Tried and Tested: CPD Edition

CPD at Myton

Part of our ethos regarding Continuing Professional Development at Myton has always been to offer a variety of opportunities to all staff to improve their practice. This has been supported by a generous budget that allows us to accommodate training with external providers as well as a comprehensive in-house programme.

At this time of year, the T&L team are looking at the in-house options we have and making sure they are fit for purpose and meet the needs of our staff as we put together the 201-17 CPD programme.

There has been much research and theoretical projections about the type of CPD that works in schools. Of course, the context of each school matters, but it is so important to get CPD right as John Hattie found in his synthesis of 800 meta-analyses that CPD has a large effect size on pupil achievement (0.62) and is in the top 20 of all the practices analysed.

One of the things we will be focusing on is making sure all our CPD links to what we know leads to effective teaching. Bolam and Weindling (2006) assert

that effective CPD is based on a clear and agreed vision of what effective teaching looks like.

To this end, the T&L team have adopted Shaun Allison’s model of expert teaching (shown below) and the twilight sessions, and training days will fit into this.

Research also shows that CPD is more effective when targeted. We will be using the Bluesky self evaluations again this year and will be expecting everybody to complete these in order to inform CPD needs. We will also be looking to line mangers and HoDs to help direct teachers towards the right CPD options.

As we look at the needs of the school and the needs of individual pupils and staff for 2016-17, we hope to create a CPD programme that will have a significant impact on pupil outcomes, staff development and enhancing our teaching and learning community at Myton.

Please do get in touch if you have any ideas. In the meantime, this issue has been put together as a reminder of CPD opportunities at Myton currently.

expert teaching





Our current CPD offer

cpd offer 201516

We have also offered support to those looking to complete MA degrees and other professional qualifications such as NPQML/NPQSL and teaching assistant qualifications.

We recognise that the there is still much to do in order to formalise some of these offers (such as the research element and the RQT programme.) Again, please do let us know if you have any thoughts about this.

We also offer a full programme for Support staff which has been greatly received and will be growing again next year.

Evaluating CPD

Since moving to Bluesky, it is now expected that any CPD sessions you attend (externally and internally provided) are evaluated via the software.

blueskyYou will receive an email that has a subject like this: 

Immediate impact statement required for your <p>cpd.cpd_activity</p> on BlueSky

Please do not delete these!

Follow the link and complete in as much detail as possible.

You will later get follow up emails that ask you to evaluate impact a month after the CPD. This information is vital to us in order that we can evidence if CPD is having an impact and is value for money. This information will inform CPD opportunities and the budget for the forthcoming academic year. 

If you need any Bluesky help, please come to the Training office where either myself or Katie Irving can help you.

We also value any anecdotal evidence about how training you have been on has made an impact upon your practice and the outcomes for your pupils. If you do have anything to share, please do send me an email. (

CPD library

Did you know we have a CPD library in MR? Why not use your DEAR time to brush up on some pedagogy?! You are welcome to come and have a look. If you do want to borrow anything then just let someone in the Training office know and you are welcome to take it away.

talk less


Social Media CPD

Interested in using social media as CPD?

I am happy to help anybody set up a twitter account and show them how it works! Send me an email or come and see me in the training office.

twitter for teachers

You can start by following the T&L team: @TandLteam_myton and me: @annaloualton to get you going.

Upcoming CPD opportunities

Tea and Learning is focused on revision this half term and will be on Tuesday 3rd May. revision focus.pngIt would be great to get lots of new people sharing and attending. Please sign up in the staffroom or email me.

MINTClass: After half term, Amy will be available in the Training Office every Thursday night after school. Until then, please feel free to contact her ( to book an appointment.

Twilights: We still have a few twilights left. If any of these look like they will be useful to you then you can email Katie and book on:


May 5th May 23rd June 21st
When to check for understanding merged with Creating leaders in the classroom

HK & CG            G1

Learning Centred leaders – one to one.

Stretch & Challenge

HK & MH               G1

Developmental feedback merged with observing lessons

BR                   CR

Questioning – one to one

How to support student’s literacy post 16

SV & GR                  H3

Effective marking & feedback

ED & CV                   L6

Iris Pop Up Lessons are coming to Myton! In the summer term last year many staff benefitted from watching Joe Benjamin teach live via the Iris Connect technology. In September we did a similar thing with Amy Hawkes, and of course Chris Grier taught his sixth form lesson live via the cameras for the Partnership Plus event in the Autumn term. iris

This summer each of the Lead Practitioners will be having a lesson filmed live and staff will be invited to watch it take place via a screen for some instant training.

These dates will be announced shortly so please keep an eye out for posters and emails about these.


Don’t forget to get stamped for any CPD activity you undertake!


