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Working at John Betts

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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WORKING AT JB


As a school we constantly evolve and change based on research as well as experience and knowledge of our staff. Fundamentally we believe that everything teachers do in class have a purpose and has clear impact on children otherwise it is simply a waste of time doing it. Shirley Clarke, Dylan William and John Hattie are just a few of the educational experts we follow as well as Mary Myatt. We own a number of their books and will share these and refer to these as part of CPD and INSET.


We strongly encourage people to bring and share ideas and are keen to discuss these. We would ask that staff pilot their ideas in their own classroom to show us that this works before introducing it across the school. Sometimes what works in one setting doesn’t always translate so it is always worth checking this.


Planning is set on a two-year rolling programme and the main purpose of this is to provide teachers with a planning partner and someone to work alongside. This is to ensure you have someone to bounce ideas off as well as providing support to each other with challenging situations within your classroom settings. We anticipate that you will work together and then appropriately differentiate your tasks and expectations according to age expectations and the needs within your own classroom setting.

 

We believe where the children can do the work you need to ensure that they are doing it and you are not doing it for them. Therefore, punctuation checks and asking them to correct their own mistakes not only develops their independence and secures their learning, it also is one less piece of marking you have to do : )


Changing places each week


Each week the children change their table places. This is done by total random selection (teachers usually use lolly pop sticks to help them). Teachers will find an appropriate time of the week (Monday or Friday lunchtime) to do this and it is expected to be part of the weekly routine. We do this to provide children opportunity to work with a range of learners across the classroom, to prevent habitual behaviours (lower achievers becoming over reliant on higher achievers, higher achievers dominating lower achievers), develop children’s social skills and to enhance different learning styles working together. On occasion if there is a child with an EHCP you may decide (in agreement with them or SENCo) that they will remain in their allocated place and the rest of the class are seated around them. You may find on some occasions that you have a table where you anticipate really difficult behaviour from a group of children sitting with each other. Please endure this as usually this provides opportunity for children to self-regulate as they soon become frustrated with the lack of focus. Another advantage of this system is that if the children are sitting next to someone who is difficult to work alongside they know they only have to deal with it for a week and it will enhance and develop their tolerance levels, it will also help if parents are unhappy about who their child is sat next to – it is only a week.


Higher achieving children


At John Betts we have some exceptionally able children. It can make planning challenging however they need to be the focus of your challenge. If they are not challenged they will easily bore and this is often when we see negative behaviours setting in. When you are planning for lessons you absolutely must plan to your highest achievers and then scaffold down to your other learners. We do not set in this school and they must not sit in tables of ability as research proves this has little impact and usually negative impact on any group. As you will have a significant range of learners in your cohort you may find that when you are teaching NUMBER in maths you might apply a ‘flip’ teaching system. How this works is that if children feel confident with the learning objective they can choose to go straight to their seat and start on the task that is prepared for that session. As a teacher you will then teach the learning objective to the rest of the class in the usual way. Once the rest of the
class have been set a task you would then move your attention to the higher achieving children to
assess what they have completed and provide further challenge where necessary.

It is really important you are aware of their gaps in learning. Often children who are very good with numbers do not enjoy the reasoning side of this and you may need to ensure they develop this skill.


Punctuation checks


From the Feedback and Marking policy you will know that the children use pink biros to edit their work prior to adult intervention. We believe the best way to instil children using CAPITAL LETTERS and full stops… They need to correct and edit their work themselves. It is good practice to include a bright pink slide for the end of each session the children are writing and give them 5 minutes to carry out a punctuation check. By doing this you are saving yourself a great deal of marking time. It will provide you with an insight to which children understand what punctation and grammar and will also allow them to see how much pink pen they are using and if they see a reduction in this as the year goes on. On occasions it is absolutely fine to ask them to do this as peer punctuation checks.


