Gloucestershire LA EiML Case Studies: School B
Luke Ryall is subject leader at an 11-18 boys grammar school with about 850 students on roll. At the time of the network meeting which first introduced the EiML materials he had been in post for just six weeks. The mathematics department at the school comprises four members of the ‘core team’ and three members of the senior leadership team who are mathematics specialists and contribute to the teaching of the subject. Three of the core team, including Luke, were new to the school in September 2009 and thus it was a time of significant change.
Throughout the past year Luke has reviewed two of the Key Elements (‘Vision and Aims’ and ‘Assessment’) and two of the Core Responsibilities (‘Developing a common purpose and shared culture’ and ‘Working and developing together as a team’). We asked Luke a few questions to get a sense of how they had proved useful:
GM: How were the materials used?
LR: The materials were introduced to me through a cluster meeting organised by the Gloucestershire Maths Advisory Team and subsequently reviewed in a meeting at school. They were primarily used to aid the planning and preparation for a departmental session aimed at developing a vision statement.
GM: What did you choose as a focus and why?
LR: Because of the recent change in personnel in the department I thought the need to develop common approaches and a shared vision was paramount. I decided on two focuses: ‘developing a vision for the department’, and ‘embedding effective practice in assessment’.
GM: What actions did you take?
LR: The case studies and stories of change within ‘Developing a common purpose and shared culture’ provided helpful guidance and prompted me to allocate departmental time for an activity focussing on developing a vision statement for the department. They also discussed ways in which departmental meeting time can be used more effectively, and in conjunction with the ‘Assessment’ materials, led me to appoint an APP lead and schedule fortnightly lunchtime with the focus being on approaches to assessment at Key Stage 3.
GM: What is the current situation?
LR: There is now an agreed vision statement in place which the whole department have contributed to and this is a standard which underpins our thinking as a team. Processes for assessment at Key Stage 3 have been established, and we were invited to share these developments at a county subject leader network meeting. Our strategy for the use of the VLE as a tracking and target-setting tool linked to APP is about to go live, and several other schools have expressed an interest in adopting it. Our developments around teacher assessment and APP have also resulted in an ever-evolving ‘learning wall’ that will now be extended to Key Stage 4. Approaches to assessment at our school have also been demonstrated at an onsite session with trainee teachers from Gloucestershire University.