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Outstanding Sixth Forms

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Collation of Research Research 1 | Source | Expectations - Whole School | Expectations - Lessons | Expectations - Student | Expectations - Teacher | Faringdon Community College (Psychology Dept. have produced a set of expectations which are shared with students each year).INFO:11-18 Mixed comprehensive school situated on the edge of Faringdon – an affluent Oxfordshire market town.Specialist Status in Engineering and Applied LearningRated Ofsted Outstanding May 2008 KS5 DATA (2012):Small cohorts – 42 in 2012.2012 Average UCAS points per student – 359.A*-E 99% at A2A*-B 50% at A2 | Attendance & punctuality - find out in advance of the next lesson what work was missed so students will not be behind.Lack of homework will affect rewards such as “Student of the month”All courses give students the following info in first lesson:An outline of the syllabus;coursework details (type, interim deadlines); a schedule for completion of the syllabus (weekly or termly); exam details. | Range of activities in lessons e.g. questioning, matching tasks, videos, discussions & note taking.Active participation, e.g. discussing & listening to others’ ideas.Effective written communication is encouraged.Students expected to bring past work to lessons.Bringing textbooks to every lesson.Regular setting of personal targets which are reviewed in lessons.Weekly exam practice.After each ‘Unit’ is taught a past paper will be sat as a Unit Mock.Copying / highlighting chunks of notes from textbooks discouraged. Students record info using: Notes Bullet points Tables Spider diagrams | Meeting deadlines for any homework that is set - it may be preparation for the next lesson or to consolidate previous learning.Be interested in people e.g. reading newspaper articles & watching relevant programmes on TV (recording as part of independent learning log). Psychology specific – could also apply to Media/Law/Govt. & Politics, etc.Show effort & initiative – students make their learning active & find / ask for additional resources.Students match each 1 hour lesson with 1 hour of personal study.Revising throughout the course, not just before tests. | Clarification of anything not understood in lesson straightaway as course tends to move quickly.Teachers model successful revision techniques, tried & tested methods include: Mind maps Bullet points Revision cards Quizzes Planning answers to exam questions Practise past exam questions in timed conditionsTeachers provide revision cards of main theories & studies. Plan lessons & resources to suit individuals by differentiating for lower, middle & upper abilityMake every piece of homework meaningful & useful.Give out weekly essay practice both as homework & in class in examconditions, also carry out end of topic formal tests in exam conditionsGive students a chance to self & peer assess before & after teacher markingof workMark essays as quickly as possible with appropriate feedback (includingstrengths & areas for improvement)Keep records of missed homework & following up appropriatelyRecord essay grades in A-U format in department spreadsheetKeep a register so any students missing lessons can be followed up regardingmissed workGive all students the chance to be involved in discussions |

Research 2 | Source | Modelling | Questioning | Subject Knowledge | Pace | Farlingaye High School (Research Paper produced by member of staff for Master’s program).INFO:11-18 Mixed comprehensive school in Suffolk. Rated 8th comprehensive school in England for A-Level results (The Independent 2009)Rated Ofsted Outstanding March 2007.Survey results come from a relatively weak basis – less than 30% of 6th Form students responded to survey used as basis for report; compared to nearly 70% of teaching staff. Despite the multitude of statistics, etc. quoted, the basis for the report’s findings appears to be a number of lesson observations conducted by the author. KS5 DATA (2011):99.5% pass rate.56% of A2 grades were A*-B.11% A2 grades were A*Average Point Score 980 | Modelling was observed as being used in a number of ways:In a Maths lesson the first 20 minutes were spent with the teacher modelling how to solve an equation (as a new topic). Students were then given time to complete similar problems, leaving the teacher free to circulate and offer one-to-one support. This is effective as it offers students reassurance in how to complete new or ‘perceived difficult’ tasks. In both a Humanities and a Science lesson, modelling was used in the form of showing students a completed project. A positive and reinforcing tool to show students the end result, this is effective as it again offers students reassurance but also a clear picture of what they should be aiming for. Criticisms:Students expected all assignments to be modelled, (in my opinion this would remove the element of independence required to achieve top grades in Humanities / Arts based courses).Models must be achievable in order to reinforce and not undermine student confidence. Students must engage with models not just ‘look’ at them. 90% of material is retained by ‘doing’ compared to just 20-30% retained by seeing/hearing. See Maths example above. | Good questioning should provide three pieces of information for the teacher:Firstly, it identifies students’ current position in their learning. Secondly, it expands upon and deepens the learning.Lastly, it informs planning for future learning. Examples seen in practice:In an English lesson, key questions were included on the plan. Planning 3-4 key questions to be used at certain points in the lesson can help structure the lesson, focus the learning, etc. Could be displayed on ppt or next to learning outcomes. Switching closed questions for open questions (e.g. ‘What is 7 + 8?’ becomes ‘How many different ways can we make 15?’) encourages discussion and creativity, and therefore engagement.Sequencing questions – rather than asking one stand-alone question, ask a series of related questions which build upon one another, or ask students to develop/explain answers given by a fellow student. Likewise, plan a series of questions which move the lesson forward.Move around the room while questioning and encourage a no-hands-up policy so there is nowhere for students to ‘escape’. Ensure students are given time to formulate their answers. Allow students a wait time of 3-5 seconds as opposed to the 1 second average recorded from observations. It is important that students know they will be given time to answer. This benefits students of all abilities, resulting in more thoughtful and detailed answers and fewer ‘I don’t know’ responses. | According to research, subject knowledge is a critical factor in planning, assessing and diagnosing, task setting, questioning, explaining and giving feedback.One of the few areas of the survey where students and staff were in agreement, with 88% of students stating that subject knowledge was either and ‘important’ or ‘very important’ aspect of a successful A-Level lesson. Builds rapport – by the teacher demonstrating clear and confident knowledge of their subject, students gain reassurance of them in a position of authority.Students have a similar appreciation for teachers who demonstrate not just subject knowledge but knowledge of assessment criteria and the demands of the course.Three different types of subject knowledge are seen as necessary for successful teaching:Content Knowledge - knowing the subject, the kind of knowledge that comes from textbooks and is most commonly acquired through formal education. Teachers are expected to have studied the subjects they teach to a high level.Curricular Knowledge – refers to understanding the formally defined curriculum / Spec / assessment materials provided by exam boards, etc. Pedagogic Subject Knowledge – what practitioners have that enables them to provide support for their students. This may be knowledge of specific teaching and learning techniques, knowledge of misconceptions, etc. | Pace is often assumed to mean ‘fast’ and is thereby seen by some as a barrier to the depth of learning required at A-Level. This is not the case; pace in observed lessons made the students do the work and didn’t necessarily mean consistent active learning or performance from the teacher.Observations showed that pace came from thorough planning and preparation. The following steps, though small, aided pace within the classroom:-Lessons were planned with activities based on what the students will be doing, not what the teacher will be doing.-Starter activities didn’t need lengthy introduction – they were quick and focused. -Teacher prepared for the next activity while students completed the starter. -Set tasks relied on students having their contribution ready to share. If students know they have to share personal work with the rest of the class they feel a greater urgency to complete it.-Students provided the plenary. Gifted / willing students were told early in the lesson that they must collect their findings to present to the class at the end of the lesson.-Enlist students to record feedback from class while teacher leads discussion. Keeps all students focused and ensures a wider scale of involvement. |

