It was exciting to hold our second SWIFT Literacy Conference in-person at the end of last term and to welcome a huge range of delegates at Exeter Racecourse with with as much buzz as in 2019.
David Didau, author and expert talked knowledgeably about the importance of reading and of building a reading culture within our schools.
“Reading: there are few things that are likely to make as much of a difference.”
“Reading aloud is gap narrowing.”
Other keynotes including John Tomsett, author and erstwhile Headteacher of Huntingdon School who explored the complexities of the 0 to 19 curriculum - explaining how curriculum development must rest on teacher development.
“A child's vocabulary at five predicts how well they'll learn to read, how well they'll do in the school system. We really have to get that right; that's our number one priority.”
Dr Julian Grenier, appointed by the Department for Education to lead on the revision of Development Matters (quoted by John Tomsett).
Helen Prince, author, developer and contributor to Oxford University Press’s Word-up Podcast Series, explored the power of Oracy through prosody and provided delegates with specific takeaways they could use within classrooms.
“There’s a causal relationship between oracy and improved behaviour.”
Our keynotes also delivered effective breakout sessions, and and other breakouts included the Director of Primary Literacy from OUP; AQA provided an expert on Language in the form of Lance Hanson; Anna Szpakowska from LYFTA contributed towards cultural capital and Bedrock’s Ellie Ashton explained the power of Disciplinary Literacy. WeST’s Executive Director of English, Scott Davies paired with Vicky Thornton to explore the implementation of Forensic Reading.
If you attended this year’s Literacy Conference and would like to feedback to inform future conferences, we would welcome your feedback by clicking on the link below:
A secondary focused English Professional Communities meeting is due to be scheduled and if you would like to contribute, please contact Jen Knowles | Jen.Knowles@sw-ift.org.uk
The power is in the network.
Report by Vicky Thornton, Assistant Principal: Teaching & Learning – Literacy at Ivybridge Community College and SWIFT English-Network Lead.
“The NIoT is going to revolutionise the way teachers receive training in this country, with cutting edge research alongside training delivered by national experts.” The Rt Hon. Nadhim Zahawi MP, Secretary of State for Education
At the end of last term, the Department for Education announced that the School Led Development Trust had been awarded the contract to deliver the new National Institute of Teaching (NIoT).
The National Institute of Teaching is a new, ambitious, Government-funded body that sets out to transform teacher development. It is led by a school-led partnership of four Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) with outstanding track records in school-led university-accredited teacher development:
Harris Federation, Oasis Community Learning, Outwood Grange Academies Trust and Star Academies.
Each of the founding MATs will lead one of the four Regional Campuses, and each campus is supported by three Associate Colleges. We are delighted that Education South West (ESW) has been appointed as one of the founding Associate Colleges and will be working directly with Oasis Community Learning. As an Associate College, ESW will be responsible for supporting the Regional Campus to ensure scale, reach cold spots in current provision and deliver the NIoT training programmes.
This is exciting news for the SWIFT partnership and SWIFT's collective expertise and experience will play a key role in the design and delivery of the NIoT programmes within the region and evolve and build on our Teaching School Hub responsibilities within Devon, Plymouth and Torbay.
So, what is the National Institute of Teaching?
What opportunities does the NIoT create for the SWIFT partnership?
These are very early days, so there is much to develop our thinking around and we look forward to future developments of the National Institute of Teaching.
26/5/2022 0 Comments
Whole School SEND are now recruiting for an exciting opportunity to join eight tailored, regionally-based professional development groups funded by the Department for Education.
“I must say it was one of the most purposeful and useful things I have been a part of in my professional career.” (2021-2022 PD group participant)
Participants from the 2021 - 2022 programme were found, after completing the programme, to have:
Outcomes for children and young people with SEND continue to be below outcomes compared to those with no SEND; exclusion and absence rates are higher for those with SEND, and there is growing concern about the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people with SEND in particular. Improving SEND provision across all schools is key to improving all outcomes.
To help tackle these issues, Whole School SEND is running a programme of regional professional development groups. The aim of these groups is to build a model of sector-led improvement that will support participants to undertake their own school-improvement project within their setting. This is an opportunity to access free, Department for Education-funded CPD with a proven record of success.
Each group will be facilitated by a WSS Regional SEND Lead, but will be driven by its members, providing a space for peer-to-peer reflection, challenge and support.
