5 questions to hard wire curriculum improvement.

Hello everyone,

Whether you are a father, you’re celebrating your father or you’re missing your father (or a combination), I wish you lots of love. I hope you’re having a great weekend and, of course, basking in the glory of life after TAGs and everything you’ve learned through the process.

We - schools - Are In Beta - always learning.


This week:

📝 Hard wiring curriculum improvement - a 5 question toolkit.

📅 Curriculum Thinking Week 2021 - session titles from the smaller departments.

💼 Jobs with We Are In Beta community members.


📝 Hard wiring curriculum improvement.

“I have long thought that, in many cases, we can find ourselves thinking of school improvement as a slightly discrete activity – something that happens only whenever there is space alongside more ‘day-to-day’ activities.

“Seeing school improvement in this way, as a ‘bolt-on’, an addition to what we do, is of course both inefficient and tempts us to try to squeeze yet more from ‘time-poor’ resources. It also risks being perceived as a distraction from schools’ ‘core business’.

“And yet, of course, school improvement is the business of schools, and there are clear benefits from finding ways of integrating improvement into our routines and structures.”

Lee Northern reveals what he and his team are looking at and how they are looking at it using a toolkit.

Read toolkit


📅 Curriculum Thinking Week 2021 - session titles from the smaller departments.

Here’s a sample of the some of the brilliant sessions lined up for the smaller departments during Curriculum Thinking Week 2021:

💌 Creating buy-in for KS3 SRE.

🧠 Psychology A Level Curriculum Planning - a focus on Research Methods.

🏦 Teaching Behavioural Economics in a linear A Level.

🖥️ Embedding and improving assessments in Computer Science.

🏀 Moderation & Work Scrutiny Across Practical Subjects (PE).

🛠️ Planning KS3 curriculum with limited D&T teaching time.

🎶 Developing reflective performance culture in KS3 Music lessons.

🎨 How we have embedded Literacy into Art across all key stages.

To make sure you don’t miss out on how to join the event and access all the resources subject leaders will be sharing…

RSVP

Working on something special curriculum-wise? Want your school to join the line up? Click here.


💼 Jobs with We Are In Beta community members.

Senior leadership

Vice Principal & Assistant Principal - Hanham Woods Academy (Bristol).

Middle leadership

Subject Leader for RE & Citizenship - The Vyne School (Hampshire).

Teaching

MFL, Music, Science & Spanish - Twynham School (Dorset).

Spanish - Trinity Academy (Bristol).

RS, History or Geography - John Taylor Free School (Burton-on-Trent).

Maths - Atherton High School (Wigan).

Interested in these roles? Looking for your next team member?

The 11,308 strong We Are In Beta community can help…

Post + view jobs

Thanks for reading.

Speak soon.

@NiallAlcock and the We Are In Beta team

📱 Get 11,308 school leaders and teachers in your pocket - download We Are In Beta app.

🆕 New here? Catch up with previous editions, podcasts and webinars via the archive

️️❤️ Learnt something via We Are In Beta and implemented it back in school? Give us a cheer. Tap the heart.

Assessment policies shared

Hello everyone,

Huge congratulations to the 61 trust leaders, headteachers, governors, support staff and teachers, who were recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours. Great news!

It was my birthday too this week. Yesterday I turned 21... again ;)

It would make my weekend if you gave the gift of learning from other schools to colleagues you think would find We Are In Beta useful.

Forward this to them and tell them what you love about it :) or click…

Share

Thank you 🙏

We - schools - Are In Beta - always learning.


This week:

🧵 Assessment policies shared.

📝 Teach Like A Champion - What’s the same? What’s different?

🎥 How to use stories to make knowledge stick - (part 2) the grand narrative.

📅 Curriculum Thinking Week 2021 - save the date.


🧵 Assessment policies shared

There aren’t many things better than when schools come together to help each other out.

Richard Uffendell (DHT) is working with a group of school leaders to share assessment policies.

“Reviewing our assessment policy and systems. Want to create something more useful and up to date. Read Making Good Progress and various other literature. Anyone happy to share their policy and structure for assessment please? Frequency, how, where and when. TIA.”

Join thread


📝 Teach Like A Champion - What’s the same? What’s different?

