Saturday, 26 May 2018

Teaching School Conference 2018

A huge thank you to the Teaching School Council for organising an inspirational Conference. As Broadford Primary is based in one of Havering's most deprived areas, the presentation from Sir John Jones really resonated.

Although we are very frank with staff and parents about the 40million words vs 10 million words gap by the time pupils enter into our Early Years Setting, the scale of the gap still hits you when the facts are refreshed.
Particularly upsetting is the 12:1 positivity ratio advantage that children from affluent backgrounds enjoy. Sadly many deprived children face have the opposite, receiving far more negative comments. Picking up their self esteem, building confidence and enabling them to see themselves as a success are real challenges.

Sir John's words rang very true. Teaching really is: 
A ministry of hope in the service of the young.
You are in the magic weaving business
Say that I’ll they’ll walk away
Say the former and they’ll run


It is even harder when you aren’t likely to see the results of what you do. But despite the revisiting of the challenges that we see every day, we left inspired to come back to Broadford & Mead to continue delivering on our vision that no child's future will be determined by their socio economic background.




Thursday, 24 May 2018

Listening to understand... not reply

Listening is an art and too few actually do it well.

1. Putting our own spin on the purpose or content of the conversation.
Have you ever started a conversation and immediately put a thought or question out there that makes your point of view clear and fixed? Instead of giving the other individual time to formulate a response, we immediately re-phrase the question or remark and answer it ourselves.

2. Assuming their response and planning an answer
Even when we stop and wait for a response , we often don’t hear, as we are concentrating on our reply to what we assume they will say. The desire to be perceived as quick witted or decisive means we could be missing so much vital and crucial information.

3. Read the non verbal clues
Watch for non-verbal body language. When a person is excited they intuitively lean forward as if to say, “don’t miss this next point because it is very important”. Remain quiet, not just to hear every word, notice the inflection of their voice, whether they raise or lower the volume and the tone they use. Non-verbal hints can make up more than 90% of the communication going on in a conversation.

4. Wait before you respond... count to 8!
By speaking too soon you may cut off the other individual's response. Be smart and give the person  time to acknowledge your comment or statement. It builds respect and credibility. You also allow yourself time to hear and take notice of non verbal cues.

Read the full article here


Monday, 21 May 2018

7 mistakes even the most experienced leaders still make

Leadership is not an easy role. There are a multitude of ways in which you can make a mistake. However, if you are self aware then you can do something about it!

Fostering a cult of personality. 
It’s easy for leaders to get caught up in their own worlds as there are many systems in place that make it all about them. These leaders identify so strongly with their leadership roles that instead of remembering that the only reason they’re there is to serve others, they start thinking, ‘It’s my world, and we’ll do things my way.’ Being a good leader requires remembering that you’re there for a reason, and the reason certainly isn’t to have your way. High-integrity leaders not only welcome questioning and criticism, they insist on it.

Dodging accountability. 
Even if only a few people see a leader’s misstep (instead of millions), dodging accountability can be incredibly damaging. A person who refuses to say “the buck stops here” really isn’t a leader at all. Being a leader requires being confident enough in your own decisions and those of your team to own them when they fail. The very best leaders take the blame but share the credit.

Lacking self-awareness. 
Many leaders think they have enough emotional intelligence (EQ). And many times, they are proficient in some EQ skills, but when it comes to understanding themselves, they are woefully blind. It’s not that they’re hypocrites; they just don’t see what everyone else sees. They might play favorites, be tough to work with, or receive criticism badly. And they aren’t alone, as TalentSmart research involving more than a million people shows that just 36% of us are accurate in our self-assessments.

Forgetting that communication is a two-way street. 
Many leaders also think that they’re great communicators, not realizing that they’re only communicating in one direction. Some pride themselves on being approachable and easily accessible, yet they don’t really hear the ideas that people share with them. Some leaders don’t set goals or provide context for the things they ask people to do, and others never offer feedback, leaving people wondering if they’re more likely to get promoted or fired.

Succumbing to the tyranny of the urgent. 
The tyranny of the urgent is what happens when leaders spend their days putting out small fires. They take care of what’s dancing around in front of their faces and lose focus of what’s truly important—their people. Your integrity as a leader hinges upon your ability to avoid distractions that prevent you from putting your people first.

The bad news... these mistakes are common and they are damaging.
The good news... they are easily fixed if you are aware of them!

For the full article, click here


Monday, 14 May 2018

Education Today Article - Life Long Love of Science

Read the full article here

Wellcome article on Primary Science

It has recently been the topic of debate how Primary school teachers are facing a number of barriers in teaching science. Typically only 1 hour 24 minutes a week is devoted to the subject (according to a new report from CFE Research for Wellcome).

When teachers were asked what barriers, if any, they experienced when teaching or leading science the top four categories were: 
  • lack of budget and resources (35 per cent)
  • a lack of time and curricular importance (22 per cent)
  • a lack of subject knowledge (11 per cent)
  • issues relating to setting up space or access to resources (10 per cent).
In addition, more than 8 in 10 teachers think that maths (84%) and English (83%) are ‘very important’ to the senior leadership team of their school, but this number falls to just three in ten (30%) when it comes to science, suggesting that the subject isn’t seen as a priority for primary teaching

Here is an article about how Broadford & Mead Primary - in partnership with Empiribox - have tried to ensure that Science remains a curriculum priority for the their children.


Google Level 1 Bootcamp

We were delighted to welcome 37 educators from 10 different schools to Mead Primary for a Google Level 1 Bootcamp on Thursday 3rd May. This was a change for teachers and leaders to become familiar with the different tools and apps available in Google G Suite, while imagining how they could then apply them in their school.

My mission is to now get my application and admission process to a completely paperless state. I had no idea about the power of Forms and the kind of information that I could collect.
Central Park Primary

100% of the delegates agreed (67% strongly) that they were now more confident with Google G Suite and felt empowered to advance adoption in their schools.

Google G Suite has been transformational at Broadford and Mead Primary. The collaboration that the apps unlocks is amazing and has dramatically improved communication, increased efficiency and reduced workload. 
M Drakes - Executive Headteacher

Key to the success of the workshop are the Facilitators. Apps Events provided a brilliant team who kept the tone light, fun, enjoyable... yet incredibly informative.

If you are interested in attending a Google Bootcamp then check out the Apps Events website, or contact our teaching school:
http://appsevents.com/
bookings@teachingschool.havering.sch.uk






Saturday, 5 May 2018

New Teams - Icebreakers

As you start to look ahead to a new school year - without losing focus on what there is still to achieve in this one - you may want to develop some icebreaker/get to know you activities with your teams. But don't just wait until September - you might learn something new about the people you are already working with.

