Positive Signs

 Standing in front of fellow teachers in my school with my SLT sat comfortably at the back of our drama studio has been one of the toughest experiences of my career. As someone who was passionate about Formative Assessment and had completed some postgraduate work on the subject, I was offered to lead the project within our school. To the rest of my colleagues however, it was a puzzle as to what the morning's training would involve, and why it was me and not someone with a title of responsibility in front of them. The various feedback and assessment games that we completed that day though ensured that our TLC groups had the ice broken, were ready to participate and that I survived!! Many staff reported back that it was one of the best instances of training that they had been to, and many commented that it helped that it was being delivered by 'one of us'.


 Fast forward four weeks and I am preparing for our second meeting. Now that colleagues are aware of my role in the project, I have had the most thought provoking conversations whilst waiting at the photocopier, dinner que and even whilst on detention duty. Handing over responsibility for professional development to staff at Middlewich High School has meant that they are enthused and intrigued as to what it will mean for their classrooms. Whilst all colleagues in education are concerned regarding workload management and a great deal of innovation currently being worked on, I believe I have convinced them of the merits for this project. The cheif difference being that we know Formative Assessment works. Fact.


 Due to restraints in being able to have support staff available for out of school hours training, I have had to be flexible and imaginative with involving them with the project. They too however, will be trained by myself and the SENCO and will implement Formative Assessment strategies adapted to their own practice. I have really enjoyed trying to adapt the strategies and think how our colleagues in the classroom can benefit from training in feedback and assessment strategies. I look forward to hearing on here how other colleagues have adapted the strategies we are looking at in the future, so that support staff are able to help us and facilitate them.


 Meeting two looks as though there is plenty to discuss and I am meeting with my TLC group leaders to go over this. They and I are really appreciating being able to meet together first to get our heads around the packs and information. Attendance to the meetings has been brilliant, and I have persuaded SLT so far that attendance checks up til not have not been necessary as we have all seen how keen staff are to participate and evaluate their practice using the project. In the mean time, I have seen a few large deliveries of lollipop sticks that I demonstrated during our training which is definately a positive sign.



I hope you are all having as much participation and positive feedback from the staff in your schools. Until next time!




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Greg Gilbey 5 Years Ago
Mike It is nice to know that the positive first meeting is being experienced across other schools. Although we did TLCs three years ago, it wasn't met with the same level of positivity, I think because there was too much choice in what staff could do which meant they became less pertinent to staff. The inclusion of support staff is another interesting factor and, following our third meeting in which I chaired one of the teaching assistant groups, I have agreed a couple of principles. The argument was that it could feel uncomfortable presenting ideas in front of the group. So, we are working on focusing on one area of formative assessment - questioning - with which they all felt comfortable. I have also agreed to give them some of the materials prior to the meeting so that they felt more confident in speaking and evaluating it. They are also going to use pair work and other techniques so that the 'reticent' feel more comfortable. It seems that the way you have set up the support staff separately should encourage involvement and they can, once conversant with formative assessment, begin adapting the techniques themselves. I wish you well with the second meeting. Thanks for the information. Greg Gilbey Director of Learning Lincoln Christ's Hospital School
Corinne Settle 5 Years Ago
Thank you Mike for sharing your experiences so far. It is great to hear about how you are supporting and involving support staff and the TLC leaders. Looking forward to your next blog. Corinne