“I am a Lead Practitioner and a teacher of Mathematics. In my role I offer weekly teacher training clips across subjects and it is this role that prompted me to explore what the TLAC techniques look like in more detail across subjects.

“I became interested in the similarities and differences between subjects when implementing these techniques and gained awareness of a demand in the teaching community for more ‘practical’ examples of the techniques in use”.

Dave Tushingham reveals what he is creating to show these similarities and differences between subjects, which technique completely opened his eyes and what his resources look like in practice.

Read article


🎥 How to use stories to make knowledge stick - (part 2) the grand narrative

It’s possible a curriculum can more closely resemble episodes of the Simpsons than a box set of Game of Thrones; a series of stand alone lessons and units with little narrative tying them together.

Join us live in part 2 to learn:

  • What a less effective curriculum (with little narrative) might look like

  • What curriculum grand narrative actually means

  • What it looks like in practice

  • How you go about constructing a grand narrative

📅 Tues 15th June

🕕 6.00-7.15pm

Save your spot


📅 Curriculum Thinking Week 2021 - save the date

With TAGs behind you, restrictions easing and a new school year ahead, it’s time to celebrate your great curriculum work. 🙌 

Together with members of our Curriculum Thinkers Community we’re hosting our first online curriculum conference - Curriculum Thinking Week 2021.

Bringing together 100+ schools, across 15 subjects and 5 days.

Member schools have nominated an incredible200+ subject leaders to present on every aspect of curriculum across all subjects.

To find out who’s presenting, what they’ll be sharing and on which days

View line-up

Working on something special curriculum wise? Want your school to join the line up? Click here.


Thanks for reading.

Speak soon.

@NiallAlcock and the We Are In Beta team

📱 Get 11,243 school leaders and teachers in your pocket - download We Are In Beta app.

🆕 New here? Catch up with previous editions, podcasts and webinars via the archive

️️❤️ Learnt something via We Are In Beta and implemented it back in school? Give us a cheer. Tap the heart.

Is listening the most underutilised leadership skill?

Hello everyone,

At the end of the week where the DfE didn’t listen to the advice they were given, the featured article in this edition seems particularly well timed. Perhaps more so for them than a community of leaders like you, who’ve gone out of their way to listen to how other schools do things. But either way it’s a great tool to help you make decisions over the coming weeks.

Wishing you a successful final term of the year.

We - schools - Are In Beta - always learning.


This week:

📝 Listening - what prevents it and what makes it good?

🎥 How to use stories to make knowledge stick - (part 1) the singular tale (take 2).

📅 Curriculum Thinking Week 2021 - save the date.


📝 Listening

“Listening is hard. An integral part of the leadership of change, listening is one of the underutilised, often forgotten “superpowers” of expert leaders.  When speakers are heard by a great listener, they feel their thoughts are engaged with, their voice is in the room and that they have a say in the direction of the organisation.”

But how do we evaluate good listening? What prevents it? And what is good listening?

Read article


🎥 How to use stories to make knowledge stick (part 1) - The singular tale (take 2 🎬)

Those of you who registered for this masterclass before half term will know we had to end the broadcast due to power cut.

Thank for your patience and understanding. Fingers crossed things go smoothly this time!

If you missed it here’s what’s in store…

Direct instruction and knowledge rich curricula can be dry if done badly. But we know children learn better from them. That is a really difficult paradox you need to handle.

Telling stories helps you navigate that paradox.

Join Josh Vallance (National Lead Practitioner, Oasis Academies) to learn:

  • What the role of narrative in the classroom is.

  • What the telling of a great story (in the context of a History unit) looks like and sounds like.

  • Why narrative holds psychologically privileged status.

  • How to construct and tell brilliant stories so your students remember them.

📅 Tues 8th June

🕕 6.00-7.15pm

Save your spot


📅 Curriculum Thinking Week 2021 - save the date

With TAGs behind you, restrictions easing and a new school year ahead, it’s time to celebrate your great curriculum work. 🙌 

Together with members of our Curriculum Thinkers Community we’re hosting our first online curriculum conference - Curriculum Thinking Week 2021.

Bringing together 100+ schools, across 15 subjects and 5 days.

Member schools have nominated an incredible 200+ subject leaders to present on every aspect of curriculum across all subjects.

To find out who’s presenting, what they’ll be sharing and on which days…

View line-up

Working on something special curriculum wise? Want your school to join the line up? Click here.