Thank you

Finally, thank you for all the time you put into pursuing training and developmental opportunities. It is much appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed.

We will be having another CPD celebration this year on Monday 4th July 2016. Prizes for loyalty cards, post cards sent will be awarded. We will also be asking staff to nominate a colleague for the ‘Myton Teaching and Learning award 2016’ This nomination should go to the person who has made your job easier this year, so get thinking!










Tried and Tested: T&L Support. Behaviour for Life Special

Great Oaks from Little Acorns
The Behaviour for Life policy at Myton is centred around all staff having consistently high expectations of students. This comes through knowing your students well in a professional teacher/student context which enables you to challenge all students to meet high expectations for the behaviour they exhibit and the work ethic they should employ.

‘Knowing your students’ comes through using the information available, marking work and having conversations with them about the work being set. The new programme ‘MintClass’ will be able to assist with this too once it is up and running.

Ultimately, the standards of success should be applied for all students (See ‘Learning and teaching’ pages in planner.) Don’t let anybody slip though the net and challenge all to meet your expectations.

The Power of Illusion


There’s a scene in the television show, Game of Thrones, where the eunuch says to the imp “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall.”

Students respond to us based on the illusion we create of our own authority. If you give the appearance and act as if you are in complete control then they will treat you accordingly

For example, if you tend to be moving around a lot then experiment with sitting still. If you talk a lot, try saying little. How can you project the image of being the boss? What does someone totally in control look like?

There are many excellent short videos on the Facebook page of Teach Like a Champion. Watch a few to see a range of outstanding teaching and learning.

The more you fake certain behaviours the more those traits become real. After a while the illusion will disappear and you naturally will have more control.

Rewards and Praise

Praise is one of the most powerful tools we have in promoting the kind of behaviour and attitudes we want our students to display.

Think carefully about how praise is delivered. While some students like to be singled out not all enjoy being praised publically. In some cases this can actually have a detrimental effect. A quiet word after the lesson or on the way out is often far more valuable than a quick ‘well done’ in front of the whole class. If a student has had a particularly good lesson a brief, private reminder of this at the start of the next lesson can help to focus that student on repeating his/her successes.

The critical mass. In every difficult class there will be a balance between negative and positive influences. Make sure that you praise and foster those students who exert a positive influence on the rest of the group as well as tackling those who are having a negative influence. It is very easy with a difficult class to spend all of your time thinking about and dealing with the difficult students. However, in every lesson there will be some students who have displayed self control or grit and tenacity even in trying circumstances. Consider keeping a group of hard working students back at the end of the lesson to praise them for their continued efforts. A brief, genuine message of praise

for these students will help to keep them on board and will perhaps influence others to follow suit.

Make sure that praise is descriptive. It is very easy to keep repeating the stock phrases of ‘brilliant’ or ‘well done’ without telling students what was so brilliant about what they have done. Try to ensure that your praise explains why their work or behaviour is so impressive.

Give students a sense of what kind of behaviour you are looking for in an activity. Try to outline to the students the kind of behaviour you expect for a specific task and why. When you see this behaviour praise and reward it. Students then know what is expected of them and why they are being praised for it.

Avoid praise for praise’s sake. It is possible to over praise individuals or groups, particularly if the praise is not warranted. Students will see through empty praise very quickly.
Rewards – Use Vivos to reward individuals, groups or the whole class. A whole class vivo can be a useful tool to reward an entire class if they have performed well on a particular task. Sending a postcard home is another very powerful reward. It will open up a dialogue between the student and the parent about your subject. A brief phone call home also has the same effect. If you have had to phone home for a negative reason, reward any subsequent improvement with a phone call home for a positive reason.

The basics of BFL  

1 Be in charge…

2 Use positive classroom rules…

3 Make rewards work for you…

4 Catch them being good…

5 Be specific and clear in your instructions…

6 Deal with low level behaviours before they get big…

7 Have a ready repertoire of easy to implement and monitor consequences…

8 Find a ‘best for both outcome’…

9 Establish ‘start of lesson’ routines…

10 Manage the end of the lesson…

What if…..?

The Behaviour for Life policy is powerful as it is all about the classroom teacher being in control. However, there are some times when an example scenario can be useful. Please be advised the following responses to situations are all interpretations and it may be that individuals deal with the behaviours in slightly different ways. The consistency of the policy comes from setting high expectations and setting meaningful sanctions where appropriate.

A student is repeatedly interrupting the lesson by calling out answers

Remind them of the expectations to show respect and good manners (be direct about the language you use) and why this is important in a classroom. It is continues explain the impact this is having on other people and their learning- a warning can be given at this stage. If the behaviour is shown again explain that this will now be recorded on SIMS. Any persistence- a student would need to be asked to step outside to reflect on their behaviour using the conversation card.

