Oak National Academy launches curriculum plans for 2020/21 with a series of webinars

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Oak’s plan of lessons for the next academic year have been released so schools can consider if and hoOak Academy Learning Resourcesw they want to use the resources from September.

More than 5,000 teachers and school leaders heard how to make the most of Oak’s curriculum plan in webinars for the primary, secondary and specialist sectors held last week. You can watch the webinars online to understand how schools might complement their existing plans.

Oak’s free, optional resources will be available throughout the next academic year to help schools provide as seamless transition as possible between teaching pupils in school and at home. Wherever possible teachers will be able to download and edit materials to support planning.

Nearly 10,000 lessons will be published by the end of August. Oak’s 40 subject leaders collaborated with teachers, subject associations and curriculum experts to create an inclusive and flexible curriculum.

Matt Hood, Principal of Oak National Academy, said:

“We know next year is uncertain and challenging. We're listening to what schools need to try and play a small part in supporting them.

“We want to be there as an optional contingency plan and make any transition between in-school and remote teaching as seamless as possible.

“Our team of teachers are recording nearly 10,000 lessons ahead of September.  Teachers will then be able to re-order, download and edit our resources, to make sure they support schools' own plans.

“We've been delighted with the initial response, with over 5,000 teachers joining our webinars last week.”

New Guidance for Teaching Mathematics in Primary Schools

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DfE and The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics have published a suite of new guidance on teaching MaDFE Logothematics in primary schools. This guidance:


                     identifies the core concepts that are needed for pupils to progress in their study of mathematics

                     demonstrates how pupils can build their understanding of these concepts from year 1 to year 6


Short videos that introduce and summarise this guidance are also available. Schools and trusts may find this guidance helpful in planning and prioritising the curriculum following the COVID-19 outbreak.


The Confederation of School Trusts (CST) - Rapid overview of Full reopening guidance

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Following the issue of of guidance for the full reopening of schools from September, The Confederation of School Trusts (CST) has produced a rapid overview of the guidance, this presentation can be found here.

Below is a rapid review of possible steps to take put together following an online review of the guidance by CST yesterday.   Please note: this is not a substitute for reading the full guidance so please do make sure you refer to the full guidance for the opening of schools.  Links to this can be found below.

The structure of the guidance is difficult to see because of its length. It is divided into 5 sections.  The first section is the most important – this sets out the system of 9 controls. This is Public Health advice to minimise risks.  The remaining four sections set out DfE expectations.

  1. Part one: Public Health Advice to minimise risks. 
  2. Part two: School operations
  3. Part three: Curriculum, behaviour and pastoral support
  4. Part four: Assessment and accountability
  5. Part five: Contingency planning for outbreaks   

The system of controls replaces the hierarchy of controls and is a more sophisticated version of that. The system of controls is divided into two parts:  

  • Prevention (controls 1-6); and  
  • Response to infection (controls 7-9)  

In the prevention controls,  

  • Numbers 1 to 4 must be in place in all schools, all the time.  
  • Number 5 must be properly considered and schools must put in place measures that suit their particular circumstances. Number 6 applies in specific circumstances.  

This is an exercise in the balance of risk – how to balance and minimise any risks from the coronavirus with providing the curriculum. So, number 5 is pivotal – we must make our best endeavours to minimise contact and create distancing wherever possible, while delivering the curriculum.    

We are being asked to implement sensible and proportionate control measures which follow the system of controls to reduce the risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level.  

Key issues arising from the meeting:  

  1. Workforce: the guidance on clinically extremely vulnerable, clinically vulnerable and the position on pregnant women is not clear enough – colleagues on the call had interpreted this in different and inconsistent ways and there is  general concern about who can come back and who cannot. We need further clarity on this urgently. CST will seek further clarity from our legal and HR partners on some aspects of this.
  1. Risk assessments: CST is seeking further advice from Browne Jacobson on the HSE duty to consult in a meaningful and timely way, when there is probably insufficient time to review all risk assessments and consult meaningfully before the summer holidays. We will also seek a DfE view on this.  
  1. Transport: the issues around transport seem very significant and we would welcome greater clarify on this.  
  1. Accountability: we are disappointed that there is no statement about performance tables in 2020-21 and urge the government to provide this clarity.  
  1. Curriculum: colleagues felt more guidance is needed on some quite specific aspects of provision – science labs, design technology, PE changing rooms, swimming and also elements of the curriculum – dance, drama and music.  
  1. Minimising contact: questions were raised about ‘bubbles’ and how to maintain them in school and out of school. Questions were also raised about assemblies. A clarification on this point: the guidance says groups should be kept apart, meaning that schools should avoid large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group.  
  1. Financial burdens:  Colleagues are concerned that there is no recognition of the financial burdens COVID-19 has placed on schools and trusts, outside of those identified in the exception costs guidance. CST advises that you keep a careful account of these burdens so that we can make the case for additional funding.     
  1. Remote education: Questions were raised about digital poverty and whether we can expect more Wi-Fi enabled devices to ensure access to remote education during potential periods of local lockdown.  