Thanks for reading.

Speak soon.

@NiallAlcock and the We Are In Beta team

📱 Get 11,193 school leaders and teachers in your pocket - download We Are In Beta app.

🆕 New here? Catch up with previous editions, podcasts and webinars via the archive

️️❤️ Learnt something via We Are In Beta and implemented it back in school? Give us a cheer. Tap the heart.

How to use stories to make knowledge stick.

Plus a dozen great things you don't want to miss from our members

Hello everyone,

Community member Jonathan Mounstevens said it best (again) this week

“When the milk tastes slightly off in your tea but you're so knackered that the benefits vastly outweigh the costs and you drink it anyway.”

Fresh milk and tasty tea on the horizon, Jonathan. Half term is soon.

We - schools - Are In Beta - always learning.


This week:

🎥 How to use stories to make knowledge stick

📰 We Are In Beta Community news - a dozen great things you’re up to.


🎥 How to use stories to make knowledge stick (part 1) - The singular tale

Direct instruction and knowledge rich curricula can be dry if done badly. But we know children learn better from them. That is a really difficult paradox you need to handle.

Telling stories helps you navigate that paradox.

Join Josh Vallance (National Lead Practitioner, Oasis Academies) to learn:

  • What the role of narrative in the classroom is.

  • What the telling of a great story (in the context of a History unit) looks like and sounds like.

  • Why narrative holds psychologically privileged status.

  • How to construct and tell brilliant stories so your students remember them.

📅 Tues 25th May

🕕 6.00-7.15pm

Save your spot


📰 We Are In Beta Community news

We Are In Beta exists to helps schools learn from each other. Here are a dozen things community members are up to that well worth checking out.

🎧 Listen

Joe Ambrose has turned the National INSET Day We Are In Beta hosted in December into podcasts. Listen to the sessions over 5,000 registered for here.

📚 Read

Manny Botwe expertly uses what he’s learned about check lists from his leadership reading to solve an all too common problem you probably face in his headteachers notes to his community.

Josh Vallance asks: “Core and hinterland: what are we really talking about?”

🐦 Tweet

Jack Tavassoly-Marsh gathered scores of opinions on “How do you assess the quality of teaching across a school?”

Ann Donaghy shows us how to simultaneously celebrate your team and make you want to work at her school with this weekly thread.

📊 (TA)Grade

Ben Newmark explains how his school, Lodge Park Academy, are approaching TAGs.

Jonathan Mountstevens explains why blind marking on its own does not provide an effective defence against bias in TAGs.

🎫 Attend (in person!)

Claire Hill is organising ResearchEd Kent. Get your tickets here.

🎥 Watch

Sallie Stanton and Stuart Lock ran “Preparing for Ofsted: Online Seminar”. Watch the recording here.

Emma Turner, Thahmina Begum and Abby Bayford are presenting in the return of #LDeduchat put on by the Chiltern Learning Trust.

😂 Laugh

Lee Northern quite rightly doffed his cap to this response to Ben Newmark’s tweet about Dylan covers.

XCurtis wins the internet with “The #CAGs version of Line of Duty.”

What are you working on you want to tell the community about?

Hit reply to this email to let me know and we’ll include next time or click…

Share your news


Thanks for reading.

Speak soon.

@NiallAlcock and the We Are In Beta team

📱 Get 11,143 school leaders and teachers in your pocket - download We Are In Beta app.

🆕 New here? Catch up with previous editions, podcasts and webinars via the archive

️️❤️ Learnt something via We Are In Beta and implemented it back in school? Give us a cheer. Tap the heart.

When the penny drops.

What does decolonising the curriculum actually mean? Trans-formative assessment; Jobs with We Are In Beta members.

Hello everyone,

Chris Edwards, Headteacher at Brighton Hill Community School, said it best this week:

“Whether you’re keeping face coverings or losing them on Monday, can we just all agree that young people have been sensational in dutifully wearing them for so long? They never fail to amaze me with how resilient, versatile and fantastic they are. Heroes, all of them.”

We - schools - Are In Beta - always learning.


This week:

🎧 When the penny drops.

🎥 How to transform outcomes and reduce workload with formative assessment.

💼 Jobs with We Are In Beta Community members.


🎧 When the penny drops.

