Setting out educational ideas for high achieving girls
Teaching and Learning Update
What an amazing Key Stage 3 concert this week. I am constantly at a loss for words about the talent and commitment of our pupils and the music department. Please watch this short video of the junior choir here.
As parents if there are achievements that your daughter is making out of school that you feel you could share with our wider school community, please get in touch with me so that we can help to celebrate her success.
At the request of English I have just bought a school subscription to Survey Monkey. This enables us to create and use questionnaires and surveys to get a clear picture about learning.
What constitutes outstanding learning? Our ability to define this and to then achieve it is the mark of us as a successful school and as successful teachers.
We know that it is defined by two key concepts: the ability to help pupils progress and the ability to provide a quality teaching experience.
Progress is the easier one to define because it is, essentially, a quantitative judgement. They started from this point, they have arrived at this point. For our pupils it means making progress between year 7 and their GCSEs in Year 11. Raise online, the national database, provides what are called “transition matrices” to help us as teachers and parents to assess what progress our girls should be making. If you are interested you can see the 2011 matrices here.
If, then, a pupil starting at level 5a (the highest that a KS2 score will allow) then 41%, it is calculated, of those pupils should achieve an A*. This can give us something to aspire towards and some way of helping those pupils to actually achieve that result.
This means we need to track their levels of progress and, like many schools, we use the SISRA system to do this, which is an online tracking system. As record cards are completed they feed into this so that we can see if the girls are progressing or where there may be problems for us to support, and to identify where girls can be stretched even more.
Any qualitative judgement is harder to make, a more nebulous thing altogether. Are the pupils engaged? Are they challenged? Are they stretched? Our lesson planning document (only registered users will be able to access this link) tries to give a framework to do this and we have been commended for it and its use. The big area it tries to tackle is differentiation: providing challenge appropriate to each pupil’s level of ability. Those who can should be stretched to achieve more, higher learning. Others, who are more challenged by the material, should be supported. We need to know our girls well and respond to their individual needs.