Concentric Circles
This icebreaker has staff or pupils arrange themselves in an inside circle and an outside circle, the inside facing out, forming pairs. Pairs discuss their answers to a getting-to-know-you question, then rotate for the next question, forming a new partnership. This game gives staff or pupils the chance to have lots of one-on-one conversations and helps them quickly feel more at home in your class.

The possibilities for questions in this kind of configuration are endless; be sure to use more open-ended questions that can get people talking, rather than those that simply ask for a yes or no answer. Here are some sample questions:
  • Do you play any sports? If so, which ones?
  • Do you consider yourself shy or outgoing? Why?
  • What was the last movie you saw? Did you like it?
  • Describe your perfect dinner.
  • What would you do with a million dollars?
  • What is one thing you’re good at?
This or That
This icebreaker has staff or pupils informally debate on light topics such as “Which animal makes a better pet…dog or cat?” Participants have to choose a position, then physically move to the side of the room that most closely represents their opinion—one side means dogs, the other side means cats—and then talk about why they chose that spot. It builds participant confidence with talking in front of their peers, and helps them quickly find kindred spirits, and it’s also just a lot of fun.

Sample questions for This or That:
  • Would you rather live in the country or the city?
  • Should all students be required to learn a second language?
  • Which is worse: bad breath or body odor?
  • Would you rather be indoors or outdoors?
  • Which is better: Playing sports or watching sports?
  • Would you rather travel every single day or never leave home?


Friday, 4 May 2018

Don't Doubt Yourself!

At this time of year many teachers will be thinking of taking the leap into a different leadership post for September. One concern that can hold people back is the worry about coping with the challenge of establishing your identity and presence again within a new environment. Although each situation, post and person is very different, there are some common themes which can be drawn out.

Read the full Susan Ritchie article here

Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions?

How do I stop feeling like an imposter?
Research shows that as many of 70% of leaders will feel like they shouldn’t be in the role they're in. Imposter Syndrome refers to feelings of being a fake and a fraud, that we don’t deserve our success and we’ll never replicate it. It can be career-limiting stuff and especially potent in the early days of a new role when it will take the wind out of your sails. There is an article in the Huffington post which gives 7 tips on how to cope: click here

I don’t think my new team like me! What can I do?
Connecting with your new team quickly, and building relationships with them will be high on your list of things to do in the first 100 days. Getting to know anyone can be a challenge, and here is a guest post I wrote, with 7 Ways to Build Business Rapport that will enable you to create the culture of your team from the outset. A useful reminder for anyone who’s been leading their team for some time too!

I’m not sure who I am as a leader! How do I get used to this new ‘me’?
New roles demand new things of you – qualities that you may still need to develop, behaviours that may initially feel uncomfortable and alien to you and a new way of ‘being’ that your team and your bosses will be expecting to see. This can be confusing and quite daunting. Understanding how to be an authentic leader and still be able to change and respond to your new role is a crucial piece of learning. None of us are set in stone – we’re not the same people we were when we joined the workforce – however many years ago that may be. This article, The Key to Being an Authentic Leader, will help you to make sense of seemingly conflicting demands on you as a leader.


Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Working Collaboratively



School work best when they work together!

On Wednesday, we welcomed colleagues from local schools in Harold Hill to take part in a writing moderation session. These meetings are designed to help promote accurate, robust and consistent teacher assessment judgments against year group expectations.


Julie Fisher films at Broadford

At Broadford Primary School, we are continually striving to develop our practice, so we were delighted when Julie Fisher asked us if we could assist with her research. 
Julie spent the day at Broadford, filming in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. The focus was to look more closely at the different approaches used by teachers when they lead the learning in an adult-led activity, as opposed to when they are coming alongside a child-led activity. Julie filmed sessions where adults plan and direct the learning and then filmed child-led scenarios where adults come alongside the play and then ‘wait, watch and wonder’ before joining in to demonstrate that approach.


Monday, 30 April 2018

SSIF: Vision 2 Provision Conference

36 Havering Schools cake together to review the progress so far of our new Vision to Provision programme for Early Years leaders and settings.

What is the rationale for V2P?
Havering data shows that Expected outcomes are strong and improving. However Exceeding outcomes - particularly with Communication - are significantly behind. 

How did this session help?
The aims of this season were:
  • to share with HTs and their EYFS leads the tweaks that have been made to approaches in their settings this year and the impact they have had
  • give HT support with interpretating their EYFS data and being able to provide challenge and support for their EYFS leads
  • look ahead to 2018-19 and how we can develop the programme further to meet the needs of Havering settings
Julie Fisher - Who Leads The Learning?
Julie Fisher then led the remainder of the day, exploring how adult/child interactions can be made more effective. 

I have been inspired by each session on the V2P course and think it has been a great source of knowledge, understanding and ideas for leadership. I particularly enjoyed Julia Fisher's talks and found them very inspirational!

From my perspective I think the course has been perfectly pitched. It has had a significant impact on me as a Head with no expertise in EYFS, in terms of strengthening and developing my understanding and as a consequence facilitating a much stronger relationship between senior leaders and Early Years. It has really helped us to further shape and refine our vision for our EYFS setting.

I think it has helped our EYFS lead to feel more secure in her leadership abilities. The programme has provided her with the opportunity to reflect on her practice and the practice of others.

We look forward to welcoming EYFS Leads back for the final session of the year on June 8th @ Mead Primary.




NELI Training Day 1

Mead Primary hosted the first day of the NELI Training as our launch phase of the project progresses.

First the Teaching Assistants will learn how to deliver the intervention. This involves:
  • three weekly group sessions of 20-30mins
  • two individual sessions for each pupil per week
Using stimulus cards, the TAs will support the children in extending their narrative ability. By providing simple clear guidance on how to scaffold a narrative, we aim to improve the pupils’ attainment across Listening & Attention, Understanding and Speaking.

The feedback from the training has been extremely positive:
A very well run training session that means I am very confident I will be able to deliver this in school

The resources and manual are really helpful. Often we are left to plan dna resource interventions ourselves - this is so much clearer

Our trainer - Sarah - really made me think about the way we speak to the children and model language. This intervention will help the whole setting

100% agreed that they would be confident at starting the intervention
100% agreed that they understood the aims of the SSIF project

We now can’t wait to see the impact that the NELI resources will have! 