Learning Systems and planning


Learning Systems are used for all subjects. This includes a learning objective, three differentiated tasks under the heading ‘PRACTISE’ ‘USE’ ‘APPLY’ and extension tasks, assessment grids and, when appropriate, success criteria. For Science and Foundation subjects the symbol from the Assessment Shields are also included so the children are clear as to what skill they are working towards for this session. For Foundation subjects this also needs to specify the subject you are teaching. These systems are the main body of your planning along with the flipcharts that you use for each lesson and this is what will be monitored (see below for more information). The other planning that must be provided each week is a timetable of how the teaching team will be providing support to individuals (this includes skills sessions and guided reading). An example may be LL
working with Red Children BH working with PP children or they could be more specific and provide the initials of individual children where appropriate e.g. Precision teaching – HH

 

Use of testing and assessment


At John Betts we use minimal amount of summative assessment – why – an analogy – ‘You can weigh a pig every day but if you want the pig to put on weight you need to feed it.’ We could spend time delivering test but all this does is take time out of your teaching curriculum and you then spend hours marking these tests which don’t tell you anything you don’t already know. Formative assessment is used throughout and the use of the learning system, the assessment grids, SIMs grids, assessment shields and your brilliant knowledge of the children you work with you will know everything you need to know about your children, in fact you will have a far deeper knowledge and understanding of your children which will support and help your teaching and planning.
 

Home learning


As a new initiative and as we now have children successfully set up to use Google Classroom the majority of home learning will now be set on this platform. We are developing this and will be creating rubrics (used as part of our online learning) to provide the children with home learning experiences. As Home Learning has minimal impact on primary school children (cfr. Hattie), we provide this but I do not anticipate a high level of marking on this work. Please however that parents do spend time helping their children and do need to have acknowledgement that it has been completed.
For Maths we provide the use of Maths Passports and Mathletics – we do not send any other formal Maths homework as many of our parents are keen to teach their children how they learnt and this can be confusing. We do encourage home learning to be practical so include cooking, art, design and other practical opportunities for the children.


Spelling


We do send spelling home HOWEVER it is really important that you only send either 3 or 5 depending on whether you are going to test 6 or 10 words. They need to show they understand the spelling rule so they will have 5 they have learnt and 5 that are ‘blind’ but follow the rule you have provided. Children are provided with tricky words for their year group at the beginning of the year. These should be sent home, posted on the class webpage and randomly assessed throughout the year.


Up levelling and Editing writing


Children in Key Stage One are not expected to up level their writing however they are expected to be able to carry out punctuation checks as part of self-editing. This should be introduced in Year One and continued to be modelled in Year Two.
In Key Stage Two we expect a ‘green write’ which is where a piece of writing is up-levelled following teacher intervention once a week and or where appropriate twice in a fortnight. When you plan for this writing to be up levelled, the children write the first draft on the right-hand side of their exercise book leaving the left-hand side of the page empty for editing and redrafting. This can be up levelled using peer feedback, writing conferencing or written feedback from the teaching team.

 

Live marking in maths


We don’t anticipate Maths books are marked outside of the Maths lesson as we believe that verbal feedback is the most effective way of moving children on in their Maths. If you provide verbal feedback we are happy to see a simple VF and we should then be able to see the impact of this feedback. All teaching partners are expected to be able to mark during these lessons and should have green and pink highlighters to be able to indicate when children have achieved or struggled with a concept. If during a Maths lesson a teaching partner identifies that a child or a group of children have really struggled with a concept they need to flag this up to the teacher at the end of the session.


Resources


Whilst we are on the subject of Maths: Using resources to develop an understanding of any concept is really important to support all levels of learners. Children need to be using resources from Reception through to Year Six and at all age abilities. Resources are available in all classroom and the children should know where to access them easily and be encouraged to do so. There is a slightly historic mindset that you only need to use resources if you are a lower achieving child please do you best to quash this throughout the school, talk to the children as to why and how to use resources and how they help with understanding new concepts.


