This year I took a group of colleagues along to the Education Festival with me. I’ve asked them to write about their three ‘takeaway points’. Over the next week I’ll be sharing what they learned.
1. Making every lesson count – Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby
In ‘Making Every Lesson Count’, Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby suggested that going back to ‘the basics’ could support the quality of teaching and learning in classrooms. They suggested, whilst current initiatives have value, in their school lesson planning and evaluation focus on three key areas: challenge, explanations and feedback. How often do we make these a priority in our own planning?
2. Selfies, Sexting & Snapchat: Today’s top e-safety trends – Charlotte Robertson
Listening to Charlotte Robertson deliver a session on e-safety made me reflect on the importance of having good e-safety provision in schools. Key points included:
- the need of teachers to be aware of the different sites that students interact with. We need to know what the purpose of these sites are, why are they using them, as well as any potential dangers.
- The significance of students understanding the legal situation regarding some issues with these sites
- The consequences of students not having an awareness of positive digital footprints.
This prompted me to rethink and reflect on the quality of e-safety provision across PSHE lessons. Is there a gap in staff knowledge with regards to social media sites? Would students be more engaged with the e-safety message if we developed links with local businesses?
3. Closing (not just narrowing) the attainment gap – Rob Wood and Kirsty Biggenden
Rob Wood and Kirsty Biggenden posed an intriguing question: ‘If PP funding stopped tomorrow, what could we do to support disadvantaged students?’ They shared with those present strategies that do not have any cost implications. These include, how valuable positive teacher/student relationships are; the importance of building positive relationships with parents (including hard to reach parents) and a building the confidence of parents; and the impact of raising reading ages in order for students to access texts and materials at GCSE level. These serve as valuable reminders that everyone can succeed when given the appropriate framework.