NELI Resources

This morning the delivery man dropped off the boxes for the Nuffield Early Literacy Intervention (NELI).

Without the funding from the SSIF, Havering schools would not be able to afford either the resources or the training that will make such a difference to our Early Years pupils.

We aim to diminish the difference in communication outcomes so that Havering produces more Exceeding pupils - particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Included in the pack is:
  • a manual of the program so that Teaching Assistants don’t have to plan, only prepare their sessions
  • all of the flash and prompt cards
  • a teddy hand puppet
The resources and scheme look really engaging. I am confident that the simple framework that it provides for improving talk and conversations will have a real impact on our pupils. 
J Mackman



Strategic School Improvement Launch Event

All 15 schools who will be part of the Havering SSIF bid attended the Launch Event this month. The intention was to ensure that HTs, Governors and EYFS Leads were all aware of the key priorities of the project and how it would be delivered.

In partnership with ELKAN, Oxford University Press, the Department for Education, Havering Education Services (HES) and Broadford Primary, the project will reach over 2,000 children between now and July 2019.

Step 1: Launch the event to HTs, Governors and EYFS Leads
Step 2: Train the Teaching Assistants in the delivery of the intervention
Step 3: Launch the programme in schools and collect baseline data
Step 4: Train the SLEs in their role of support and challenge for wider adoption of the principles
Step 5: SLEs to get into schools and provide ongoing weekly support as pupils progress through the NELI intervention.

A really clear project. I understand the aims and believe that this will really be of use to our setting.

The support from the SSIF is amazing. Our CPD budget is limited. Without this funding we wouldn't be able to participate.

We now look forward to getting the training underway and seeing the intervention in the classroom




Monday, 23 April 2018

Make an Impact!

How can you differentiate yourself at work from the rest of the leaders?
There are three things people notice that can help or hinder you in setting yourself apart: 
  1. your attitude
  2. how you treat others
  3. how you act when you think no one is watching. 
Keep people informed.
No one likes chasing people or information. Do everyone a favor and update them often. People often think they should wait to communicate when a task is finished or they have specific information. When you let people know what's happening--even if it means saying you don't know--you're saving them from speculation, distraction, and rumors. A simple status update can buy a lot of peace of mind.

Become a forecaster.
Keep your thinking a step ahead of the rest. If everyone is worrying about today's problems, think about tomorrow's solutions. Don't wait for things reactively; instead, be responsive to issues and trends before there's a problem. It comes down to paying attention to the people and problems you're dealing with and noticing patterns or potential pitfalls. We've all had moments when we know we could have done more. Long before you get to that moment, come up with a plan and set it in motion.
Have confidence to speak up.
Have you ever sat in a meeting where there were only two people doing all the talking? If you want to make an impact, be willing to speak up and speak out. Share what you know and let others know how you can be supportive and helpful.
Do things (the right things) without being asked.
Never ask, "Is there anything I can do?" Just look around and find something useful to do. Making an impact means seeing what needs to get done and taking the initiative to make sure it happens. Try to do something every day that no one asked you to do.
Be a great listener.
Most people think that making an impact is all about what you say and do. Often overlooked is another important way you can leave your mark--by becoming a great listener. Pay attention to what people say. Listen to understand and focus on the speaker instead of thinking ahead to your reply.

Have a positive mindset.
Whether you're just starting out in your first job or are leading a team of your own, remember that people gravitate toward those who have a positive attitude. It's the person who takes on every task--even the most tedious--with enthusiasm and joy who truly stands out. If you view everything through a negative lens then you're likely to have a negative mindset, but if you cultivate a positive attitude it will take you far.



Sunday, 22 April 2018

Equality & Diversity in Film

According to BBC analysis, Hollywood is failing women when it comes to representing gender on screen.

Did you know that fewer than half of the 89 films named best picture at the Oscars have passed a common measure of on-screen female representation known as the Bechdel Test.

A movie passes the Bechdel Test if: 
  • there are at least two named female characters 
  • that they have a conversation with one another about something other than a man.
This conversation needs to happen just once for it to pass.

The research also shows that a greater percentage of best picture winners passed the Bechdel test in the 1930s compared to the current decade.

Recent winners such as Moonlight, Gladiator and Slumdog Millionaire all fail the test, along with two of this year's best picture nominees, teams from BBC 100 Women and More or Less have found.

Darkest Hour fulfils the requirement to have two named female characters but at no point in the film do women have a conversation with each other about something other than a man.

Dunkirk, set during World War Two, doesn't have any named female characters.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Improvement Facilitator Training

We were delighted to welcome Maggie Farrar (from Educational Development Trust) to Mead Primary as we continued our journey with implementing a Peer Review process in Havering. Over 10 schools were represented with 16 Improvement Facilitators benefitting from the training.

Improvement Facilitators are key in helping schools unpick the findings of their Peer Review and creating their own action plan to support the cycle of school led continuous improvement.

A really insightful session. I now feel much more prepared to take on leading the workshops.

The toolkits are very straightforward. I can see that you would quickly become confident at applying them in different contexts.

I left feeling really inspired and can't wait to lead my first workshop!



Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Mistakes Leaders Make That Cause Good Teachers To Quit:

Sometimes there are some simple things that leadership teams could tweak to help with staff retention.

1. Showing favouritism.
We know too well about school politics. It’s really sad when teachers can tell who will be getting the next promotion because of their close relationship with the leader responsible for interviewing. Favouring - or being perceived to favour - certain staff for promotions and assignments is a sure way to damage team morale. This perception destroys team spirit and undermines engagement.

2. Leaders are quick to blame.
A bad boss assumes the worst. Throwing employees under the bus rather than standing up for your team in distressing moments is a sure way to lose points. Everyone is looking to you in moments like these. As the leader, why not act with dignity and advocate for your team? If you want to build loyalty, you must demonstrate loyalty. When you blame employees, it destroys your credibility and leads to a culture of distrust. Good bosses don’t dwell on mistakes made by others, hold grudges or point fingers. They take responsibility and focus on solving problems.

3. They don’t show they care. 
A bad boss treats workers like they’re interchangeable. Employees want to work for someone who treats them like a person. They have emotions and personal lives. If you care about employees, you will not continuously push them to work long hours or contact them after hours. Taking a healthy interest in your employees' lives is the first step in relationship building. It starts with supporting work/life balance. Show that you sincerely care about their well being. I can’t emphasize this point enough. If a staff member is dealing with personal issues as illness or bereavement show empathy instead of solely focusing on when they will be back out to work.

