Staff Learning

Holly ParkLesson Study – Maths  – Using the CPA Approach

In January and February, the staff worked together in groups of three to undertake lesson study in maths. They worked together to try out the Concrete, Pictorial and abstract approach to teaching maths. The teachers used a team teach approach, planned lessons together, evaluated sessions and spoke to children about the benefits of the approach to learning maths. At the end of the three weeks of working together, the staff presented their findings to each other.

Focus on Spelling

Staff training in September was about the teaching of spelling –  giving staff creative ideas, spelling investigations, using the new scheme ‘no nonsense spelling’, computer spelling games and introducing the spelling journal across Y2-6.

Better Reading Support Partners – September 2016

Holly Park teaching assistants had a 2 day intensive training session delivered by Sue Heaney.  The intervention is for children who have moderate difficulties with reading, who have fallen slightly below the level of their peers or those whose reading age is below their chronological age. This is a ‘light-touch’ programme which aims to raise the attainment of children who can read but who lack fluency, understanding and enjoyment and may need support with decoding skills, vocabulary and/or comprehension.

The children read a range of texts in each session, and the Partner provides a relaxed environment that is designed to give them the time and space both to practise and apply their skills, and to talk about their reading with an interested adult. The sessions are designed to boost children’s ability to apply phonics skills and to develop their vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Team Teach – September 2016

In September we had whole staff training on Team teach. Through the promotion of de-escalation strategies and the reduction of risk and restraint, Team teach  supports teaching, learning and caring, by increasing staff confidence and competence, in responding to behaviours that challenge, whilst promoting and protecting positive relationships. Everyone who completed the course received a certificate.

Health and Safety Training September 2016

As part of our staff Induction day at the start of the new school year, all staff had training on ladders and manual handling. We also talked about chemicals, fire, asbestos and electrical appliances.

Internal Moderation May 2016

With the new curriculum and the new testing arrangements for Y2 and Y6 it is even more important that we moderate as a school to support the Y2 and Y6 teachers.

We have done lots of external moderation in Barnet and with our local partnership of schools, in addition we used some staff meetings to help Y2 and Y6 teachers make judgements about the writing produced by our pupils to see if the children had met the new expected standards.

 Staff Training – PE, Gymnastics and dance

Using some of our sports premium funding, we invited in Kim Henderson (Barnet PE advisor) to run two staff training sessions for our teachers. Kim led a session about gymnastics and dance. She explained about the importance of children keeping active and not queuing at apparatus, she taught some warm up games and gave ideas for how to develop a dance.

Review and Evaluation of Lesson Study – January 2016

After four weeks of our lesson study project at the end of the Autumn term looking at pupil well being and engagement in their learning (based on Leuven Wellbeing and Involvement Scales)  we came to the final session which was a presentation of the findings.

The lesson study involved teachers planning lessons together, observing pupils learning and making decisions about the next steps in learning.

As a staff group we found that the sessions had brought up some interesting discussion points and facts about how it is important to make sure we consider well being and engagement of pupils in order to maximise learning.

Overall feedback would suggest that:

  • Some pupils need regular targets throughout a session to keep on task – particularly for those who lose concentration.
  • Some pupils (EAL) need good role models to work with in order to develop their language
  • Some pupils need support in order to access the more challenging activities
  • We need to ensure we create an environment where pupils are not afraid to make mistakes
  • Mixed ability learning partners work well but partnering needs careful choice sometimes particularly for quiet children who are in danger of being dominated by their partner. Also over reliance on a partner can stop some pupils from learning to their full potential.
  • Activities need to be varied to suit a range of children. Some need to be competitive and others co-operative.
  • Consider supporting children who just find it difficult to get started
  • Working with others in a pair (Learning partners) or a very small group can boost self esteem
  • We need to consider children’s reactions to new adults. Children react to different adults in different ways
  • Some children function better in small groups rather than in a whole class situation – therefore guided group work is very important
  • Some children have a very closed mind set and are only interested in things they know already. We need to encourage a ‘Growth Mind’ set
  • Fear of failure stops some pupils learning
  • Position within a classroom and proximity to an adult can affect how well a pupil learns
  • We need to consider how we build confidence
  • We need to consider how we get children thinking more creatively
  • The impact of lack of breakfast, lack of sleep and other home circumstances plays a huge part in well being and therefore learning
  • Be aware of why a child may be withdrawn OR disruptive. It may be because they don’t fully understand what they have to do. It may be as simple as just not understanding one key word.
  • Self confidence has a huge affect on learning
  • Children generally engage and respond to praise
  • Some children need adults to step back and give them space to learn
  • Drawing from a child’s interest can increase motivation and engagement
  • The time of day or time of week can have a huge effect on engagement and well-being
  • We must ensure that our pupils feel secure in their learning environment
  • Child initiated activities and ownership over learning tend to  increase levels of engagement.