Link to learning habits> warning> recording> outside the classroom> restorative conversation> Parking zone

After many conversations about homework, it is still not being done

Make sure you record each homework issue onto SIMS for record keeping, but this is not the solution. Contact home from the onset to make parents aware. Contact the tutor who can monitor this and put the student onto homework report if this is a wider school issue. Detentions can be set to complete homework but a restorative conversation needs to take place at the end to leave on a positive note. Check there are no barriers to doing homework with them/ their tutor.

Record on SIMS>contact home and tutor> detention if persistent> involve HoD to follow department policy

A student is refusing to complete work in the lesson.

There would need to be a conversation in the lesson about the learning habits- this shows a lack of grit and tenacity. Explain the expectations and the consequence of them making a poor choice not to work. A warning can be given and if this continues a recording can be made. Before this is would be good to ask the student to step outside of the classroom to speak to them individually as there may be an issue stopping them from doing it that they don’t want to say to the rest of the class.

Set out expectation>warning>recording>outside of the classroom>restorative conversation

When I step outside of the classroom for my restorative conversation with a student the rest of the class use this as an opportunity to do nothing which makes the problem worse.

Allow the student to reflect on their behaviour outside of the room using the restorative conversations card- don’t spend any time with them at this point. After a few minutes invite them back into the classroom but check first if they are ready to come back into the room. The restorative conversation can take place at the end of the lesson or quietly in the room while others are working.restorative 1

Student outside with RC card> back into the classroom when calm> conversation during the lesson

Despite having time outside to calm down, the student is still not prepared to talk.

Leave them with the behaviour card to read and reflect first and provide space for them to calm down. Ultimately you may need to use the parking zone if a student is not prepared to reflect on their behaviour but there are stages to work through before this.

How do I go about giving a detention?

You need to refer to the policy outlined by your HoD who will have a department plan for detentions. Detentions start with the class teacher, they need to be arranged at your convenience and should last for no more than 20 minutes. They get written into the correct section of the student planner. At the end of the detention a restorative conversation needs to take place so that the student can put right their behaviour. If an issue persists then you will need to contact home and refer the student to your HoD who will be able to advise you on the next steps.

How do I parking zone a student?

Students can be parking zoned for the following things:

  • Persistent disruption
  • Persistent defiance
  • inappropriate comments
  • abusive comments
  • deliberately causing conflict
  • aggressive behaviour

The parking zone must be used when all other methods have not worked. In order to send a student to the parking zone you must add a behaviour on to SIMs (parking zone – disruption, defiance, gross misconduct, other). You must then either send the student straight to the designated parking zone in your department where your HOD/TLR holder is present, or to student support who will inform them of where they must go. A BET will escort the student if necessary. If you feel the student will not arrive at either of these places then you must send another student to student support who will send a BET to come and collect the parked student.

What do I do if a number of students are disrupting learning?

This may need the wider support of your department team. In the lesson maintain the use of the learning habits to remind students of the high expectations in your room. If there is one main student who is interrupting the lesson then they need to be asked to step outside to calm down. This time can then be used to work with other students in the class. Use the same process as you would with an individual. Ensure that you do not have the conversation with all students outside at the same time. If this disruption continues then seek advice and support of Lead practitioners, HoH, or HoD.

When do I record a de-escalation? Isn’t speaking to a student outside of the lesson just normal teaching?

Ideally you must record all conversations outside the classroom as a ‘de-escalation’ comment in SIMs, which you then add ‘resolved’. This does not mean it is behaviour point, but a note on their file for you and other key staff. However, if you feel that the conversation warrants a warning, rather than recording it as a de-escalation then you must ensure the student is aware that this is a warning.

How do I use the policy to tackle low level disruption within my class?

Begin the lesson with a routine where students are actively participating. Remind students of the expectations to show respect and good manners when you are talking. Refer to the ten Learning habits which should be displayed in your classroom to remind them of the skills they should be exhibiting as a class. Using the language of the learning habits, reward those students who are showing self-control and respect and good manners whilst you are expecting. Put the restorative behaviour card on their desk whilst in the lesson to remind them of the expectations. If this does not work then you must follow the process as stated above.

Does using the parking zone reflect badly on me as a classroom teacher?

No. Recordings and the parking zone are designed to support you as a classroom teacher, and to make key staff aware of the behaviour patterns of students. They are a method of managing behaviour of students so that the classroom environment is conducive to learning. By using the Behaviour for Life policy you are showing consistency throughout the school, and ensuring students know the expectations of you as a classroom teacher and Myton as a school.

Am I a ten habits role model?

Use the Behaviour for life policy and the ten learning habits to promote the desired characteristics through your own behaviour. Model high expectations and respect in lessons, show self-control when having the restorative conversations and show gratitude to students who are showing respect and good manners.

