Changing a culture – Damian Belshaw, Djanogly City Academy

Last February a group of staff went to visit the Uncommon Charter school system based in New York and New Jersey. We had identified this chain as an incredibly high performing group of schools who operated with stunning results in difficult circumstances. The chain was established by Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion and Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, author of the titles Leverage Leadership and Driven by Data. These are all titles that we use regularly within our daily practice and have utilised to transform our school from where it was 3 years ago. We were searching for a clearer understanding of how to change culture rather than fix behaviour. How to build a culture of aspiration, one of ‘can do’ rather than one of excuses. What we found was breath-taking; we all felt that the 8 days we spent were the best 8 days of CPD we have ever experienced. We became immersed in an all-pervasive culture where everyone had a clear job, where everyone knew exactly what they had to do and the idea of team was intrinsic to every aspect of the schools we saw. We were able to see some truly inspiring teaching and leaders who lived the mission of the Charter which was to enable everyone entering the Uncommon System to graduate from College; especially those whom society has forgotten. When we returned we were determined to introduce the same culture to Djanogly. From February last year we introduced a system of Routines for Learning to try to abolish the biggest hindrance to building positive behaviours. This hindrance is always a perception of a...

EIB annual report

David Anstead, Strategic Lead for the Education Improvement Board (EIB) has written an annual report looking at the outcomes in Nottingham in 2016/17 and the work of the EIB. If you would like to get in touch about the report please email Jennifer.hardy@nottinghamcity.gov.uk EIB annual...

Reflecting on the last Academic Year – Caroline Vissani

Wow! It has been just over a year since myself and Lucy, along with the support of Martin Tilbrook (East Midlands South Maths Hub) embarked on an Early Years Maths Teacher Research project involving nine schools from across Nottingham City. I do not think anyone could have predicted the impact that the year had on us all. At the start of September 2016, using funding from the Nottingham City Education Improvement Board (EIB,) working with our nine schools we set out to look at what Mastery in the Early Years might look like, with the aim of giving children a secure mathematical foundation in F2.  Our learning focused on research around how to develop early number sense and used a process of Lesson Study to look at the impact that our teaching had on the children. Many of the practitioners involved in the research project contributed towards creating a short film, which highlights the learning that took place over around 10 months. One of our challenges at the end of the academic year was how to share a year’s worth of learning in a day!  After extensively planning the training day we used some of our funding from the EIB for 1 x F2 Teacher from every school across Nottingham City to attend a day where we could explore some of the key learning from the year. The day was full of theory and links to research but also involved many practical activities. We used lots of simple, everyday resources to show practitioners how Early Number Sense can be developed through the teaching of Comparison, Counting, Composition and Change....

EIB Transition Inference Training Project

The EIB commissioned an inference reading project to support transition from primary to secondary school. Here, Justine Blasdale and Michelle Sufa from Ambleside Primary School share their experience.. “We were invited to a full days reading intervention training called, Inference Training, which allowed us to: develop an understanding of the intervention: and why reading is so important talk through the resources and how to use them  meet the project schools and discuss the transition issues between y6 and y7.  On reflection, we believe that it would have been useful to spend time watching and role modelling with the trainees, rather than being ‘sold’ the intervention. We have successfully rolled out the intervention in both years 5 and 6, and have found not only the pupils confidence and capability have improved with their comprehension, but across other areas of the curriculum. We noticed an impact on Big Write, classroom comprehension and having more of a passion to read. We are currently still rolling out the intervention for years 5 and 6, as we believe it will be beneficial to help close the gap between under achievers and their peers in comprehension and reading. The pupils involved started to think about what they had read, not just reading the words. The intervention teaches them to link in their own experiences to help them to understand the text. Each session gave the opportunity to enhance their vocabulary, by deepening their knowledge of unfamiliar words. When first trained most of the activities seemed quite daunting, however quite quickly not only did the children know how to do each stand alone activity, they were also able to tell you what was coming...

Nottingham’s Fair Workload Charter

The clear message from headteachers is stark. They are unable to recruit the teachers they need to continue to drive up standards. The situation is particularly difficult for schools serving disadvantaged communities and at secondary level, particularly in mathematics and science, but increasingly in all subjects. We have to face facts: teaching as it is now is no longer an attractive career choice for many. Unless we change what it is like to be a teacher, we will continue to struggle to recruit. Let’s consider the facts. Teachers have always worked long hours but in the last decade or so, the demands upon teachers have ramped up to unreasonable and unsustainable levels. Surveys, for instance the NUT and YouGov survey published in October 2015, found that over half of teachers were thinking of leaving teaching in the next two years, citing ‘volume of workload’ (61%) and ‘seeking better work/life balance’ (57%) as the two top issues causing them to consider this. According to research by the National Foundation for Educational Research, cited in the TES, teachers are ‘exhausted’ and ‘workload is at the centre’ of why teachers consider leaving. Most responses to Nottingham’s Education Improvement Board’s own consultation on its strategic plan, Ambition 2025, asked the board to act to reduce teacher workload. In Nottingham, we decided to do something about it. A sub-group of the Education Improvement Board (EIB) was formed to come up with some proposals. Representatives of the headteacher, teacher and school staff unions in the city came together to work on a solution. Key to this, was finding a middle ground where headteachers could be...