What AP can teach us about improving outcomes; transitions & inductions; pooling all 'reopening' docs in one place

Caron Johnson (The Rowans AP Academy); Emily Reynard (MEA Central); Community Members (We Are In Beta)

Hello everyone,

I simply cannot say it any better than Carly Waterman (Head, Lodge Park Academy):

“Sending huge love and respect to all those in Primary this weekend. Particularly to the Primary HTs who have been faced with impossible decisions. I think you’re all amazing.”

Enough said.

👋 If you’re a new subscriber, a very warm welcome to you!

⏪ Catch up with previous newsletters, podcasts and webinars via the archive. Link at the bottom.


This week:

🎥 Webinar: Building Belonging: what can we all learn from AP?

🎧 Podcast: How to do transitions and inductions

🌐 Community News: We Are at your service - what members asked us to help with and what we are doing about it.


🎥 Webinar: Caron Johnson, The Rowans AP Academy. Building Belonging: what can we all learn from AP?

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that togetherness is vital.

If many children continue to learn remotely, especially those who are shielding, we will all need work with parents more closely than ever.

When Caron Johnson arrived at what was then called Silverbank in 2009, there was no curriculum, no enrichment and incredibly low expectations.

Now The Rowans AP Academy is graded outstanding by Ofsted and achieves outcomes significantly higher than national average despite the local challenges of high deprivation, low aspirations and high exclusion rates.

It’s also leading the national conversation about how we serve the most vulnerable learners as part of The Difference programme.

Join us to find out how they’ve done it by building belonging using an ‘assets-based’ approach.

📆 Tuesday 2nd June 2020

🕕 6.00pm

Don’t miss the resources Caron will share with attendees.

Save my spot


🎧 Podcast: Transitions, inductions and re-inductions

With the first cohorts of students returning to primary schools next week, you may well be thinking about how to reintroduce them to your school culture.

Here Emily Reynard, Head at MEA Central in Manchester, shares why transition is a priority for them and outlines the beliefs that underpin their approach.

We also discuss how they do transitions in a ‘militaristic but loving way’ using videos and how they overcome the unique challenges each year group presents.

While secondary focused, much of Emily’s approach is applicable to all phases.

👂 Subscribe on Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn 🔉

⏲️ 15 minute listen

📖 Access links to resources mentioned plus bonus content from the episode here.

If you are a serving school leader or teacher, access our premium content for free, for a limited time here. Soon this will be the only place you can access it.

Listen


🌐 Community News: We Are at your service

On Wednesday 27th May we hosted our first ‘We Are at your service’ live chat. We asked you what you needed help with. Here's what we're doing about it.

Over the course of a 60 minute live text chat about ‘reopening’, We Are In Beta Members issued a rallying call loud and clear.

Schools, leaders and teachers are duplicating work up and down the country. They are making decisions with little to no guidance, no best practice examples and not enough joined up thinking.

So we have created a database for you to upload your ‘reopening’ docs in one place.

Just imagine how many hours of effort we would save and how much stress we would relieve if every one of you shared just one ‘reopening’ document.

Let’s work together, support each other and pool the resources we’ve created.

Count me in


Thanks for reading and playing your part in making education the place we all know it can be.

Speak soon,

@NiallAlcock


If you found this useful and thought of colleagues and friends, who would too, share it with them by hitting the button below.

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

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Jobs we're doing for you; what members think about schools 'reopening'; what you can learn from your community

Joe Ambrose (Greenshaw Learning Trust); David Sammels (Mayflower Community Academy); The We Are In Beta Team.

Hello everyone!

👊What a half term it has been. I hope you can all find some space this bank holiday weekend to reflect on a job well done. A job well done, amid very difficult circumstances.

🌐 The chances are, for many of you, this half term won’t be a normal break. That’s why the We Are In Beta Team is using its resources to support you. Read on to find out how.

👋 A very warm welcome, if you are one of our many new subscribers this week or you joined our latest webinar with the awesome Helen Ralston (Headteacher, The Rise School). It’s great to have you here!

⏪ Catch up with previous newsletters, podcasts and webinars via the archive. Link at the bottom.


This week:

💬 WE ARE At Your Service Wednesday (live chat)

💬 Team Up Thursday - final decision about schools ‘reopening’ (live chat)

🎧 Podcast: connecting with your community

🎥 Webinars: we are taking a break over half term. Why not catch up before we resume via the archive below?


