Last year, my Department worked on Year 11. There may not actually, in fact, have been any other students. It’s a familiar feeling for all Heads of English, I think. The laser beam is well and truly focused; James Bond, tied to a table while the laser edges upwards agonisingly slowly towards his Martini and two olives, pays far less attention to the laser than the average Department Head. If you don’t get it right, the laser turns back on you.
But you can’t grow forever on a laser approach to Department Improvement. If you want to build a future, you need to turn off the laser, and turn on the floodlight. Instead of revising with Year 11 every night, what about teachers helping Year 7 to grow their writing skills? Instead of endless CA resits, why not teach Year 9 what a good essay looks like? Turn the floodlights on.
Here are my resolutions:
- Keep it simple. The Key Stage 3 overview is as simple as the logo below suggests:
2. Senior teachers in the team teach Year 7 – get it right from the beginning.
3. Work scrutinies for Key Stage 3 – I want to take a fortnightly look at the flavour of the teaching
4. Better schemes of learning: I’ve shamelessly stolen titles from every school I could find, and made up schemes to fit. What year eight couldn’t love Literary Monsters as a unit?
5. 1-2-1 meetings with teaching staff about their Key Stage 3 data and their teaching. If you’ve never read Leverage Leadership, by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, then do. Meetings that actually mean something for the classroom? What a great idea!
We’ll see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll be ears-deep in Year 11 data within four weeks, but my new resolution – put away the laser, turn on the floodlights.