Teaching teams


John Betts is a very collaborative school. Over the past six years we have evolved the role of the Teaching Assistant and Learning Support Assistant, they are very much part of the teaching team are highly respected across the school and have a significant responsibility. As of September 2020, they are known as Teaching Partners. Each year group is a Teaching Team, when there is a child in the class who has an EHCP they will have a key worker however the entire team are expected to work with all children and be able to support all learners. Key Workers will be responsible for attending sessions with external agencies and attend Annual Review meetings with the teacher/s and SENCo.
The rule of thumb with your Teaching Partners is their primary role is to support the teacher to enhance and improve outcomes for all children. That means they may need to act like the left part of the teacher’s brain whilst they are using the right part and vice versa. Thinking ahead and for the teacher particularly when it comes to classroom organisation and communication. It is a good idea that each classroom has a communication book to ensure that nothing is missed and any issues are recorded and followed up, please do this as you see fit as a team.
In addition to this across the school each teaching partner has different strengths and talents and on occasions they may need sharing out. If you have a teaching partner who is particularly strong at display and you know that others don’t please work together to share these skills. Let’s make this the best experience for all children by working together and utilising each other’s strengths.


Wellbeing


The wellbeing of all stakeholders at JB is imperative. One key factor to ensure that we are getting this right is communication. If you are aware that someone is struggling or if you are struggling please make sure you are sharing this to ensure support and is in place for you. Whilst SLT do their best to monitor all staff members they can easily miss things and really do want to make changes if it is going to help you in anyway. If you are given any information about a child or their family struggling in anyway (small things can reveal bigger problems) please let someone on SLT know so that if we can provide support we will.

The wellbeing of the children is paramount and when you attend Pupil Progress meetings you will discuss their wellbeing alongside their academic progress, if anything comes up between these meetings please share as we can potentially provide nurture or external support where necessary. Please DON’T wait for these meetings.
Staff wellbeing is also extremely important and we have made changes throughout the last few
years to do as much as we can to ensure you are supported appropriately.

  • Each teacher has a teaching partner in their class from 8.30am to support with admin duties. This is an expensive resource so please make sure you utilise. Teaching partners need to be in class ready to start at 8.30. Use this time to discuss the day ahead, stick learning systems in books, prepare resources and put up displays
  • Planning has been reduced
  • Marking has been reduced
  • Each class had teaching partners on a daily basis
  • PPA is blocked
  • Staff INSET does not take place during Pupil Progress and Parent Evening weeks
  • Parents (apart from reps) are not allowed to contact you directly and SLT are aware of any communication that is sent to you
  • Two-year rolling programme provides planning partners
  • Support staff meetings and Breakfast meetings weekly
  • Refreshments and social events planned for at pinch points throughout the year

 

Monitoring


JB has a ‘little and often’ approach to monitoring. This is across both observations and work scrutiny. Observations are planned to take place approximately every two to three weeks according to the experience of the teachers. These observations will last no more than ten minutes. We absolutely do not want to see any special performances, we want to see what you get up to when nobody is looking so we can support you in developing your practice. Following on from the observation you will be provided with a ‘lever’, this ‘lever’ is a small and achievable adjustment that we will be looking for in the following observations. By using this approach, we quickly identify any possible negative habits forming and your teaching will evolve successfully with little pressure. If when we provide you with a lever you feel you would like support with this we will arrange for you to observe someone or plan for some time with a subject leader or a member of SLT.
English and Maths work scrutiny will take place every other week. So, each week a set of books will be monitored, again you will be provided with a lever from this subject lead. During these scrutinies they will sometimes use pupil voice and interview children about their learning and during moderation and staff inset they will find times to discuss your books and planning with you. As part of the scrutiny they carry out they will also look at the SIMs assessment grids to ensure you are using these as planning tools and that gaps for the whole class as well as individuals are being planned for.
Science work scrutiny will take place once every half term and again pupil voice will be part of this scrutiny at least once a term. 

