Approaching the build up to the arrival of the SLE, a schizophrenic type of personality started to emerge. One minute I was approaching his visit like an Ofsted inspection and the next going for the ‘warts and all’ approach. When he arrived in the building a sense of gentle nervousness crept up on me and waiting for him felt as though I was going into a grilling from Ofsted.
However, he was incredibly personable and likeable. We spent the morning talking about the structure of the faculty at which point he looked at me and said ‘you have a lot on your plate.’ When someone recognises that you have too much to do they become immediately likeable so he had me from that moment and I knew that he was going to be someone I could work with.
We then talked about the quality of teaching and learning within the faculty and completed a learning walk, which I felt was fairly representative of where we are as a faculty.
After break, he met with my two Key Stage Co-ordinators and talked to them before returning to me in the afternoon to talk through areas of data and assessment procedures. He loved the way we assess and moderate and said that the process was really impressive which again was really pleasing.
I then left him to write his report and feed back to my Head teacher.
My head teacher then came to see me and gave me brief feedback about what had reported to him. I was delighted that our SLE had thought I was ‘incredible’ – again recognising the work that had been undertaken and acknowledging the transformation the department has gone through.
And then the report was sent. Our SLE identified the following:
‘The atmosphere in the classes was calm and many people were focused on their learning’
‘Behaviour was excellent’
‘Books had been marked with leading questions to encourage discourse between pupils and teacher. FOD quite rightly pointed this out as a strength and improvement within the department.’
‘Each class had a context folder which held class data and other helpful information, such as schemes of work and assessment targets.’
‘Overviews of the year were clear ensuring all members of the team have no problems understanding where they should be in the calendar, and check point assessments were also explicit.’
‘FOD showed how she tracks the pupils in the different year groups. She is also using 4 matrix to understand progression and attainment. This was a real strength of the department, FOD was aware of where the pupils were and her monitoring was of a high standard.’
‘The department has designed a clear, colour-coded marking policy designed to be pupil communicative as well as to save time marking. There is a discourse between the pupil and the teacher and time is allocated to correct / improve work.’
‘FOD is a passionate and capable HOF who has an exact vision of where should like her department to go. She is hardworking and open to new ideas, reflective and eager to improve. She has the skills to move the department on.’
I felt really pleased with the above comments and the recognition of a number of things we have been really focused on improving. Also, within the report came our areas to focus on:
1. Engaging and inspiring lessons with the use of ICT to further enhance this
2. Confident moderation of work
5. Ownership vs. workload.
As a result of our SLE’s visit, a number of things have already occurred.
1. I have reduced both co-ordinator’s timetables to give them more hours to complete their work. With the introduction of a new member of staff, this has been possible.
2. Careful tracking of leadership meetings.
3. The Literacy Co-ordinator position has been advertised and from next week, someone else will have responsibility for this so I can focus on the faculty.
4. I am going to my SLE’s school for the day to work with his team 🙂
I am really excited about the support and the commitment from the SLE. I am someone who presents it as it is, flaws and all and I think this means we can really work positively together to continue the improvement journey. It is lovely to have someone I can turn to – i.e. I have a top set year 9 who I need to get level 7s from but I am a confident level 5/6 teacher and have often shied away from the top end. It was lovely just to be able to email him and ask him for exemplar level 7 work to help me gain more confidence at the higher end.
I would recommend working with an SLE to anyone – an extra voice – someone who is well versed in your subject area and also has a greater experience is a lovely, fresh experience and one that I fully embrace.