The Key

The Key

The Key is an independent support service for senior leaders. The Key’s expert researchers provide practical answers to questions on any aspect of leadership and management. These are then published as articles on their website - they currently have over 2,600 articles online.

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The internet and modern transport offer unprecedented opportunities for pupils to learn about - and even experience - faraway countries, their peoples and different cultures. As part of a study in global community cohesion, we heard from the international co-ordinator at George Abbot School, a state secondary in Guilford, about the benefits of its partnerships with schools in different parts of the world.

George Abbot, which has held the International School Award since 2003, has links with schools in France, Germany, Canada, Tanzania, China, India and South Africa. These partnerships have enabled its pupils to experience different cultures and engage in some truly inspiring programmes.

Thursday, 12 April 2012 10:05

SEN provision map

How can we audit special needs provision and create a provision map? This article describes provision maps and the stages and tools for auditing SEN provision.

What is a provision map?

A provision map is a management tool providing an 'at a glance' way of documenting and showing the range of provision, additional staffing and support that a school makes available to its pupils.

Provision maps enable schools to look strategically at the needs of all their pupils, including those in vulnerable groups, to clearly identify pupils’ strengths and needs. Provision can then be planned to meet those needs and track pupil progress so as to improve learning outcomes.

Thursday, 22 March 2012 11:14

Evaluating the impact of CPD

What do schools do to measure the impact of CPD? We link to guidance from the TDA, a Teaching Expertise article and to school policies with ideas on how schools can evaluate the impact of CPD. We also refer to a National College article on how schools can ensure that CPD is effective.

TDA guidance on evaluating the impact of CPD

Guidance from the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) on evaluating the impact of continuing professional development (CPD) explains that it can be difficult to find evidence that clearly shows the link between CPD and pupil achievement.

Therefore, it says that the crucial point to consider is what was intended to be achieved, and what impact could reasonably be expected, in any given time-frame.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 11:00

Creative curriculum implementation in primaries

What is a creative curriculum and how can we implement it? The National College report, Lifting the Lid, says that a creative curriculum makes creativity central rather than a bolt-on. We link to case studies from Leading Aspect Award, and programmes such as Creative Partnerships.

Defining a creative curriculum

Lifting the Lid on the Creative Curriculum was a landmark 2007 report from the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). It focused on four primary schools, each of which emphasised the importance of a creative curriculum in a different way.

The report proposed that creativity should be seen as central to the curriculum, and to the process of delivering and absorbing the curriculum, rather than as a bolt-on.

Thursday, 16 February 2012 11:48

Mobile phones: use in the classroom

How are schools using mobile phones to promote learning? We link to a Becta study into mobile phone use in the classroom. Hertfordshire Grid for Learning lists handheld devices and possible mLearning applications. Finally, we cite two blogs on MFL ideas and general classroom uses for mobiles.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012 11:57

Tips for evaluating courses and INSET days

How can staff evaluate INSET training and CPD courses? We link to proformas for evaluating different aspects of CPD, such as: taking practice back; Guskey’s ‘five levels of CPD evaluation’; and outcomes for pupils. We also link to an example INSET training policy.

Taking practice back into schools

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) has a continuing professional development (CPD) evaluation sheet for schools.

It includes spaces to set out four objectives for the activity. These can be graded as outstanding, good, satisfactory or inadequate.

Thursday, 02 February 2012 10:53

Effective commissioning in schools

How can we commission services better in our school? This article explains the commissioning cycle, passes on tips on effective commissioning, and links to the Commissioning Support Programme and DfE guidance.

What is commissioning?

The Commissioning Support Programme (CSP) defines strategic commissioning as follows:

Commissioning is the process for deciding how to use the total resource available for children, young people, parents and carers in order to improve outcomes in the most efficient, effective, equitable and sustainable way.

Monday, 30 January 2012 13:13

Social networking: guidance for teachers

Do you have a policy on how teaching staff should present themselves online? This article includes an ICT code of conduct with rules about online communication for school staff. It also refers to official guidance and a clause in the GTCE code of conduct which covers teachers’ behaviour.

ICT and online communication code of conduct for staff

Hellingly Community Primary School in East Sussex has an ICT code of conduct for staff. It sets out the rules that all staff must comply with when using ICT facilities both within the school and away from the school.

The section covering online communication includes statements such as:

  • I will not allow parents or children and young people to add me as a friend, nor will I add them as friends, on social networking sites
  • I will not use Facebook or similar online networking sites whilst at work
  • I must make clear that any comments (e.g. political views) are my own personal opinion
  • I will not create, transmit, display or publish any material that is likely to: harass, cause offence, inconvenience or needless anxiety to any other person or bring the school into disrepute
  • In line with safeguarding procedures, no comments should be made with reference to the school, its staff, governors, pupils, families, any persons associated with it or events
  • I will not place any information regarding my activities at school, or the school in general on my social networking sites

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