Participation is encouraged from school-based colleagues in all roles and across all school types, including colleagues from Further Education, and particularly those with an interest in leading projects within their schools. Participants are not required to have an established interest or background in SEND. Participants are particularly welcomed from under-represented groups as it is hoped that each group will include a broad range of experiences and perspectives to inform discussion.
By joining these groups, participants commit to:
Each regional group will be loosely arranged around one of the themes below:
However, participants are encouraged to undertake a variety of projects and the discussions and aims of the group will be driven by its members.
In return, participants will receive support in developing their projects from the experienced Regional SEND Team, as well as individual support tailored to their role, school and setting.
To help schools decide whether to apply for a place, Whole School SEND will be hosting a short information webinar on Wednesday 8 June 2022 | from 1630 to 1645.
It is recommended that the Headteacher and SENCO from your setting attend.
You can, of course, register your interest for the project prior to this session, and webinar attendance is not a prerequisite for participation.
Register your Interest
If you wish to participate in the professional development groups, please complete the following online form by Tuesday 14 June 2022 | 0900.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you require this document or the Expression of Interest Form
in an alternative format.
Join Whole School SEND
Whole School SEND (“WSS”) Deputy Regional SEND Leader (South West)
For more information see the job advert and specification here:
26/5/2022 0 Comments
Matthew Pitts, Deputy Head of School & English Hub Lead, Cornerstone Academy Trust led this fifth network event, “Winning Them Over: Overcoming Struggles in Parent Engagement” to provide guidance for teachers in the context of reading and literacy.
Put simply, there’s no perfect solution to winning over parents.
Any parent body is made up of human beings who inevitably do not fit into boxes.
It’s a case of doing the best you can.
Sometimes in education we think we can’t “crack it” and want to impact the whole class or cohort and so we deprioritise. But by impacting some key parental engagement, teachers can reduce the number of “on watch” children who are more vulnerable to drops in progress and gaps in their knowledge.
Research shows that parental involvement can still have an impact.
The benefits are clear for those children whose parents are engaged in their schooling and spend time with their child at home going through their classwork and reading with them.
“Parental involvement in the form of ‘at-home good parenting’ has a significant positive effect on children’s achievement and adjustment even after all other factors shaping attainment have been taken out of the equation. In the primary age range the impact caused by different levels of parental involvement is much bigger than differences associated with variations in the quality of schools. The scale of the impact is evident across all social classes and all ethnic groups.”
Source: The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievement and Adjustment: A Literature Review | C. Desforges and A. Abouchaar (2003)
The stablishing factor is for a child to allow for transitions between teachers and also when teaching and learning in the classroom is not as good as it could be due to staff absence and struggling teachers.
Ultimately children need to be educationally resilient.
But it is important to be realistic as teachers are never going to engage all parents.
Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) research undertakes what it terms “meta-analysis” of all the current analysis that it distils into simple takeaway points. Their research into parental engagement was based on 97 different international studies in ten different countries. Strong evidence showed that those schools working on parental engagement demonstrated a four-month educational improvement across a child’s career.
One advantage is that the implementation cost of many parental engagement strategies is very low. Low budget high reward.
It’s a question of using what you have in place, i.e. school infrastructures.
Research shows that impact can vary at different stages with the highest impact in Early Years settings and this impact gradually lessens as the child gets older. This is to be expected given children become more secure in themselves as learners. However, whilst children might make rapid progress, they are still dependent on adults in every aspect of their lives. The most strongly seen impact in reading is home reading, which does not require huge technical knowledge.
There are nevertheless the inevitable “tussles and tensions” in parental engagement.
“Teachers often lack confidence and knowledge to work with parents, and schools do not always recognise or value the ways in which parents are already engaged with children’s learning. Furthermore, schools generally do not collect sufficient data on their own interventions, particularly relating to the impact on academic outcomes. For their parents face numerous logistical barriers to further engagement, including costs, times and transport.”
Source: Review of the Best Practice in Parental Engagement | Goodall and Varhous 2010
When considering interventions, the key advice is for teachers to consider:
How do you know that’s helpful to parents?
So, what are the barriers for parental engagement?
Research shows there are three types of barriers:
1. Physical and practical – time of meetings
2. Social and demographics - not attending parental training, parents living in poverty.
3.Stigma – the school and education might not be valued. To consider how to avoid this failure for parents
What about those schools who have had a successful impact?
