Archive for the ‘CPD’ Category

The Outstanding Teacher Programme – Session 1

May 19, 2013 2 comments

What does an outstanding teacher look like?

Last Monday was my first day on the “Outstanding Teacher Programme” (OTP).

Task 1 – I challenge you to sit and list four or five one word qualities that demonstrate what an outstanding teacher looks like.

If you were to do this now you may end up with some similar responses to our post it note filled learning wall. Do outstanding teachers look happy? Stressed? Tired? Exhausted? Approachable? Are they Resourceful? Hard Working? Passionate? Motivational? Inspirational?


Task 2 – Are any one of these things singularly outstanding?

Are a collection of these outstanding? What does outstanding mean anyway? Whose definition of outstanding are we going by here? Is it defined just by lesson observations? Ofsted? Curriculum Leaders? Senior Team? Ourselves? The pupils?

Task 3 – Prepare an engaging and informative presentation introducing your group to the cohort.

Being creative with strangers was a harder balance than I thought it would be. Being a pupil in a group trying to communicate my idea’s clearly enough so others could see them and think they were as good as I did was challenging. Should I push my idea forward? I believed in it, but that doesn’t mean it was the best idea. Plus there was the added challenge of getting to know the people well enough to try and add a little humour for it to be engaging. A quiz type idea? A game?

We opted for a series of mini games. Guess the name. Guess the years teaching. Where in the country were we from? 2 truths and a lie and a pin the tech lesson on the teacher. Post it’s prepared and ready for presenting.


Task 4 – Excitement / Concerns.

I was excited to speaking to colleagues about teaching and learning without someone saying “I just throw out a text book.” I was excited to not have to defend my excitement.

My concerns were based over whether the benefits of being on the programme would be drowned out back at school. Schools are busy. FACT.

Task 5 – The presentation

We did not go first. Relief.

We did not go second. Still busy going over post it notes and whispering – so quite happy.

We did not go third. Someone did a bit of our idea and did it better.

We did not go fourth. Everyone is really good. Ours is rubbish. We’re trying to fit too much in. This is going to be a disaster and people will laugh at me.

We went fifth. I spoke over a team mate stealing their section as I was so worried about time (life lesson alert). We had to skip a bit out as we were running out of time. Where did the time go. Can’t breath. Relief it’s over. It was rubbish though, bless the rest of the room for sticking with us.

Another group went sixth. They were better than us too. Our feedback is sat on the desk but we’re not allowed to read it yet, I’m cringing inside already.

BREAK – read feedback.

Feedback REALLY positive. They loved the different activities and found it memorable. They remembered the information about the group members and found the humour within the presentation a real strength. WOW. Shocked.

Task 6 – Ofsted vs Outstanding

We took the criteria and highlighted common words and ideas that were present in the outstanding descriptors.


We then looked up and saw the following acronym on the white board.

D – Deepening Thinking

R – Role modelling learning

I – Impact on progress

C – Challenging Expectations

E – Engaging in Learning.

Was there a difference? 20 minutes later in content – NO. In usefulness – YES. Ofsted’s criteria didn’t come out too well from the conversation. DR ICE did.

Task 7











Can you find a link between any two of these?

Can you write a definition of each one in 30 seconds? Can you write how it benefits your pupils in 20 seconds? Can you write what an outstanding version of each word looks like in a lesson in 20 seconds. No me neither – but I had a good go at it.

Task 8 – Challenge, Starters/Plenaries, Assessment, Differentiation Engagement Presentations.

New groups. New people. New Topic. Plan. I don’t want differentiation, don’t want differentiation. Random choices don’t give us differentiation.

Our group were given differentiation.

We all spoke over what it was for us, in our classroom. We discussed ways we did it well or wanted to improve. We discussed brilliant examples we’d seen and examples we’d personally avoid. The result was the melon of differentiation. As named by my Deputy Head who saw the picture the day after I returned from the OTP. We had a diagram. A definition and interactive activities planned. We were on to a winner.

Task 9 – The presentations

First up was assessment.

How much time do you think you spend assessing pupils? (we said 55%)

How much of that time spent assessing do you find useful? (we said 60%)

What would you say? What’s the right answer? Is there an ideal percentage to aim for?

This presentation was brilliant, thought provoking and fitted within 5 minutes. I became nervous.

Second up was starters and plenaries.