SpaG training – January 2016

As part of our School Improvement Plan we are focusing on SPaG. We had a Peer Enquiry day, where colleagues from other schools came to visit us for a whole day and took an in depth look at books, teaching and spoke to staff and pupils about how well we were doing in this area.

Following on from our positive feedback, we asked Sue Heaney (a Barnet Advisor) to come in and do a half day Inset on spelling, punctuation and grammar.

SPaG training – November 2015

Three of our teaching assistants attending a two day course about SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar). During a TA meeting, they delivered some training to the rest of the teaching assistants at school, showing them strategies and resources to use when supporting children.

British Values – November 2015

Following on from the training on radicalisation, we looked at what British values had to do with preventing this.

We looked at developing resilience within children and what human values are important to us. We brainstormed ideas about how we are already promoting British Values at Holly Park and thought about what more we can do.

Safeguarding training – The Tricky Bits! – November 2015

Having done recent safeguarding and online safety training for all staff we decided that, with new legislation, we should have some additional training and tackle some of the more difficult topics.

We had training on Female Genital Mutilation, child sexual exploitation and radicalisation and extremism. The training gave facts and examples of recent cases and also gave staff advice on what signs to look out for and what they should do.

Enabling Enterprise – November 2015

Having spent Pupil Premium money on becoming an Enabling Enterprise Partnership School, and having done two of their challenge days and had some trips to places of work in the city e.g Baker & McKenzie, UBS bank, London Business School etc we decided that it was now an ideal opportunity to introduce staff to the classroom based projects.

Staff had training from Enabling Enterprise about what the projects were all about; how to use the portal;  what skills children would develop and how to assess these. We will be undertaking the first projects during National Enterprise week in November.

The Computing Curriculum

Mr Stewkesbury led a staff Inset to support staff with the new computing curriculum. The teachers looked at a great website that has free lesson plans, resources and fun cross curricular links.

They also tried out doing some scratch themselves from some new text books that he had bought for KS2 to support the curriculum.

Inset Day – September 2015

Our first day back for the new year began with welcoming new staff; some ice breakers; reminders about routines; data security and summer works.

Miss Michael then introduced the whole school staff to Rights Respecting Schools. The staff had some thought provoking activities to do together. You can see the powerpoint on the Rights Respecting section of the website.

Following that we all had some safety training on how to use a fire extinguisher correctly.  To end the day, staff had time to prepare their classrooms for the new term.

Child Protection training – June 2015

In June staff had child protection training from an expert external company. The training focused on different types of abuse, how to spot it and also how to deal with disclosures made by children. Staff will receive a certificate for this training and the training is valid for 3 years.

E-safety training – June 2015

In June staff had an E-safety training session delivered by a specialist company.

The session was very informative , highlighting what children use electronic devises for, what sites they visit, the dangers of certain internet activity and what to do if children reveal they are playing inappropriate games.

Dance  – February 2015

Using money from our Sports premium, the staff all had training on dance by a Barnet advisory teacher. Dance was an area that staff had identified that more training was needed in.

There were two sessions. Everyone looked at learning objectives for their year group and thought about success criteria. The staff practiced different kinds of warm up, they looked at developing dance motifs using  diiferent techniques such as repetition and canon. They also worked on developing medium term planning.

Review and Evaluation of Lesson Study – January 2015

After four weeks of our lesson study project in looking at boys and writing which is directly linked to one of our school improvement plan priorities we came to the final session which was a presentation of the findings.

The lesson study involved teachers planning lessons together, observing pupils learning and making decisions about the next steps in learning.

