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Core Responsibilities (Secondary): 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This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.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 04 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. There is no Department Handbook. Rewards and sanctions are up to each teacher in the department to devise. There is no behaviour or homework policy in the department - staff are not aware of school policy and do not know where to find it.
Teachers are assigned classes and classrooms with little strategic thinking. Classrooms are clean and tidy but do not contain mathematics specific posters or stimuli. Each teacher has a set of textbooks for each class which follows the exam board’s syllabus.

The department is allocated a budget which is spent throughout the year according to need.

Curriculum
The department’s scheme of work is a fixed list of topics to be covered and dates in which to cover them. Text books and other recommended resources are listed alongside the topics. There is no coherent system in place which helps teachers to quickly find resources linked to the scheme of work.

Assessment
Student assessment is left up to the individual classroom teacher. There might be a set of tests that all students in a year take but data generated from these is not collected and, at best, is looked at by the class teacher only. Collection of student levels is carried out at the request of SLT but there is no agreement in the department about what data informs these levels. Students may be told their score but do not know what this means.

 

Moving to the next level

If you are category 4:
  • Is there a consistency of policy and practice in your department? How are teachers aware of this expectation?
  • How can you make sure the budget supports the every day needs of the department but also enables the department to move forward?
  • Are you aware of the strengths and areas for development of the teachers in the department?
  • Which teaching groups are your priority for the coming year? Who is teaching these groups?
  • How can teachers access different resources for their teaching group?
  • How would a pupil know they are entering a mathematics classroom?
  • Are teachers able to access a variety of resources to support their teaching?
  • How are you aware of the progress of students across the year group?
  • Are students making appropriate progress? Is their achievement in mathematics in line with their achievement across other areas of the curriculum?

> 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. The Department Handbook is a generic policy document (downloaded from the internet) which includes a homework policy and a behaviour policy.

The department’s budget is split into maintenance and development. Consideration is given to each teacher’s strengths when classrooms are assigned and new or less strong teachers are placed so that more experienced members of the department can offer support. Similar consideration is given when timetabling key groups at KS4 and 5. Classrooms contain some mathematical posters. There is some practical equipment available.

Curriculum
The department’s scheme of work is a fixed list of topics to be covered and dates in which to cover them. Text books and other recommended resources are listed alongside the topics. There is space for feedback and extra resources to be added and these are collected at the end of the year to be added to next year’s scheme. There is a system in place for members of the department to share written resources which supplement the textbooks.

Assessment

There is a regular test taken by each student in a year group and the results of this are collected on a spreadsheet to which the Subject Leader has access. This is used to feedback levels or grades to SLT and parents as requested. Students might be aware of their level but do not really understand what it means

Moving to the next level

If you are category 3:
  • Are staff able to contribute to developing a consistency of policy and practice in the department/school?
  • Is your budget linked to the department improvement plan? Does it enable changes in teaching and learning to take place?
  • Are teachers aware of their personal strengths and areas for development? Can they request and organise support from other staff?
  • How can teachers find resources mentioned at a department meeting?
  • Could you display some of your pupils’ work in your classroom/ Are there some mathematical images (eg 100square, place value chart) that would help pupils learn?
  • How can students access IT? Can the teacher use IT as an aid to pupil learning?.
  • How are you aware of the progress of students across the year group?
  • How do students know how well they are doing? Can they answer the question ‘What level are you working at?’ and explain how they know.
  • What do you do if students consistently underachieve? Do you know which areas of mathematics are particularly difficult for your students?
  • How does your scheme of work encourage and support all members of your department to develop their teaching style?
  • How are rich tasks shared? Are they viewed as integral to the curriculum or as bolt on activities to be done if there’s time?

> 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. The Department Handbook consists of policies which were developed through department discussion and which are implemented consistently across the department.

The department’s budget is linked to the improvement plan. Consideration is given to each teacher’s strengths when classrooms are assigned and new or less strong teachers are placed so that more experienced members of the department can offer support. Similar consideration is given when timetabling all groups. Displays of pupil work and appropriate mathematical images provide a stimulus in classrooms. Some practical resources are available in the department and ICT resources can be booked when necessary.