Research shows there are five areas for success:
1. Take a whole school approach.
2. Training for staff.
3. Identify parents’ needs.
4. Outward-facing ethos.
5. Digital technologies.
Source: Review of Best Practice in Parental Engagement | Goodall and Vorhaus 2010
What methods can schools focus on?
Research demonstrates four processes:
2. Online platforms
3. Communication methods
But above all, it is essential that schools know their parental body:
1. What makes them tick?
2. What are their struggles?
3. Where do they hang out? (social media!)
Cornerstone found they had greater take-up for online meetings and duly uploaded recorded meetings to Vimeo for parents to watch when they wish.
Too often, Headteachers do not speak the same language as parents.
Show parents what’s going on in the classroom - don’t tell.
Schools can make the classroom more transparent by inviting parents to:
1. Watch a lesson
2. Join in virtually
3. Learn to coach
Take a moment to think and “critically review how you work with parents.”
And how can schools guide parents to engage with their children at home?
Certainly, to foster a love of reading and to guide how to read more efficiently. Schools could demonstrate by reading a few paragraphs of a book and then discussing the pages. Film it!
Invite parents into school and show them with a live child and teacher/Teaching Assistant reading together.
Do the best you can with what you have.
Thank you to Matt and Cornerstone Academy Trust for this thoughtful and pragmatic winning approach to Overcoming Struggles in Parent Engagement.
Report by Jude Owens, PA to the SWIFT Executive Team
YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE EEF “WORKING WITH PARENTS TO SUPPORT CHILDREN’S LEARNING | SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS” POSTER HERE
It is undisputable that accounting for all staff, students and visitors in a timely manner is critical to the success of a fire evacuation.
To ensure the safety of students during an emergency schools must have an effective evacuation plan in place, that is simple enough to follow for all staff and students.
During an evacuation, it is important to know exactly who is on your premises to ensure all pupils, visitors and members of staff are located for. Often schools track this information through spreadsheets or paper documents; however, ensuring these documents are up-to-date can be difficult to manage.
An effective way to overcome this concern is to look at alternative methods that can provide live data for who is currently on site, with the ability to pull one report that can be easily accessed by all teachers.
In the event of a drill or fire evacuation, the InVentry Anywhere app allows you to access a real-time copy of everyone who is onsite from any mobile device to improve the efficiency of your evacuation procedure.
Find out more with InVentry and understand how you can ensure the safety of students during an emergency – all at the touch of a button.
“You are the best of the best in delivering teacher development.”
The SWIFT Central Team were pleased to attend the recent inaugural Teaching School Hub Council Training Day “Inspiring Excellence” in Birmingham opened by keynote speaker, Robin Walker, Minister of State at the Department for Education.
Minister Walker began by thanking Teaching School Hubs for their “determination and hard work” in delivering Initial Teacher Training, the Early Career Framework and National Professional Qualifications - “an enormous benefit to teachers” and delivered in a short time within the context of the unique challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Direct support to school leaders is invaluable through TSHs as national networks of centres of excellence of teacher training and development across England. The essential role of TSHs is to ensure schools can access their entitlement to high-quality professional development and help provide school leaders with expertise and access to support in order to improve their practice – “and ultimately to change lives.” On that note, Minister Walker commended TSH colleagues for attending the TSHC training day as an investment in their own professional development.
Great teachers are the bedrock of the education system.
Minster Walker recalled his own schooling and the disappointment of being moved to the bottom set of Maths. Yet his teacher challenged and motivated him and helped him to succeed.
Everyone can recall an inspirational teacher who transformed their life and empowered them to believe they could succeed.
The DfE vision is for a world class education system.
“Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.” Dylan Wiliam
Great teachers are made not born.
The recent White Paper has stated by 2030 that every child will be taught by a great teacher.
As part of this goal to support teachers to improve outcomes in the classroom they can access a “Golden Thread” world class professional development at every stage in their career, underpinned by evidence frameworks and reviewed independently by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
The DfE’s new national development infrastructure will also focus on the design and delivery of the ECF programme with TSHs the backbone in levelling up teaching quality.
Importantly, evidence especially shows the positive impact of expert teaching for disadvantaged children and those children who have fallen behind in their learning.