Foundation subjects will take place once a term. Please note the English Subject Lead will at times be monitoring use of punctuation, grammar and presentation across other subjects whilst looking through the English / Humanities/ RE books.
From this regular monitoring the SLT will meet with subject leads to identify and highlight any areas of development. This may require individual support being provided or it might be that we need to plan a whole staff INSET to fill in the gaps.

Please do be aware that if we see that children are not making the expected progress and that work is not to the level we would anticipate we will be asking individual teachers to provide full planning so that we are able to monitor and identify where support is required. Some teachers do work more effectively if they create detailed plans weekly and this may be what is required to improve outcomes for children.


Guided Reading


Guided Reading has been constantly evolving and changing over the past few years. Over the past academic year, we have created a weekly learning system and focused on VIPERS (see English guidance). It is essential that high quality texts are being used for Guided Reading sessions. On occasions the text you are using as part of your English planning may be appropriate to also use as your guided reading text. In addition, there are time where non-fiction texts related to your topic should be used. It is really important that you do not use TWINKLE as their level and use of language is not good quality and use of questioning is often incorrect therefore not supporting children in their reading skills. By September we are hoping to have a list of books that each year
group can use as part of their guided reading.


Science / Art / Computing timetabling


Science needs to be taught over a two-hour period in the afternoon. This is ample time to plan, prepare and carry out an investigation and write it up when necessary. If due to staffing you are struggling with this please ensure you are informing a member of SLT so that we can provide you with support for this. Science continues to be a core subject and this needs to be a non-negotiable on your weekly timetable.
Art & Computing – last year teachers reported that trying to cover Art and Computing within an hour period was really challenging to achieve. As a teaching team we decided that we would have a fortnightly timetable where one week the children would have a two-hour Art session and one week the children would have a two-hour Computing session. Due to Covid 19 we have not been able to fully assess how successful this has been so we will continue to do this over the next academic year. It is really important that two learning objectives are covered each fortnight to ensure that there is full coverage of both subjects.
Maths – a further addition to the fortnightly timetable is that each week in Maths you cover three sessions of Number and either two sessions of problem solving or two sessions of geometry. These will be shared as part of the fortnightly timetable.
PE – assessment and expectations
As an inner-city school it is really important the children have optimum time to exercise. Therefore, if they have PE in the morning, they come to school in their PE kit and change at lunch time. If they have PE in the afternoon they come to school in their uniform and change into their kit at lunchtime. If they have a club at the beginning or the end of the day which would result in them changing more than once they may stay in their kit. Please make sure they are changing during their lunchtime and not during their learning time, surprisingly they change with much more speed if is on their time.

Reception and Year One (Autumn Term) may spend one of their PE days in their kit for the full day, the second day they need to change to make sure they speed this process up. If children do not bring kit there is spare kit in the Assistant Headteacher’s office. If they are unable to participate there is a form for them to fill in whilst they are watching this session.
Teaching Partners are provided with an observation sheet each week to assess participation, skill coverage and sportsmanship. This is given to the class teacher at the end of each session so that 
they are aware of PE they have been taught and how the children are performing.

 

Start of the day


Aside from Reception the children should start handwriting as soon as they walk into the classroom whilst the teacher takes the register. During this time Teaching Partners need to check reading record and maths passports have been completed. Children should do both these on a daily basis and each class should keep a record of these being completed. By approximately 9.10 the children should be working towards their skills for that day which is a combination of Maths and English skills.
We also take a wellbeing register both in the morning and at lunchtime this is a mechanism to monitor and check on how the children are feeling. When they respond to the register they also give you a number between 1 and 10 which allows you to identify if you need to deal with an individual. On occasions we may ask you to take a record of the responses from a particular child for safeguarding or wellbeing purposes.


