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Core Responsibilities (Primary): Having efficient and well-organised systems


This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 03 November 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 13 May 2010 by ncetm_administrator

Having the right policies and an environment where all colleagues work together to a common set of goals is obviously crucial to a well led and developing team. It is frustrating, however, when the lack of clear systems and efficient ways of working stop these things happening.

A good subject leader needs to take heed of good management as well and needs clear systems and mechanisms in place to fully realise the vision, aims, policy and practices which have been agreed.

  • Is everyone very clear about what school policy is and, if not, do they know where to find out?
  • Are all teachers supported in their planning and teaching by a well-documented set of teaching ideas and teaching strategies?
  • Are there clear systems in place to empower all teaching staff to track the progress of their children/pupils through the mathematics curriculum?
  • Have you got good efficient systems for making sure your department/school is well resourced?

This module will help you reflect on these questions. Here is a suggestion of how you might use the materials:

  • look through and discuss (with your line manager/senior leader and your teaching colleagues) the list of example statements (also available to download as a PDF) and decide which best fits your stage of development
  • use the ‘moving to the next level’ questions to identify the steps which will help you and your colleagues move to the next level
  • use the ‘Stories of change’ (reflections and thoughts from other fellow subject leaders explaining how they have worked on these issues) to form your own next steps
  • record your thoughts in your own learning journal and specific actions and developments in the policy to practice pro-forma. You may also wish to use your Personal Learning Space to record your own thoughts and reflections. 

Description

There are no clear systems and mechanisms in place to make the vision, aims, policy and practice which have been agreed upon work smoothly and efficiently. Staff are not aware of school policy and do not know where to find it. There are no clear systems for making sure the school is well resourced and no identified mathematics budget to support the priorities in the Mathematics Improvement Plan.

Curriculum and lesson planning

There is no agreed curriculum documentation. Long and medium term planning is informed by age related expectations. Short term planning is solely informed by the use of standard lesson plans either downloaded from the internet or part of a commercial product with no customisation to addresses pupils' needs, aspirations and prior attainment. There is little awareness of age related expectations throughout the primary phase.

The classroom environment does not have a clearly defined mathematical area.

There is inconsistent use of teaching assistants to support learning in the classroom.

Assessment

There is no policy statement. Lessons do not have clear learning intentions and pupils do not always understand what is required of them, how well they are doing and how they can improve. Some groups of pupils do not make progress over a sequence of lessons.

There is a system in place for tracking pupils’ attainment though the evidence on which this is based is either inconsistent or unclear. It is usually based upon summative assessments. The school record of these levels does not result in any analysis of the data, and as such there is no discussion around resulting patterns, no directed intervention and rarely used to influence planning.

There is no whole school approach to the setting of numerical and curricular targets

Moving to the next level

If you are category 4:
  • Do you have a clear vision statement for mathematics in your school and is it available to all staff in a central place?
  • What is the mechanism for staff to let you know what resources they need and for the ordering of these resources?
  • Do all staff have access to long-, medium- and short-term plans and do they understand the structure of them?
  • Does curriculum planning gives all staff a clear idea of what needs to be taught; at what stage and to what level of challenge?
  • Where curriculum planning documents refer to resources, is it clear where these are and how to get hold of them?
  • Is there is an agreed system in place for tracking pupils’ attainment throughout the year?
  • Is there a subject leader folder containing policies and agreements and is this available to all staff in a central place?

> Stories of change

Description

There are some systems and mechanisms in place to make the vision, aims, policy and practice work smoothly and efficiently. Some staff are aware of school policy but most staff do know where to find it. There are some systems in place to purchase resources and bids can be made to the whole school budget to support the priorities in the Mathematics Improvement Plan.

Curriculum and lesson planning

There is some agreed curriculum documentation at long and medium term level but teachers’ tend to rely on familiar strategies and approaches to enhance learning. There is an awareness of age related expectations for their own pupils and planning attempts to address pupils’ needs, aspirations and prior attainment.