Minister Walker acknowledged reforms are in their infancy and delivery requires focus “to consistently listen, learn and improve our delivery.” But, as part of these reforms, it is pleasing to report to date that over 25,000 Early Career Teachers (ECTs) and 23,000 Mentors have undertaken the funded ECF Induction programme. Data and transparency are also allies to building a stronger system and the DfE will soon be publishing recent surveys and data for ECF reforms.
Furthermore, as part of working hard on how they communicate, the DfE are addressing issues highlighted by TSHs. Making ECF materials more user-friendly and simplifying the digital service for easier navigation and a quicker and easier sign-up process for Early Career Teachers and Mentors.
Schools can play their role too in ensuring their ECTs can access their entitlements and funded time off timetable. The Appropriate Body (AB) service also plays a significant role in the teacher development system and a consultation has been launched in how to reform the AB to ensure that schools are giving their ECT (s) a high-quality induction.
The NPQs have got off to an excellent start with excellent take-up and there is great anticipation about the launch of two new specialist programmes for September: the Early Years Leadership and Leading Literacy.
Minister Walker encouraged TSHs to keep feeding back to the DfE and TSHC for them to analyse and keep improving the service and commended TSHs for their “phenomenal” pace and scale of achievements thanks to their “passion, dedication and hard work.”
“You are the best of the best in delivering teacher development.”
Next, Chair of the Teaching School Hub Council (TSHC), Richard Gill reflected on what the 87 Teaching School hubs achieved since September 2021. An important starting point has been in understanding the unique role and strategy of TSHs in compiling operating plans – starting with defining job descriptions for their teams and their successful recruiting.
In this journey of leading brand-new organisations and explaining the role of the education system TSHs have provided an understanding of the role of the Appropriate Body Service and statutory induction and provided full access to the Early Career Framework and National Professional Qualifications programmes. To do this, TSHs have worked with lead providers and supported teachers and leaders on the ECF and NPQs and the DfE portal. But as well as delivering on these key Golden Thread programmes, TSHs have also strengthened existing partnerships and relationships and implemented a governance structure and helpfully shaped DfE policy development through feedback.
Looking to next year, what will be the role of the Teaching School Hub Council?
Certainly, to continue to support and provide resources required by TSHs so that they, in turn, can fulfil their aims and objectives.
The TSHC is also due to set up advisory boards with members across the network and provide support with capacity and market share and help with scaling up and maintaining the quality of service to schools.
During a live discussion group to consider the greatest success of TSHs in the first full year of implementation Director of SWIFT Martin Smith noted the positive programme member feedback for the Early Career Framework and the NPQ lead provider surveys; as well as delivering at scale and beyond expected levels thanks to a strong Central Team, wider partnership and positive working relationships across the Colyton and Kingsbridge Teaching School Hubs.
An apt end to this report, with SWIFT absolutely committed to maintaining the strong impact of Teaching School Hubs.
Report by Jude Owens, PA to the SWIFT Executive Team
Read here this informative blog from our sponsor Wolferstans Solicitors.
It’s been a while since we mentioned the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic, but the Government has recently announced new guidance for living safely with Covid.
The guidance provides information for those with symptoms of respiratory infections, such as Covid-19; people with a positive Covid-19 test and their contacts; and advice on safer behaviours for everyone.
One of the main changes for employers is that the working safely guidelines for the various sectors has been removed, with employers instead needing to consider the needs of those at a higher risk of serious illness.
Employers are encouraged to be aware of Covid symptoms in order to reduce the risk of transmission between employees. If a member of staff has Covid-19 symptoms, then the respiratory infection guidance below should be followed.
To limit transmission within a business, employers should ensure that there is adequate ventilation in the workplace, that hygiene facilities are available and that any workspaces are kept clean and sanitised.
The requirement to explicitly consider Covid in a risk assessment has been removed, as has the need to inform public health of an outbreak, but employers can still consider it in their assessments should they choose to do so.
Previously, employers could reclaim SSP paid due to Covid related absences, but this is now not the case following the closure of the rebate scheme. Employers will need to ensure that they pay employees SSP for Covid absences if they have been absent for at least four days in a row (including non-working days), in line with regular sickness absences.
Whilst there is no obligation on someone who has symptoms to refrain from coming to the workplace, the guidance suggests that employers should allow them to work from home where possible, where that is not the case, to look at alternative options.
People with Respiratory Infections
From 1 April 2022, anyone with symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as Covid, and who have a high temperature or are not feeling well should limit contact with others and stay at home where possible.
