It is hard to believe that we are more than half way through our first term back at school and I am just getting around to writing a blog… a busy, productive and reflective start to the session.
All our staff and pupils have had a positive start to the session. We have welcomed our new Head Teacher, Mrs Bowen, who will be working with us until Christmas. She has been truly impressed with our polite and hard working pupils who like to talk about and share their learning.
Our School Improvement Plan has been finalised and as always is a key visual feature in our school. At the moment it is looking a bit bare as staff are working together to create their action plans for taking our key areas forward. Our SIP was a collective approach involving all stakeholders. Visible Learning is evident throughout our SIP and really underpins what we are aiming for. Our over arching theme is – Developing Assessment Capable Visible Learners. Our SIP is based on evidence, baselines and aspirations. Staff will finalise plans this week as we meet to share our vision for taking each key area forward. During the planning process we have been drilling down and looking at the knowledge and practices for staff, pupils and parents that need to be common practice and consistent across our school in order to have sustainability.
We are continuing to work on embedding our Legendary Learning List (L.L.L) as mentioned in previous blogs. This is very visible around our school with classes engaging in our key dispositions in different ways in our classrooms. We are looking forward to sharing with each other how this is being used and the impact this is having. By creating the correct ethos and modelling this language will allow this to become further embedded and consistent across our school. We are really trying to raise the profile of the L.L.L and celebrate each of the key areas. One of the ways we are doing this is during citizenship where we share and model each disposition but also by celebrating success by using our new bright and bold stickers. Pupils share their experiences of using the L.L.L and how it has helped them to become a better learner.
An important development for us this session and one that sits very well with our L.L.L. is the Midlothian Learner statement.
All schools across Midlothian are working on developing these qualities. Schools will be approaching this in different ways and I am looking forward to sharing practice and looking at how we can ensure that it is used effectively.
As a school we took a baseline and asked our pupils about each of the seven key areas – what did they know / what are we doing in school and what could we do?
We were then able to create statements for each of the 7 areas of where we are now, we want to go and how we are going to get there.
Here are some examples;
Staff are focusing on the next steps outlined and working towards making the Midlothian Learner a key part of our classroom practice. We are ensuring that we draw close links with our L.L.L as they come hand in hand.
In Midlothian we have been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to take part in some truly inspiring CLPL in the short space of time we have been back and there is even more still to come! Sir John Jones visited Midlothian and left us inspired with ‘sparkling eyes’ ready to ‘weave our magic’. His key messages of making excellent leadership a habit and that ‘there is always a better way’ made me reflect on my practice closely and certainly sparked lots of discussion in our SLT about how we move forward. Thinking of our pupils and building and developing pupil/teacher relations struck a cord with me as I work on doing this with my new class – ‘What can I do to make this year better for you?’ and focusing on the emotional side of things to be dream builders. A huge aspiration for me was ‘ They will be smart enough if I am good enough’. This sits well with the work we are doing on Inspired and Passionate Teachers when looking at teacher mindframes and reflecting on our practice in order for us to grow and improve. I left that day after tears and laughter feeling truly uplifted and inspired to go back and make a difference.
As if that wasn’t enough… Guy Claxton visited Midlothian on Friday afternoon and gave us lots of food for thought – my brain was buzzing with ideas as I thought about how I could take back his ideas and reflections to our school and continue to make a difference. Key messages I took away were ‘If you want it, coach it’ and we are ‘learning designers’. As a school a next step for us is for our pupils to ‘self activate’ and use the learning dispositions we have been working on, independently and to discuss and give examples of these. Alongside this we need to be thinking about progression and ensuring that we teach these dispositions and create environments for our pupils to use these. We want to develop ‘better learners’ and to equip our pupils with skills for learning ensuring that the language we are using is understood, modeled and given the space to be developed. It truly was a ‘fruitful’ afternoon with lots of staff going away and thinking about what they will do differently next week. I am looking forward to sharing key messages with staff as we look to grow and develop together.
Collaboration and sharing practice is such a key part of growing and improving and through the use of blogs, twitter and networking this is possible. I look forward to more learning and collaborating this session. This session has started off so positively, I am looking forward to seeing where it takes us.