At the start of the new school year we had a fun and energetic session to liven everybody up and to get everyone working as a team. There were four activities – Drainpipe game, six legs, cross the river and human noughts and crosses. Everyone had fun.
Fire Extinguisher Training
To make sure everyone felt confident to use a fire extinguisher we had whole staff training. The trainer reminded staff of the need to raise the alarm, evacuate the buildings and go to the meeting spot and only to use an extinguisher if comfortable to do so. We used 2 types of extinguisher – one for paper etc and one for electrical equipment. All of our fire wardens had a go and other staff who wanted to.
Progression of Skills in Art – Drawing & Painting
At Holly Park we offer a very broad and balanced curriculum across all subjects. This year we want to look at making sure there is good progression from year to year in skill development. We had an excellent Inset morning.
Lesson Study – Maths – Using the CPA Approach
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 received training 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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.