ISANet Newsletter Monday 8 September 2014 – Beyond fulfilling your potential…

ISANet Newsletter Monday 8 September 2014 for the full picture edition.

Beyond fulfilling your potential…

At the start of every new Academic Year, teachers and pupils have a chance to reset how other people perceive them. There has been a substantial break, a chance to refresh and renew, an opportunity perhaps even to reinvent their personae.

And many choose to make that step, and because of their change in attitude, change what others perceive they might achieve. We have been back at school for 2 days (3 days for Year 7) and whether we  are 6, 16 or 60, it seems those of us that believe we can change for better are giving it a go. The extensive evidence from science around how neural pathways are formed, how they can be further changed and developed with time has developed rapidly over the the last decade. And as the evidence grows exponentially to support the principles of ‘Growth Mindset’ theory, it’s notable that educators need to take these principles on board if they want to extend the achievements for their pupils, themselves and their school.

For those of you that need an easy-peasy guide to Growth Mind set theory, here’s Eduardo Briceno at a TEDx event in 2012 –  Now don’t go shuffling about now thinking, do I really need to know this stuff, you do. It’s teachers using the wrong kind of language for praise that sets boundaries and limits for children.  “You’re really smart” rewards intelligence and encourages others not to try hard. “You must have tried really hard” rewards the learner and encourages the others to do the same.

Post-modern Western Parents tend to protect their children from making a greater effort by siding with their children when the going gets tough.  “I used to find Maths hard too” or “I gave up X as soon as I could, I just didn’t get it” are typical examples of Parent-speak. It’s very noticeable in Far Eastern cultures, such as Japan, that getting Maths is a requirement that requires effort not genius, and they’ll work at it much more obviously to achieve a good standard.

Here’s a new-ish National Numeracy for everyone, for life website that rather helpfully shows us how we can move Maths into a Growth mindset approach.  Judging by the enormous struggle we still have nationally to get our 16 year olds up to scratch, we could do with a bit more Challenge in this neck of the woods – why don’t you take the National Numeracy Challenge and restart your own willingness to improve your Maths!

Beyond Michael Gove…Morgan the Mighty

The sacking of Mr Gove is now yesterday’s news, and it is amazing just how suddenly the soundbites in education have dried up. The worry remains that those Ministers (Morgan – Surbiton, Laws – St Georges, Gibb – Bedford Modern, Nick Boles – Winchester, Timpson – Uppingham, Lord Nash – Milton Abbey)  that drive education policy were educated privately, so can’t represent the wider Education community that is still (93%ish) state educated. I am not so sure about that – after all, there is a signficant volume of senior markers and subject leaders in the Exam boards who work in our sector, as inded tehre are represented in many other facets of education, and the whole system would be lost without that contribution. There was a nasty scare last week that our new Secretary of State, Nicky Morgan, was about to direct Sir Michael Wilshaw that his inspectors were to find in favour of universal setting and streaming at secondary level.  Now that really would have been the worst kind of political interference in an independent inspectorate, and I honestly think Sir MIchael would have welcomed such a call. Fortunately, such was the outcry from those who are specialists in education, here as reported by the BBC for example, that NM backed tracked very smartly.

What else can we now look forward to?  The good news is that she’s has not put a foot wrong yet, and peace making seems more important than news.

Special Education Needs Reform

I quote from the Torygraph: In July, the House of Lords approved the long awaited final version of the 0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice for England.

The SEND reforms are the largest overhaul of services for children and young people with special educational needs in the last 30 years, and will see education, health and social care services joining up to provide a more holistic approach to service provision.

Currently the needs of children and young people in England are assessed and detailed using statements of Special Educational Need (SEN) and Learning Disability Assessments (LDAs).

From this September, these will be replaced with Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans and will bring together all the education, health and care needs of the child in order to form a more cohesive support package, placing the needs and aspirations of the child at the centre of the process.”

The thing to watch here is that Needs that are underpinned by SEN statute are compulsory, and those by Health are advisory.  This ‘great revolution’ could be undermined by local authorities and central govt. slipping the ring fence from one to the other, for example with Speech Therapy services, and thus permit the ‘I know it is desirable, but we don’t have the cash’ excuse’.  Think ‘Nice’ for example. At the start of the year, RCSLT ensured that govt. kept these services within Education statementing, but there is bad news too.  The needs identification does not include joint commissioning; if the child’s GP felt that a Child’s needs required some extra support at school, they can’t just write a chit. And typically what will emerge is that some LAs are going to be more generous than others, so the arrival of a postcode lottery is feared – so what’s new? A good explanation of this here by Newcastle Uni blogger James Laws. Independent Schools need to join up to the EHC movement too –

Five things Schools need to know about the SEN Reforms.

Nice Guardian article here covers our responsibilities, but as Independent Schools don’t have to be involved, their children might miss out. I don’t see that it is schools interests not be part of the offer, but let me know if you think otherwise!

Looking after the Tiger… from my Twitter stream

What an extraordinary story – who’d have thought?  Here’s the ITN movie clip…

And finally…

The research bank at Wilding Towers has captured a vast number of interesting snippets over the last 8 weeks. I like…

Teaching History with 100 Objects by the British Museum

Design Thinking an Animated walk-through by Ana de Armas

Five Research-Driven Education Trends At Work in Classrooms by Katrina Schwartz

Top independent school puts lessons free on iTunes by the Stephen Perse Foundation

US pediatricians call for delay to morning school start for teens – everywhere


Future Dates

Saturday 18 October 2014 – Google’ Hub’ Event at Claires Court.

It’s 3 years since Claires Court went to the cloud, and our ‘Hub’ community numbers over 30 schools across the country.  This event, co-sponsored by Claires Court and C-Learning, seeks to bring those communities for a lively day of chit&chat – booking opens next week.

Objective of the day:

  1. a) to allow staff from the 30 – 35 schools who have gone done the “Hub” route to get together and share experiences of how they have evolved their use of Google Apps and other resources to create their Cloud based learning service
  2. b) to show these schools new products and services that they may wish to add to their own services including Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, Chromebases, Chromebox for Meetings, Google Play for Education, Tablets, Google Vault, Synergyse, Securly, etc

In terms of the schedule for the day

9.30am to 10am – Arrival & Tea/Coffee

10am to 11am  – Welcome to Claires Court & All Schools – Hub Show & Tell

11am to 12.15pm – Streamed sessions for Prep/Primary Schools and Secondary / Seniors schools for them to continue their Hub Show & Tell as there are uses which are age specific

12.15pm to 1.45pm – Lunch, Networking and hands on trials of Chrome devices, Tablets and Google Glass

1.45pm to 2.45pm – Software demonstrations (all) – 5 minutes plus discussion on Google Vault, Backupify, Synergyse, Classroom, Hapara, Securly, GoGuardian, Google Play for Education

2.45p to 3.15pm – Panel Q&A and Close

About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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