Source | Achievement in institutions visited. | Quality of T&L (inc. Academic Guidance) | OFSTED Report: A comparison of the effectiveness of Level 3 provision in 25 post-16 providers.How well do students achieve on Level 3 courses in different post-16 providers and what factors contribute to their achievement? Sample included:9 Sixth Form Colleges9 School Sixth Forms7 General Further Education CollegesNumber of learners ranged from a small school sixth form of 90 students to a large college with over 2,000 students enrolled on Level 3 courses. Geographical contexts ranged from rural to inner city. In total, over 140 lessons were visited. | Achievement in each of the 25 institutions was judges as satisfactory or better.Attainment was in line with or above the national average in most institutions. Progress was good or outstanding in the majority of Sixth Form Colleges & School Sixth Forms, whilst Satisfactory in most of the GFE Colleges. Great variations were found within institutions regarding progress and attainment. For example, in one GFE College, progress and attainment on most BTEC courses was outstanding whilst it was inadequate in the few a-Level courses offered. No major variations in achievement between gender or minority groups. All institutions set target grades although these were not always used effectively. The best examples were institutions where targets were set based on prior GCSE attainment but then adjusted in discussion with students and subject teachers to reflect aptitude / increase motivation. Targets were sometimes found to have been adjusted so high as to be demotivating.In one School Sixth Form targets were set so low that students felt demoralised.All but 2 institutions used commercial data capture systems to record and assist analysis of performance / targets. | This category was judged as Outstanding in 4 institutions, Good in 17 and Satisfactory in the remaining 4.Strengths from the best of the sample:High quality academic guidance.Teaching was led by well-qualified subject specialists.Excellent relationships between teachers and students. Teachers had good knowledge of students’ prior attainment. Student performance regularly assessed, informally within lessons and through marked assignments.Strong understanding of students’ personal circumstances which might affect their learning.Teaching met the needs of individuals / groups in a variety of ways, including:- Use of different textbooks, resources and VLE’s.- Well-structured questioning with questions suitably targeted at students of different abilities.- Pairs / groups organised based on ability.- Use of learning support assistants both in lessons and for support outside of the classroom.- Lessons featured a range of activities to engage students.- Planned independent work, including research, was tailored to meet the needs of individual students. - Teachers were generous with their time, both in and out of the classroom, which students appreciated and valued.- Lesson plans were modified in light of informal assessment of students’ progress and understanding during the lesson.- Setting short and longer term goals for individual students. Specific Examples:-In one School Sixth Form students were set according to abilities so potential A/B grade students worked with more challenging activities and extended independent learning whereas lessons for D/E students were more structured. -In another School Sixth Form an observed lesson featured a good variety of structured activities: paired work was followed by group work with groups organised by ability and assigned different tasks, independent research was followed by presentations with good use of questioning at different stages and levels to assess student understanding and develop both learning points and challenging extension tasks. -Additional support for students with specific learning difficulties was an important part of the provision but was weakest or not provided at all in all but one School Sixth Forms. In one Sixth Form College, intervention sessions were run by the study skills department for students with needs such as dyslexia or social/emotional barriers to learning. -In another Sixth Form College, students identified as having low prior attainment were given an extra lesson each week in subjects where their progress was slow.-In the same institution weaker students received PSHE lessons which focused on study organisation and basic skills such as reading and writing. Professional Development:-Only one institution had a specific professional development programme focused on sixth form teaching. This aimed to share and improve practice through: analysing lesson observations; mentoring of weaker teachers; peer observations; joint planning; coaching from expert teachers; evaluation of particular teaching and learning methods; networking across institutions. |…...

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