Jargon busting: Your A-Z guide to the BFL policy and Code of conduct

BETs: Behaviour Engagement Tutors (Matt Hancock and Sion Humphries. Senior BET = Seb Apostle)

BFL Behaviour for Life (based on 10 learning habits)

CAF Common Assessment Framework. Used to bring professions together from external agencies to support the need of the child.

CAMHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

Code of practice The flowchart of Wave 1-3 intervention used at Myon to tackle behavioural issues. This can be found in the planner.

Core Teaching Standard 7

  • Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment
  • Have clear rules and routines for behaviour in classrooms, and take responsibility for promoting good and courteous behaviour both in classrooms and around the school, in accordance with the school’s behaviour policy
  • Have high expectations of behaviour, and establish a framework for discipline with a range of strategies, using praise, sanctions and rewards consistently and fairly
  • Manage classes effectively, using approaches which are appropriate to pupils’ needs in order to involve and motivate them
  • Maintain good relationships with pupils, exercise appropriate authority, and act decisively when necessary.

DC The Development Centre at Myton

De-escalation When strategies are put in place to reduce the chance of poor behaviour choices. These might include a restorative conversations, 2 minutes outside of the classroom or adapting tone and body language.

EHC plan (SEMH) An Education HealthCare Plan. These outline the plan to meet any individual’s healthcare needs. (Social Emotional Mental Health Plans)

Parking Zone This is the area designated by your department that is available to send students to if they do not adjust their behaviours after de-escalation techniques have been employed. There is a timetable of rooms that your HoD will have made available so you know where to send students. Parking zones must be logged on Sims and then followed up with a meaningful sanction and contact with home.

Personalisation The differentiation strategies and the personal approach you take with a student as a result of the information you know about them. (Data, social, SEND etc.)

Restorative conversations These either take place in the lesson between teacher and student as a de-escalation technique, or would happen after a student has been sent to the parking zone. The aim is to re-establish the working relationship between student and teacher ready for learning to begin again. The Behaviour team have these cards available to use as prompts for this discussion.

SEND Special Educational Needs/Disability

Standards for Success standardsThis is the baseline that we at Myton expect from all staff and students. It is outlined in the planner and students have had it issued to them on the back of their learning habits card

Student Profile This is an information sheet that is completed with a student for all teaching staff to access. It outlines techniques which work well with the student.

The Learning Habits The 10 learning habits are the foundation for the Behaviour policy at Myton.10 habits They stem from the research conducted by the Confederation of British Industy into what attributes are needed to be successful in the workplace. It is all staff’s role to model, discuss and refer to these habits in our interactions with students.

‘Thinking’ part of the brain Moving away from emotional reactions towards a more rational response.

Wave One This is the intervention you as a classroom teacher put in place. Quality first teaching, seating plans, personalisation, de-escalation strategies and restorative conversations.

Wave Two This is the intervention needed for those students who persistently don’t meet the standards for success across the school. Who are identified by the pastoral team or by the department as needing further intervention. This may mean reports, parent/carer meetings, CAFs, mentoring etc.

Wave Three This is high level intensive sanctions for gross misconduct. This would include isolations, exclusions, reduced timetables, EHC plans, referral to CAMHS etc.

Get involved!


The Teaching and Learning Team


Come along to….

The ‘Tea and Learning’ event on 15th October to watch other people share ideas about practical strategies that work for them.

Share something….

In the next T&T issue and receive stamps for your loyalty card.

Sign up for the ‘Tea and Learning’ event and share an idea


Don’t forget to post your postcards to let someone know if you have used their idea.

Thank you to everybody who has led a twilight so far this term: Paul MacIntyre, Jo Benjamin, Katie Collings, Jane Millington, Helen Bridge, Helen Burton, Chris Grier, and Emma Clark.

Keeping pedagogical values at the heart of long term planning

Planning is at the forefront of many teachers’ agendas at this time of year. With that magical notion of ‘gained’ time and the prospect of changing curriculums and assessment methods in September fast approaching, our thoughts prematurely turn to the upcoming new academic year.

As a school, we are providing departments with planning days. These allow key members of staff to go off timetable and away to a conference room distanced from the continuous interruption of school life, to collaboratively plan and focus on what the curriculum changes and new specifications will mean to their departments.

What seems paramount, is that these planning days need to be pedagogically driven. As a Teaching and Learning team, we wanted to be able to support middle leaders lead their departments in this effective planning. We realised that these days should not be about shoe horning content into the academic diary, but give staff a real opportunity to design and plan a curriculum that was underpinned by their key values. To this end, we undertook some research into long term planning and delivered some key findings to our middle leaders and tlr holder at our last MLF (Middle Leaders’ Forum) last month in the hope that teams could reassert what their values are and have these as the driving forces behind any long term planning that takes place.

