Is Progress 8 the best measure we have? Ten assessment recommendations. First day reflections. Six questions.

Hello everyone,

What a week! I hope your first days back doing what you love went well despite Ofsted’s announcements.

Given the circumstances, should Ofsted be visiting schools this term? Should they be reporting what their visits find? I’ll let you decide.

One thing we’ve decided at We Are In Beta is that we’ll be doing everything we can to find great schools, doing great things. And we’ll be reporting… I mean… showcasing as many of them as we can.

I can’t wait to share the research we’ve been doing behind the scenes. Watch this space.


This week:

📝 Article: Is Progress 8 the best measure we have?

Webinar replay: What recommendations did Heads Forward make about assessment?

📝 Article: How was the first day back? An Exec. Head’s perspective.

🌐 Community news: The big questions members have been sharing answers to: assessment CPD, planning virtual open evenings, EAL translation services, breakfast clubs and more.


📝 Progress 8 is the best measure we have. Here’s why.

Progress 8 is the best measure we have. Here’s why.

Dominic Salles - Assistant Headteacher at Kingsdown School, Swindon (my hometown 👍) - explains why he believes Progress 8 is such an important metric.

He explores the challenges we face finding great schools to learn from, poses the 11 questions he would ask them if he given the opportunity and predicts the challenges we’ll all be tackling this year.

If data driven school improvement is your thing, don’t miss out on his invitation to you.

I want to read this


Want to challenge yourself to share your learning with the community? Join our growing team of columnists. Email saar@weareinbeta.com.


Replay: Rethinking Assessment - panel discussion with Heads Forward

Recently, we joined forces with Heads Forward - the Teach First headteachers’ network - to address the questions raised by the results fiasco.

Top left to bottom right, Will Mackintosh, Helen Ralston, Manny Botwe, Oli de Botton (Chair) and Ann Donaghy used the opportunity to challenge thinking about assessment and what we know to be right for our schools and for our students.

Check out the panel’s 10 recommendations, watch the replay and treat yourself to the recommended reading list. While you’re there, take a look at organisations leading the way in training teachers in assessment.

Sounds good to me


📝 First day back reflections: An Exec. Head’s perspective.

After weeks of planning, cleaning and reorganising over the summer, the anticipation of the first day back was almost too much to bear. Would distancing be stuck to? How would face masks work? How would the risk assessment go down? Was the chosen CPD focus right?

Christalla Jamil, Executive Headteacher of St Paul's & All Hallows' Academy, shares her reflections on the first day back: the one question she’s kept asking herself, the school’s CPD priorities and what remains to be seen.

Read how it went


🌐 Community news:

With so much up in the air, it’s reassuring to know you aren’t alone in your role.

Here’s a selection of questions the We Are In Beta community have been supporting each other to find answers to:

📊 What assessment CPD are you giving your staff this year?

📅 How are you planning to run open evenings virtually?

🌍 How do you use translation services to support EAL students and families?

🏆Are you using changing rooms?

🍳Are you running breakfast clubs?

💭 What is the one thing you want to learn from other school leaders?


💼 Job & opportunities

Nat Parnell, former Headteacher of Northampton Academy and the new Regional Director (North) at United Learning, has a great opportunity for you to make huge impact leading one of his schools in Sheffield.

Hit the button below to check out the role. If you’re hiring, post the roles you are recruiting for.

View + post jobs


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

Speak soon.

@NiallAlcock


If you were forwarded this email and learning about great schools doing great things is your bag…


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

️️❤️ If you’re excited about the summer, give us a ‘cheer’ below.