Monday, 25 May 2015

Now that's what I call progress

It's half term this week and time to catch up on the paperwork which I have to say is not my strongest area.  Why be in the office during the school day when I can be talking to our learners and sharing excellent practice with all our staff?

We have three visits a year from our regional consortia, who feedback on school improvement to the local authority.  Our visit 3, focused on leadership and management is next week,  there's not a lot of paperwork expected to be fair, just updates on progress but as I'm not great at keeping everything up to date,.....I'm sure you get the picture.

I have to say in my 20 odd years in this profession I have never seen such massive progress in one year.  The year started off cautiously with Visible Learning, we didn't want to rush off and get started without thinking things through carefully and it was really after Christmas and Teacher Day 1 that the magic really began to happen.

We have been greatly helped along the way by our little growing network but particularly at first by Simon at Bader who I had great advice on at the beginning and Michelle at Pembroke Dock who has the most amazing school.  I hope I've been as useful to them as they have to me!!

So, reviewing our school self evaluation and measuring the success of this years improvement plans has been fine.  All good.  
Next years plans are drafted to go to governors.  Four areas to be improved
The visible learner
Inspired and passionate teaching
Know thy impact

In other news, our school works with the Save the Children in facilitating the FAST programme, Families and Schools Together which strengthens the links between home and school, reduces social isolation and strengthens family bonds.  It's a fantastic programme which has benefitted our learners in unmeasurable ways.

Our school, along with Flintshire Family First project have been shortlisted in the national Social Care Accolades on June 18th.  We're off to Cardiff for the day, we are down to the final 3 out of 200 submissions.  Fingers crossed for that but even as finalists, it's fantastic this work gets recognised rather than on attainment at the end of key stages for a change!!

Anyway, this paperwork won't do itself..happy holidays 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Impact by the bucket loads!

We've been busy here at Merllyn Towers this week gathering our data.  
In school, as you know, we are judged by our results by the powers that be.

Today we submitted our end of key stage results.  Here in sunny Wales, in year 2, we have to submit 'outcomes' in language, literacy and communication (LCE) mathematical development (MD) and personal and social education (PSD)

The average is outcome 5, similar to the old level 2 and outcome 6 is similar to level 3

So today, sims was opened up and the levels went in.  90% of year 2 were awarded outcome 6, not because they are gorgeous bundles of loveliness but because two of the strands are directly linked to Visible Learning
The first strand is development in independence and perseverance and the second strand is reflection. So because the learners have been given so many opportunities to develop these skills through Visible Learning, it's tipped 90% of the class into outcome 6.

Because of these skills and giving massive credit to Pie Corbett Talk for Writing, the LCE and MD results are also much improved and nearly all learners have exceeded their targets.

I'm very proud of all our infant staff who work tirelessly to improve the learning and their teaching.  
So looking forward to continuing our journey with Craig and the other #VLUKNetwork schools to work collaboratively, 

I can't imagine what this is all going to look like in a years time!!! 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Effect size part two

I had a meeting this week with a colleague from our local authority.  She was impressed with our Visible Learning journey so far and I was explaining effect size as our guide to the changes we are making.

It got me to thinking about how we relate to parents, visitors etc the research behind what we are doing

In our school we have a wonderful mum who volunteers in the infants.  She is so creative and enthusiastic and she was given the task to make an Effect Size tree in our reception area.  If you're new to Visible Learning, you'll find out that we kind of like trees as a theme for displays!! I used the effect sizes that are easily understood and relatable to what we are doing in school

This is now in our reception, we are all delighted with how it looks and the messages it conveys.  I just need a little more explanation of what effect sizes mean but wanted to share this wonderful creation

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Effect sizes

We've been talking a lot in school about Effect Sizes.  Not how we work them out, it's a bit further down the road for us, but John Hattie's and what they mean.

I had a meeting today with Flintshire's parenting coordinator about a possible pot of money to enable nursery to stay all day (as seen at the wonderful Pembroke Dock)
The idea would be to provide intensive speech and language work in order that our little uns get the best start.  It got me to thinking about our current nursery provision. 
In two and a half hours they have to have a healthy snack and brush their teeth.  I wonder how much learning time this actually takes up!

Anyway, our LA have invested in Peeps communication programme and are looking to pilot it in a nursery provision


All looking good.  I was explaining effect size and how so many of the top effect sizes were met through this programme

1. Student expectations- you're in school all day, this is really important, I expect you to make progress through the Peeps programme
2. Teacher credibility- experienced early years practitioners in place
3. Phonics
4. Early intervention
5. Vocabulary programmes

It's like a box of deluxe Thorntons chocolates, at least five good effect sizes wrapped up in a big bow

This alongside building their learning capacity will have brilliant impact