This week I have been asked to speak at the SSAT summer series on the journey we have been on in the last year. How has it changed our perspective on school life, assessment and leadership? In this session there will be opportunities to share some reflections and have discussions on what you have taken from the journey.
Come along on Wednesday 26th May online to find out reflections from a great range of speakers. It would be great to see you there!
A few thoughts and reflections on what we have learnt from the last year.
- We need to find a balance – the last year has given us the opportunity to look at how we assess, give feedback and track progress. What will remain for the future in your teaching or the culture of your school?
- We have had to take a broader view – normally at this time of year we are just commencing the GCSE and A level exam season. This year as we continue to invest time and energy on centre assessed grades we recognise that we are capturing a broader view rather than building up to a single performance in the summer exams hall. Is this a fresh challenge to think about how we assess and award grades and award qualifications in the future? What role could centre assessement take alongside formal summative exams?
- We have seen the simple value of teaching – with all schools having times where students have been confined to online learning we have learnt about how to engage students and staff with online learning, collaboration and communication. Put simply however innovative and engaging this been it hasn’t replaced real ‘FaceTime’… to see students in classrooms happy, confident and engaged with learning is a simple joy which we will never take for granted again. How can we use what we have learnt to benefit us in the future?
- We have to look at new ways to engage – when looking at curriculum development and assessment there have been far greater opportunities to work collaboratively with middle leaders and individual teachers. This has developed a new craft and reflective practice on assessment, tracking and awarding grades. What can we do to continue this engagement and interest?
- We have reflected on how best to communicate – during the year we have had to think carefully about how to communicate and share the clear message. During times of challenge and change how can we help make sense of all that is happening around us? At times it has felt that students, families and staff may have felt overwhelmed by the mixed messages they have seen politically or in the press. It has been down to us, as school leaders, to help make sense of all that is happening around us. The power of using short video messages, social media, Zoom, Teams and other ways of communication has helped us find a new way to engage with one another. What will you carry on using to enhance communication in the future?
- We are changed – we need to recognise that we come back changed for good. We are all looking forward to having more times together in assemblies, sports days, drama and music performances, times as a whole school community all of which have been missed so much. What will you long to return to?
So in essence let us remember the challenges that we have faced and suffering of the communities and families we serve but also enjoy the joy of seeing smiling and hearing laughter in lessons and around our schools. I am sure we will look back on this journey as something that teaches us to value the simplest things – our happiness, our health and our sense of simply being together.