Anyone who has a positive Covid test result (whether because they chose to carry one out or were asked to) should again try to limit contact with others and stay home for five days following their positive result.
As has been the case throughout, anyone that tests positive should refrain from close contact with those who have a reduced immune system and are at risk of serious illness. The guidance in this case is that contact should be avoided with those at a higher risk of serious illness for 10 days.
Employees who are at higher risk of serious illness should be taken into account.
They should be able to wear a face mask where possible and may need to work from home to reduce their risk, however the requirement for them to shield has been removed.
Leaving Home Whilst Positive
In a slightly controversial move, those with a positive result will not be forced into isolation and instead, will be able to leave their homes, and continue to go to work, even whilst they have symptoms. However, there is guidance which should be taken into account:
If you would like any further guidance on how Covid-19 might impact you, then please get in contact with a member of the Wolferstans Team on 01752 663295.
Introducing, Lyfta, the award-winning digital learning platform that broadens horizons and brings learning to life.
Lyfta invites students to explore, and connect with, real human stories from across the globe, through interactive 360° spaces and powerful short films.
The platform provides an impactful and captivating way for students to experience human diversity, and for educators to build cultural capital and nurture the vital skills and values children need to thrive in our changing world.
“I have been blown away by what Lyfta has put together. This is a fantastic platform that can be used across all subject areas. The significant impact on student personal development is huge as is being able to show our students what diversity truly looks like. The stories are wonderful and emotive, giving students the opportunity to be part of the lives of strangers they will meet around the globe.”
Zena, Dixons McMillan Academy
“Lyfta really has been a lifeline this year – not a bolt-on, but a resource to enrich and enliven the curriculum. Cannot recommend highly enough.”
Dan Morrow, CEO, Dartmoor MAT
Do you want to find out more AND receive £100 for your school?
Attend a one-hour call with the team to be part of our national study, designed by our Head of Educational Research, Dr Harriet Marshall and hear more about what Lyfta can offer and we will transfer a £100 payment to your school for your time.
We are looking for 100 primary and 50 secondary schools to be part of the study.
We look forward to hearing from you.
For More Information
We are pleased to introduce our new sponsor, Goosemoor Educatering.
Goosemoor Educatering are proud to provide the very best in quality fresh food, in exciting, child- led meals, all within any school’s current budget.
Since its inception as a family business in 1957, Dart Fresh / Goosemoor Foodservice has built a reputation as the leading provider of quality food products and produce across the South West of England, based on the constant strive for perfection for its customers.
For More Information
9/5/2022 0 Comments
We are delighted to announce that sign-up for the SWIFT Early Career Framework (ECF) and Appropriate Body (AB) Service 2022 - 2023 is now open, full details of which can be found on the ECF and AB website pages.
If you have new Year 1 or Year 2 Early Career Teachers (ECTs) starting at your school this September, then you will need to register for these services via the sign-up link below.
Please note, you do not need to complete this sign-up form for any ECTs who are already participating in our ECF programme and AB service.
The form should be completed by your school ECF Lead/Induction Tutor and it will be helpful to have the following information to hand:
In addition, following the recent series of ECF and AB information events, we are pleased to announce that we will be running an additional webinar for any schools who are new to either our ECF or AB service on: Tuesday 24 May 2022 | 1545 - 1645.
If you would like to join us and learn more about the SWIFT ECF programme and AB service, please register for the webinar:
If you have any further questions about either the SWIFT Early Career Framework or Appropriate Body service, then please do not hesitate to get in contact with our team:
By Chris Harris, Deputy Director of SWIFT
In this May issue at the start of the Summer Term, ESW Associate & Strategic Leader of Teaching & Research Schools | Education South West Roger Pope CBE considers where the immediate and the strategic compete for time and attention.
"The immediate and urgent concern is the final preparation of children for tests and exams, and ensuring their smooth transition to the next phase of their education. At the same time, our eyes are on the horizon. Where do we want to be at the end, not of this year, but the next…and the one after that? What are our dreams and goals for the future? And if we want to achieve that gleaming castle on the hill, what do we need to be doing before the summer break in order to lay the foundations?"
You can also read how the WalkThrus Programme has transformed the school culture of Haringey Education Partnership, and catch-up on the Cornerstone Academy Trust EdTech Festival and the Early Career Framework and Appropriate Body engagement event webinars; as well as features from our sponsors.