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I dont post on here very often, but I've been tasked with a total revamp of how we organise our ks3 planning. I wondered, what do people here include in the 'set' list, and what in the 'optional' or adjustable list?
I'm thinking about things like key assessments - should they be the same across a year group, or are just the skills specified? what about ensuring challenge and developing skills from year to year? Also, at the moment we have optional weekly overviews with activities and so on, and some colleagues have told me they find that too constraining, while someone in management said that we should keep these as they constitute support for new/struggling staff, nqt and so on...
I was thinking of having quite a short list of 'set' things - mainly topic headings and skills which must be assessed (we have to have key assessments which are common across a cohort, though - not sure how to match those two at the moment). And then everything else - how long should be spent on a topic, key assessments and when to do them, resources, materials, etc, would be totally up to the teachers.
What do people think of this? We are due an Ofsted in the next - oh, 6 months or so, and have regular 'Health Checks' of departments, and I would really like the new curriculum to be graded as high as possible, but I cant really find any criteria - any suggestions of where to look for that would be really helpful too!
So - several bits to this - what do people do - what do you think of my suggestions - where can I find a definitive list/guide?
Thanks for any help!
At KS3, I have one A4 page per unit (about 3-5 weeks), which details the key concepts that must be taught, which pages in the textbook are important to cover (content rather than methodology, I don't mind if the content is covered in a different way), suggested internet/textbook resources, suggested differentiation, suggested assessment. I do one whole-year assessment per term (but would like to move to one per half-term) but apart from that teachers are free to assess how they want. I'd like to move towards having a master folder of resources and good ideas that teachers contribute to and can dip into when necessary.
I don't see why people moan about weekly overviews being too constraining if they are optional? I do a yearly overview of which unit people should be on week by week, and then they refer to the guidelines from the A4 page, but that's it. I think your management is right - keep them in, as they can provide support, but keep them optional, with only the general guidelines being compulsory.
If you make the assessment available to teachers before they teach, they'll be able to make a choice as to how to best teach their classes in order for them to be able to do the assessment.
If your team is fairly mature, why not ask them what they want? Explain the aims in the way you have done in your original post and then see what ideas they come up with...
One thing we did in my last HoD post in the UK was to make all of our schemes of work electronic. We discussed as a department what we wanted to see so that what we developed suited everyone. The basic format was an opening page with really just a list of topics with key dates - really experienced teachers said that this was enough however from this you could hyperlink to more detailed notes regarding key concepts with NC levels and progression, texts, websites, key words, resources, worksheets, investigations, ICT ideas, etc, etc.
The power of the system was that teachers could easily access all the department resources (no matter where they were) and even better add their own resources to the SoW.
We got an admin person to set up the original templates, link in what we already had in our filing cabinets and folders and then we just added stuff as we went along......important to discuss every now and again what's been added though to make sure either everyone's participating or at least that some people aren't going mad adding anything that moves, but also gives you an opportunity to discuss best practice as a matter of course.
Wish the school I'm in now had the resources or motivation to do this, it really worked well.
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