Innovate My School

Innovate My School

Innovate My School specialises in supplying school leaders and teachers with the latest and greatest in education. From exciting new products and services to alternative teaching and learning practices, we empower educators to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead proactively and, most importantly, feel inspired. To write for Innovate My School, or to organise a free event for your school cluster or network, contact [email protected]

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Our 2018/19 Lead LIVE roadshow kicked off in Wigan, with educators sharing a wealth of ideas to address excess workload in schools. The roadshow features talks from innovative school leaders on tackling teacher's timesinks, a prize draw, and a 'speed dating' session with ten of the best edtech providers in the country. The roadshow is now heading to WellingboroughPeterboroughLiverpoolBradfordHertfordshire and Hove, and these happy school leaders explain what you can expect...

‘Outstanding’? ‘Good’? ‘Less than ideal, but we’ll muddle along for another year’? How does your timetable fare? Asked to give their new school timetable an Ofsted rating, over 25% of teachers told us that they would place it in the ‘requires improvement’ category. Moreover, almost all described their timetable as less than ‘outstanding’, offering a real opportunity for SLT to make meaningful improvements before it’s too late.

If the summer term is a time of reflection, then the autumn term represents fresh starts. Improvements. New ways of working. Changes that make sense for the school. And what better place to start than the timetable? After all, it’s the most important document in the school, and key to success on every level.

With this in mind, we asked experienced headteacher and Edval consultant, Paul Phillips, how a school can improve its timetables at this stage of the year - with minimal disruption. Here’s what he said:

1. Improve your staffing

“For accountability reasons, it is vital that teachers and school leaders can maintain ownership of pupil outcomes. However, it’s equally important for students to build meaningful learning relationships with their teachers. Too many teachers resulting from split classes mean that students feel that they are not known by their teachers. They also demonstrate stress behaviours when the delivery consistency does not go smoothly.

“Teachers also rightly want planning time with their co-teacher, where split classes are a regular feature on their timetable. Without this, curriculum delivery, homework and marking can be a major issue, for teachers and students alike.”

2. Improve your lesson spreads

“With a far greater emphasis on maximising pupil progress, it is essential that the timetable supports effective learning and teaching practice. The ability to offer short but regular language lessons, double sessions for Science and Technology lessons, and avoiding two lessons on a day, allows teachers to better manage learning, marking, homework and time for reflection.

“Control of this area has for many schools been an ad-hoc affair. The power to reduce occurrences of inappropriate spreads, but also the ability to improve teacher spreads, and class spreads, means I can give teachers and students a better timetable experience.”

3. Improve your rooming

“Rooming can be a real headache in schools, and is often an afterthought in many schools’ timetables. But if you ask a part timer, or member of SLT, who has to navigate through corridors and up and down staircases with trolley and boxes of books, equipment and materials, then you will get a very blunt response to this aspect of the timetable!

“Schools with split sites, complex buildings across a campus, buildings with multiple and narrow staircases, need to put much more care into their rooming requirements. Having the tools on hand to maximise rooming quality can dramatically reduce staff and student movement across the timetable.”

4. Improve your option blocks

“Optimising option blocks is essential for all kinds of reasons. Giving students their options ensures greater satisfaction in offers, and enables students to progress more rapidly in subjects that they have chosen, and want to excel in. By focusing on optimising student preferences, I can have far greater control and understanding of student requests.

“For schools in a ‘deficit funding-led curriculum’ cycle, optimising option blocks allows for lean timetabling, the opportunity to drop classes and maintain high student satisfaction. It’s a vital tool in reducing staff costs, and it’s not too late to improve them.”

The year ahead

So why not take this opportunity to tweak your timetable with minimal disruption to the school community? Edval Improve services give SLT the opportunity to supercharge more than just the timetable, positively influencing staff morale, student learning and budget bottom lines in the process.

Challenge our experienced Edval consultants to work on your chosen timetable improvement area and refuse to settle for anything less than the best. Interested in finding out more? Say [email protected], or visit www.edval.education for more information.

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Wednesday, 18 July 2018 10:00

5 essential insights into student futures

How best to prepare students for the shrouded world ahead of them? Here, we present a few of the insights put forward in the Innovate My School Guide 2017/18...

Wednesday, 27 June 2018 10:00

5 hot takes on assessing assessment

“What can educators do to personalise assessments?” We posed this question to five of the UK’s leading edu-suppliers. Here are their thoughts....

Tuesday, 15 May 2018 10:03

The 5 Ws of teacher-workload reduction

On Friday 15th June, the ultimate teacher-workload reduction initiative will commence. Kicking off at Wigan’s DW Stadium, the Lead LIVE roadshow will look to significantly reduce teacher workload in schools across the country… and tickets are free-of-charge. Scroll down for the 5 Ws: why, who, what, when, and where...

How can teachers and leaders take advantage of what’s beyond their schools’ walls? In the Innovate My School Guide 2018/19, an eclectic selection of educators share their own community-oriented successes - here’s a sneak peak...

How best to make the most of the individuals and organisations in your local area? We approached a group of community-minded innovators with two big challenges facing schools. First up...

Wednesday, 04 April 2018 11:00

5 ways to boost PE and outdoor learning

With International Day of Sport for Development and Peace taking place on Friday 6th April, we wanted to share some resources and organisations to help your school up its PE and outdoor learning game today.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 10:00

4 great (and FREE) resources for your school

One of the UK’s leading edu-experts went undercover at this year’s Education Show in Birmingham. Here, they weigh in on a few of their free favourites from the event...

In the current climate, cash-strapped schools are still looking closely after their expenses, and may be tempted to look at free resources. As I was strolling around the Education Show earlier this month, a few free apps jumped at me for their brilliance.

Saturday 17th March saw Primary teachers from across the UK head to the beautiful Medlock Primary School in Manchester for one of world’s finest education events: Primary Rocks Live. The sold-out (in under five minutes!) gathering’s attendees enjoyed 24 workshops, two keynotes, a live-streamed performance from the Teachers Rock Youth Choir, and ice cream.

Thursday, 29 March 2018 11:00

4 ways your school can streamline spending

How can schools streamline their processes in order to be more cost-effective? Experts from four of the UK’s leading edu-suppliers weigh in...

It’s both rare and refreshing to hear the words “intersectionality”, “systemic change”, “call to arms” and “rockets up asses” within the first half an hour of an educational training event. But at headteacher Hannah Wilson’s Flexible Working event at Aureus School on 10th March, we learnt that the education sector must become open to new ways of working if we are to recruit and retain the best staff.

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