Kalinski1970's Blog

My own personal view on UK Education and bits n bobs

Caïn by Henri Vidal, Tuileries Garden, Paris, 1896. Cain is depicted after killing his brother hiding his face in his hand
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facepalm


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Submitted to Schools that Work for Everyone

Submitted to Schools that Work for Everyone – short version of consultation

Submitted on 2016-10-06 21:00:57

Introduction 1 What is your name? Name: Liam collins

4 What local authority area are you based in? Please select: East Sussex comprehensive school

5 Are these the right conditions to ensure that selective schools improve the quality of non-selective places? No (please provide further comments below)

What is the incentive? It is clearly proven that the way to increase the quality of schools is to allow them all access to all ability levels. Or to ensure that every parent has the choice of a good school. Not ensure that a good school can choose which students it allows in.

6 Are there other conditions that we should consider as requirements for new or expanding selective schools, and existing non-selective schools becoming selective? No (please provide further comments below)

Don’t. It will be popular with UKIP voters, but it will be a massive vote loser as 3/4 of every middle class family quickly work out that their children won’t get into the selective schools

7 What is the right proportion of children from lower income households for new selective schools to admit?

Ensure comprehensives are great. In existing grammars it should be at least the national average or get rid of the existing grammars.

8 How can we best ensure that new and expanding selective schools and existing non-selective schools becoming selective are located in the areas that need good school places the most?

Don’t create grammars. Ensure that schools are funded fairly across the country. Fund schools in areas that are perceived tough in such a way that they can keep class sizes small. That they can offer wrap around care to the support the students and their families. Bring back front loaded funding so that children aren’t behind when they start school. Ensure that teachers and SLT have job security for working in tough areas. Move all those areas to equal term lengths so that staff and students don’t suffer from the ridiculous long terms

New faith schools 9 Are these the right alternative requirements to replace the 50% rule? No (please provide further comments below)

Remove all religious schools and make them all secular. There is no parent choice to a school that chooses its intake

10 How else might we ensure that faith schools espouse and deliver a diverse, multi-faith offer to parents within a faith school environment?

Don’t segregate students by their religion. In studies i have seen it is shown that creating religious schools has the opposite effect you appear to want such as a diverse, multi-faith offer.  See unlocking the gates report where they explain:

“Yet we know from research that children can do better if schools are not socially segregated.  Increasingly our schools are just that, with half of all pupils entitled to free school meals (a proxy for poverty) concentrated in a quarter of secondary schools, while the top secondary schools take – on average – only five per cent of pupils entitled to free school meals, less than half the national average”

11 Are there other ways in which independent schools can support more good school places and help children of all backgrounds to succeed? No (please provide further comments below)

Private schools are private, let them be. Remove the tax relief and use that additional income to fund the services around schools. Especially sure start, mental health service and family support

12 Are there other ways in which universities could be asked to contribute to raising school-level attainment? Yes (please provide further comments below)

By offering a sabbatical relevant to teachers after ten years of service. The teacher goes into supporting ITT and research for a year. Recharge and reinvigorate

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Headteachers’ Roundtable…sanity fix – #HTRT2016

Home from a 4 hours plus drive from the Think Tank event at Sheffield Hallam.  The last few weeks had been busy as people that knew what they were doing when organising an event started send 17 page documents of questions…But this is HTRT, we’ve done small gatherings and punched well above our weight in regards to meeting key people in education.  Suddenly we had over 200 HTs coming to an event in Sheffield, an event that suddenly felt bigger when I saw the delegate name tags in a box…frankly I started to panic!


Apart from the a few groans about the venue not being correct on the tickets; the fact that we started at 1030 to allow people to get to Sheffield and not bang on the advertised 9.30am; that I didn’t get the memo about the dress code; the day went well.  I think we achieved what we set out to which was to crowd source policy.  Anyway, the look up #HTRT2016 on Twitter if you want to follow what happened on the day.