Curriculum
The department’s scheme of work gives the topics that are to be covered along with some recommended lessons which exemplify the departmental vision of good teaching and learning and set the tone for the unit to be taught. There is space for additions and suggestions to be made and these are looked at in departmental meetings. There is a system in place which facilitates members of the department being able to choose and select a resource most appropriate to their classes needs.

Assessment
There is a regular test taken by each student in a year group and the results of this are collected on a spreadsheet to which the department has access. Analysis of this spreadsheet identifies students who are not achieving to their potential and consistent underperformance means that these students are identified for intervention. Most students can answer the question ‘what level are you working at?’ and explain how they know.

Sometimes a question level analysis of a sample of the test is carried out and this identifies key areas of maths (curricular targets) which inform the intervention work.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 2:
  • Are staff able to contribute to the ongoing development of good practice in the department? Do they maintain that consistency of practice?
  • How can you enhance your department budget to enable further improvement to take place?
  • Can your scheme of work help to encourage and support all members of your department to develop their teaching and learning approaches?
  • How can teachers benefit from the experiences of other teaches when using specific resources?
  • How do you know that the activities in your scheme of work ‘feel’ the same to the students in each classroom in your department? Can your scheme of work help with consistency?
  • Can you widen the variety of resources used in the department, including the use of IT by the teacher and the pupils?
  • Are students aware of their mathematical strengths and weaknesses? Does your department talk about areas of mathematical weakness/common misconceptions and change their teaching styles to tackle these areas?
  • How do students know how well they are doing and how they might do even better? Are students and their parents aware of their ongoing progress?
  • Do students have access to interventions to enable them to improve on their progress?

> 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. The department handbook is a record of ongoing discussions which form policies. A system of public praise for both achievement and attainment exists which celebrates the successes of all students.

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 department’s budget is linked to the improvement plan. Bids are made to enable the department to participate in developmental projects.

A system is in place which supports all members of the department in their individual CPD needs and ensures high quality teaching and learning for all students.

The high quality learning environment is enhanced by displays of pupil work and appropriate mathematical images. The arrangement of tables within the classroom reflects the learning style embraced by the department. Practical resources, including computers, are available to assist pupil learning. The teacher has a personal laptop linked to a projector and an interactive whiteboard which is used to assist pupil learning.

Curriculum
The department’s scheme of work is a living document which leads teaching and learning in the department. The department’s vision of good teaching and learning is implicit throughout as well as explicitly outlined on the front page. Members of the department are able to engage in dialogue through the scheme of work, to comment on resources and suggestions. Each unit gives the big ideas which are to be worked on within that unit and there are suggested lessons which exemplify these. Time is given to add to and discuss key units at departmental meetings.

There is a system in place which facilitates members of the department being able to choose and select the resource most appropriate to their classes needs as well as feedback on the way in which they used the resource and possible suggested follow up activities.

Assessment
Ongoing assessment using a mixture of tasks and tests informs data collected on a spreadsheet to which the department has access. Regular analysis of this spreadsheet identifies students who are not achieving to their potential, these students are highlighted and questions about the apparent underperformance are posed. This may lead to intervention either as a class, a small group or individually.
A question level analysis of the test is carried out and this identifies key areas of maths (curricular targets) which inform the intervention work and also informs teaching of that topic. This is added into the department’s development plan and forms the agenda for a department meeting and collaborative planning. Students can answer the question ‘What level are you working at?’ and know what to do to get better.

Moving to the next level

If you are category 1:
  • Is there a consistency of policy and practice in your department? Are there opportunities to review policies/take forward discussions about consistency in practice?
  • Do students directly benefit from the money allocated to the department?
  • How does your department’s vision of teaching and learning fit with the whole school vision? How does the whole school vision of teaching and learning fit with the department’s vision?
  • Are students allowed to choose the resources they need to solve a problem?
  • Do the displays in your classrooms change to reflect the learning taking place?
  • How can staff feedback their experiences when using a specific resource?
  • Is assessment a process that is ‘done to’ students or is it an integral part of the learning process?
  • Are students able to analyse their assessments to identify their own strengths and weaknesses?
  • Do students have access to their own assessment information?

> Stories of change



 
     
 
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