💬 WE ARE at your service Wednesday - Live chat

As a school leader, you have never been busier. Much of what you’re doing needs your complete focus. You alone can fulfil these responsibilities.

But there are tasks you could outsource, the outcomes of which will benefit other leaders too. Less urgent perhaps, but no less important.

Are you researching others’ policies? Comparing providers? Looking for funding? Doing some outreach?

Tell us what we can support you with and we’ll get the jobs done that benefit the most leaders.

Join us for our first weekly live chat, so we can lighten the load for you. Don’t worry, it’s a text chat not a Zoom call, so no need to change out of your civvies!

📅 Wednesday 27th May

🕓 4pm

We’ve collected a handful of suggestions from our community via the link the below.

Do you have a job on the list we can do for you?

See jobs + save my spot


💬 Team Up Thursday - Live chat: the final decision about schools ‘reopening’

The Government wants pupils to begin returning to primary schools from June 1st and for schools to begin offering some face to face support for year 10s and 12s by the same date.

But it's been reported they will only make the final decision about ‘reopening’ on 28th May.

Join us right after the Government’s briefing to get the thoughts and advice from your fellow school leaders about the announcement we *expect* them to make.

Joe Ambrose - School Improvement Lead, Greenshaw Learning Trust - will be asking the questions on your mind.

📅 Thursday 28th May

🕓 6pm

See questions + save my spot


🎧 Podcast: Connecting with your community

David Sammels, Headteacher at Mayflower Community Academy, is thinking about how his school can move from a ‘linear’ to a more ‘non-linear’ way of working.

In the latest episode, he shares: what that means and how the school is doing it; how this mindset has encouraged him and his team to be more daring in the way the they communicate with their community; and what they have learned from it.

Listen

👂 Subscribe on Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn 🔉

⏲️ 15 minute listen

💬 Join the conversation

📖 Access links to resources mentioned plus bonus content from the episode here.

If you are a serving school leader or teacher, access our premium content for free, for a limited time here. Soon this will be the only place you can access it.


Thanks for reading and playing your part in making education the place we all know it can be.

Speak soon,

@NiallAlcock


If you found this useful and thought of colleagues and friends, who would too, share it with them by hitting the button below.

Share


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

️️❤️ If you find being connected to other school leaders and sharing approaches useful, hit the like button.

How to lead change successfully; surprise funding for tech; member action plans

Helen Ralston (The Rise School); Mike Wilson (St. Edmunds Catholic School); Community Members (We Are In Beta)

Hello everyone,

I’ve spoken to a lot of headteachers this week. What’s clear is they are doing a phenomenal job leading on an increasing number, and complexity, of fronts: current corona; a phased corona return, the ‘normal’ September return (maybe) to name a few.

I want to thank them, and you, for everything you’re doing to get ready for the safe school return, whenever that may be.

If you’re a new subscriber or joined us on our most recent webinar with Sallie Stanton, Director of Education, at Advantage Schools, welcome!

You can catch up with previous editions, podcasts and webinars via the archive. Link at the bottom.


This week:

🎥: Putting People First: the secret of successful change leadership

🎧: How some surprising funding can eliminate the digital divide

🌐: We Are In Beta Community News: action planning resources


🎥 Webinar: Helen Ralston, The Rise School. Putting People First: the secret to successful change leadership

Much change lies ahead of us. It will be hard but it provides us with a huge opportunity to improve together.

What makes leading change so tricky is that it happens entirely inside your relationships with people. Without great care and attention, it can be a disorientating, demotivating and unsatisfying experience for everyone - leader and team.

Helen Ralston, Headteacher at The Rise School, has managed her fair share of change. Whether it be the move from their original temporary portacabins to their permanent building or the transition to their unique and highly successful social and academic curriculum, Helen has led changes successfully.

How? By putting people first.

📆 Tuesday 19th May 2020

🕓 4.00pm (I still can’t get enough of exact time emojis!)

Save your spot and ensure you don’t miss the resources Helen will share with attendees.

Save my spot


🎧 Podcast: How surprising funding can eliminate the digital divide

If good news is your thing, this story will warm the heart.

When Mike Wilson, Headteacher at St Edmunds Catholic School, and his team were getting ready to take their school completely online, they realised it wouldn’t be possible. Then they got a call…

Listen to find out what happened next.

