any breed of farm animal that are geographically concentrated as this could lead to serious problems for the breed in the unfortunate event of a disease outbreak such as foot and mouth in 2001. The school is now part of the effort to conserve and promote the British Landrace pig and we are expecting our first piglets in May. The pigs and students will be appearing at various events during the year to explain the purpose of the conservation project and for people to meet our lovely Very Important Pigs! Not all of the piglets will be suitable for breeding, however, as they have to meet very particular standards. Those that do not make the grade will ultimately end up in the food chain, with students running the pig production as a mini-enterprise project where they will be able to apply for and experience specific job roles for a defined period of time. 22 UKED Magazine


We have also just set up an official branch of Young Farmers Club, federated to Warwickshire YFC. This has already provided lots of opportunities for our students to go out and experience agriculture in areas which we could never cover within school. However, one of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs’ (NFYFC) key messages is #morethantractors (and it’s definitely also #morethanbeer too!) and students do not have to come from a farming background to be involved. Our 25 student members could be involved in public speaking, drama, sports and cooking competitions in future as NFYFC runs all of these events at local, regional and national level. YFC clubs also have a management structure and our next meeting at school will be to select and welcome our student Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Programme Secretary. This is great news for me as the club’s ‘President’, which I believe is a polite way of saying not-so-young farmer, as students will then take over the running of the club and I will become an advisor rather the leader. This is something that any school could become involved in with a group of interested and motivated students. The organisation is very helpful and is experienced in working with young people so understands, for example, safeguarding procedures, and would therefore be a great place to start for anyone wanting to offer something a little different to their students. As for our day to day curriculum we are now offering the new BTEC Animal Care as our KS4 option, which requires students to study and work with both small and large animals of all varieties. Excitingly, and unusually even for the few state secondary schools which have their own farms, all of year 7 and year 8 will have lessons in Land Studies from September. As we move into Life Without Levels we have real freedom to develop a curriculum based on ‘what do I want them to know?’ and ‘what do I want them to be able to do?’ You may well be reading this article and thinking it all sounds lovely but how is it relevant to me? We have been very fortunate that timing, funding and space have allowed us to develop our school farm to suit our needs but much of that has come from making links with both local partners and national organisations. As before, I would urge any school with an interest in this area to make contact with the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and see how they can support you. The British Pig Association’s Junior club is also very welcoming and you do not have to have your own pigs to become involved as they also run trips, workshops, a summer camp, and other exciting activities outside of pig handling. We have recently started working closely with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and they even sponsored one of our teams at the recent National Young Stars event. The RBST is keen to develop its educational offering and so would welcome contact with more schools. STEMNET have been supporting this work by encouraging RBST members to become STEM Ambassadors- why not contact them and see how you can add a different perspective to your STEM curriculum by involving a speaker or visit linked to agriculture and/or conservation? You may see the term ‘agriSTEM’ mentioned as this is an emerging theme in linking farming and food production with the education system and is being promoted by the Bright Crop initiative, which is also worth investigating.

Many of the agricultural County shows have well-established arrangements for welcoming school visits and would be delighted to support your trip planning processes. Many of the major shows occur during term time and on school days so there is no need to look at out of hours trips if you do not feel comfortable with these. The Open Farm Sunday initiative goes from strength to strength and also offers Open Farm School Days throughout June 2016. This gives students the opportunity to visit farms and businesses that are not normally open to the public. The Open Farm Sunday team advise and train those opening up their workplaces on Health and Safety and managing school visits so again this offers a different experience to the norm without an awful lot of hassle for the busy teacher organising it. We are happy to advise other schools on any of these areas so that you too can enjoy the benefits these experiences offer to our students in both their normal timetabled lessons and their extra-curricular activities. Other Links STEMNET stemnet.org.uk NFYFC nfyfc.org.uk RBST rbst.org.uk Bright Crop brightcrop.org.uk Open Farm Sunday new.farmsunday.org Hartshill School bit.ly/uked16may17

Hayley Simpkin @pipkinzoo is Leader of Land Studies at Hartshill School in Warwickshire. The school is an 11-16 academy with around 1000 students on roll, as well as their breeding herd of pedigree British Landrace pigs, three sheep, 20 chickens and about 50 small animals! Contact simpkin.h@welearn365.com or call 02476 392237.


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