Anyway, this blog isn’t about the day or the outcomes, but to talk about the importance of the Headteachers’ Roundtable to my sanity.  Being a HT is an incredibly lonely experience.  You support a large organisation and frankly deal with an enormous amount of decisions.  It is not the importance of each one that is difficult, but that the outcome for each is not clear.  When it is black and white, others find it easy to make the decisions.  This means that to staff I will tend to float between a good HT and a bloody awful one, depending on the decision.

So meeting up with other like minded HT is like a slow intake of breath in a busy life.  We face the same issues, the same pressures, the same types of odd decisions from LEAs or now RSCs.  We get told to go to pointless meetings set up by people who don’t understand the pressures of the job, normally to tell us things we already know or about data that just doesn’t hold up to any statistical analysis. When we meet, as HTRT,  we laugh, we hug, we don’t have to have our public face on, we relax.

The environment that HTRT creates is creative and business like.  We argue, we discuss, we talk, we don’t always agree but we respect each other’s opinions and we get things done.  Our influence has always been beyond our size because I think people in education trust that we are dealing with their policies and actually want to find out the impact.  We do go to meetings where we are the only people there that work in a school.  Rooms full of civil servants, policy makers and politicians.  We get to lend our voice to the debate.  Being positive, offering advice, working on our own policies, allows us to be inside the tent.  Yes it is tempting to rant from the outside, but that changes nothing.

So the point of the blog? If you are a HT get involved.  Ask to help and come to the meetings.  The only thing we ask  is that you join in, take a job on and contribute. We know it is not easy to leave the day job or take something on extra.  But, what we offer is sanity, a deep breath, a pause, a conversation and a moment when you realise that you are not going slowly mad!  If you are really keen you can get to organise a whole conference.  Which was exciting, terrifying and satisfying in equal measures…

in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king


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Love the one you’re with – recruitment and retention

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So Tim Matthews (@purplepedagogy) and I were invited to lead a session at . The last four slides show the feedback we received from the tables, but we would love you to also comment.

Please feel free to leave questions and I’ll do my best to answer them…although see the small print on the first slide!

Sources for the diagrams and tables are

SFR 21/2015 School Workforce in England: November 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440577/Text_SFR21-2015.pdf

National Audit Office Training New Teachers HC 798 SESSION 2015-16 10 FEBRUARY 2016 https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Training-new-teachers.pdf

Initial teacher training census for the academic year 2015 to 2016, England SFR 46/2015, 19 November 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/478098/ITT_CENSUS_SFR_46_2015_to_2016.pdf

Schools Week “What do the statistics say about teacher shortages”, John Dickens, Sep 27, 2015 http://schoolsweek.co.uk/what-do-the-statistics-say-about-teacher-shortages/

Edit (slide 23) I threw away the comment that men are unrepresented in teaching until you get to SLT. This seemed to get an number of quotes from those attending on twitter and at least one raised eyebrow.

Looking at the figures this was me being very Secondary and very Headteacher focused.  Where 62% of the workforce are women and yet only 37% of headteachers are.

 

Women into School Headship (http://www.womenintoschoolheadship.co.uk/womens-leadership/) point out that:

“The DfE School Workforce Census continues to evidence the underrepresentation of women in Headship in all sectors, compared to their numbers in the profession.  With women accounting for over 60% of the profession in secondary and over 85% in primary we would expect to see more women headteachers than the disproportionate 37% and 71% respectively.”

However,

“The Census shows that female deputy and assistant headteachers now make up over 50% of senior leadership teams, an increase of nearly 2% in both primary and secondary schools since 2011. In 2014 there was an incremental increase of 1.6% over the last three years for women in primary headship and a slight improvement in the number of women secondary headteachers by 0.7%.”

I hope that clarifies!

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Back to School – advice for new students

This is my column for the Courier this week.

1. Be nice. You will be with people you know from Primary and with lots of people you don’t. If you stick to the ‘be nice’ part you’ll find that you’ll avoid the pitfalls of starting at a new school and make new friends. Pupil who think they are ‘cool’, tend to stick to other pupils they think are ‘cool’ in the same way as them. Thus they limit their friendship groups and count on their meanness to hold their group together. Their start in school will be made up of failing out, hurtful comments, sadness and loneliness. So be nice to people and you’ll get niceness back from them.

