Leaving the flight deck


Leaving the flight deck

1 Mar ’15 Leadership 0

Having a strategy, having a destination, is not enough. You need to have a timeline that shows when each of these steps will take place, and when each prototype will become more solid, should they prove successful. These tools enable the leadership to leave the flight deck, and let teachers, students, parents and other teams get on with their jobs, confident in the turns they take. Ewan McIntosh

It has been a very busy week at The Academy. There is no doubt that our staff are working with the earnest intention of improving the school. My focus has been on the impact of our Curriculum Leaders, who now have an invested interest in the role, leadership and impact of our Subject Leaders in a revised and more distributed school leadership model.

Our middle leaders would be fully justified if they commented that Senior Leaders have been proscriptive in our management and leadership. Though we still have some key school improvement practice to establish, area Self-Evaluation, and one key area to revisit, Area Development Plans, in the key aspects of teaching and learning, I am beginning to feel its time to leave the flight deck.

I am taking this opportunity to personally thank our teachers for a very positive start to the term. A term that started with a 10minutes extended tutor time. Where almost every last pupil received a copy of their reports and prioritised they academic focus. Where nearly every lesson I visited, pupils had transferred that information from tutor to the lesson they were now in. A week where Curriculum Leaders had responded to the previous terms data review in 4Matrix and beginning to identifying not only immediate concerns for exam focused Y11 but also lower school under-achievement. Woven into the data collection, Progress Leaders were picking up low Attitude to Learning profiles and, trialling a GROW model of academic performance tracking for disadvantaged pupils in year 8 and 9 through tutors (hence the extra tutor time). In department meetings I witnessed the Humanities team discussing and tracking performance, I saw the Science team leaving pupil commentaries for Progress Leaders within 4Matrix and I discussed the reviewed data checking in MFL. Lastly, the exams team were running our first Y10 Performance Week and our first, second, Y11 Performance Week (thanks @PhillipCocks1 for your conversation of mock exam models).

Forecast grades

Lastly, I stumbled onto a very rigorous examination /  debate on the use of forecast / predicted / most likely final grades with Y11 pupils in Term 4 / Term 5 reports? The discussion focused on the impact of forecast grades on pupil academic effort and how teachers employ them to inform or motivate pupils? As a result we are currently reviewing our practice of reporting forecast grades from Term 4. The debate centres on the observation that we do not wish pupils to feel / believe we do not “expect” them to achieve a Grade C. On the other hand, we know some pupils need to know, unless they prepare and revise with real purpose, they are vulnerable to not achieving a Grade C. Is this best presented by a current working at grade of a D+? But then, what is the impact of a D+? We know we need to know individual pupils, we know we have to take into account our responsibility to parents and carers. What is the current practice in your school? What is your view?

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