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365 ways to improve your school – learning and teaching (114-129)

header-banner-929ani-magillAni Magill, Headteacher at St John the Baptist School, Woking, has compiled almost 400 tips that could help you to improve your school. They are split into 5 groups: leadership; learning and teaching; achievement; behaviour; general.

Ani would like to remind you that you shouldn’t view the tips as a panacea for school improvement – they are simply ideas that have worked at St John the Baptist. Bearing this in mind, here are her learning and teaching tips 114-129…

114. Focus relentlessly on learning and teaching because, although most say they do, very few schools do. No school can be better than the quality of the teachers so energies must go into improving the quality of lessons for all students.

115. Don’t use observations to improve learning and teaching. Most teachers can turn it on for these. Identify what everyone’s default teaching is like then have a bespoke plan to improve every teacher in the school each year.

116. Many schools make the mistake of thinking student voice is exclusively about activities which take place outside the classroom. This usually disintegrates into chips and toilets. The most powerful use of student voice is giving feedback to teachers on their learning and the quality of lessons. How does this happen in your school?

117. Interview each student individually, go through each subject and ask them how you could improve the quality of their lessons. It takes a long time but that’s your school improvement plan sorted.

118. Ensure that every meeting is about learning and teaching and sharing good practice.

119. Have an agreed structure for lesson delivery which identifies characteristic features of an outstanding lesson.

120. If there is a department/area in the school you are concerned about, get the LA/inspector or a local school to do a formal review – it gives you all the evidence you need.

121. Have an induction day for new staff in September before the all-staff induction day to communicate learning and teaching expectations. What is the baseline for your school?

122. Run parental intervention courses for low achievers in English and maths in years 7-9.

123. Embrace iPads – there are thousands of apps which could save hundreds of hours for a stressed NQT.

124. Change the 360 review process for experienced members of staff who get the same comments every year.

125. Get NQTs in early in the summer to fully brief them on expectations. Pay them £100 for each day they are in rather than start their contract early.

126. Ensure each department has learning and teaching targets that feed into the school improvement programme.

127. Don’t invest in technology for technology’s sake! What is the plan? Too many schools do things like buying a set of iPads without really planning how they will be used.

128. Run maths CPD for your primary feeder schools to ensure the quality of the teaching before they get to you.

129. VLE – ensure it’s not an electronic filing cabinet (most are!) Have a very clear plan about what will be done when and don’t launch it until staff/students can’t do without it.


SSAT’s High Performance Leadership programme (in conjunction with NASA, HSBC and Phillips) launches on 17th October.

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365 Ways to Improve Your School

Ani Magill, Headteacher at St John the Baptist School, Woking, has compiled almost 400 tips that could help you to improve your school. They are split into 5 groups: leadership; learning and teaching; achievement; behaviour; general. Read the entire series below:

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365 ways to improve your school – leadership (92-113)

4 September 2016

365 ways to improve your school – learning and teaching (130-145)

6 September 2016

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