The planning days have now begun and it feels like an opportune time to reflect back upon that meeting.

Key research centred around the reading of Nuthall’s ‘The Hidden Lives of Learners’, Knight and Benson’s ‘Creating Outstanding Classrooms.’

The full presentation can be found here long term planning 2

Below I outline the key ideas the presentation is based upon. These stem from the two books cited.

‘The Hidden Lives of Learners’ Graham Nuthall

Nuthall’s research is about understanding the environment we teach in and the students we teach to. Fundamentally, it is about understanding learning.

“How students experience the classroom learning activities and how they learn from that experience.’ Nuthall.

His six main findings are as follows:

  1. Learning is highly individual
  2. Learning usually involves a progressive change in what a student knows or can do
  3. Learning involves extracting information from, and making sense of, experiences.
  4. Learning comes from student self selected or self generated experiences
  5. Learning of the curriculum inextricably interweaves with the experiences and activities in which the content is encountered, and with the pervasive peer culture.
  6. Learning is multi-layered- three worlds of the classroom ( the public, the semiprivate, the private.)

The message that comes across most clearly for me is the notion that students learn ‘what they do.’ The context needs to be varied for the learning to become part of the ‘working memory.’ In fact he goes on to say that to learn something we need to accumulate three separate experiences of the complete information about a concept. Only then can it be integrated with our previous knowledge and thus become part of the working memory.

In terms of how else these findings are linked to teaching, Nuthall’s book concludes with this advice:

  • Design learning activities with students’ memories in mind.
  • Engage students in activities that enable them to revisit concepts
  • Monitor individual students’ evolving understanding of concepts
  • Focus on ‘big questions’
  • Capitalise on peer culture to foster learning
  • Encourage students to manage their own learning activities.

Of these concepts, we focused on understanding memory and as a T&L team there is recognition that more work needs to be done on this. In addition, the concept of ‘Big Questions’ was one that many staff wanted to explore further. This was hit upon in our discussion of the next book.

‘Creating Outstanding Classrooms: A whole-school approach’ Oliver Knight and David Benson

Knight and Benson explore practical solutions to curriculum planning which are underpinned by many of Nuthall’s theories. The main concepts from this book we looked at were:

  • Disciplinary learning- creating scientists, linguists, geographers etc.
  • Using Fertile Questions
  • Symbiotic relationships between knowledge and concepts

Their main premise is that as teachers we should look to create learners who can apply the skills of the discipline, not only acquire knowledge about it. However, they make sure they explain they do not see this as a ‘Skills vs Knowledge’ debate, rather a merging of the two where the knowledge is required in order to acquire the skills of the discipline.

When designing a ‘Disciplinary’ focused curriculum, teachers should think about the concepts their discipline requires and sequence contents backwards to teach ‘junior’ versions of the ideas. This requires a starting point whereby you consider the mastery required at degree level, you then identify the curriculum content that stem from these skills before cross-referencing the curriculum and the skills. This leads to the position where it is possible to sequence the content backwards from degree level through KS5/4/3 and aim to create ‘junior’ versions of the ideas at each stage.

Part of creating a disciplinary style of learning involves creating ‘fertile’ questions (much like Nuthall’s assertion that ‘Big’ questions should be used.) These questions should allow the students to be immersed in thinking like an expert in that particular discipline. Examples include:

History- Can we ever know what happened without being there?

English-Is it possible to paint a picture without words?

These then become the overarching questions that frame your curriculum. Smaller questions stem off from these for specific lessons but students should constantly revisit prior learning by returning to the ‘fertile’ question. This should then allow students to use what they have learnt previously to help them answer other smaller lesson questions- all of which are building towards the resolution of the big, fertile question!

There are six types of fertile question which should prompt this way of thinking.

Open– no definitive answer

Undermining– casts doubts on the self evident, or on learners’ assumptions

Rich– careful and lengthy research is required

Connected– relevant to the learners, society they live in and discipline they are studying.

Charged– ethical dimension. Charged with emotional, social and political implications.

Practical – can be researched in a school context, but from which further questions may arise.

Knight and Benson include many case studies of schools who use these types of fertile questions to scaffold curriculum planning.

Later in the meeting we went on to discuss ideas about memory and how interleaving and spacing curriculum design can help to embed ideas. To read more on this visit David Didau’s blog ‘Deliberately Difficult’ as a starting point.

I am also currently reading ‘Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning’ and this blogpost by @BodilUK helps summarise some of its principles.

This by @jo_facer is an excellent review of ‘Making it stick’ as well.

Good luck!

