This much I know about…the #LearningFirst conference and unfettered teaching

I have been a teacher for 27 years, a Headteacher for 12 years and, at the age of 51, this much I know about the #LearningFirst conference and unfettered teaching.

The Dame Alison Peacock-inspired #LearningFirst conference will, hopefully, prove to be part of the growing drive towards rebalancing the relationship between teaching and assessment, whereby assessment will once again be the servant of teaching, just like Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam intended back in 1998 when they first published Inside the Black Box. Alison Peacock is showing the kind of leadership – principled, sensible, courageous – which needs to spread like wildfire through the school system, and here’s why…

No-one is asking teachers to obsess about assessment data apart from schools’ senior leaders. Teachers need permission to teach brilliantly. School leaders need to ensure that, in John Hattie’s words, a coalition of success in the classroom drives school improvement. We need unfettered teaching. Teach brilliantly, then formatively assess what students have learnt, amend your teaching in response to what you learn from that formative assessment and then teach brilliantly some more, then assess summatively. It’s not difficult.

Cross-phase is where it’s at! Our North East York Partnership presentation yesterday was a genuine team effort, with huge thanks to my colleagues Beci McCrea and Vicky Umpleby from Huntington Primary Academy. Here are our slides and that all important Tim Oates video about why we have, thank goodness, seen the back of National Curriculum Levels.

About johntomsett

Headteacher in York. All views are my own.
This entry was posted in School Leadership, Teaching and Learning. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to This much I know about…the #LearningFirst conference and unfettered teaching

  1. Crosby, Mr. B. says:

    Why when I want staff to ditch levels and use broader definitions and allow freedom do they want to go back to levels. A lots of secondary schools in the city have replaced levels with GCSE descriptors from Year 7!! One colleague told me they had worked out 26 reporting phases in a secondary cycle and they wanted to track performance against the new GCSE specs. So if a student is predicted a level 5 they will track from Year 7. By Christmas in Year 7 they would be at 0.3!!

    We are addicted through AfL to levels. Some have never know anything different. That’s not government, that’s us.

    Regards

    Brian

  2. Thank you John. Together as a profession we can tame the assessment beast and make it work for us!

  3. Teresa Roche says:

    Great stuff yesterday John,Beci and Vicky. Gave me much to think about. Thank you. Teresa

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