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365 ways to improve your school – learning and teaching (146-161)

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 146-161…

146. At the end of an INSET day or staff meeting spend the last two minutes getting everyone to write down how their lessons will improve or something they will try as a result of the INSET. Revisit it at next department meeting/staff meeting.

147. Have a positive observation week – pair up staff to go to each other’s lessons and point out “three things I liked about the lesson and one thing I will try in my lessons” or ‘take a risk’ observation week.

148. Put together an observation team of the best teachers. Have them work around the departments, observing and writing a report. What is the department really good at (individually and collectively)? What are the areas for development? This feeds into the whole school CPD plan. Revisit the next year focusing solely on the departmental areas for development.

149. If a member of staff has discipline problems, provide INSET on presence and video their lessons and watch together to give feedback.

150. Have an INSET day where everyone goes to a really good school. Send people in twos and threes so they can discuss what they’ve seen.

151. Do you have an INSET strategy that means every member of staff’s teaching will improve? Don’t waste time doing higher order thinking skills if 20% of your staff are agency staff or can’t teach! Identify and target intervention to take good teachers to outstanding and satisfactory teachers to good.

152. Move to keep up rather than catch up. Can you involve parents eg an intensive literacy programme over the summer before joining in year 7?

153. Done properly, live coaching can be very successful. We use IRIS.

154. Make sure your VLE has easy access to learning and teaching tools like timers, music and images.

155. After the year 11s leave, have specific jobs for teachers to do during “gained time” eg uploading homework to the VLE, improving their learning environments. Check each week that staff stick to the timetable.

156. Has every one of your teachers seen a video of themselves each recently? A very powerful exercise.

157. Does every teacher in your school know what an outstanding lesson looks like? If not, get them to see one ASAP. Show videos of outstanding lessons in staff meetings and have them grade them. We even watched Step Up as an example!

158. Put short videos of outstanding practice on your VLE. Sort them by category eg AfL.

159. Have a database on your VLE of “ask the experts”… the best teachers of a particular skill eg questioning, AFK…

160. Don’t reinvent the wheel – get ideas and resources from others. Many schools have all schemes of work etc online and are very willing to share.

161. Remember that there are lots of staff changes each year and you need to keep revisiting the basics to bring new staff up-to-date.


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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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