Sharing Best Practice

19th January 2016

Mr Andy Barnett


Sharing Best Practice

Teachers at Pencalenick School have a wealth of knowledge and creative techniques with which to teach pupils and it is beneficial for such practice to be shared amongst all staff. Consequently a series of staff meetings are being held with presentations from teachers in various curriculum areas demonstrating best practice.

‘Fun with statistics’ Maths by Craig Butler

The Maths department has been trialing an online computer programme called Kahoot ( This is a free game-based learning platform that makes it fun to learn. Pupils answer a series of timed questions and the speed at which they answer the questions determines the number of points they receive. This enables a fun, competitive environment in which to learn and instant feedback can be obtained from pupils in addition to detailed analysis of results. This makes it a useful diagnostic tool. Pupils in 7.1 loved the interaction and were enthusiastic about earning points when it was trialled recently. The ability to readily generate statistics also makes it a useful tool for surveys and other whole school activities.

‘ High end challenge’ English by Charlotte Valles

Targeted learning for high achieving pupils in English GCSE coursework involves discussion, analysis and essay writing on current affairs, such as recent events in Syria, with pupils given newspaper articles to comment upon. The process begins with much discussion on the news item and the criteria that examiners are looking for. The article, using challenging language and concepts, is read paragraph by paragraph, with it’s meaning summarised. Key phrases are identified and pupils then begin to reinterpret the report into their own words. On completion of their essays pupils are encouraged to discuss their ideas and are often able to link with wider issues they have seen on the news or read for themselves. Confidence is built by videoing pupils discuss their views in class. They are encouraged to use appropriate vocabulary and grammar in their essays and the results amongst Y10 and Y11 have been very positive.

‘Life without Levels’ by Andy Wadsworth

The recent move to remove levels as a means of assessing pupil attainment has led to teachers investigating new ways of tracking progress. In PSHCE a spreadsheet to record attainment and track progress is being trialled using learning objectives for Y7 personal health. Learning outcomes for the lesson are included on the spreadsheet and pupils baselined. Essential skills are recorded during the lesson and this creates a scaled score against learning outcomes for the lesson. Progress against the scaled score is relatively meaningless so it would be beneficial to produce sliders for each pupil. Eventually these will be generated from the spreadsheet. Progress can be viewed against starting points eg across a lesson, term or a whole year. The spreadsheet is helpful in choosing intervention and targeting appropriately but does not indicate what pupils should be doing. However, it is a useful tool for tackling 'life without levels'.

‘Questions that help learning’ Science by Gary Oak

In Science there are always great questions to help explore learning outcomes, since mandatory-learning outcomes can be unclear both to pupils and Learning Mentors. A ‘Q Chart' is being trialled, which encourages questioning to further pupils’ comprehension. There are question pronouns on the left side of the chart (who, where, what, when, why and how) and verbs along the top to develop the questions further. The chart is divided into quadrants which identify certain types of questions that can be posed ie knowledge, predict, analytical and synthesis. Populating the chart each time a new topic arises provides learning outcomes for the lesson. Basically, the chart uses the same set of criteria as the mandatory learning outcomes but poses them in a different way. It enables Learning Mentors to track whether pupils are making progress in the lesson and pupils to understand what is required of them. Further information can be found by searching for ‘Q Charts' on the internet.