Short term planning is based around mapping out a teaching sequence with:

  1. Some differentiation
  2. Occasional use of practical, visual and ICT resources that to support, test and confirm pupils’ learning.
  3. Questioning occasionally used to develop mathematical thinking
  4. An inconsistent attention to both mental and written work
  5. Some links to other subject areas to enrich the learning of mathematics within and beyond the classroom.

The classroom environment has a clearly defined mathematical area but it is not always accessible or stimulating to pupils.

Teaching Assistants work with individuals and small groups.

Assessment

There is a timeline outlining expectations for summative assessments.Most lessons have clear learning intentions and pupils understand what is required of them. There are limited opportunities for pupils to assess how well they are doing and how they can improve. Most pupils make progress over a sequence of lessons.

Teachers record levels for pupils based on a common assessment approach but tests are considered the primary method of assessment.  Test scores inform the school tracking system which is designed to track progress towards pupils’ end of Key Stage targets. Retrospective analysis of progress between Key Stages enables some discussion to take place ‘after the event’, but there is little analysis of progress within the Key Stage.  Some teachers use the tracking information to influence planning and intervention.

Teachers are supported in setting numerical and curricular targets based on pupil’s prior knowledge and attainment. However, curricular targets are occasionally a general curriculum area for improvement (e.g. ‘improve shape and space).

Moving to the next level

If you are category 3:
  • Are there regular opportunities to re-visit the schools’ vision, aims and policies relating to mathematics so that staff are reminded about what they say and have the chance to debate and, if necessary, amend?
  • Do you have a mechanism for pro-actively finding out what staff feel about the teaching of mathematics, how the various curriculum documents are helping them, whether they have sufficient resources and what support they need?
  • Are displays used around the school to keep the profile of mathematics high and to provide reminders for pupils and staff about curricular targets?
  • Are resources well documented, catalogued and labelled so that all staff know where they are and can access them easily and efficiently?
  • Do all teachers have easy access to assessment information on the pupils in their class?
  • Is there clear guidance on what resources should be available in every classroom and agreed practices regarding how these should be displayed and stored so that teachers and pupils can access them easily and efficiently?

> Stories of change

Description

There are systems and mechanisms in place that aim to make the vision, aims, policy and practice work smoothly and efficiently. Most staff are aware of school policy and know where to find it. There are systems in place to purchase resources and an identified mathematics budget to support the priorities in the Mathematics Improvement Plan. The budget is mainly used to purchase teaching and learning resources.

Curriculum and lesson planning

The curriculum is documented at long, medium and short term level. The long and medium term planning documentation ensures teachers’ planning addresses pupils’ needs, aspirations and prior attainment. Teachers are fully aware of age related expectations for their pupils and most of the primary phase.

Short term planning is regarded as a process that maps out a teaching sequence with:

  1. Clear learning intentions and outcomes
  2. The pitch and pace of work appropriate to the rate at which children learn
  3. Questioning to motivate, assess and promote reflection, analysis and enquiry.
  4. Models and images to support methods, promote thinking and develop strategies and build links between areas of mathematics
  5. Engaging and challenging activities clearly planned for pupils to practise, discuss and apply their learning through independent and group work
  6. Practical, visual and ICT resources to support, test and confirm pupils’ learning.
  7. Some attention to both mental and written work
  8. Links to some subject areas to enrich the learning of mathematics within and beyond the classroom.

The classroom environment has a clearly defined mathematical area which is stimulating, dynamic and links to the current learning.

Teaching Assistants are deployed to support learning in the classroom.

Assessment

There is a clear policy statement which makes the distinction between Assessment for Learning and Assessment of Learning.Lessons have clear learning intentions and pupils understand what is required of them. There are opportunities for pupils to assess how well they are doing and how they can improve.

Teachers are starting to use national standards to inform their teacher assessments and periodic judgements in line with the APP process. There is a system in place for tracking pupil’s progress and tests or periodic judgements form the basis of the school tracking system. Analysis of periodic judgements at the whole class level informs discussions with teachers, and whole-class interventions Most teachers are using this data to plan the next steps in learning.

