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365 ways to improve your school – learning and teaching (162-176)

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 162-176…

162. If a teacher is struggling, get them to observe a teacher with a similar personality and style – not an outstanding teacher that they may never be.

163. Ensure learning and teaching INSET is practical and provides quick strategies that staff can try the day after.

164. Ensure a variety of staff (subjects and experience) deliver on INSET – not just SLT.

165. Work with students to devise ten principles of what outstanding learning behaviours are. Display them in every room and link the reward system to achieving them so students are responsible for their learning behaviour as well as teachers.

166. Don’t waste your pupil premium money on fads/IT/trips etc when you could use it to employ another teacher to have smaller sets for the weaker students. Look at each child individually and decide what is best for them not what looks good on your website or for Ofsted.

167. Seek advice from students re what makes a good lesson, get them to take a staff/NQT meeting.

168. Use learning and teaching bursaries to get staff to do personalised research projects for your school to move you forward (£500 each) eg differentiation at KS5.

169. Share common resources eg quiz show templates and subscription websites for all staff, it saves time.

170. Find some way of having work online for children who are absent or excluded. Teachers get stressed when asked with no notice (or even worse having a lesson interrupted) to set work. Do the same with cover work.

171. Ensure the learning group has a representative from each department and use those staff to trial the new ideas etc to see what works.

172. Focus on, and so talk up, learning and teaching rather than behaviour. Better behaviour will come once teaching is more engaging. Have an agreed language that SLT use all the time eg “what are you learning?” not “what are you doing?”

173. Review the use of tutor time. It costs a fortune (10% of your staff budget if it’s half-an-hour per day). Is it value for money?

174. Make sure you involve the appropriate people when you make appointments. Some headteachers don’t let the head of English be involved in appointing an NQT in their own English department!

175. Ensure someone on SLT has responsibility for learning and teaching and has no other responsibilities. It is the most important job in the school.

176. Use phones, iPads etc in lessons as much as possible. Take photos of the board and upload on Facebook rather than copying etc.


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 – learning and teaching (146-161)

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