As a staff group we found that the sessions had brought up some interesting discussion points and facts about boys and writing such as:

•    Boys of all ages benefit from pre writing activities to engage and immerse them in a topic before they write – role play, art & craft, drama, video clips. They tend to  need to be active learners particularly on carpet times. Learning partners work well.
•    Boys really benefit from having high quality examples of writing shown to them before they begin their own. This may be in the form of modelling and/or shared writing. This inspired them more. It also proved useful for the boys to annotate these excellent examples to look for certain things.
•    Visual prompts really help boys – videos, slide shows of images etc
•    Boys really benefit from writing frameworks, audio pegs, story mountains and word banks to support their work. Word banks give children access to more advanced vocabulary.
•    Boys need a lot of motivation to write – topics that inspire them.
•    They write best when there is a clear audience and when they feel that their work will be shared with others – so they can see a clear purpose for their writing.
•    Boys tend to have great ideas, imagination and vocab but this doesn’t always come out when it is recorded
•    We need to be careful about how we judge our pupils. A couple of boys who were initially thought to be of lower ability – when watched more closely in this exercise could clearly do more than was thought.
•    Midpoint self assessments against success criteria helped boys to improve their work. Editing work together with a partner was most effective. Using a marking code helped them see how well they had achieved against the success criteria.
•    More time planning and talk for writing made the final outcome better
•    Staff realised that the issues experienced with reception boys and writing were actually very similar to those of Y5 & 6 boys.

Safeguarding training – January 2015

We like to keep our safeguarding training topped up, so on our Inset day in January all staff took part in a simple exercise in using the ‘TED’ technique when children want or need to share information.

It is very important to listen and guide children but not to put words into their mouths. The ‘TED’ technique involves the member of staff saying to a child – Tell me about………  or Explain to me………. or Describe………………… We had a fun activity where all staff practised this technique on each other.

Improving Writing – October 2014

Sue Heaney (Barnet Advisor) came to deliver the third part of her series of Inset on improving writing.

Over all of the sessions we looked at – How do we develop good writers? We considered the importance of reading as a writer, motivation, purpose and audience, teacher modelling, practise transcriptional skills, environment, develop grammatical skills and reflecting and editing.

This third session focused on how feedback can improve pupil writing.
The aims of the session were to look at – principles of quality feedback, practical examples of quality teacher feedback, child response, establish essentials for initial peer assessment and consider own pupils writing and attempt feedback.

When giving feedback teachers need to consider what it is they want the child to improve.
Teachers might comment on these 3 things – Word modification, sentence construction or text cohesion.

The staff then looked at samples of work and discussed what feedback they might give the pupil – strengths and next steps.

Planning the New Curriculum 2014

Our first staff meeting involved all of the teachers looking at the objectives and topics to be taught in their year group and deciding how to group them together to make coherent learning projects across the year.

The teachers planned out their learning schedules for the year.

Inset training days – September 2014

Our first Inset day back involved all staff including governors. The morning was taken up with introductions, news, expectations, key messages, our vision and priorities for the year.

In the afternoon Mrs Cozens led the teaching staff in a session about the new curriculum and what it means for Holly Park. This session will be followed up with twilight sessions over the next few weeks with teachers really looking at their year ahead.

Our second morning was led by Sue Heaney an English Advisor from Barnet. Sue talked about the writing process and we focused on improving writing. This session will be followed up in further twilight sessions. The final afternoon was an introduction to ‘Ocean Maths’ led by one of their trainers. Ocean maths is about involving parents in the teaching of maths.

Self Review and Evaluation – June 2014

As part of annual process at the school all school staff were involved in reviewing and evaluating four key areas of the school – Teaching & Learning, Achievement, Behaviour & safety and Leadership & Management.

Staff looked at the Ofsted evaluation schedule for each area, they looked at how Ofsted grade schools in each of these areas and they also looked at how the school has graded itself in each area.

Staff were then involved in discussions and looking for evidence about our practice in each area. This information volunteered by the staff will help to inform our next Self Evaluation document when we review it at the end of the year.

Reviewing our Behaviour Policy – June 2014

At one of our Inset days in June, all Holly Park staff were involved at revisiting our behaviour policy and our practice.

Staff (including MTS) were first invited to draw up a list of what works well for them now and how we could improve it further. They then looked at the written policy and were again invited to make changes and suggestions.

Finally we looked at the sanctions chart and tried to improve on this to make it clearer and more user friendly. The School Improvement team, governors and the Senior Management Team will continue to work on it this term. Our new policy will be implemented in September.

Asthma training – June 2014

On one of our Inset days in June a school nurse came in to give all Holly Park staff training about asthma.

This training isn’t compulsory but as a school we felt it was very important to have. She told us about what asthma is, what it looks like and how it should be treated. The nurse demonstrated how to use the inhalers.