“Having a personality of caring about people is important. You can't be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.” 
- Richard Branson

4. Leaders don't recognise accomplishments. 
No one likes to feel ignored or like their efforts are taken for granted. As Dale Carnegie stated,

"People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards." 

Appreciate employees, show them how much you value their efforts. It does not have to be always about monetary rewards. But simple things as "Thank You" and "Well done" goes a long way. Bad bosses make work drudgery and it's always onward to the next task. Employees spend over half of their lives at work. Create a fun atmosphere where you celebrate successes and bring people together.

5. They have no interest in employees' development.
One of the top reasons employees leave a company is the lack of development opportunities. Employees can interpret an employer’s unwillingness to invest in training as a disregard for their professional development. Acknowledge and encourage strengths, recognize the different skills employees possess and recommend them for opportunities. Subsequently, if a team member has informed you they want to move to another department support their wishes, don’t be an obstacle to them.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

What Makes Great Teaching?

Thank you to @LeadingLearner for pulling all these together.

What Makes Great Teaching – Review of the Underpinning Research by Coe et al
This would be my starter paper for discussion. It grounds you in what great teaching might be and how teachers can become great or at least much better. It looks at six components of great teaching referencing both Rosenshine & Dunlosky (see below). It needs a whole school focus.

1. What Makes Great Teaching – Coe et al via Sutton Trust

Principles of Instruction – Rosenshine
This was Mark Esner’s suggested paper; I agree, one of the top 5. It’s an interesting and detailed paper. The paper is built around principles rather than specific practices. Each principle has a useful “Research Findings” and “In the Classroom” section. It’s one for classroom practitioners.

2. Principles of Instruction – Rosenshine

Cognitive Load Theory – Sweller
Arguably the most important theory for teachers to know, Dylan Wiliam certainly thinks so. The paper discusses the processing (short term memory) and storage (long term memory) of information. “If memory is the residue of thought” (Willingham) and remembering is a good thing; it is the basis for further learning as well as guiding current actions, then teachers need to take account of how to maximise this in their teaching. There are five recommendations for the classroom which are rooted in cognitive load theory.

3. Cognitive Load Theory – Sweller via CESE

Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology – Dunlosky et al

The paper provides a review of the ten learning techniques; each one is set out using the same format: a description of the technique and why it is expected to improve student learning; an exploration of its “generalizability” in different contexts; links to any research and any identified issues with implementation.

4. Improving Students’ Learning – Dunlosky et al

Developing Great Teaching – Teacher Development Trust
If we want great teaching and learning in the classroom then we need great professional development in the staff room first and foremost. Too much professional development is quite literally a waste of time. Substantial effective professional development of teachers is a precursor of effective implementation and supporter of significant improvements in pupil outcomes. Eight key elements of effective professional development are explained within this paper.

5. Developing Great Teaching – Teacher Development Trust


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Habits of Mentally Strong People

Despite West Point Military Academy’s rigorous selection process, one in five students drop out by graduation day. A sizeable number leave the summer before freshman year, when cadets go through a rigorous program called “Beast.” Beast consists of extreme physical, mental, and social challenges that are designed to test candidates’ perseverance.

University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth conducted a study in which she sought to determine which cadets would make it through the Beast program. The rigorous interviews and testing that cadets went through to get into West Point in the first place told Angela that IQ and talent weren’t the deciding factors.

So, Angela developed her own test to determine which cadets had the mental strength to conquer the Beast. She called it the “Grit Scale,” and it was a highly accurate predictor of cadet success. The Grit Scale measures mental strength, which is that unique combination of passion, tenacity, and stamina that enables you to stick with your goals until they become a reality.

To increase your mental strength, you simply need to change your outlook. When hard times hit, people with mental strength suffer just as much as everyone else. The difference is that they understand that life’s challenging moments offer valuable lessons. In the end, it’s these tough lessons that build the strength you need to succeed.

Developing mental strength is all about habitually doing the things that no one else is willing to do. If you aren’t doing the following things on a regular basis, you should be, for these are the habits that mentally strong people rely on.

You have to fight when you already feel defeated. A reporter once asked Muhammad Ali how many sit-ups he does every day. He responded, “I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, cause that’s when it really matters.” The same applies to success in the workplace. 

You always have two choices when things begin to get tough: you can either overcome an obstacle and grow in the process or let it beat you. Humans are creatures of habit. If you quit when things get tough, it gets that much easier to quit the next time. On the other hand, if you force yourself to push through a challenge, the strength begins to grow in you.

1. Delay gratification. 
There was a famous Stanford experiment in which an administrator left a child in a room with a marshmallow for 15 minutes. Before leaving, the experimenter told the child that she was welcome to eat it, but if she waited until he returned without eating it, she would get a second marshmallow. The children that were able to wait until the experimenter returned experienced better outcomes in life, including higher SAT scores, greater career success, and even lower body mass indexes. 

The point is that delay of gratification and patience are essential to success. People with mental strength know that results only materialize when you put in the time and forego instant gratification.

2. Make mistakes, and try again.
In a study at the College of William and Mary, researchers interviewed over 800 entrepreneurs and found that the most successful among them tend to have two critical things in common: they’re terrible at imagining failure and they tend not to care what other people think of them. 

In other words, the most successful entrepreneurs put no time or energy into stressing about their failures as they see failure as a small and necessary step in the process of reaching their goals.

3. Keep your emotions in check. 
Negative emotions challenge your mental strength every step of the way. While it’s impossible not to feel your emotions, it’s completely under your power to manage them effectively and to keep yourself in control of them. When you let your emotions overtake your ability to think clearly, it’s easy to lose your resolve. A bad mood can make you lash out or stray from your chosen direction just as easily as a good mood can make you overconfident and impulsive.

4. Lead when no one else follows. 
It’s easy to set a direction and to believe in yourself when you have support, but the true test of strength is how well you maintain your resolve when nobody else believes in what you’re doing. People with mental strength believe in themselves no matter what, and they stay the course until they win people over to their ways of thinking.

5. Be kind to people who are rude to you. 
When people treat you poorly, it’s tempting to stoop to their level and return the favor. People with mental strength don’t allow others to walk all over them, but that doesn’t mean they’re rude to them, either. Instead, they treat rude and cruel people with the same kindness they extend to everyone else, because they don’t allow another person’s negativity to bring them down.

Mental strength is as rare as it is important. The good news is that any of us can get stronger with a little extra focus and effort.

Read the full article here:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies.


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Alan Peat Training

We were delighted to welcome Alan Peat to the Havering Primary Teaching School Alliance last term. The afternoon session focused on practical ways to develop Greater Depth in Writing across KS2.

