Thursday, 23 May 2013

Now you too can be part of the monitoring and self evaluation process...

Many of you will be thinking that this is the point in the term when I bang on about "I can't believe that this is the point in the term..." about where we are in term.

Well, it is.  And I can't.  Job done.

Therefore, instead of boring you e-rigid with superlatives about how magnificent and super-dooper everything has been, and blah blahdy blah, I thought I would instead use this opportunity to bring you all into the arena of school improvement monitoring.

I could give you my usual "this is a list of what the children have been doing" wrapped up in some unsuitably, toe-curlingly crass format.  But then, who couldn't?  I could rave on about some point that has caught my eye, such as I am now closer to 6000 hits then 5000, but that would be self-fulfilling and, if I'm honest, a little showy.

So, hey everyone, I have an idea! (Hmmm, was it me, or was that a bit too much Cliff-Richard-Summer-Holiday-esque, Miss Lee?)

This week I have started the final major piece of monitoring of the year, where I look closely at the quality of learning on a daily basis in as many ways as I can.  I observe the incidental stuff that goes on outside the classrooms and outside of the lessons, and look at the provision for individuals and for groups.  I also (and this makes me unpopular with some elements of authority, so, who gives?) I look at the care our children receive, and the attention to detail offered by the staff.

Therefore, in this blog, I do not intend to list all the work done by the children.  Instead, allow me please to provide a snapshot of the work I have seen being done for and on behalf of the children.

Over the course of this (not yet complete) learning week, I have been privileged to observe:

  • The improvements made over 24 hours by a teacher who really cares;
  • Children delighting in being offered so many sporting opportunities, and desperate to improve their skills;
  • Very young children having sophisticated narrative built around their play, whether through creative dialogue or searching questioning;
  • An assembly which challenged older children, delivered almost entirely via rhetorical questions - could you do that?
  • Children who do not like loathe and detest writing (and for whom English is not a first language) thriving and excelling in writing lessons;
  • Individuals who find lunchtimes difficult receiving specialist provision from adults, and year 6 (and a year 3);
  • Less able learners successfully grappling with extremely difficult maths concepts due to the resources provided by a teacher (who skillfully refused to help them further), whilst...
  • Extremely able learners were pushed far beyond the boundaries of their chronological age;
  • Very young learners mastering the technology which will doubtless pervade every aspect of their adult life;
  • Children as young as 5 mastering the phonetic patterns normally the domain of 7 year olds;
  • The delicate care and nurturing direction offered by our better reading partners, and the children's feelings of success as a result;
  • Young teachers dicussing, almost debating infinitesimal points of progress for children in other classes;
  • Extraordinary care, on the verge of angst, being dedicated to ensuring the quality of EYFS journals;
  • The exquisite care placed into the preparation of our new books from colleagues;
  • The creation of yet more wonderful display work, which covered science, D&T, art, and so much more.
Furthermore, at my desk this afternoon, I have been an active (and passive) (and curious) (and, let us not deny it, downright nosey) participant in conversations covering an upcoming KUW theme week, the few points at which our APS progress does not represent that for an entire year (at term 5 end), the link between our communications strategy and our new IiP bid, the radical improvement in the behaviour and learning attitude of two boys who should, do and have always known better, how well yesterday's basketball tournament went, what our double bassists will be performing in their assembly, and what I'll be having in tomorrow's chip shop run (although, a big star to Mrs B who had already guessed, recorded and costed my order).  My last job today was to "tidy" my desk, which generally means rearrange the paper and dust.  This evening, tidying meant creating two piles: not-particularly-important stuff, and certificates for tomorrow's praise assembly.  Who wants to guess which was bigger?  

Normally one for a pompous and self important ending, I shall sum this one up by saying 

"Well, there's your monitoring.  What do you think?"  

And it is a genuinely meant question.  I would be intrigued to know what your thoughts are on the work that goes on each and every day.  I would also like to simply, but humbly and deeply respectfully, say to every stakeholder - volunteer, governor, teacher, parents support colleague, music teacher, child, lunchtime staff, kitchen, cleaner, pencil sharpener - 

"Thank you."  

Some day soon, please take a step back and witness how much is accomplished, in any normal week, in the name of the community we are privileged to serve.

May the sun shine upon us all, wherever we may be (especially Cornwall, preferably south Cornwall, towards the end of the A30, just past the level crossing).

Until we collaboratively create spectacular things again, that is all.