Saturday, 11 July 2015

The how after the why.....

On Thursday myself and a colleague spoke at the Incerts leadership conference at the Wales Millenium Centre in Cardiff.
We have worked a lot with Incerts over the years and have always found their online tracking systems brilliant for formative and summative assessments.

In the morning, we heard some great speakers.  Richard Gerver spoke about the need for education systems to be focused on learners and learning and to try to ignore the politics of distraction.
We also heard from George Gilchrist who had a Scottich perspective on school leadership and asked us some really thought provoking questions. 
I also spoke to George about our friends in Midlothian Educational Psychology Service and our Visible Learning collaboration 

When we spoke about our visible learning journey it fitted in really well after the 'why' all morning as this was hopefully shoeing school leaders 'how'.

Visible Learning shows you how to out learners first, how to enable learners to become their own teachers, how to use evidence and research to plan interventions and how it really can embed excellence into all schools.
We shared how we had implemented learner dispositions, learning progression charts, pupils as young as 3 evaluating their own learning, amongst others.
We also had videos of pupils explaining the learning pit, how they had evaluated their own work and parents talking about the difference in their children's attitudes.
We also shared some before and after videos of pupils talking about what makes a good learner.

I think it went down very well. Many people came up and said how impressed they were and how it had really got them thinking about their own schools.  

For us at school, our network grew a little.  I am sure we will keep up to date with George Gilchrist and we met some great heads from Swansea who want us to go down there to talk about Visible Learning.

I think I'll need a summer holiday first.

Friday, 3 July 2015

What a visible learning week

The blogs been a bit quiet lately. Basically, we're just getting on with it.  Slowly building, creating, adding, analysing, evaluating along the way.
We are blessed at Ysgol Merllyn that we have such a dedicated and passionate team who are all focused on improving learning for our pupils.

This week their work was recognised in such an amazing way.
Firstly on Monday we has 11 senior leaders and heads from Gwynedd, Wrexham and Flintshire.  I was so proud of the children and the team for the natural way the children talked about their learning.  It was for us like watching Stonefields school in New Zealand.  We were so amazed when we first saw the fantastic work at the school and the inspiration and passion of the head, Sarah Martin.  Now we're not that far off.

Also massive appreciation to Pembroke Dock, Bader primary and Midlothian EPS who have been with us all the way.

Yesterday, we had visible learning day for our parents (although some of the little uns were calling it invisible Learning day!!)

Around 60% of families attended.  We had two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Learning club did a little talk in the hall and then off the parents went to see the learning.  I was very moved by one of our dads and his son in year 1.  The boy was explaining the learner progressions and his dad was thrilled to know what his next steps in learning were so he could help him at home.

It was a brilliant day, we were all very proud but the shift is because everyone can SEE the learning, understand what they can do and their next steps.  

Yesterday we also gave out end of year reports.  Our friends at incerts had changed the format so teachers could report on learning skills and progress.  The parents really appreciated that and the feedback has been very positive

Today was spent preparing our visible learning presentation for the incerts leadership next week.  For those of you attending I hope you'll take something from the power of visible learning, using effect sizes to plan school improvement, and teachers being able to see learning through the eyes of the children

Or as Simon at Bader says " when our learners know what to do when they don't know what to do'