There have been people working on decolonising the curriculum for a very long time now.

In early 2020, after George Floyd’s death (almost exactly 12 months ago), decolonising the curriculum came to the forefront of the discussion.

People who had never considered it, or even understood what it meant, had to grapple with its implications.

This whole episode is about exactly that.

Havelock Primary School was by no means behind the curve in this regard but when they decided to start decolonising their curriculum in late 2019 they realised just how deep-rooted the problem was.

Tune in to learn what decolonising the curriculum really means, why it’s important and how you can go about doing it.

Listen

This is final episode of Series 4. It’s been a blast. Thank you for listening. Thank you to all our guests.

If you want to tell your story on the podcast click here to read about how to get involved.


🎥 How to transform outcomes and reduce workload with formative assessment.

In 2011 the English Department at Forest Gate Community School was underperforming - poor curriculum design, little rigour and low expectations.

Now, the school (and the Tes award-winning English department) are among the highest performing in the country.

“I have been here for 10 years. This aspect of pedagogy has transformed our ability to assess students… It’s also one of our biggest recruitment factors - we do not take books home to mark.” (Stacey Goyan, AHT).

Join us to hear from the team at Forest Gate Community School who will share:

  • What the most influential formative assessment practices at FGCS English department are

  • How to plan and prepare for live marking successfully

  • What planning, preparation and implementation looks like in their long term plans, medium term plans and independent tasks.

  • How formative assessment is used to update the key objectives on the school's central assessment and reporting system - DPR.

  • What the benefits and limitations of the DPR are.

📅 Wed 18th May

🕕 6.00-7.15pm

Save your spot


💼 Jobs with We Are In Beta Community members.

Senior leadership

Chief Executive Officer - Skylark Partnership Trust (known nationally for its best practice in the education of young people with medical needs). DM CEO, Cath Kitchen.

Business Manager/CFO - Solihull Academy (Birmingham). DM Principal, Stephen Steinhaus.

Headteacher - The Knights Templar School (North Hertfordshire). DM Assistant Headteacher, Joseph Sherry.

Assistant Principal (Ethos and Culture) - Priory Community School (North Somerset). DM Deputy Headteacher, Richard Uffendell.

Middle leadership

Deputy Head of English - Melksham Oak Community School (Wiltshire). DM Assistant Headteacher, Emma Cave.

Assistant Curriculum Leader for English - Atherton High (Wigan). DM Headteacher, Ben Layzell.

Curriculum Director of Science & Curriculum Director of Languages - Reach Academy Feltham (Hounslow, west London). DM Associate Assistant Headteacher and Director of Science, Claire Couves.

Head of Maths - Phoenix Academy (Hammersmith, west London). DM Vice Principal, Louis Everett.

2i/c Maths - Northampton Academy (Northampton). DM Principal, Chris Clyne.

Head of Year (and be a teacher of Maths or Science) - Coleridge Community College (Cambridgeshire). DM Headteacher, Ele Stoneham.

Teaching

Y6 specialist English teacher and KS2 teacher - Ark John Keats (Enfield, London). DM Primary Vice Principal, Mide Ola-Said.

MFL- Chosen Hill School (Gloucester). DM Head of MFL, Katie Lockett.

MFL - SET Saxmundham School (Suffolk). DM Lead Practitioner MFL, Louise Ramsey.

Science - John Mason School (Oxfordshire). DM Head of Science, Andrew Stanger.

Science - Reach Academy Feltham (Hounslow, London). DM Associate Assistant Headteacher and Director of Science, Claire Couves.

Science - Northampton Academy (Northampton). DM Principal, Chris Clyne.

Design, Technology and Construction - Forest Academy (Hainault, North East London). DM Headteacher, Will Mackintosh.

AP, English, Drama & Maths - The Wells Academy (Nottingham). DM Principal, Marcus Shepherd.

Interested in these roles? Looking for your next team member?

The 11,106 strong We Are In Beta community can help…

View + post jobs


Thanks for reading.

Speak soon.

@NiallAlcock and the We Are In Beta team

📱 Get 11,106 school leaders and teachers in your pocket - download We Are In Beta app.

🆕 New here? Catch up with previous editions, podcasts and webinars via the archive

️️❤️ Learnt something via We Are In Beta and implemented it back in school? Give us a cheer. Tap the heart.

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