2. Work hard. You have this time to make a fantastic impression on your new teachers and there will be lots of new teachers! From one primary teacher, to probably over 12. Each of those will have slightly different rules, routines, seating plans, but will all have high expectations. Make sure you put your best efforts in to every piece of work. That mind-set you will make brilliant progress during your time at secondary school.
3. Be prepared to fail. Every day and in every lesson you will not know everything and you will get things wrong. There would be no point to a lesson if you already knew the answers, so don’t think raising your hand first makes you the cleverest person in the class. You just knew the answer before the question was asked. Getting things wrong and failing is the quickest way to learn. Learning how to deal with failure is one of the best life skills you can gain at school. Never say “I don’t know”, without ending the sentence with “yet”. Read and listen to the feedback from the teacher on how to improve your work. Make the changes to that piece of work based on that advice. Keep repeating, “if it is not excellent, it is not finished”.
4.  Be prepared to be silent in lessons.  You need to listen to the expert that you will have in every class, your teacher.  They will explain things that you need to listen to.  Also, you will need to listen to you classmates.  Everyone of you deserve the respect to have your opinion or answer or questions heard.  There will also need to be the time to work in silence, this gives everyone the chance to do their best.

4. Throw yourself in to school life. Join clubs; play sport and try out for the school’s teams; try acting; sing in the choir; join a band or the orchestra; play chess; go to science and maths clubs. Don’t listen to the ‘cool’ group about what you should and shouldn’t do. Those that throw themselves into school life will have the widest friendship groups, including those in different year groups.
5. See it as a fresh start. No matter what happened at primary, you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself. You may have felt you were “no good at maths”, well now you can change your mindset to a person who is going to give it your best effort to improve. You may have chatted too much in class and got on the wrong side of your teacher. You might have been mean to your classmates. Take this opportunity to change, we don’t know what you were like only what you are like.
6. Enjoy school. It does seem, from your current perspective, that you are in school for a really long time. But if you live a long life, it makes up approximately 16% of your whole life. 84% will not be in a school.  Looking back you will never have so many friends. So many people looking out for you. People who are desperate for you to achieve your full potential. So enjoy it!
Actually reading this back, I think this is good advice for all students returning to school. 

I hope that you have a successful year.


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The P45 Fortnight – a reprise

I wrote most of this for a local newspaper column a year ago.  This is an update…

 

Many of you will be aware that A level results were released last Thursday and that GCSE results will be announced this Thursday. Of course this is an a hugely stressful time for students and their parents. So much rides on these results. A place at a top university, being able to study the A’levels you wanted or a place on an apprenticeship. Each set of results will have its own story from unbridled success to the feeling of abject failure. For each student the results will be the result of a successful or unsuccessful partnership between the student, their parents and their teachers. It is effected by not only those relationships, but everything that is happening in that student’s life.

Many of you won’t be aware that in the age of high accountability that many Headteachers and teachers this is a very stressful time. This is where a aggregation of the student’s results can result in professionals losing their jobs.

Last week we had looked closely at the Average Point Score (APS) for level 3 qualifications (A’ levels and their equivalents). This is the total score achieved by each student averaged across the institution. Have a high attaining cohort that will tend to take 4 or 5 A levels your score should be well above 800. Have a comprehensive intake, that in the main take 3, you are looking for scores above 700. So the league table is skewed by schools that have high ability intakes and who’s students take more than the required 3 A’ levels. That isn’t to say that a Grammar school Headteacher has any less pressure. They have to ensure that their results are at the top of the league table to ensure healthy numbers the year after from academic children.  This is also one of the key league table battle grounds as selected state maintained grammars do battle with selective private schools.  You can obviously make clunky references to the the Olympics where elites do battle with elites.  But, for these schools the pressure is high to ensure that the decision made by parents when their children were 11 or 13 were correct (see the man suing his son’s private school because he gained 1 GCSE).  This is different for the non selective, we see huge triumphs from students that were able to enter vocational courses and go onto university, most of whom tend to be the first going to a university from their family.  However, at comprehensives we also have the higher attaining who gain straight A*s and are off to Oxford.  I feel it is great to see the full range!