  • 100% of delegates agreed that they had a clearer understanding of how to develop a collegiate writing approach.
  • 76% of delegates strongly agreed that the session had introduced new, simple strategies to improve writing
An inspiring session that simplified what has been a really daunting task. We have struggled to improve outcomes, but the collegiate approach is what we have been missing.

Practical, fun and packed with ideas we can implement straight away! Thank you.

If you'd like support from our English SLEs, please contact our Teaching School Director:
Joanne Stanley
jstanley@teachingschool.havering.sch.uk



OLP Leadership Survey

We have received many responses to our first annual school leadership challenges survey. There is still time to contribute though!

Supported by Best Practice Network and the University of Chester, the survey aims to provide a detailed insight into the key issues facing those in charge of schools across the country.

It includes questions on the key challenges you face as a school leader today and how these affect your wellbeing, as well questions on your professional development and support needs, workload and resilience.

The results will help us to refine and develop our professional development programmes and school improvement services so that they continue helping you and your colleagues in your crucial work.

The survey takes just 10 minutes to complete and if you enter your name and school details you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a package of free places on two of our professional development qualifications.

The survey is open until Monday 16 April 2018 and can be accessed here.


Why Leaders Should Care about Employee Loyalty

Loyal teachers are a major asset for a strong school. Schools may think that teachers are automatically loyal just because they’re getting paid. The truth is loyalty isn’t for sale. Loyalty has to be earned by the way you treat your staff. Transforming your school culture isn’t easy. You can’t do it alone. 

Why do teachers leave?
Poor leadership may lie at the heart of a teacher's departure. People don’t leave jobs, they leave leaders (line managers). Who is the school’s first point of contact with that member of staff? If that contact is bad, the relationship with the school will be bad and the teacher won’t stay long. 

In the present environment, it becomes a necessity for schools to have a strategy for retaining their best teachers. Other schools are waiting at the door with "treats" to lure away your top performers. According to data drawn from 30 case studies taken from 11 research papers on the costs of employee turnover, it costs at least 20% of their salary when an employee leaves. These costs reflect the loss of productivity from the departure, the cost of finding a replacement, and the reduced productivity while the new teacher gets up to speed.

How can we raise productivity?
The link between teacher job satisfaction and productivity is long-established. Research has found that happy staff are 12% more productive than their less satisfied counterparts. 

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to. 
-Richard Branson

Tips To Help You Keep Your Best Teachers
When teachers feel disconnected, undervalued, and unappreciated, it doesn’t take long for them to jump ship and look for another job that will recognize their contributions. The only thing that can stop a high turnover is to give staff a reason to stay, or, even better, multiple reasons. Here are some tips to help retain your best employees:

* Establish a clear vision and moral purpose - and show how the individual can contribute to it. Id staff believe in why you are doing what you do, and see their impact they are more likely to stay. Of course you need to celebrate when you see people actively supporting the vision and let them know that you value their efforts!

* Don’t treat teachers like machines – they will want to know that their leaders understands
 the need for a work/life balance and respects their personal time.

* Create opportunities for growth and development – Always make sure there are ways your staff can grow and can do work that inspires them. Have you got a long term plan for each member of staff? Is access to CPLD equitable? Do staff know what opportunities there are open for them?

* Reward staff efforts - An open school culture with room for recognition and appreciation is very important. If you want the best, you must pay the price for the best.

* Don't micromanage - Trust staff. Give them autonomy and breathing space to get their work done.

* Provide adequate training and support. Training demonstrates a company’s commitment to employees in terms of personal and professional growth.

* Show Empathy. Very few bosses show empathy towards their team members and this helps improve overall team morale and performance.

Furthermore, when people leave your school, find out why. Your school may have morale weaknesses you are not aware of or have been underestimating. In one study, 89% of managers surveyed said they thought most employees leave for better pay. However, another study found that 88% of employees who quit did so for something other than money. Clearly, there is often a disconnect between managers and employees about what motivates an employee to leave. 

Consequently, when people stay with your school, find out why (Stay Interviews). Here’s the reality: employees are only as loyal to the company as they believe the company is loyal to them. Loyalty is a two-way street. So in the end, building a school of committed, loyalty employees ultimately comes down to demonstrating to employees that the company deserves their loyalty.

The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Brigette Hyacinth
Published on April 5, 2018


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

How reliable is research?

Read the full article here

When you add the tag 'research states that...' or 'evidence shows that...' it doesn't actually mean that the claims are genuine. Education is now being subjected to a new wave of 'knowledge' that uses 'research kite marks' to authenticate approaches, resources and techniques. But are these claims believable?

As we enter the Easter holidays, it might be a good idea to draw a comparison with the 'research' that has informed the debate about whether chocolate is good for you or not.

Who is funding it?
Chocolate manufacturers have poured huge sums into funding nutrition science that has been carefully framed, interpreted and selectively reported to cast their products in a positive light over the last 20 years.

For example, studies published last year found:
In 2016, eating chocolate was linked to reduced risks of cognitive decline among those aged 65 and over, while cocoa flavanol consumption was linked to improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles – markers of diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk.
Most studies on chocolate and health get industry funding, but this isn't highlighted.

“Industry-funded research tends to set up questions that will give them desirable results, and tends to be interpreted in ways that are beneficial to their interests,” - M Nestle NYU.

Are meta analyses based on fair reports & research?
The public are also misled into believing chocolate is healthy through what scientists refer to as the “file drawer effect”. Two of the aforementioned studies – those on blood pressure and markers of cardiovascular health – are meta-analyses, meaning they pool the results of previously published research. The problem is that science journals, like the popular media, are more likely to publish findings that suggest chocolate is healthy than those that conclude it has no effect, which skews meta-analyses. 

“It’s really hard to publish something that doesn’t find anything,” says Dr Duane Mellor, a nutritionist at Coventry University who has studied cocoa and health. “There’s a bias in the under-reporting of negative outcomes.”

How are control groups set up?
Unlike in drug trials, those taking part in chocolate studies often know whether they are being given chocolate or a placebo. Most people have positive expectations about chocolate because they like it. They are therefore primed, through the conditioning effect – famously described by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov – to respond positively. They may, for example, become more relaxed, boosting levels of endorphins and neurotransmitters, and triggering short-term physiological benefits.

Lessons to learn?
  • Be sure you know who funded the research
  • Check that meta studies are based on balanced views
  • What methodology was used to get the results

Sunday, 1 April 2018

How to Create a Culture Where All Voices Are Heard

Patrick Leddin, Ph.D.