This story serves as a timely reminder that there are organisations out there looking to support schools, even during the most difficult times. It’s also a lesson about how to best work with them to get what you need.

👂 Subscribe on Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn 🔉

⏲️ 15 minute listen

💬 Join the conversation

📖 Access links to resources mentioned plus bonus content from the episode here.

If you are a serving school leader or teacher, access our premium content for free, for a limited time here. Soon this will be the only place you can access it.

Listen


🌐 We Are In Beta Community News

Unsurprisingly, questions in the Community this week have been about action planning and how others are approaching reopening.

Once again the level of support our members are giving is phenomenal.

Here’s a selection of the resources they’ve shared:

📎 “Post Covid-19 Action Plan” (Julie Carson, Director of Education, Woodland Academy Trust). Read here.

📎 “Action Plan for Reopening School” (Janine Bassindale, Executive Headteacher, North Lincs. Council). Read here.

📎 “Summary of Announcements” (Clare Fletcher, Director of Schools, Yare Education Trust). Read here.

If you’re a serving school leader or teacher and you want to join conversations and access resources like these, hit the button below to join the community.

Join Community


Thanks for reading and playing your part in making education the place we all know it can be.

Speak soon,

@NiallAlcock


If you found this useful and thought of colleagues and friends, who would too, share it with them by hitting the button below.

Share


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

️️❤️ If you find being connected to other school leaders and sharing approaches useful, hit the like button.

QA'ing curriculum without deep dives; ranking students within grades; members' support

Sallie Stanton (Advantage Schools); Amit Hathi (Wembley High Technology College); Community Members (We Are In Beta)

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve been enjoying a relaxing bank holiday weekend.

If you’re a new subscriber or joined us on our most recent webinar with Thahmina Begum, Head at Forest Gate Community School, it’s an honour to have you here.

You can catch up with previous editions, podcasts and webinars via the archive. Link at the bottom.

This week we share how schools are quality assuring curriculum without deep dives, a methodology to help you rank students within grades and a selection of ways members of the We Are In Beta Community are supporting each other.


🎥 Webinar: Sallie Stanton, Advantage Schools. Reviewing our review - challenges of curriculum QA

Schools have put in a significant amount of work over the past 12-18 months to consider and develop their curriculum offer.

Now this is in place, your mind moves to review and quality assurance, asking questions like:

  • What evidence do I use to evaluate if curriculum choices are the right ones and identify where it can be improved? 

  • How can I gather this evidence and produce good documentation for curriculum leaders, senior leaders, trust execs? 

  • And in doing so, how do I not add to workload and keep staff motivated and engaged in the process?

In our next webinar, find out how Sallie Stanton (Director of Education) and her team at Advantage Schools - the academy trust behind the highly-successful Bedford Free School (secondary) and Elstow School (primary) - are quality assuring their curriculum offer and using school closure as an opportunity to drive this forward.

Hit the button below to save your spot and ensure you don’t miss the resources Sallie will share with attendees.

📆 Tuesday 12th May 2020

🕡 5.00pm

Save my spot


🎧 Podcast: Ranking students within grades

With grades now collected by most schools and the deadline for submitting them, and their rank order, fast approaching (12th June for AQA and OCR - my birthday 😉), we spoke to Amit Hathi - Headteacher at Wembley High Technology College - about the methodology they have developed to rank students within grades.

He discusses the challenges associated with ranking across tiers, with large cohorts of students, early entry and teacher bias and how their methodology helps overcome them.

👂 Subscribe on Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn 🔉

⏲️ 25 minute listen

💬 Join the conversation

📖 Access links to resources mentioned plus bonus content from the episode here.

If you are a serving school leader or teacher, access our premium content for free, for a limited time here. Soon this will be the only place you can access it.

Listen


🌐 We Are In Beta Community News

Over the past few weeks, to support and champion them, we’ve shared our members’ questions, articles, vacancies and webinar resources. This week, a selection of documents and ideas they’re sharing to support each other.

📎 Tips, ideas and advice for Transitions (various leaders: Mide Ola Said, Eleanor Bernades, Ed Vainker, Shonogh Reid, Will Mackintosh, Bradley David, Clare Fletcher, Christalla Jamil, David Ellison, Joanna Young).

