This term, to support subject leaders, I put in the opportunity for them all to work with a member of SLT. This was support in monitoring and recognising strengths and weaknesses within their subject as well as looking at the deep dive process.
Although deep dive process is not the be all and end all of education, if can give us an idea of what to look at with out subjects.
How do you assess children? How is this fed back into teaching and learning?
What CPD is there for all staff including the Subject Leader?
How do you ensure all staff have subject knowledge?
How do you support new staff?
How do you support children?
What interventions are there?
How are all children catered for?
Workload and wellbeing
Are you supported by SLT?
Do you have the tools to do the role?
What do you do to provide a good work/life balance?
Some questions are repeated within other areas so they were put together to make it more manageable. After this we looked into the intent and how we were implementing this by looking at our curriculum folders.
A learning walk would have been great but an hour is simply not enough. However, just by looking at the key questions above and our learning intent, we could pick up on our strengths and weaknesses and work out what was the main priority for monitoring.
Recently, I asked my team about their views on assessment and how they use it to help them to plan. There were many things that came up but luckily there were some great conversations about how we can do it, especially as the curriculum is sequenced, built upon and challenging.
I think most schools have a progression of skills nowadays and these are more than likely from the National curriculum. Using these to assess against is key.
One thing that I found was in some subjects there were skills that were done in Year 1 and later in Year 5 for instance. We may want children to show control over their drawing techniques in art but subject knowledge is key. It’s all about knowledge and skills.
This is where key vocabulary can come in very handy for each year group showing a progression in this area.
From the vocabulary and the skills we can build upon what children already know and what we are teaching them at that moment. A success criteria based on Bloom’s taxonomy shows children, teaching assistants and the teacher how they can support children within the lesson or series of lessons to reach their full potential.
In structuring it this way, it has a range of benefits such as assessing, planning, focusing teaching and learning but it needs to be shared well so that there is a understanding amongst all stakeholders.
I have found it hugely beneficial for children too. If you are giving children more independence in their learning then giving them the tools to be able to do this is so important. Eventually as the children go through the school, especially if they are immersed in the ideas of Bloom’s Taxonomy, the skills and the knowledge, they may very well be able to take control of their own learning.
Even within a Year 2 lesson, you can open it up and give them real purpose for their learning by showing them greater depth, real life, in the work place (whatever you see fit) examples.
Assessing within learning is huge and opens up so many opportunities.
Across the school we use texts links to our topic.
In Year 1, the children’s ‘Where the wild things are’ topic is booked up with… you’ve guessed it… ‘Where the wild things are’
The geography links here are great and so enjoyable for children. Map skills are made more interesting by looking for wild things.
Year 2 are doing talk for writing with ‘The Three Little Pigs.’ Perfect for the topic ‘Clever Construction.’ After learning about engineering and architecture, children can create their own story with different buildings that they’ve learnt about. A pig living in The Shard makes for an interesting read.
In Year 3, our doing ‘The Prehistoric World’ and linking it to ‘How to wash a woolly mammoth’ really engages children. It’s great for transition into KS2 and having thought about what the children enjoyed in Year 2 (dinosaurs) gives them the opportunity to link their learning experiences.
Blue Abyss in Year 4 has been supported by Flotsam, a wordless picture book with many opportunities for inference and imagination and It links to real life in history (the camera) and environmental issues.
Year 5 and their topic based around South America has been supported by The Explorer is a thrilling adventure that moves around a group of children. Fantastic for year 5s to put themselves in the Amazon.
Revolution – a topic themed around the Victorians is a favourite in Year 6. Some fantastic opportunities to look at how the victorians have influenced our lives now. Street child helps our children to imagine themselves in another child’s shoes. Some great writing coming from this!