Category: Leadership


One thing that was central to this week with Apple was that storytelling is a powerful tool. Many amazing blog posts have come out over the last couple of days reviewing people’s experiences of their week. Each one talks of the authors personal journey.

So for my posts is this last reflection the end? Or just a set up to a series of sequels?

One of the main things I learnt personally this week is that I can make a difference, that the work I do does matter and it is worth keeping on trying to develop others in its use.
There are many times it feels as though I am pushing against brick walls or that people think its just a fad, however, this week I have regrouped my passion and realised it is what effects the students that is important.

So long as students are at the heart if everything I do (and they are) then it is more than worth trying to change hearts and minds. In speaking to a lot of people that have the set up in their schools that I would love to have in mine, the main feedback I got was that I was doing great things and to carry on.

This sort of support and encouragement is so powerful and has totally recharged me for “the sequel” to me journey. In the words of Duarte founder, Nancy Duarte, in my story the students are the hero of the piece, I am just the old sage that offered support.

Thank you Apple, all of the ADEs I met and especially my PLN for making me see my worth, it will make a difference when I feel I am getting nowhere.


So after a very busy year of developing ICT in the PE department at City Academy, Bristol, I think it is time to review what has been achieved, do look at impact on teaching and learning and to see what can be improved for the next academic year.

We started last September with every member in the department having an iPad, this was supported through our Director of Sport who helped fund the project.  Over the course of the first month we had to ensure that all staff were equipped with the skills to feel comfortable using these devices in their lessons.

In order to achieve this I set up several processes. first an audit of staff (via Socrative) to gauge how they felt about using the devices and where they felt they needed specific support.  This then impacted on the creation of peer mentoring groups where each member of staff was paired with someone to help develop their practice.  This was a great start to getting a familiarity with the devices and enabled me to train one or two staff that were more familiar with the devices and they then spread out this to others.

Apps that were primarily used by staff were:

Ubersense or Coaches Eye for performance analysis.

Socrative for instant AFL opportunities

Comic Life for creating resources and documenting progress

Audioboo and Fotobabble for student reflection

Evernote for documenting learning and capturing evidence

Next we looked at Learning walks to look at how the devices were being used, nothing formal, just to get an idea of what was being done.  This needed to be shared and so a department blog was set up to allow staff to record what they had done in lessons and the difference it made.  Where staff were reluctant to write a blog themselves i recorded it for them to ensure their successes could still be shared.  This has now developed into a department newsletter that goes out once a term to highlight good practice and also highlight good blogs to staff and CPD opportunities.

The focus was not solely on the use of iPads however as it is important to look at lots of areas in which ICT can develop our practice.

We also trialled the use of Edmodo with specific groups.  Again just looking at engaging a couple of staff that showed an interest and trained them up on the use.  these staff then gave feedback on successes and areas that needed attention which eventually allowed us to agree to use it as a model for Sport to use in BTEC, GCSE, KS3 and with our sports teams organisation.  This will be launched to all of our groups in September.

Google Drive was also adopted across the whole department due to the benefits of collaborative spaces.  We used it at first for our BTEC course where I had set up a tracking and feedback system for students to allow for greater independence of students.  This coupled with Edmodo helped us really look at extending student engagement beyond the classroom as they had a place to review feedback and find further reading to impact on their studies.  In showing this to staff it was great to see how it inspired them to streamline other areas using the same system.  for example our detention system was changed to Google so we could all add in students that needed detentions and the person on duty could easily check them off.

One tool that I found to be really useful, specifically for tracking progress of understanding in theory lessons was Padlet.  This enabled students to record their own developing ideas and for me to track how they were progressing in class.  It also served as a tool to document their learning to then reflect on when they had coursework to complete.

We also looked at using ICT to embed literacy and numeracy in our lessons.  Again just trialled in specific years, we used systems to allow students to reflect on their work.  Homework was set on Edmodo via quizzes or as a reply to a note, just asking students to reflect on what they had achieved and something they needed to improve.  Alongside this we also encouraged a literacy focus each module such as use of capital letters or grammar.  With numeracy we looked at using our iPads to analyse performance and look at averages and percentages.  This was only I trail that I focused on since Easter but students really engaged in it and it will be developed next year.

So to impact

Observations in March came out at 100% Good or Outsatnding.  In all sessions there was evidence of the use of ICT, this was a great outcome and showed the real impact that the training and awareness had.

Student progression in BTEC was also enhanced. For example Y11 results showed a change from 19% to 30% at distinction level and overall 71% merit or above.  One student who was failing at Easter used the system to impact on his own work to end up with 4 c grades when he left in May.  In the past this has not happened due to having to track students down to let them know what they needed to do.  Again this needs further work to ensure all staff use it effectively but has shown impact.  Interventions were therefore a lot swifter using this system and students were given extra help where needed.

So this is a great platform to move forward on, we will continue developing and I will continue sharing success

My day at Meadowside


Today I had the great pleasure to spend the day shadowing the Co Head of Meadowside primary school.

The idea was for me to gain experience of how SLT operate in a different school.  It really was a fantastic experience which I learnt a lot from.

Firstly celebrating success.  As a school success in all areas was celebrated on a weekly occurrence.  Everything from being noticed for positive behaviours in school to birthdays that week.  you could see straight away the impact it had on the students just from the way they walked up to the front.  the assembly itself was being run by Y6 pupils and they were doing a fantastic job too  It got me thinking about how to integrate a similar idea into secondary schools.  If it has such an impact can it not be easily replicated?  I’m sure lots of schools do this, but with so many students in the school, how can you ensure all are covered?

Next was an opportunity to sit in with the two Co Heads and discuss student progress.  Obviously I am not going to share details but the way things were done definitely got me thinking about structures i could adopt in order to replicate the same outcomes.  regular meetings about progress of different years with the teachers that teach them.  Really giving staff the opportunity to drill down into the data to see what students needed intervention and which were making better than expected.  This way staff would have a really secure knowledge of their groups and where they were going.  I will definitely be implementing this next year.

Finally the opportunity for parents and students to respond back on their reports.  A separate sheet that invites comments on their thoughts, feelings and targets based on the report written by the class teacher.  This was a great opportunity to really engage the parents into the life of the school and to engage in their students progress, raising concerns or way that they could further help students.

The process worked both ways too and I was able to inject some ideas on things that could help Meadowside.  Spelling Bee competitions to help with the SPAG tests that they were doing in school.  Blogging on sports fixtures for the boys that enjoyed football but were reluctant to read and write.  I also had the opportunity to discuss ICT and PE with their coordinator and hopefully some further collaboration can come from that.

In conclusion I learnt a great deal from them and urge others to engage in doing the same to really see where the students are coming from and the experiences they have.  It has certainly opened my eyes to Leadership strategies and transition opportunities

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