Patrick recently published an article giving suggestions on how you can build a culture where all staff are heard and valued. 

We want to be active members of the process, not marginalized actors pushed to the side.

The good news is that regardless of your role, you can be the key to helping the voices of others be heard and creating a greater sense of belonging among team members.

Patrick uses the BelieveBehaveBecome framework:

Step 1: Believe

What you create in the physical world begins in your mind. In order to create, you must first imagine. I invite you to reflect on how you value the voices of others by answering these questions:
  • Do you believe that everyone’s voice matters?
  • Can you envision people that you work with who are marginalized, or left out of key conversations?
  • Is it possible that no matter your role in the organization, you could help to bring the less heard voices into the open?
  • Do you believe that some of those people might have something of value to add to the conversation?
  • If so, which conversations and which people (name them)?
Step 2: Behave

Although mindset matters, it is insufficient without a change in behavior. Take a moment to reflect on how you currently behave and what you would like to do differently in the future by answering these questions:
  • Do you listen with the intent of understanding? Or, do you fake listen, partially listen, or outright ignore?
  • Are you constantly asking the same people to be part of the conversation?
  • How good are you at asking one question at a time and waiting for an answer?
  • Have you established systems to encourage everyone’s voice to be heard? Or, do your systems limit input to that from only a select few?
  • What might you do differently tomorrow, to encourage and embrace the voices of others?
Step 3: Become
Shifting your beliefs and your behaviors will no doubt lead to changes in yourself, your team, and the broader organization. However, change can be difficult. Unless the benefits are worthwhile, you might chose to go back to old patterns. So, take a moment to think about what you, your employees, and the organization might achieve from bringing more voices into the conversation. Answer these questions:
  • If those who currently don’t have a voice begin to contribute more, how will it impact them? Will they be more engaged, committed, or driven?
  • How might you change? Will you learn new things or experience better results? Will people see you differently? Will you see yourself differently?
  • How might the organization benefit? What might be accomplished in both the short- and long-run?

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Important Career Lessons

Brigette Hyacinth

Bridgette recently published an article on important career lessons, which are often learnt too late in life. Here is a summary, click here for the full article

1. Don't stay in a job you hate. 
You spend half of your life at work. Life is too short to put up with a job you hate or a boss who treats you poorly. Many people convince themselves that they can stay in a job that makes them unhappy because they need the income or because they don’t believe they can find another job. But the truth is spending too much of it in a bad situation will make you miserable and it can affect your health. If you’re in this situation, try taking small steps to where you want to be. You deserve so much better!

2. Take care of yourself 
Our bodies are not machines. You can’t keep going 24/7. The lights won’t always be green. If you don’t slow down, eventually, you will come to a red light and have to make a complete stop. Don’t take your health for granted - no amount of success or money can replace your health.

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." 
- Jim Rohn

3. Rejection and Failure will strengthen you. 
Failure is not the end. Few things in life are certain but failure is. Although it leaves a sour taste, failures are the pillars for success. You gain experiences you could not get any other way. Additionally, rejection is unavoidable in a creative life. Learning how to deal with rejection early on, will keep you from plummeting into a place of immobilizing despair. Rejection hurts but don't dwell on it. If you focus on positive thinking, even the harshest defeat is only a stepping-stone.

4. Worrying doesn’t solve anything. 
It just magnifies fear and creates anxiety. The antidote to fear is action. Don't let fear hold you back. You won’t achieve your goals if you’re afraid to pursue an idea, or are worried what others will think of you. If you push through the worry and the fear you’ll almost always find that you were worried about nothing. Have faith. Don't worry. Patience and Persistence will open the right doors. 

"I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened." 
—Mark Twain

5. Never stop learning. Never stop growing. 
Personal development is continuous. Learn everything about the field you are in and also related fields. Become the expert others look to for advice. With the rate at which technologies are changing, if you decide that you are done learning, you will be left behind. By continuously learning you will be able to keep on top of things, make better decisions and remain "relevant" in this digital era. Try as well to diversify your skill-set so you can have income from more than one sources.

 The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Vision To Provision: Conference Day

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our second full day Vision to Provision conference:

Date: Monday 16th April
Venue: CEME Centre RM13 8EU
Time: 9am - 3pm (coffee available from 8.30am)
Lunch: Provided for free
Booking: Please use the Havering portal to book your place
Audience: Headteachers & EYFS Leads

This will be an opportunity for Headteachers and EYFS Leads to plan on how they will work together to ensure that assessment data submitted accurately reflects the cohort and links to Havering priorities - which were identified at the first Conference in October.

We also want to take this chance to inform you about the plans for Vision 2 Provision 2018-19 as it will run again but with updated and different content.

Julie Fisher will lead the majority of the day, giving Headteachers and EYFS Leads a chance to reflect:
  • on the role of adults within their settings
  • how to develop effective interactions
  • think ahead to 2018-19 and what their next steps are going to be for their settings
Feedback from the first Conference in October was extremely positive:
'The colleagues we heard from were really inspirational and all of the messages/advice was really useful. Thank you.

'It an intense but enjoyable and reflective day'

'I thought it was excellent; pitched perfectly with good speakers and good content. Very inspiring.'


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ailie MacAdam - Inspirational Women

Be inspired by the career of Ailie MacAdam who has led some of the world’s biggest engineering rail projects, including the St Pancras International refurbishment, High Speed One (HS1) and Crossrail.

Ailie MacAdam is global rail sector lead for the engineering, project management and construction company, Bechtel. She joined Bechtel as a graduate chemical engineer in 1985 and has worked there ever since. She’s worked at a senior level on Boston’s road infrastructure, led St Pancras International refurbishment and High Speed One (HS1) rail project. She was also Bechtel’s project director for Crossrail.



Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Invitation to the National Women's Day Twitter Chat - 8th March 2018

Invitation to join a Twitter chat on Thursday 8th March at 7:00pm to celebrate International Women’s Day! This is fantastic opportunity to get our teeth under some of the challenges that Women Leading in Education (WLE) might face in their working environment.

The chat will be led by @TeachSchCouncil and will last approximately 30 minutes. Please follow @TeachSchCouncil if you don’t already!

2018 International Women’s Day theme #pressforprogress is following the report from the World Economic Forum 2017 Gender Gap Report outlining the gender parity is still 200 years away.

@TeachSchCouncil will pose a few questions for the chat to fuel the discussion but please feel free to send any ideas you might have around this topic.