There is a whole school approach to curricular target setting and target getting based on a clear identification of priorities through Assessment for Learning.  

Moving to the next level

If you are category 2:
  • Do all teachers have a clear idea of what they are teaching (through well written documentation) and do the documents help all teachers to plan exciting, varied and challenging lessons?
  • Are teachers encouraged to interact with the curriculum documentation they have by suggesting additions and modifications? Is there an efficient system to allow this to happen?
  • Do all teachers have a clear understanding of what is expected of pupils prior to joining their own class and what is expected of those in the subsequent class?
  • Are there regular opportunities for you, as subject leader, to lead discussions of policy and practice and to encourage other staff contribute to the development of these?
  • Are all staff fully aware of all policies and, through regular discussion and debate, understand the principles on which they are based?
  • Do all staff have easy access to assessment information on the pupils in their class and use it well to match teaching to their needs?

> Stories of change

Description

There are clear systems and mechanisms in place to make the vision, aims, policy and practice which have been agreed upon work smoothly and efficiently. Everyone is clear about what school policy is. There are good efficient systems for making sure the school is well resourced and resources are used to drive a change in teaching and learning in the school. The strategic allocation of the budget supports the priorities in the Mathematics Improvement Plan. The budget is used to purchase teaching and learning resources and resourcing the developmental needs of staff (e.g. teaching and learning projects, peer observation, joint planning).

Curriculum and lesson planning

The curriculum is well documented at long, medium and short term level which does not just document resources but also gives ideas for teaching contexts and strategies. The long and medium term planning documentation ensures teachers’ planning addresses pupils’ needs, aspirations and prior attainment. Teachers are fully aware of age related expectations throughout the primary phase.

Short term planning is viewed as a process that maps out a teaching sequence with:

  1. Clear learning intentions and outcomes
  2. The pitch and pace of work appropriate to the rate at which children learn
  3. Well-directed questioning to motivate, assess and promote reflection, analysis and enquiry.
  4. Models and images to support methods, promote thinking and develop strategies and build links between areas of mathematics
  5. Engaging and challenging activities clearly planned for pupils to practise, discuss and apply their learning through independent and group work
  6. Practical, visual and ICT resources to support, test and confirm pupils’ learning.
  7. Attention to both mental and written work
  8. Links to other subject areas and other external sources to enrich the learning of mathematics within and beyond the classroom.

The classroom environment has a clearly defined mathematical area which is vibrant, inspiring and supportive.

Teaching assistants are used effectively to support learning in the classroom.

Assessment

There is a clear policy statement on the principles of assessment which makes the distinction between Assessment for Learning and Assessment of Learning.

Lessons have clear learning intentions and outcomes with pupils clearly understanding what is required of them. There are opportunities for pupils to assess how well they are doing and how they can improve

Periodic judgements in line with APP process produce robust and accurate teacher assessed levels (refined into ‘low’, ‘secure’ and ‘high’ within the level. Test performance is used as part of the evidence base to inform the periodic judgements rather than producing a level for individual pupils. The periodic judgements form the basis of an effective school system which tracks progress towards pupils’ end of Key Stage targets and informs reporting procedures. Teachers’ individual tracking procedures identify strengths, gaps and weaknesses so that pupils can see where they are making progress and can have individual targets set as a result.  This information is used to inform teaching and provide tailored support and appropriate intervention for individual pupils or small groups and help pupils identify their next steps in learning and how to improve.                               

There is an effective and manageable whole school approach to the setting and revising of numerical targets and layered curricular targets.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 1:
  • Are staff encouraged to share their practice and knowledge with others? Are there systems in place to allow this to happen on a regular basis?
  • Are there mechanisms for sharing and making visible the key elements of your mathematics development plan with colleagues? How easy is it for others to have input into the development of the subject in your school?

> Stories of change



 
    
 
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