DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: RESOURCE

The overload of information on the internet poses a problem for time-strapped teachers, who have to trawl search engines for resources that are appropriate for their subject and class. It was this problem that, in Autumn 2014, we decided to tackle head-on with the creation of TeachPitch, a platform that curates free teaching resources and lets you search these for the perfect resource.

Since then we have had tens of thousands of users from over 130 countries, providing direct access to over hundreds of thousands of resources and with millions more available via our dedicated premium content providers.

We are so proud of the work we have done, but we have come to understand that dealing with information abundance is only one part of a wider issue; the digital capability of teachers. In a report in 2016 (page 9) the UK Government recommended that:

“Employers should ensure existing staff have the training to keep their digital skills updated, and develop active recruitment and development strategies to maximise the digital skills of their workforce at all times.”

We know that teachers are still not always offered this level of support, and we want to help solve this bigger problem with a resource that is relevant to them. This is why we are very excited to announce a brand new online teacher-training platform solely focussed on fully engaging teachers as professionals in a rapidly evolving new Digital Economy.

We are extremely proud to present: the Digital Skills Course.

This course consists of a series of 20+ webinars given by expert tutors over one year, accessible via our innovative, exclusive training platform. Registered teachers will be able to enjoy online training in a variety of topics, from video teaching & learning, using tech to identify and address student special needs, and digital educational content creation. The course also addresses tech matters that are further out there, such as virtual/augmented reality, the role of the blockchain in education, introduction to coding, and so much more.

With this course, we aim to improve teachers’ digital awareness and introduce them to the way that digital tools and methods will change how teaching takes place in the future. We want to provide the teachers of today with the skills to teach the students of tomorrow. We are working hard on the first release of the course; building the platform, testing it with real teachers and identifying the very best tutors to lead the webinars. We cannot wait to introduce the final product next month.

We have had great feedback so far. If you’d like to get involved with helping test the course, or keep updated about our progress, please email us at [email protected]. To find out more about TeachPitch, visit www.teachpitch.com.

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‘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.

Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

The introduction of the Pupil Premium back in 2010 underlined the importance of narrowing the attainment gap and ensuring that all students are supported in achieving their potential. EduKit, who already offer a free trip-advisor-style directory that allows schools to find free and low-cost support and interventions for their students, have now responded these concerns by launching EduKit Insight - an innovative, easy-to-use tracker that allows schools to evidence the impact of the support they are using, understand which students are missing out and identify both priority areas for the school and corresponding support.

E-safety charity Childnet have launched Trust Me, a new, free resource designed to support Primary and Secondary school teachers in exploring critical thinking online. Developed in partnership with the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) Safeguarding Board to address the emerging area of online extremism and propaganda, the practical resource aims to provoke discussion among students so as to challenge young people to think critically about what they see online.

Kodo Education have released a free anti-radicalisation checklist for schools. The resource, available via www.e-safetysupport.com, aims to help teachers with this hot potato under the new 'Prevent duty' obligations faced by schools.

A new resource to help students to learn the early stages of phonic spelling, the Spellzone Starter Course is an entry-level resource aimed at older students who are still struggling with basic spelling concepts, Primary pupils, and lower level users of English such as ESL and EAL students.

The reading aloud of formal lesson objectives in the style of, ‘By the end of today’s lesson you will be able to…’ often fails to capture the attention and interest of our pupils or students. Many carry on doodling and treat the objectives as something the teacher is obliged to recite on a par with the formality of taking the register. The Big Picture lesson plan is designed to raise interest levels, promote concentration and draw the students or pupils into full participation.

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