So, as you and your department teams get together to plan, keep the end in mind: What type of students should your curriculum develop and how will the long term plan support this?


Myton Sharing Practice Meetings: The story so far

With the introduction of our new CPD model in September, the Teaching and Learning Team were determined that the ‘Share, Collaborate, Engage’ motto shouldn’t just be three buzz words strung together, but something much more meaningful than that. We are so proud that the Sharing Practice meetings, Walk abouts, Newsletters and Whole school book looks have allowed our staff to see what others are doing and share their own brilliant ideas too. Below is a brief review of how the new Sharing Practice meetings are enabling staff to share practice, collaborate with others as well as engage with new ideas.

Sharing Practice Meetings

Staff at Myton now take part in half hour sharing practice sessions each half term. We split into five groups and volunteers take two minutes to share something practical from their classroom they believe others can benefit from. This is very much in the style of a TeachMeet and is quite fast and high energy to allow us to see as many things as possible in the short amount of time. The two sessions in the Autumn term enabled over 50 ideas to be shared between staff!

Autumn half term’s session had five areas to sign up to: Differentiation, engaging learners, marking and feedback, innovative practice and Literacy/numeracy. Some of the highlights are below:

Engaging Learners

Anna Alton shared a simple hand out to ‘crowdsource’ ideas from the class. This was originally taken from Twitter. Each student had one of the crowd outlines and were challenged to gather a different idea in each person outline from as many students as possible. The benefit of this technique is that the questions can be differentiated and students audibly create a buzz about the learning in the classroom. It stretches their thinking as they compete to think of something different to other members of the class and then scaffolds their written responses as they write up an answer to their original question.

Crowdsourcing template AA

Helen Johnson then shared the visual representations that her year 8 group had created. Some amazing pride had been shown in the work they had created as they were able to represent their ideas and discuss their learning in a less conventional way.

Shiraz Ismail talked us through how he engages students in his classroom. On entry a number crunch challenge is on the board. Students have become so routine in this competitive challenge which sees them try to get in to the top ten, that they now will find the number crunch to write upon the board themselves if Shiraz forgets!

A coaching log for year 11 students was shared by Clare Concannon. The difference with this log is that it is sold to the students and their parents as a very positive intervention and students have to take responsibility of collecting the log and completing it themselves. Clare has seen great success with students who were in danger of underachieving going on to ultimately meet their target grades.


Emma Clarke told us about the memory story she uses to help students understand a complex model about how memory works. The story is placed around the room and students have to piece clues together and work as a team to draw the model based upon what they can work out from the story. A really interesting way to help students break down a complex idea into something more manageable.

Finally, Jordan Whitworth talked about how she uses the method of getting students to change information from one form to another. One example she uses is creating essay plans with play dough. Peer assessment then follows and students are encouraged to use assessment criteria to produce feedback for the play dough interpretations. Students then use their play dough plans and post-it feedback to create their essays. Often, they have engaged with ideas in very different ways and produce better essays due to this method.

Innovative practice.

Myton staff are so innovative that the session was booked up quicker than the Glastonbury Festival with seven people eager to share ideas.

Chris Grier introduced the Iris Connect system which is being used to support professional development across the school. Eva Foster then picked up the microphone to talk about the opportunities offered by enterprise education and the possibility of getting people from industry into the classroom. Chris Cannon talked about bringing technology into the classroom instead. His demonstration of Quick Key proved how technology can be used to assess quickly and effectively. A multiple choice quiz can be scanned in within moments and will generate a clear picture of a student’s understanding.

Kat Stuart shared some interesting approaches to developing student talk and demonstrated a huge egg timer which became essential for the rest of the meeting as we careered towards the 4pm deadline. Jane Millington then shared some innovative ways of using the humble flip chart paper, particularly with sixth form students. Clare Russell told us how she has been engaging year 7 groups with collaborative planning by using stepping stones to plan a sequence of lessons before Keith McRoy gave some interesting insights to lesson planning.

Approaches to assessment

A select group looked at approaches to assessment which will be an important feature of this week’s sharing practice meetings. Julie Edwards shared some examples of excellent practice that she has seen across the school so far this year.

For example, teachers having high expectations of all written work in exercise books.

marking- blog

Students offering meaningful reflections on their work and taking responsibility for their learning.

Teachers and students enter meaningful dialogue with each other.

Sally Kirkwood also demonstrated the proforma she uses with her students to promote reflection.

Literacy and Numeracy

Numeracy and literacy were the focus in C10. Helen Burton showed us the newly revamped C10 and the work she is doing with our low level students – if you haven’t visited yet, go and see it!