📎 Risk assessment for EHCP and vulnerable children’ and ‘overview of our safeguarding process’ (Nicole Fowles - Headteacher, Colsehill Heath School).

📎 Action plan, guidance and spreadsheet to support centre assessed grades and ranking (Jonathan Mountstevens - Deputy Head, Beaumont School).

If you’re a serving school leader or teacher and you want to join these conversations and access these resources, hit the button below to join the community.

Join the Community


Thanks for reading and playing your part in making education the place we all know it can be.

Speak soon,

@NiallAlcock


If you found this useful and thought of colleagues and friends, who would too, share it with them by hitting the button below.

Share


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

️️❤️ If you find being connected to other school leaders and sharing approaches useful, hit the like button.

How to recruit online

Will Mackintosh & Nat Nabarro (Ark John Keats); Thahmina Begum (Forest Gate Community School); and We Are In Beta Webinar Guests' resources

Hello everyone,

At the end of a week where a former schools minister criticised schools for not providing adequate online learning, the We Are In Beta Newsletter is in your inbox celebrating great schools and their leaders.

This week we’re sharing how they’re recruiting online, improving outcomes (and sustaining them) by prioritising explicit direct instruction, and the documents that help them get their results.

If you’re a new subscriber or you joined us for this week’s webinar with the incredible Vice Principal at Goresbrook Academy - Aziza Ajak - welcome!

Catch up with previous editions, podcasts and webinars via the archive. Link at the bottom.

We hope you find them useful. All feedback welcome.


🎧 How to recruit online

Listen to Ark John Keats’ leaders share: the odd middle ground they trialed between remote and in person interviews, the things they noticed that make it difficult and how they ironed them out. They also discuss how they assess teaching and pastoral staff differently, the preparations you must not forget and why applying online is a gamble for teachers.

👂 Subscribe on Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn 🔉

⏲️ 18 minute listen

💬 Join the conversation with Will Mackintosh, Nat Nabarro and NiallAlcock.

📖 Access links to resources mentioned plus bonus content from the episode here.

If you are a serving school leader or teacher, access our premium content for free, for a limited time here. Soon this will be the only place you can access it.

Listen


🎥 Webinar: Thahmina Begum, Forest Gate Community School. Improving outcomes with explicit direct instruction

Forest Gate Community School is a school that has improved and sustained results year-on-year that are well-above average. Summer 2019 - achieving a P8 of 1.0 for all students and 0.89 for disadvantaged students, 64% gaining a strong pass in English and Maths and 62% entering EBacc.

Thahmina recognises that among the many facets of their remarkable improvement journey, how she introduced and embedded techniques of explicit direct instruction, has made the greatest difference to the success of the school.

Join us on our next webinar to find out how they did it and access the resources that have been key to their success.

📆 Tuesday 5th May 2020

🕡 6.00pm

Save my spot


🌐 We Are In Beta Community News

“Are the slides for this presentation going to be made available afterwards?”

“Er. Yes. Absolutely. Just leave your email address with us at the end and we’ll send them round.”

But either you forget or the facilitators aren’t the quickest at following up.

Sound familiar?

After every We Are In Beta webinar, we post a list of resources and details about how to access them immediately afterwards. Here are some examples:

📎 “Recalibrating a School Culture”. Slide deck summarising The Duston School's ethos, behaviour system and curriculum principles (shared by Sam Strickland, Principal). Access here.

📎 “SLT Manifesto”. A list of non negotiable leadership behaviours, which Northampton Academy’s staff can hold them accountable to (shared by Nat Parnell, Principal). Access here.

📎 “What to dos”. The most specific guidance documents you have ever seen, which ensure clarity and consistency at Dixons Trinity Academy (shared by Emma Steele, Acting Principal). Access here.

📎 “Who Am I?” A leadership development activity designed by Aziza Ajak (Vice Principal, Goresbrook School) to help you and your team discover authentic leadership. Access here.

If you are school leader or teacher and want to access these resources and lots more from our webinar guests hit the button below.

Get resources


Thanks for reading.

Thanks for playing your part in making education the place we all know it can be.

Speak soon,

@NiallAlcock and the We Are In Beta Team.


If you like learning from others and your colleagues and friends do too, share this with them by hitting the button below.

Share


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

️️❤️ If you find being connected to other school leaders and sharing approaches useful, hit the like button.

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