Guidance on the full opening of schools  

Here are the links to the full suite of guidance that was published yesterday:  

Guidance for parents and carers  

In addition, guidance for parents has also been published: What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term.  

Ofqual consultation on the 2021 examination series  

Ofqual has also published its consultation on the 2021 examination series. Ofqual has also published a position paper on vocational and technical qualifications and assessments 2020/21. The consultation will be open for two weeks starting on 2 July 2020 and ending on 16 July 2020. Online responses can be submitted here.  

The consultation on general qualifications includes proposals and questions on the following areas:  

  • adaptations to exams and assessments that could free up teaching time  
  • adaptations to exams and assessments to address obstacles that could be created by any public health safeguards  
  • sampling of subject content  
  • the use of more optional questions in exams  
  • changing the length of exams  
  • changing the exam timetable

Supporting Children and Young People Who Have Experienced Trauma

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Sigma LogoSigma TSA are excited to be able to offer a series of webinars that focus on trauma informed approaches and interventions to support children and young people in school.  The last webinar takes place on Tuesday 7th July at 4pm.

The aim of each webinar is to support schools to further develop trauma reducing approaches and interventions as they resettle children back into school and to learning.  The webinars will offer practical strategies that can be implemented easily in school.

The strategies will be evidence-based from research in psychology and neuroscience.  Some of the evidence-based approaches and interventions informed by research are deceptively simple.  They are, however, also enormously powerful in their impact.

10 sessions now available online:

Session 1 - The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe

Session 2 - Rebuilding Trust: Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

Session 3 - Our Own Wellbeing: Self-Care and Organisational Care

Session 4 - Our Own Wellbeing Part 2: Mindfulness is a Superpower

Session 5 - 'Reopening’ Schools: Five key trauma-informed considerations re managing transitions for everyone’s wellbeing

Session 6 - The Podcast: Trust, Safety and Everyone's Wellbeing

Session 7 - What about when it goes wrong?

Session 8 - A Choice Between Two Webinars

Session 9 - Teaching the social and emotional skills not yet learned

Session 10 - We Need to Talk About Shame

To access this free training visit: http://www.sigmateachingschool.org.uk/online-training

TSC Podcast #7: Just Take the Doors off the Land Rover

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In this podcast Jim speaks with Mark Fuller. Mark is a previous secondary school principal and is now Head of Training Operations at The Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering (DSEME) which part for the Defence College of Technical Training and is located at MOD Lyneham in Wiltshire. Jim and Mark discuss the challenges and opportunities the C-19 pandemic has presented in terms of leadership and planning and delivering high-quality training. The discussion provides an interesting perspective with implications for all those in school and system leadership on the importance of visible leadership, inclusion, communication, celebrating succes43:03n and the ‘human element’.

Mark spent 24 years teaching in secondary schools in Swindon, Wiltshire and Bristol and twelve of those in various senior leadership positions including as Headteacher. Seeking a new challenge he made the decision to leave the school sector and took a role in trainer development for Babcock and was recently appointed Head of Training Operations at The Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering (DSEME) which part for the Defence College of Technical Training and is located at MOD Lyneham in Wiltshire. It is responsible for delivering technical training to soldiers, Royal Marines, airmen and officers from all three Services. DSEME has a mission to deliver flexible, affordable, modern and effective technical training in order to support equipment capability that meets the requirements of the nation’s Armed Forces and the needs of their trainees now and into the future. His role as head of Training Operations includes training delivery, training design, training planning & scheduling, media & graphics and equipment support to:

  • Over 1,050 courses
  • Over 166 types of course
  • Over 11,500 students per year
  • Over 2,050 students in training at any one time
  • Over 2,500 piece of equipment including weapons, tanks, helicopters, trucks, electrical and electronic training aids, high pressure systems and simulators

His first task in his new role was to pause training for over a thousand soldiers, his second task was to re-start it! Mark is a Fellow of the Society for Education and Training (SET) and has led a national best practice initiative on the use of Professional Standards for staff development and holds an MSc in professional Development in Education. He is passionate about learning in all forms and has taught in China and has a longstanding relationship with a school in Brikama, The Gambia, West Africa which he still returns to and teaches in on a regular basis. This appetite for learning has just seen him complete a Foundation Degree in Coaching and Mentoring in order to improve his own practice. He is married with three children all at different stages of the education system – University, FE College and Secondary School and his wife is a prison librarian with an interest in adult literacy. Mark has been an influential figure in Jim’s professional career and his leadership approach is based on the values and principles he lives by.


Timeline (mins):

04:15 So firstly Mark, tell us a bit about you, your background and current role and responsibilities.

09:00 The challenge of contextual-based learning

12:10 For you and those at MOD Lyneham what have been the implications of current situation and what has been the leadership/strategic response

29:13 What opportunities of new ways of working and legacy of current period are there?

43:03 What are the things you think we need to get right both as leaders and also leading teaching / training during this recovery phase?

Jim can be found on Twitter   @jimrogers72