International Women’s Day is also a great opportunity for:
  • People who are interested in coaching women in education to progress into leadership
  • Women in education who are interested in receiving coaching to help them to progress to leadership
  • Anyone who is interested in supporting women in education to progress to leadership.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Google Training Boot Camp - Mead Primary

Our teaching school is delighted to be offering a chance to qualify as a Google Educator! 

Date: May 3rd
Venue: Mead Primary, RM3 9JD

GOOGLE EDUCATOR LEVEL 1 BOOTCAMP

Get Certified

Want to learn new skills and prove your proficiency? The Google Certified Educator Level 1 Bootcamp prepares you to take Google's exam by providing pedagogically sound ideas for the use of G Suite in the classroom. You'll leave with new ideas for using tools across the suite including Google Classroom, Forms, Docs, Sheets, YouTube and more! We'll provide a voucher code so that you can take the exam for free!

GOOGLE EDUCATOR LEVEL 2 BOOTCAMP
Reach the Next Level

Achieved Google Certified Educator Level 1 and want to take things up a notch? Attend the AppsEvents Google Certified Educator Level 2 Bootcamp to learn how to take your G Suite usage beyond the core apps. You'll get experience with add-ons and extensions as well as expanding your knowledge of YouTube, Blogger and more. We'll provide a voucher code so that you can take the exam for free!



Saturday, 3 March 2018

Improving Vocabulary in EYFS

If we want to close the vocabulary and attainment gap that already exists by the age of 3, we need to seriously reconsider our practice. Some children will require a more targeted approach for speech and language development but targeted doesn't have to mean boring. However a huge percentage of supporting behaviour and communication is done by following what a child is interested in and adapting the learning there and then to their specific level of need. When you get down at their level and you follow a child’s lead, you can really enhance their vocabulary / enrich their learning.

Here is a scenario where a great opportunity to develop speech and vocabulary is missed:
A little girl comes into the nursery and finds her name for self-registration (or rather the picture next to her name. She’s only just turned 3.) Her picture is a kite, which just so happens to be the school emblem so we all have one on our t-shirts. 
The EYP says “look what you’ve got! It’s the same as mine. I have one on my t-shirt.” All credit to the EYP, she didn’t ask “what is it?” The staff know I dislike boring test questions. But I was curious, so I asked the girl and of course she didn’t know. Because not once during her self-registration had she heard from her mum, or the EYP “it’s a kite. You’ve got a kite. I’ve got a kite too. It flies in the sky when it’s windy.”

Yes, the EYP was interacting with the child, getting down at her level and even following her interest. But the child left that interaction with no more vocabulary than when she came in.


These tips would be a good starting point:
  • With every nursery activity (such as circle time) consider... is every child benefitting from this activity? Or is it the same chatty few that are participating every time? What changes could be made to ensure every child is included? This might mean smaller groups, shorter time in a circle or adapting your language and expectation according to their need.
  • Does every child start with a clean slate every day? Or does your staff use langauge such as "I hope we are going to have a better day than yesterday."
  • If a child is "misbehaving" (also known as 'has not received the memo of what your expectations are for the day.') was the activity chosen and led by them...or you?
  • If a child is "misbehaving," do they actually understand what is expected of them? Or do you need to support that understanding by using visuals, gestures or simplifying the instruction?
Read the full article here

Child Led Learning & Speech & Language


Friday, 2 March 2018

NPQ Executive Leadership - deadline extension

Dear colleagues

Due to bad weather conditions that caused school closures this week, we decided to extend the registration deadline for the NPQEL course.

We will be accepting applications until Friday, 9 March.

The new NPQ for Executive Leadership is aimed at the growing number of head teachers who are taking on responsibility for more than one school.

The fully blended learning approach with HEI backed content (meaning that participants can go on to achieve an MBA from Liverpool Hope University), combined with executive coaching and enrichment activity from within and outside the education sector, make this an exciting and valuable opportunity for executive leaders.

Candidates working in Opportunity Areas or Category 5 and 6 LA will be eligible for full course funding; you can find more information here.

Please could you share the below link to the registration page within your network:

The National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership

Any questions? Contact us on 0117 9209 424 or email cpd@bestpracticenet.co.uk


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Inspiring A Love of Reading

If you ask an adult for their earliest memory of stories, books and reading they will often recall the oral tales told by parents, grandparents or the “classic” stories, which adults read to young children. However, since the Industrial Revolution, governments and some employers are often quoted as seeing a decline in literacy, which in turn affects our nation’s ability to compete with the world. (Brown, 2007).

The development of early language and literacy begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with books and stories. Current research demonstrates the critical role of these early experiences in shaping brain development.

Views on learning literacy:
Learners should understand and experience the purposes and functions of language before learning to manipulate its constituent parts. 
Oral and written language have to be learned in meaningful and enjoyable circumstances, and thus children construct language as they use it.
Certain conditions support this approach with children, such as: 
  • immersion in print, 
  • demonstration of how print and books are used,
“Nurture shapes nature”
Giving children an appreciation of a wide range of literature underpins and supports their development of understanding in reading by providing meaningful experience of rhythm, sequence and narrative, tone and intonation, pauses, rhyme, and alliteration. Stories and poems help children understand sequence and narrative, as well as creating meaning, writing sentences, composing their own stories, and making their own non-fiction books based on their interests.

Early literacy research states that:
  • Language, reading, and writing skills develop at the same time and are intimately linked;
  • Early literacy development is a continuous developmental process that begins in the early years;
  • Early literacy skills develop in real-life settings through positive interactions with literacy materials and other people.
Using books:
Children with individual needs will need support in developing a range of appropriate behaviours with books. These will include:
  • The physical manipulation or handling of books, such as page turning rather than chewing, tearing or throwing them;
  • Learning to look at and pay attention to pictures in books;
  • Learning to show recognition of and a beginning of understanding of pictures in books, such as pointing to pictures of familiar objects;
  • Gaining an understanding of pictures, events and story comprehension such as imitating an action seen in a picture or talking about the events in a story; and
  • Verbally interacting with stories and books alongside increasing their understanding of print in books such as babbling in imitation of reading or running fingers along printed words
Encouraging children with special educational needs to enjoy books
A climate of fun and multi-sensory experience that is based in children’s interests is key to making books and reading enjoyable. Ideally practitioners should not be building barriers but breaking them down according to the unique needs of the children. These can be assisted by the following ideas:
  • Encouraging a variety of reading role-models to boost self-esteem alongside skills, e.g. older children and parents.
  • Using books with a range of positive images so children can recognize themselves and children like them, including making books about them.
  • Bringing in real authors, poets and illustrators to share their enthusiasm, having researched their ability to communicate with the children in your school/setting.
  • Providing daily routines such as story times every day in comfortable environments, alongside flexibility (e.g. indoors and outside). Some children with particular needs may need one-to-one stories using such useful tools as multi-sensory Book Boxes in order to understand the concept of story time.
Conclusion:

Teaching language and literacy via the use of books demands the highest quality teaching. This in turn requires knowledge, insight and curiosity about how children learn and develop alongside their unique interests and needs. Practitioners need to:
  • display a genuine commitment to holistic learning
  • practise joyful, playful teaching and learning.
  • show a problem-solving disposition themselves and a ‘can-do’ attitude 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Precise Practice

Have you ever been disappointed with pupil outcomes despite having spent lots of time practising the skills that you thought they needed?

