the ramblings of a new hod!
1) Social Media
2) Disengaged bottom sets
I have been informed this could be an issue. My first thought is – mixed attainment. I currently work in a school which teaches mixed attainment at KS3 and it works well. I’m not saying it is perfect and it was easy to implement, but the students are now seeing the benefits. I am also aware that mixed attainment done badly is worse than setting so I am in no rush to move just yet. I believe I have to fully understand my new department and students at the school before changes like this can be considered. So for the time being it will be setted. So back to my original question – how to engage the disengaged?
- Peer to peer mentoring?
- Class/ year group trip?
- Reward system?
- Nothing – just concentrate on delivering high quality lessons?
The school currently splits the year group in to halves. Each halve (4 classes) are taught at the same time. This is true for all year groups. I have a feedback policy I want to introduce already but one idea was the use of DIRT time. Too often after an assessment I go through the paper in detail with the whole class. I’m sure most of us do this, and it does have some positives. However, I am also aware that when we go through a question that some/most got correct what do those students get out of it and are we wasting their time? My idea: “Gap Filling Groups”. After teachers have marked end of topic tests, which we intend to do roughly every half term, could we use the following lesson (or even week of lessons) more effectively. Between the four teachers (remember four classes from the same year group are timetabled together) could we identify 4 key areas where pupils have gaps in their knowledge. We then temporarily divide the classes up based on the topic area they need to work on and assign them a temporary teacher for the “Gap Lessons”. This way it doesn’t matter what set you are in, you get specific feedback for your needs without wasting time looking at questions you got correct/understand. Has anyone had experience of this in the past? Was it useful? What are the pitfalls?
I would imagine most schools have a paired reading scheme which takes place during registrations. How many have a paired numeracy scheme? Are the two not just as important as each other? Could a pack of questions or problems be put together so that Year 10 students can sit down once a week with students in KS3 that need a bit of extra help? If you can effectively get around 30 students signed up for this then surely this is a better way to get to those KS3 students without staff burnout? Does your department do something similar – I would be interested in speaking to you about the initial set up, monitoring process and benefits of the project?
I am really looking forward to September – not that I am wishing August away, my first summer holiday as a dad and I can’t wait to spend all that time with my son (and I best mention my wife as well!). I have a great team together already and I am genuinely excited about the new chapter. However any words of wisdom or advice are welcomed.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to reading the replies/comments.