Parental communication


As is protocol in the majority of primary schools we ask parents not to speak to you about their child at the beginning of the day. As is typical some parents forget this, if they do please direct them to the SLT who is on the gate to pass on any messages about their child or to ring/email the office.
Parents (except parent reps) should not have access to your personal email address. Any messages should come via office@johnbetts.lbhf.sch.uk These are then emailed to you and a member of SLT and we ask you to respond within 48 hours. SLT will touch base with you to check what has happened. Verbal communication is the best so either speak to them at the end of the day or pick up the phone and call them. If following this conversation, you think a meeting is necessary please make sure you have spoken to SLT before arranging this so we can assess if you need someone else to attend the meeting with you.


Parent Reps


The role of the parent rep is to support you with some of the operational aspects of the class. They are there to disseminate communication to the whole year group when necessary.

  • Update the parents when it comes to a change in date or a reminder when the children are going on a trip or have assembly.
  • They also help organise volunteer readers and adults to accompany children to go swimming (Year 4 & 5) as well as trips.
  • They work alongside the PTA to raise money for the school and generally are a very useful
    resource.

They are allowed to email you directly regarding operational and organisational issues. They are not meant to send emails to you in regards to their children and if they do please do not respond and let a member of SLT know. Overall, they are really helpful but if you find you are being inundated with emails or questions again let SLT know.


Gold Awards


Each Friday during whole school assembly we present a child with a gold award to celebrate either an academic achievement or an achievement that reflects a positive change in learning behaviour or where appropriate something linked to one of our five values. ‘KINDNESS, INTEGRITY, RESILIENCE, COURAGE, PERSEVERANCE’ Please make sure you keep a register of who has been provided with the award so that by the end of the academic year every member of the class has received one. Please do not give Gold Awards to new starters, we can create a settling-in award which can be a welcome to JB award once you think they are ready to receive this.


Playground Duties

 

Every member of staff is on duty at least once a week and typically twice either during playtime or assembly cover. These timetables are displayed in the staffroom as well as being saved in key information in staff shared. Please make sure you are aware of your duty times and that you turn up promptly for these duties. Please make sure you are timely with ringing the bell and getting the children to assembly either for a 10.30 or 10.45 start. The lunchtime bell is to be rung by the member of SLT who is on duty at 1.25 for last warning and then at 1.28 when class teachers are ready so they are returning to class by 1.30
If you are on a course it is your responsibility to change your rota and inform DHT or AHT. If you are unwell it is your responsibility to inform the member of SLT that you speak to when you phone in.


Sickness


If you are unfortunate enough to be too unwell to come to school please make sure you do the following:

  • Phone and SPEAK to either Jessica or Theo (numbers are in staff shared) between 7am and 8am. It is really important that you respect these times and keep to them. If you do not get through please try the other person. Leaving a message is not enough, you must SPEAK to someone and confirm that someone on SLT knows you are not coming in to school
  • Please contact your teaching team and let them know you are not coming in. You do not have to speak to them but you do need to inform them.
  • If you are a class teacher you need to email the office and Theo with your plans and resources for the day.
  • If you are a Teaching Partner you must ensure that any duties or responsibilities you have for that day are covered.
  • Please contact the school by 4pm to let them know if you are returning to school the following day.

 

Trips, visitors and cultural capital

 

We are really keen to utilise the amazingness of London to support and enhance the children’s learning. There is an incredible array of opportunities available to the children both locally and further into London. Many of our children have a high level of exposure to cultural experiences and in addition to the trips we arrange we want to ensure that those children that don’t are given additional opportunities to be exposed to the outside world and all it has to offer to enhance their cultural capital.

