A Parent Forum Issue to Discuss?

The issue of parking and safety around school continues to take up a chunk of my time. Trying to positively encourage all members of our community to follow our values of nurture and respect is an ongoing and time consuming issue for us. I was therefore intrigued to see these two potential solutions being implemented around other schools:




An interesting take on growth mindsets..


Courtesy of my son Henry:

On a more serious note, this is a useful blog about growth mindsets in the staffroom. Plenty of food for thought, especially as we know that children are more likely to do as we do rather than do as we say…


Assessment in 2015

Some important updates:




Here’s what Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT, had to say:

I wanted to draw your attention to the publication of the long, long awaited performance descriptors. You can find them here:

Although they are not called performance descriptors! The effect is largely the same though – but note they have moved away from best fit to complete fit. I expect further developments on assessment but I’ll take this opportunity to claim an achievement for the NAHT. The government came close to imposing new externally marked tests at KS1. We have managed to prevent that for at least another year. Hence the new framework for teacher assessment. There is still plenty of work to do though. Hence the ‘interim’ in their title. One other development which I think has been missed: the floor standard at primary was due to rise  to 85%. Again due to NAHT work this will not happen and it remains at 65%. The coasting standard does impose an 85% hurdle but it has less stringent effects and doesn’t result in automatic forced conversion. Many people who seek to hold you to account may well forget this. Finally, the report of the Commission on Assessment without Levels (aka the McIntosh Commission) ​has also been published. Summary: nothing dramatic; fairly sensible. References the previous NAHT work. No return to levels. You can find a copy here. You can find our assessment work here

Regards, Russell

Russell Hobby General Secretary National Association of Head Teachers

Learning Partners; very much the devil in the detail


Learning partners will be our Fortnightly Focus from 21st September – 2nd October.

Learning partners are the most incredible tool if used correctly. However, as with any strategy, used incorrectly not only can it not enable accelerated progress to take place, it can seriously damage other important aspects of learning, such as growth mindsets.

Here are the recent guides produced by  our study groups. Our study groups worked together for 6 months, undertaking further reading and action research to produce these guides, one of which is around the use of learning partners:


As we embark on two weeks of intensive focus on the use of learning partners, here are some key do’s and don’ts that you may find useful as a starting point:



Do ask open-ended questions, they stimulate discussion. Think Bloom’s taxonomy! Don’t ask closed questions, there is nothing to discuss!
Do focus on learning partner behaviours, children need a lot of training Don’t expect children to just ‘get on with it.’
Do, when working independently, encourage the children to use a range of strategies to overcome barriers and not just learning partners Don’t use learning partners as the only tool when working independently; it encourages some children to rely on others and destroys growth mindsets
Do give time for children to articulate their responses. Don’t ever allow children to say “I don’t know.” Otherwise we may as well just use hands up.
Do adapt the time needs for the children to discuss depending on your assessment of the quality of the learning conversations Don’t allow children to go off task in their conversations

Further resources

Teaching learning partner behaviours to younger children:

Learning partner case studies:


Lancashire grid for Learning Guidance (2006)

Talk Partners July 06 (1)


And lastly, a great powerpoint looking not just at learning partners but at aa huge range of practical AfL ideas for the classroom, many of which could be adapted for learning partner activities:


Great ICT Program with Bags of Literacy Potential!

My son Oscar came home buzzing from Barons Court this week after his “best computing lesson ever!”.

Have a look at this:


I think this has amazing potential across the curriculum but particularly in writing. This is the program itself:


Great fun, well done Barons Court and Mr T and A!

Staff Wellbeing


As I was  sitting there last week nursing  my newly fractured ankle, I turned my attention to thoughts of staff well-being. Staff well-being is an interesting one. We know that in some parts of society there is the false perception  that teaching is an easy option, one of short working days and long holidays. The reality could not be further from the truth. Inevitably we reach the end of each half term battered and bruised from the relentless nature of the job,the ups and downs and from putting our hearts and souls into what we do.

This inevitably impacts on well-being, it can’t not do. So I suppose the question is about what we do to lessen the potentially negative impacts the job can have. How can we as a school support our staff,  but even more importantly how can we as human beings support each other? Every single member of staff has a role in setting the emotional temperature of an organisation.

I found this lovely example of a school that was putting staff well-being high on the agenda with it’s own Staff Well-Being Week. I’d be really interested to see how something along this lines would work with our staff community. Perhaps this could even be something led by our new Pastoral Support Team?



Further thoughts re Pupil Premium

Image-1 (4)

The Sutton Trust recently published a report on how fair it is to assess university applicants based on personal statements. Above is an excerpt from the full report looking at the issue of work experience. The full report can be found here:


This further excerpt is even more thought provoking:

Image-1 (5)

In many respects I found this quite demoralising. Whatever we do to close the gap, and by and large we are very effective at closing the gap for children from disadvantaged backgrounds at Greenways, the opportunities that economic prosperity in later life can offer can’t possibly be replicated for every child.

But then I snapped out of it and remembered why we do this job in the first place; because we will never give up on any child and on trying to help everyone t o be the best they can be.

Just because I have no idea how to solve this one doesn’t of course mean that there isn’t a solution out there to level this particular playing field.