Matt O’Reilly reminded us of all the numeracy features in the planner and how these can help you plan your lessons which have numeracy features in them

Emma Atkins shared a numeracy activity based on a dart board with questions of varying difficulty behind each number. Students have to get as high score as possible, or can be challenged to reach a particular number.

numeracy-blogThe focus then moved on to literacy as Julie Stevens discussed the differences between writing for accuracy and for engagement and to reward and value both. Mat Bromley shared the “adverbometer”, a method for stretching vocabulary. Hannah Calvert demonstrated Each student is given an avatar and their progress and engagement can be tracked visually.

Stretch and Challenge

Paul Elliker shared the website he and his students use in Photography in order to promote independence; creativity and enable students to tutor and mentor each other’s work as well as providing crucial course information. He used ‘’ to create the site (apparently very easy) which is proving an essential resource for Photography students across KS4 and 5. Take a look at; or find the link on the school website.

Helen Bridge shared an idea she had borrowed from a recent twilight (Anna Alton’s) on differentiation in order to facilitate talk and individual reflectionin class about zones of challenge in Year 11 lessons.  This enabled her to gauge attitudes towards lessons and for the class to discuss what is an appropriate level of challenge. The development of a logo (“Stretchman”!) ensued which is now used as a resource to indicate level of challenge

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Alex Town shared his ‘Can You Be the Teacher?” work that he has implemented particularly well with y7 students. This involves a number of individuals taking key, lead roles in the lessons. It has proven very popular and students are keen to participate; in addition the roles offer challenge to those who act as ‘lead learners’.

Phil Mayor talked us through his ‘10 commandments for A Level Physicists’ which is a no-nonsense list of absolute rules for effectively achieving the top grades in this subject; promoting independence, organisational skills and critical thinking.

Sarah Wyatt presented her Geography checking cards that are used to help students ensure they gain every mark in long answer questions. There are four checklists that include literacy checks, for example the use of connectives. Students must use these after completing a long answer to self-mark before handing in.

Rachael Bubb also ran a session on vertical tutoring just before going on maternity leave. Congratulations to Rachael on the birth of Harry James. We’ll forgive her for not quite having the time to write up notes for the time being.

Thank you to everybody who shared their ideas!

Standards for Success

Autumn Term 2 saw the focus broaden to Myton’s ‘Standards for Success’ which are the minimum standards we expect from all students. Staff once again volunteered to share for two minutes and this time each of the five groups focused on how we get students to engage with these standards. Below are the highlights.


Jordan Whitworth started off by sharing an MRI table to help encourage a deeper level of response within student feedback. The table gives an opportunity for students to reflect upon their successes as well as their areas of improvements and encourages teacher-student dialogue through a ‘My Question Is’ box. Students are then required to evidence their progress on the target they have set themselves throughout the following lessons by highlighting within their work and pinpointing to the teacher in the MRI table where to look for this.

Mat Bromley then shared his reflection tasks based around raising literacy standards. At the end of a task students are encouraged to visit the resource desk in Mat’s room to collect a punctuation sheet to help guide their reflection on the work completed. Mat has a number of different sheets based on a different focus so students have a choice depending on what their individual target was for that lesson.

Steph Anstey talked us through a quick and easy way of creating and using assessment stickers to support marking. The stickers can be broken down into different areas such as presentation, use of evidence and have WWW and EBI columns for the teacher (or student) to tick depending on areas of success/improvement. Steph has very generously put the templates on the Teaching and Learning shared area so you can easily access and adapt for your own subject.

Helen Bridge rounded up the session by sharing her technical capabilities and showing us how she has used the Hue Cam in lessons. This is a desk top camera that enables you to view student’s work on the SMARTboard screen. Helen explained how she has used this to give instant feedback to students on their essay answer, getting students to talk through their work on the board and asking for class feedback on this. A great way to get instant advice!

Chris Grier shared a proforma which he uses with Sixth Form groups to encourage them to take responsibility for their progress.  Students have to comment on how they have met the assessment criteria prior to submitting essays.

Claire Round reminded staff of the Achievement for All programme.  The structured conversations have been vital in ensuring that barriers to learning are addressed before students arrive in the classroom.

Abbie Arliss shared a whole range of ideas including the Secret Student.  All students are given the success criteria for the lesson and one student is selected at random to go into the Secret Student envelope.  At the end of the lesson the Secret Student is revealed and if their work meets the criteria the whole group are rewarded.

Vic Leggatt demonstrated the DT assessment booklets which helps to solve the problem of students moving between different modules.  Throughout the booklet there are opportunities for self and peer assessment which in turn has reduced the amount of time staff spend marking.

Once you start sharing it is very difficult to stop, so we split up into two groups and discussed how we have tried to implement steps to success and improve marking and feedback this year.  The meeting ended at 4.30 but the emails kept flying as Pel Grier shared a marking grid that the Science department have been using this year to provide regular feedback.

