I am constantly fascinated to read new reports on how music is so good for us all! I love to read about how music helps all sorts of aspects of our lives – from improving our coordination to developing our memory, to helping us to relax and lower our blood pressure to encouraging our imagination and creativity, to help us focus and to improve our literacy and numeracy. Music is such a crucial, essential part of learning, not just for youngsters, but actually for us all.
The relationship between Ofsted and school technology is an issue relevant to every school. If yours isn’t one of the 70% of schools using iPads or tablets, you’ve probably had discussions about whether or not to go ahead and implement them. What I’m going to talk about should be of interest, then, because Ofsted’s focuses are shifting, and the progression towards attention to tablet computing has been swift.
Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy (OBA), a school for 11 - 18 year olds situated in Runcorn, has been singled out by Ofsted as a fine example. According to the Liverpool Echo, the Cheshire-based Academy works with “disadvantaged” pupils to bring the best education possible to the area. Ofsted will be sharing their findings of the OBA inspection with schools across the UK.
Schools should be immensely positive, inspiring places. Debra Jamieson, sales & marketing director at UK POS, gives her top tips on how to make the most of making a good impression.
Everyone knows that first impressions count. Businesses and retailers invest significant money in making sure that the first customer touchpoint is memorable for all the right reasons. With education providers both competing for students and trying to impress Ofsted, they also need to present a professional and enticing image right from the outset. There are a number of simple lessons that education establishments can learn from the private sector in order to give parents, visitors, existing and potential students the best possible experience.
It’s May 2014, and the education world continues to atomise into a bewildering complexity of mini systems, school types and quasi-commercial support. As we begin another run up to a too-close-to-call general election, we education professionals must gird up for the inevitable hectoring. The wind tunnel of derision will blizzard the usual stuff about standards, quality and behaviour at us – it must not blow us off track.
There is an art to observing lessons, just as there is an art to teaching them. Observing and evaluating the effects and impact of teaching requires particular skills that in many cases need to be developed through practice.
Performed well, lesson observation can be a hugely empowering process that gives recognition to the unique skill set required for highly effective teaching. Undertaken poorly, it could cause a dent in teachers' motivation.
The advice below supports a natural approach to observation, which appreciates that there is a story behind every lesson that links the teaching with pupils’ responses to the lesson and the progress that this is giving rise to.
Lesson observation takes place with varying degrees of regularity, robustness and clarity of process.
The key question is: does it actually make any difference to the observed teacher's practice and subsequent impact on learners' progress?
Evidently, this will depend on the quality of the observer, the observation and the nature of the 'feedback' shared. Nevertheless, we can make some general observations.
Straightforward observation enables leaders to gather selected evidence quickly. Observing parts of lessons can provide key evidence of students' behaviour, attitude, understanding and application of the content being taught.
If OFSTED were to walk into a lesson tomorrow they would see the following:
We all know that keeping pupils safe is one of the most important things schools do. In terms of e-safety, Ofsted recently recognised the efforts schools and parents have gone to to improve e-safety practice, and gave credit to their hard work in protecting young people online. Therefore, when the new Ofsted Framework came into being in September 2012, some schools may not have noticed the changes to e-safety. In fact, I have spoken to many colleagues who were not aware there had been any changes at all.
This article is designed to explain some of the main changes to e-safety and point you in the direction of useful resources, should Ofsted come knocking on your door. However, I do acknowledge that many schools will want to ensure that their e-safety practice is up to date, regardless of Ofsted!