But the league table, as I have explained before, is not a comparison of like for like.  An APS of 600 in a non-selective in a tough area can be more significant that all the schools that post 800+.

Tomorrow is the GCSE results.  These are now will be reported in a very different way, Progress8 or P8, when the league tables are produced sometime in the Autumn.  Now your floor target is your cohort and how they did under you care.   The heartache for staff will still be the student that gets one grade below what is expected.  The problem is that what is expected will only be known once all the results come out.  I’ll pause for a moment to let that sink in.  Yes you heard it correctly.  The target that you have been aiming at will only be fully known once the exams have been marked and reported.

What does this mean?  Well for me it is seriously not really knowing what the outcomes for our students will be for the first time in 10 years (albeit 2012 was tough with the change in grade boundaries).  This is the first year that I am actually unsure.  We had an incredibly hardworking Year 11, but our success or failure will be their performance measured against all the other schools nationally.  If they have done well it will be a positive score, perhaps an exciting 0.75.  Done ok and it will be around 0.  Done badly enough to give you sleepiness nights it will be below -0.5.

So, both results days, require all students to perform consistently across that exam season, for GCSE that involves over 20 exams. When you look at the headline figures you don’t know about the child who has spent the last 6 months in hospital. Or the student that has collapsed under the pressure. Or the one who’s parent has died recently. Each of those children who make up the overall headline figure for the league table are individuals with different backgrounds, ability, home lives, relative poverty or wealth, interested or not interested parents. Yet schools are held responsible for the performance of the students no matter what is going on in the other 18 hours of their day.

So if you know a student, a parent, a teacher or a headteacher, have a thought for them over the next fortnight. Lives are changed irreversibly at this time.


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Westminster Education Forum Keynote Seminar: My two pennies worth at the meeting

Westminster Education Forum Keynote Seminar: The future of the teaching workforce – tackling workload, raising standards and supporting professional development

Timing: Morning, Tuesday, 7th July 2015

Venue: Central London

 

posh init

 
What follows is my speech…I ignored advice and rushed it!

Been a HT for three years. Have become Vice-Chair of the Headteacher’s Roundtable.I have tried here to show some context with the issues with workload. When I started this speech it was a list and it was well over 1,000 words. So I doubt I will be able to list them all.

I have some hope at the end, if I get there!

But, I’ll start by saying all of the issues we are discussing in this section could be solved by the government listening to the profession and using evidence:

 Structures make no difference to how successful a school is or will be.

Schools direct has failed to attract new teachers in big enough numbers

Teaching schools are a mixed bag and sit heavy with the worry about ofsted downgrading them. Many have not been inspected since 2011, so their outstanding may no longer be.

Fear is the driving force in education. Fear of losing your job because of one year’s set of exam results or one inspectors view on education. I got called brave when I stopped grading lessons…this was in the light of over-whelming evidence that it was flawed…i can confirm that we work with staff on workload…we designed our assessment systems with staff…I was called brave because I did something that put me in opposition to ofsted…that shows how crazy the system is. For a school the personal views of an inspector can be great or catastrophic depending on that view
It takes time to turn a school into a great school. It takes even longer if your cohort arrives with below average attainment. 
Since I started in working education, education has changed every single year that I have worked. These started slowly as most were to do with vocational education, but each year there has been more and more that as a school we are expected.

I do want to point out that I came into teaching late. I came from the easy street of corporate sales in a multi-national and running my own business. I can tell you I have never worked as hard.

I felt the only thing I could bring today was to give you an understanding on all the things that have changed (that I could remember). I was very tempted to set the list to a faintly recognisable Gilbert and Sullivan tune.  
It is impossible for me to list everything, when I started.

Ofsted changes to the framework. 