Moderation – May 2014

Several times a year the staff at Holly Park do moderation of work together.  This session was moderation of writing.

Staff work together to look at the written work that a child has produced. They look across various pieces – e.g – Letters, stories, history writing, diaries etc and decide what level the child is working at based on evidence from across the work.

They look at all aspects of the writing – the spelling, handwriting, punctuation, vocabulary choice, structure and style.

This is a great opportunity for staff to make sure that they are in agreement about the standards at each level.

Moderation helps us to ensure that the data we enter on our data system for children is accurate and that our Teacher Assessments are correct.

We undertake levelling within year groups, with senior staff, with other schools and across year groups.

In these pictures there is a mixture of moderation going on – Year 1 are moderating together, Reception are moderating with an experienced Y1 teacher and the EYFS & KS1 leader. Year2 & 3 are moderating together, Year 6 are moderating with the KS2 leader.

Review and evaluation of lesson study – March 2014

After four weeks of our lesson study project in maths – which involved teachers planning lessons together, observing pupils learning and making decisions about the next steps, we came to the final session which was a presentation of the findings.

As a staff group we found that the sessions had brought up some very interesting discussion points, food for thought and facts about children’s learning such as:

  • How should we balance teaching assistants time – in class or taking groups out?
  • Nursery pupils are hooked into a task and future learning by finding out what their real interests are. Do we do this for our older children?
  • How do we really boost the confidence of some children in maths – those who are more reluctant?
  • When children choose their own level of maths challenge, how do we make sure that everyone stretches themselves?
  • Children said that they really liked teacher instruction in smaller groups therefore highlighting the significance of guided group work
  • Practical activities engage children of all abilities
  • When planning a sequence of lessons, the lessons which follow the first one should recap and revisit learning and perhaps be presented in a similar way to the first but with more challenge to move learning on.
  • A good pace to the lesson and varied activity helps learning be more focused

After all of the presentations from each group we discussed what had worked well in the lesson studies and how we could tweak things to improve them if we repeated the exercise for a different subject next year.

All agreed it had been a valuable exercise and good professional development. The School Improvement Team will discuss how we could make it even more valuable next  time.

Health and Safety training

As well as learning related to the curriculum and achievement it is important that all of our staff have regular health and safety training.

In the Autumn term all staff including office staff, meal time staff and governors had Safeguarding training delivered by Mrs Thomas our designated teacher.

Following on from this all staff including office staff, meal time supervisors, teaching assistants and nursery nurses had Epi- Pen training about how and when to administer an Epi-pen safely.

This training was run by our school nurse. An Epi-pen is for a child who is suffering an anaphylactic shock because of an allergic reaction. All children at Holly Park who have an Epi-pen also have a care plan. This training is run annually for staff. 

Teacher Professional Development October 2013 – February 2014

There has been one Inset Day since the October half term.  This day was spent covering a range of areas and subjects.  Mrs Thomas led some training on Safeguarding for all staff – this is a legal requirement.  

There was also training led by different teachers on P.E, ICT, Evolve which is the website that risk assessments for educational visits are uploaded onto, and also the Pupil Learning Journeys were introduced to all teachers. 

Staff meetings have also covered a range of subjects.  The Curriculum teams have had time to meet in order to write and also evaluate their action plans for the year.

Mrs Pelham led some Inset prior to Anti-Bullying Week addressing the importance of the week and also showed the anti-bullying policy to all teachers.  Miss Michael talked about a Maths Project that the school will be taking part in during the second half of the Spring term and teachers were given time to carry out a Maths survey.

Kim Henderson came to Holly Park and led an Inset session on P.E. and gave time to teachers to ask questions.  We started the Spring term by talking to teachers about attainment.  This led onto some training on an Online Pupil Tracker that the school is now using.  Time was also given to teachers so that they could moderate writing.