Scott Meredith shared a great powerpoint presentation on building relationships with students.

Emma Atkins shared a blank piece of brightly coloured paper! – students to put key revision facts / areas to learn at the end of each topic.

Julie Stevens shared some MRI and DIRT work with a low ability Y9 student

Lesley Whiting shared green pen / pink pen marking.  Green to grow, pink to glow!

Lauren Blackburn shared her RAG 123

Jo Benjamin shared the marking feedback assessment form science uses after each assessment with students. This standardised form has space for reflection and specific questions about the revision students did to prepare. There is a section for parents to sign, the exam paper goes home and then parents comment on the exam before it is returned to school.

John Larner shared ideas on how to engage students through random starter images. He used a PPT which can be adapted to a range of images or levelled questions. Students hit the SMARTBOARD on different squares to reveal the image or questions slowly. The PPT template is on the shared area.

Hannah Calvert shared a variety of examples of feedback and marking ideas. I liked the idea of having a tick list that students need to complete in DIRT time. A range of great examples of her marking are on the shared area.

Amy Hawkes shared the green, amber and red boxes that she uses at the end of each lesson to collect books. She asks the students a question about their confidence, ability to share their learning at home, ATL or RAG 123 score before they put their book in the box. She then mark books based on who needs most support.

So much more was shared and we can’t thank staff enough for their open approach to this new method of discussing Teaching and Learning at Myton. If anything here sounds interesting to you, please do contact the member of staff named. Also, don’t forget to send a postcard via the T&L office to say thanks!


The next Sharing Practice meeting is on 24th February 2015. Looking forward to hearing what you have all been up to then.


A Walkabout Myton: 1st October

This is my second walkabout and equally fascinating!

It is a real privilege and a joy to see so many engaging lessons going on in one hour.


Last week I was particularly interested in the Science lesson with Ms Stuart where students were trying to find out their lung capacity. All were involved and there was a very strong competitive element going on especially between the boys.


Not having done much Science when I was at school I always learn a lot from observing lessons and this was no exception

One of my favourite lessons at school was History, but I don’t remember ever being taken outside to learn actively as Mrs Pearson does. Perhaps I might remember more now if I had been taught in this interactive, hands-on way.


This week I was fascinated by the in-depth discussion that was taking place in Ms Concannon’s room. The debate about crime, punishment and whether the death penalty should be reintroduced was skilfully handled by Ms Concannon and the students expressed themselves with passion and sensitivity.


Another of my favourite subjects P.E. was my next port of call where I saw Year 8 girls practising their intricate dance routines to the wonderful music of Grease! Such energy and enthusiasm, perhaps I should teach them the can-can in French.


 The boys were displaying the same high levels of engagement on the badminton courts under Mr Walker’s watchful eye.


From all this strenuous activity it was lovely to finish off my walkabout in the Drama department where students were preparing for an assessment and rehearsing for their performance of “The Pillow Man”.


Brightspots 3: a waddle about Myton School

Being able drop into lessons is a privilege for me, although I knew there were many fantastic teaching and learning strategies being used, up until now it has difficult getting into lessons to actually see it happening. This term, I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing what you are doing in your lessons, and what creative ideas you have


Firstly Sarah Wyatt engaged her year 7 by hiding two ‘fake pictures’ of places in the UK which they had to match up with the satellite view picture. With students working as teams to guess, they used their map skills, as well as their collaborative skills to analyse the pictures and make the connection. Excellent marking and feedback was also clear in students’ books.



I then went to English and saw the two Literacy Coordinators engage their students through analysis of text and quotations. Mat Bromley had just completed a kinaesthetic activity of matching the key word with the definition and then proceeded to link this with the current chapter of  ‘Of Mice and Men’, whilst Hannah Calvert set differentiated tasks for students to analyse the text and move forward with their progress. Whilst working independently, Hannah circled the room having discussions with students regarding their target grades, support available and what to do to move forward with their progress.


I then ventured to science where I dropped in to Chris Cannon and Miggy Murphy’s lessons. Both had fantastic student engagement while completing practical work. Through Chris’ questioning, students were able to analyse the process and give verbal evidence of their understanding and progress.


Then Julie Edwards showed me how differentiated group work can be done effectively. Students worked well as a group, using resources available to create a paragraph in French on their home town. Julie circulated the room, moving their progress forward and stretching the more able. A fantastic lesson to observe.


Finally Vic Leggatt created a calm working environment for students during their practical work. Students were creating a back piece for a clock they had designed and analysed. Clear evidence of DIRT time had been used in previous lessons to bring them to the point where they could effectively create their design.


A really enjoyable morning, so thank you to all those I saw for letting me be a part of your lesson.

Rachael Bubb, Lead Practitioner with a focus on P4C