There have been 4 major changes to how an inspection is conducted. Since 2010 there have been 76+ updates, revisions, clarification etc  
Impact on the behaviours of school has been enormous. 
New Exams. New Accoutabilty

This year new GCSEs in two subjects graded 1 to 9 with all others still A* to G (in some of those History for example there have been three revisions to the spec over the last 4 years with another to come) and 

new A levels in from now on 14 that are linear (all exams taken at the end) with the rest remaining modular (units taken at the end of Year 12 & 13). More becoming the modular the year after, but still a mix economy until 2017.
All these changes mean SoL need to be re-written. The delivery needs to be looked at and replanned. The assessments need to be rewritten
We have had changes to the accountability measures of 
5A* to C, 
5A* to C including English and Maths, 

Change from criteria referenced back to norm referenced

vocational equivalents being worth 6, 4, 2 and now 1 GCSEs. 

Students being able to resit and count in league tables and now not, 

1,000s of courses that were part of the accountability measures but now are not

contextual value added, 

value added, 

floor targets changing each year, 

Ebacc 

and from next year progress 8, attainment 8.  

gaining ground or rebranded as coasting schools

The new Sixth Form accountability measures have a 41 page technical guide, you have to know this to ensure you don’t make a small mistake that could cost you your job.

All of these mean that there is a myth of autonomy when it comes to curriculum choices for schools

League table create huge pressures and can be blamed for dubious practice
We have dealt with or dealing with wider issues and refer to Sean Coughlan’s talk earlier today. This is with the wrap around care disappearing:
We have also seen the removal of funding from 

external careers advice service, 

mental health services, 

drugs awareness groups, 

targeted youth services, 

community police officers working in schools, 

social services ability to support schools in regards safeguarding.

all impact our ability to help and support children. Which means more time trying to find help and support for families.

Every Child Matters, 

SEAL, 

SEN, 

SEND, 

SMSC, 

PLTS, 

careers, 

Obesity,  

WEX, 

PSHE, 

sex ed, 

section 28, 

equality act, 

healthy eating, 

school specialism, 

citizenship, 

British values, 

e-safety, 

risk assessments for trips becoming larger and larger, 

character education, 

prevent duty, 

collective worship, 

enterprise, 

financial well-being, 

In fact every single social issue being presented as a failure of education. 
In terms of safeguarding there have been three changes to government guidance in the past three years. Our safeguarding policy is 95 pages long, all staff read the summary, were trained in the summary, then government changed the summary 

As Tom Sherrington reminded me there are many reasons to feel positive; 
“There is EVIDENCE. There is a growing understanding that teaching is complicated; that there is no one correct way to teach…. But still, that some things work better than others

OfSTED has changed its position radically in the last 18 months – but still has a long way to go. Trust in the top of the organisation is high, albeit that Whilshaw has an inability to praise. But the engagement from Mike Claddinbowl initially and continuing with Sean Harford have been welcome
Recognition of the role of CPD is at an all time high.
There is also a slow awakening to the value of a high trust culture within in schools
There is a massive ground-swell of profession led activity;
Social media, teachmeets, conferences, bloggers with reach and influence, school-university partnerships, research projects, the Nat Bacc Trust, Research Ed, Northern Rocks, National Teacher Enquiry Network”….and where I am the Vice-Chair, the Headteacher’s Roundtable
 

view from the front

 


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@headteacher’s Rountable meeting with Sean Harford 

The entrance to the ofsted offices in London had a lovely message on the door!  
There were a number of areas that those attending wanted to discuss. The group included a range of Headteachers from a different phases and situations. 

The first area we discussed was from a special school point of view regarding how the new shorter inspection framework with split sites and at what point an inspector would be on site.

Basic set up of the inspection
Make edubase is up to date – to make sure they can inspect and how many inspectors would be needed. Short inspection 2 HMI for secondary, 1 for primary – 9 o’clock call to ascertain they can inspect and organise. HMI will only come on site if they think it is necessary. Sean was at pains to say that under the new section 8 inspection that they had confidence in the sector now so we don’t need longer than one day inspectors.

The short inspections did have to something to do with shrinking budgets in public sector. The budget was £100m under Chris Woodhead, it was now £41m.

So inspections needed to be frequent enough to ensure standards but had to be efficient

Special School Progress
It was felt that there were mixed messages on national bench marks – assessment commission report coming out. Special school data – P scales were looked at but couldn’t continue as levels had finished. Sean explained that ofsted were not expecting to see any type of data in any particular method. He explained that was a clear message to inspectors.  