The issue might be that the practice wasn't precise enough, or maybe they were practising the wrong things. So how might we improve this? How can we get pupils to practise the right things? And how can we ensure that teachers are given the most precise and useful information about their pupils’ progress and areas for development?

Sequencing activities:
Pupils sometimes struggle to make connections across whole texts. Rather than waiting until pupils have read the whole story, it is often useful to ask pupils to put events into order even when they only have the bare bones of the story. If they understand the key moments in the text it is more likely that they will be able to then add extra detail and description.

Once they have grasped the sequence of major events in the plot, you can then begin to weave in questions about particular ideas, themes or images in the plot. 

Quick Listing
Sometimes, a good old fashioned ‘mind map’ (or a list if that makes more sense for the content your pupils are studying- I don’t think it really matters) can be a really useful form of retrieval practice, particularly for those pupils who have struggle to think of points to make in their writing. 

These activities test memory, of course, but they also give the teacher a sense of how much pupils know about specific topics. They tell you whether your class are ready to move on, can help to shine a light on misconceptions, and might provide a spring board on which to add further details about a particular idea or topic, as a way to deepen understanding.

Concept Links
In order to develop their understanding of connections between ideas in a text, and to improve their interpretations, pupils need lots of opportunities to think about connections and interpretations. Asking them questions that force them to choose between different interpretations helps to cement their understanding whilst making this visible to the teacher.

As you move forward you can increase the complexity by being less specific, and depending less on the most obvious description of the characters.

Because/But/So sentences:
This idea comes from this book, which is brilliantly summarised here. The idea is that you give pupils the same sentence stem, changing only the final word (to either ‘because’, ‘but’ or ‘so’). For example:
Arthur Birling refers to himself as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ because
Arthur Birling refers to himself as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ but
Arthur Birling perceives refers as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ so


What I particularly like about these questions is that they really force pupils to think about their answers. They have to draw on their knowledge of the plot, characters and ideas. These sentence stems also provide pupils with the opportunity to practise writing out the kinds of sentences they might have to write in an extended piece of writing later, but without having to worry about everything else. As ever, starting with sentence-level drills aids and supports writing further down the line.

Read the full article here


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Primary Assessment - Symphony Updates

We are delighted to be hosting the Symphony Assessment team who are travelling down to Essex to share the updates to the Symphony framework and how it now has a partnership with O Track to provide additional analysis options:

Date: 26th April
Venue: Mead Primary, Amersham Road, RM3 9JD
Time: 9.15am or 1.00pm (session is repeated)
Cost: £75

How to book:
www.symphonyteachingschool.co.uk
Please send a completed booking form to office@newcroft.leics.sch.uk
Payment as follows:

 Cheques payable to ‘SLT Newcroft Primary Academy’ or,

 BACS: Sort Code 30 94 97 Account Number 65042268

 If you would like us to invoice your school, please provide an order number in your request via email


Monday, 26 February 2018

Tips On Presenting

Presenting is seen as a staple skill for teachers... but it is rarely explicitly taught as such. When you walk into classrooms or staff meetings, often the most basic of rules are ignored

Colleagues reading out irrelevant slides, robotic monotone delivery, over enthusiastic use of animations, tiny fonts, crammed slides: have any of these simple errors ever been seen in your school?

One of the greatest presenters was Steve Jobs - Apple CEO. His presentations appeared flawless and smooth... but this wasn't an accident. Jobs was legendary for his preparation. He would rehearse on stage for many hours over many weeks prior to the launch of a major product. He knew every detail of every demo and every font on every slide. As a result the presentation was delivered flawlessly. 

People will often say, “I’m not as smooth as Jobs was.” Well, neither was he! Hours and hours of practice made Jobs look polished, casual, and effortless.

So painful, awkward presentations don't need to be this way. Here are some simple tips to purge those presentation pains:
  • Practise: how many times will you have read and re read your slides before presenting? Can you ad lib? Do you have to constantly refer to your notes? The more you know your material the more confident you will be... and it means that technical glitches won't throw you off balance.
  • Use the tools available: Google Slides has a great explore tool that will help you lay out text and images effectively (see the video below). That way you can concentrate on the content and not worry about the formatting
  • Make sure you start the slideshow... often presenters/teachers forget to click 'present' which means that slides are much smaller and harder to read. 
  • Use the notes section below each slide to carry your additional information. This helps stop you from just rereading the content on the slide and declutters the presentation.
  • Mix up the layout: include some images (ideally personalised to your school/audience) and ensure that slides look different... this helps to keep it more engaging for the audience




Saturday, 24 February 2018

Sutton Trust: Career Inequality

The challenge for schools based in areas of deprivation are as acute as ever. Data collected by The Sutton Trust from a range of reports reveals that disadvantaged pupils will face significant hurdles if they are to close the gap on their wealthier peers:
  • There is already 19 months gap in school readiness in between the richest and poorest children when starting school. (Social Mobility Report, 2012)
  • Pupils from the highest social class groups are three times more likely to enter university as those from the lowest social groups. (Leading People, 2016)
  • Fewer good jobs are being created than before; for both men and women, upward mobility rates fell for those aged 30 between 1976 and 2004, whilst downward mobility rates rose. (The state of Social Mobility in the UK, 2017)

Despite huge investment in Pupil Premium, Independent schools are hugely over represented in major professions. For schools in challenging areas this poses continued questions about how best to promote career paths and support pupils in not just having a dream, but sustaining it and then achieving it. 
  • What are we doing to tackle the language, behaviour, self regulation and vocabulary gap that already exists by the age of 3?
  • How are careers promoted consistently as part of the everyday curriculum?
  • Is there any way that we can continue to champion and support Primary pupils once they transition to Secondary?