The expectations for trips for Year 1 – 6 are the following:

  • The class attends a trip every half term. This is either linked directly to the topic or it is a visit to an art gallery or a place of worship. There are ideas of where you can go on the curriculum overview, this is to avoid children going to the same place more than once (Kew Gardens for example)
  • The class attends a theatre trip at least once in an academic year
  • Any opportunitiy to invite external speakers in to support their learning in class is welcome

 

When booking trips please check with Jessica in regards to dates and times, once agreed please do the following:

  • ask the office to book transport where necessary and ensure that packed lunches (there is a packed lunch list with the children’s choice of sandwich and this remains the same for the year) are ordered;
  • inform your parent reps so that they can help you with arranging volunteers to accompany the trip (please be careful that it is not the same parents on every trip);
  • please make sure that the office have put the trip in the calendar;
  • our parents are really keen to have dates as far in advance as possible so make sure you book trips as early as you can, preferably a term in advance and then share that information out to reps at the earliest possible opportunity;
  • letters regarding trips need to be written and sent to SLT to read through. If necessary you can put all the trips for the term on one sheet and ask for the full voluntary donation to paid into the office;
  • risk assessments are saved in Key Information in staff shared. They need to be completed and emailed to Jessica and admin@johnbetts.lbhf.sch.uk and Jessica will sign this electronically. PLEASE DO NOT send this until you have all consent forms back;
  • when a class goes on a trip the class Teaching Partner needs to go to the kitchen to help prepare packed lunches on the day of the trip
  • Staffing – if a member of your teaching team is part time or only works for half a day in your class you need to make arrangements for them to swap with another teaching partner for that day. You also need to ensure that all duties are covered and share this information to SLT and the teaching team so everyone is aware

 

Assemblies

 

Once a term you will carry out a class assembly. These assemblies are an opportunity for the children to share their learning and perform as well as experience public speaking. Just a few pointers to think about:

  • Please include a song and if you are really brave a bit of a dance
  • It should not last longer than 15 minutes, remember we have 4 year olds in the audience
  • Please provide your SEND children with exciting and ambitious lines; avoid having them say ‘welcome to our class assembly’ and / or ‘ thank you for coming to our class assembly’
  • Please make sure you are providing all children with an opportunity for significant speaking parts across the three assemblies so that those quieter ones are given a chance to shine
  • Limit the amount of time you spend rehearsing for this. Provide them with the script as early as possible so that they have learnt their lines ahead of rehearsing. You should not spend more than 2 hours MAX on running through and rehearsing this.

 

Assessment Shields


We use Assessment Shields across Science and all Foundation subjects. At the beginning of each
lesson, the entire shield for that subject is shown on the Flipchart alongside the learning objective for
the lesson. Children then discuss which skill they think they will be using to achieve this objective
and are asked ‘why’ this is an important skill for the subject (a Flipchart template is included in the
planning folder). In addition, the shields are included on the learning system, displayed in every
classroom and are used as a planning and assessment tool. After every lesson, the focus skill will
be highlighted on the shield and dated (orange for autumn, pink for spring and green for summer).
From this year, every knowledge organiser includes a break-down of what skill will be used in each
lesson across each unit. This is in place so that a variety of skills are used each half term and so
they are revisited across different units.


Knowledge Organisers


Knowledge organisers have been created and utilised in Science and Humanities. Each knowledge
organiser outlines what the children should already know from previous learning and shows links
back to the previous topics and year groups in which this knowledge was covered. Pop quizzes are
then carried out throughout these lessons to support long term memory, and this includes questions
relating back to this prior learning. These pop quiz questions are also included on the Knowledge
Organisers. Clear objectives are included in the Knowledge Organisers which show the breakdown

of lessons and show what children should know by the end of each topic, including the expected
final outcome. This is supported by including key diagrams and pictures, key people and timelines
for each History topic. Key age-specific vocabulary is included for each topic to ensure progression
in the language used across the school. At the beginning of every Humanities and Science lesson,
two key words that will link into their learning that lesson are shown and their definitions discussed.

Announcements

School tours every Tuesday, please contact the office to book your slot 020 8748 2465 or office@johnbetts.lbhf.sch.uk
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