There were 4 sheets of paper with a question on. Each group was given 30 seconds to discuss and write an answer and then the paper was swapped. Slowly 4 levels of discussion were built up as each new questions arrived and you added to it or challenged what was already written down.

This was very clever, a brilliant idea to steal for the classroom and fitted within 5 minutes. I became terrified.

Third up was challenge

Modelling, Independence, Classroom Climate, Risk, Questioning, Tasks, Assessment, Creativity, and pick one of your own (we did perseverance)

Arrange them into a diamond 9. Most important and the top least at the bottom.IMG_4207

This presentation was massively challenging as we all had different answers in our group. When a representative from another group came to explain what they had we all agreed, disagreed and then a greed again. In conclusion – we decided it changed for each group depending on the variables at play in the room at the time. Darn it – this one was amazing too. Now full of doubt over the diagram about differentiation which I think will take too much time to explain, give away the answers and not lead to any discussion or engaging activity but rather passivity from our audience.

Fourth – us – Differentiation

We presented a definition. A thought provoking question: Is differentiation doing the same task differently or different tasks?

We presented our diagram and briefly explained it.IMG_4208

We then asked for our audience to just asterisk anything they hadn’t heard of before. We then described a couple of things that had been asterisked. Then each group added some of their own ideas onto the diagram. Finally groups came up with one thing they would change about the diagram.

Finish. Practically traumatised from time limits, general feeling of inadequacy and worried about judgement from others. I have to say I feel much more in touch with the nerves of my year 7’s who sing in front of each other in small groups. Man they’re heroes this is rough stuff to be doing day in day out.

Feedback – QFF – Questions Favourite Feeling. Questions people had were about some of the ideas or how to select the right idea. Favourite things were the diagram and the amount of ideas it had in it. Feelings were spread from a feeling of needing more time, to a feeling of reassurance that we may do more than we think in the classroom to a hunger for more information.

Finally – Engagement

List the following tasks in order of preference. What would you engage the most in.

A snakes and ladder style game.

A series of statements to respond to.

A block of text.

A photo to annotate.

Now take the one at the bottom of your list and do something to make it more engaging. Does engaging = engagement in learning. No probably not. Ouch. Do I teach things sometimes because everyone looks active. Do I teach things sometimes because I like teaching them? Is it really LEARNING or is it just DOING?

Final task – Learning cycles

Take the words Planning, Reflection, Learning, Strategies, Assessment, Planning etc and put them into a learning cycle. Which goes where and why?

Since this session – I have done learning cycles with my kids in lessons. I have spoken to colleagues at length about the contents of the course. I have already started building some ideas into my department learning environment. I have become so motivated in pushing my teaching and learning forward even more.

WWW – a feeling of excitement about the week ahead. This is actually the week just gone and my lessons were sometimes in a different league.

EBI – I wanted some kind of permanent reminder of the day like photo’s of resources everyone put together rather than just a memory. To hit some middle ground with this I made a scrapbook!


Exemplification Of Standards in KS3

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I have used this in school before in order to provide a stimulus for discussion over the National Curriculum Levels. It features video, photo’s of work, written work, sound files etc etc. I think one of the main things it does do, through discussion, is get everyone in your department on the same wavelength with assessment.

It is not without it’s limitations – part of a wider assessment debate that has been rumbling on within Music Education perhaps since the dawn of time – but an interesting discussion point nonetheless


Cre8us Articles

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Sometimes I don’t know what to start reading anymore. Or I start reading something without knowing why – or if it’s any good. Here is a list of articles I’ve dipped in and out of over the last few years recommended by and used in school’s by Cre8us. I worked in a Cre8us ‘Change School’ before I started my current job and it really is an incredible experience that still influences my teaching today.


Teachers TV: Boost Your Teaching

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

I love boost you’re teaching. Mainly because they’re short and snappy so you can watch an episode and think about it in the space of 15 mins.

If there’s a small area you want some tips on, or want to check you’re doing the right thing it’s ideal. Perfect for ITT’s/NQT’s as well as all others. TA’s/Teachers – something for everyone 🙂

Find it here –


Categories: CPD, ITT, Teachers TV

KS3 music: a professional development programme

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

A web based version of the Secondary National Strategy publication KS3 Music: a professional development programme.

I’ve found it really useful and still refer back to it constantly!


Categories: CPD, Key Stage 3 Music