Progress
How do you compare the progress? Sean said that levels could not have stayed they had become the reason, rather than a way of assessing your curriculum. If you are using some kind of product or a way of moderation then that is what we’ll use. Sean felt this was the opportunity for teachers to grab control of assessment and that schools should grab it. He accepted that with the amount of change that it wasn’t easy, but that we should grasp it. He thought that schools needed to show consistency in their school. But it was their’s. “Design a curriculum that is right for your pupils, AND THEN work out how to assess it!”

Consistency of inspectors
No style of teaching, planning, assessment marketing etc were expected. But they did expect the SLT to know what was happening and that they should be able to observe that. So If they were told that the department/school marked in a certain way and they didn’t observe that, there was clearly an issue with leadership and management.

It is what works in the classroom that counts

Explain to the inspectors what they should be seeing – it is the consistency they will look for in the school. Maths could be slow progress if you designed the curriculum in that way i.e. not moving topics quickly but that the students were deepening the learning. 

Complaints
1. Use the handbook, resolve on site. Don’t allow an inspector to tell you something outside the framework 

2. Then use the Complaints procedure

3. Scrutiny committee were being created with non-inspecting HTs and HMI – for the first time it is independent – the committee can change judgements. It could involve HTs from any grade of school.  This was welcomed…but wait and see the make up of those committees 

Teaching and Learning
Sean was interested how John Tomsett and my school evaluated teaching and learning without grading lessons?

But, what was ofsted’s view of starting that conversation about evaluating T&L? Sean asked the following questions – What has the process told you on where to focus? How do you spread best practice? What have you done about the issues? What have you identified? What has been the impact of your changes?

In the short inspection people should be honest and open. If there is an issue with a subject, explain what you have found and how you have found it. Explain the strategic approach and what had been the impact. If it was too soon, show somewhere else that had an issue and how you overcame it and the impact. This shows that your leadership and management had capacity to improve subject areas or key stages.

Quality of AI
7/10 will be practicing HTs

Secondary led by HMI

80 dual inspections to give us a quality and to check the methodology 

Vast majority of practicing leaders will be in RI/inadequate inspections.

There was concern at the capacity of HMI to lead one day inspections, whilst supporting schools that were RI
How is new framework not data driven?
Section 5 is not short inspection. Section 8 is the short inspection.  

Short inspection is with the presumption being good – They will look at the data but looking at capacity to improve

Outstanding schools are exempt from routine inspections section 5 – how ofsted conduct risk assessments will be clarified

Challenging Schools
How do we get recognition of those leading schools in difficult schools – SEean said he would trade all the outstanding schools to ensure that all schools are good.

More serving practitioners will help HTs and staff on these challenging areas as they will be more aware of context

Small things are there to help – you can go outside current RI timespan form reinspection, 18 months – they can go up to 30 months – section 8 framework – the HMI can push the time to the next inspection, depending on what was going on in the school. So a new HT could request from their HMI an extension to give them more time. Realistically, we felt that it would only give a new HT approx 18 months still.  He felt that you could get Leadership and Management up to good in this time span.  25% of all RI schools have good leadership and management.

The question was asked about how it was possible to be more than RI because of data. Sean said that data cannot drive the judgement otherwise the % of schools judged good or better couldn’t be in the strict letter of good section on achievement in the framework.

British Values/prevent
Sean is making sure inspectors are sensible when looking at this. It does depend on the context.

Safeguarding and SMSC and curriculum is what we are looking at

Are we teaching those values

Look at the curriculum – it is not provision – it is the impact

Safeguarding is where the key is – are students being able debating. We must discuss difficult issues.

We found Sean open, honest and clearly a man who wanted to move the organisation forward. He had a clear commitment to engage with the profession. However, as we all know from our own schools, he will be judged on the weakest inspectors. Overcoming their inbuilt approaches, likes, dislikes and prejudices will be his greatest challenge. Can’t fault him for trying to get this right, nor the new framework that appears to be edging ofsted to a sensible position.