Planning for the Year ahead
This week has shown what a rich learning community I am fortunate to inhabit. Design Evening, and our girls winning the sport Teen Tech award in London, and an invite to Buckingham Palace: the list goes on and on.
We rightly rejoice in our academic work here, and we continue to work to enhance and develop this. This week we met and discussed our plans with Mike Butler, our school improvement partner, and it’s so good to meet and plan with an objective outsider who can look at the work we are doing and advise us from his own experience in many schools what is working and what needs working on. His positivity and positive comments have again helped us to appreciate our own work, as well as thinking of ways of further improve our focus. I won’t hide that I was pleased with his analysis of our latest teaching and learning work as “innovative”, but we must always look for ways to do it better. As a reminder, our focus for the year ahead is fourfold:
- Tracking pupil progress and getting more consistent in supporting pupils at all levels. We have a new system, Sisra, to help us in this vital work, and a new colleague, Michael McSweeney, to assist us.
- Targeting work more accurately and the pupils’ needs: we call this differentiation. Stretching the most able, supporting them where the work is less clear. I have spoken in this column before about the problems clever girls can have, especially in terms of confidence to challenge comfort zones. The work has already started and I will show you video examples of what is going on here.
- Supporting staff in the process of Appraisal. This is a national requirement for teachers, and rightly so, but we need to help colleagues to use it to make the learning in our school even better, whilst helping staff feel supported. This is a challenge! Video training and structured time scales are to the fore!
- Finally we are reviewing our Departmental and Year review process. Each department in the school is reviewed biennially, and this will continue. What is changing is the distribution of roles in the work. Where, before, each department’s review was done by their line manager, we felt that a lack of consistency resulted. Now, one senior leader will co-ordinate, one will lead on data, one on teaching, one on pupil voice. The conclusion, hopefully, will be a more consistent and clear picture of the learning our girls are receiving.