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365 ways to improve your school – achievement (255-278)

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 achievement tips 255-278…

255. Have INSET – “how to teach A-level” – looking at higher order skills and differentiation at KS5.

256. Make sure the teachers know what an A* piece of work looks like and then have a display so that those students aspiring to it know as well.

257. Ensure you have all the email addresses of year 11 and send them appropriate and individualised messages when they are in the run up to their exams (and throughout the year for that matter).

258. Text those who need a boost on the morning of the exam – this is really useful for important messages eg lazy boys – make sure they show their workings in the maths exam.

259. Put large laminated posters in the canteen with key things students need to know to get a C in maths etc… refresh them every month.

260. Put up photos of former sixth-formers and where they have gone on to university – if any of them scored low in key stage 2, mention it.

261. Don’t do whole year group revision just before the exam starts. It makes the weak students feel inadequate. Make sure any revision done on the day of the exam serves to boost students’ confidence and is geared towards the level they are working at.

262. In the final assembly show students their photos from year 7 with motivational messages – “We knew you would be special!”

263. Don’t be afraid to send whole sets back for a re-mark. Apparently the board takes this much more seriously than an individual paper – even if the marks aren’t changed the department finds out what it is doing wrong.

264. Ban giving “revise” as homework as it devalues revision and no-one does it anyway.

265. Put the GCSE maths formulae in year 11 cloakrooms, planners etc.

266. Take year 10 off timetable for a week in July and blitz the controlled assessments. I thought it was a daft idea but has worked brilliantly for us.

267. For A-levels, create a revision map tree for overviews on each topic area of the syllabus.

268. Get as many specimen or model answers written as possible and use for peer assessment exercises.

269. Once the exam series is established buy back photocopies of A/A*, B, C responses to use for ‘exemplar’ answers to mark.

270. Assign A-level ‘student experts’ to specific topics – they can help to support other students throughout the year.

271. Use displays in the classroom to really highlight command words or relative key words/exam strategies linked to the forthcoming papers.

272. Get A-level students to write mark schemes in order to fully understand examiners requirements.

273. Get A-level students to record their progress in relation to past papers for homework (paper, year, score, question got wrong and still need help with).

274. For A-levels, analyse student performance on assessments by question type – get students to be aware of any patterns and therefore revision needs.

275. For A-levels, build in ‘assessment training’ opportunities at as many points as possible. I.e plan an essay, write a model paragraph, mark a model paragraph and write the next one or an improved one, underline where skills (assessment objectives) exist in an answer.

276. Format an overall ‘cheat sheet’ guide to a topic as a mind map or create iTunes resources or eBooks to make revision more interactive.

277. Create your own acronyms to help students remember tips in their exam or exam techniques eg GET LEGLESS in your geography report, SQUIRM in your maths exam.

278. Use resources to support their literacy in exam technique e.g. Connectives mat to help develop essay writing skills. This will be a huge issue under the new exam system… are you ready?


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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