Courses attended this term have included:

  • Our three Newly Qualified Tearchers (Julie Pearse, Rob Stewkesbury and Dominic Carini) have attended Barnet NQT sessions on a variety of topics.
  • Ann Pelham attended the Head Teachers’ conference as well as network meetings for heads and a course with Maria Michael on the Fischer Family Trust looking at the school’s data.
  • Miss Michael also attended a level 2 Safeguarding course and some training on Safer Recruitment.
  • Sally Thomas has been on several courses about how to support families including those with mental health issues and has done the level 3 Safeguarding course again as a refresher.
  • Helen Constantinou has attended courses on Fierce Conversations and managing employee stress.
  • Kathy Puzey has attended courses on counselling and supporting bereavement in schools.
  • The Year 1 and Year 3 teachers are attending courses on Maths, the Year 5 and Year 6 teachers are attending courses on writing as part of the Barnet writing project that we have signed up for.
  • Lewis Turner, Julie Pearse and Maria Yiannaki have been on some training for Phase 5 of letters and Sounds.
  • Laura McKeen has done a course about narrowing the gap in reading.
  • Sharon Casey has been on an Early Years P.E. course.
  • Kim Cozens has attended a couple of PSHE courses.
  • Steve Baptiste attended a one day conference on the use of tablets in schools and has been on a course about e-safety.
  • Maria Michael and Sally Thomas attended a two day conference about the London Schools Excellence Fund.  Following on from this, they made links with teachers from other schools.   They will also lead a Maths project in the school in the second half of the Spring Term where teachers will be involved in lesson studies.

Autumn term Number of courses attended

Achievement Teaching & Learning Behaviour & Safety Leadership & Management NQT
9 7 8 21 21

Spring term (First half) Number of courses attended

Achievement Teaching & Learning Behaviour & Safety Leadership & Management NQT
11 25 14 11 18

Lesson Study – February 2014

cropped-logo-Copy1.jpgAs part of our London Excellence Fund Maths Project all of our staff will be undertaking Lesson Study during the second half of the Spring Term.

Lesson Study is professional development whereby teachers work together in small groups to look at what makes for good teaching and learning. They plan together, observe learning, evaluate that learning and plan the next steps for different learners thinking about how to make learning more effective.

This sequence continues over a three week period and then the group of teachers review what they have learnt about teaching and learning. The group prepare a short presentation to feed back  to the rest of the staff. Our focus is on maths teaching.

We began by introducing the project at a staff meeting on February 24. At a staff meeting on March 3 the groups of teachers will plan their first lesson together. On March 10 the idea will be introduced to the children during a whole school assembly and the first lesson study sessions will begin that day.

Please look at the powerpoint presentation attached below to find out more information. We are very excited about this new approach to teacher professional development and we hope that it will improve teaching and learning in the school – not just in maths but across all subjects.

Lesson Study Inset 24.2.14

Marking and Feedback – October 2013

cropped-logo-Copy1.jpgIn the first half of the Autumn Term we have introduced a new marking and feedback policy.  Over the half term we have been looking at our marking during a few of our weekly training sessions.

In the photos below the teachers were looking at examples of comments taken from children’s maths books at our school. They were sorting the comments into lists – those that were not very helpful and didn’t relate to the learning objective or success criteria and then those that gave useful and constructive comments and which would help the children move on in their learning.

After half a term of this new policy, it was good to see that the constructive comments far out numbered the others.


Learning about our Pond – October 2013

cropped-logo-Copy1.jpgFollowing the installation of our pond this year by SUDs we decided that it was essential to have some staff training about pond safety and also how to utilise our pond to best advantage with regard to teaching about the pond and all of its wildlife.

Annabel Foskitt from the Barnet Countryside Centre came to lead the session.

We need to buy some new equipment for the pond – e.g nets, bowls and magnifying glasses. We look forward to taking groups of children out to work at the pond and discover its hidden treasures!

The head of the Eco Council – Andrew French – visited the Wetlands Centre in Barnes for a one day course on SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems).


Improving Teaching & Learning – September 2013

cropped-logo-Copy.jpgIn September the Staff had training from Brigid de Rivas a Barnet Consultant. Brigid ran a session called ‘ The Best we can be!’ This was all about teaching for outstanding impact on the progress and standards of all pupils.

The morning looked at:

  • How we explore and develop our understanding of the key features of effective teaching that have the best impact on pupil achievement
  • Our ability to make fully rounded judgements in order to further develop the quality of teaching in our school.
  • We considered many factors – class sizes, teaching assistants, homework, talk and feedback to pupils
  • We looked at the Ofsted judgements for outstanding and the Teacher standards to think about what we would expect to see in lessons, books, the environment, behaviour etc

The morning was filled with evidence from research and also had a practical element to it too.

The photos show some of the sheets produced at the end of the morning. These sheets of information will help to feed into our new teaching and learning policy.