Yorkshire and Humber Prep Deputy Heads Meeting Notes
Date: 22nd March 2018
Venue: Grammar School at Leeds
- The issue of workload dominated the conversation during this meeting. Appropriate levels of non-contact time were discussed, and ideas were shared as to how staff could be supported on this issue with ideas discussed such as:
- Efforts to strip back marking
- Prevention of initiative creep; the introduction of a new initiative would lead to the phasing out of an old one
- No staff meeting during parents evenings weeks
- Longer blocking of PPA, trying to avoid smaller parcels of time which are less productive. In some schools in the region, every 4 weeks teachers receive a full day of PPA and anecdotally this has led to a marked improvement in the quality of teaching
- Group / Phase planning meetings were recognised as being especially productive
- Some schools in the district encourage 8-6 work days whilst actively discouraging staff from working at weekends
- Marking: There has been a move across many schools towards more verbal feedback policies. Some schools had introduced response / correction pens for children and simplification of marking codes - especially in English.
- A number of schools have significantly reduced or removed formal homework. This process has been managed by having close conversations with parents and citing academic research which highlights poor impact and reduction in child wellbeing. Nightly reading / weekly spellings have been maintained
- Email culture: A significant minority of schools now have policies (and systems in some cases) that prevent staff from sending or receiving emails between 7pm and 7am. This requires a whole school approach but was found to have significant benefits in terms of staff wellbeing and consequently staff retention. Auto-replies are widely set during holidays. Some colleagues set up their emails so that these automatically sent at 7am in the morning if they were working during the previous evening.
DW was asked to invite a speaker who would discuss staff workload at the next meeting. Lisa Ashes from Independent Thinking has been been invited and she has accepted.
An App you couldn’t do without!
- Many schools are rapidly embracing technological change, so it was suggested that colleagues share one app or piece of software they couldn’t do without in school. DW to create a short anonymous online survey which colleagues will complete before the next meeting where the results will be shared. Click here to complete the 60 second survey.
- In addition to the workload talk, colleagues requested agenda items on assessment and reporting and curriculum development. Lisa Ashes will also be giving a talk on this at the next meeting, along with along with Michael Boyce (formerly of GL assessment, but who now works closely with Learning Ladders).
- Agreeing a convenient date for all at the next meeting was difficult given the busy summer term and staggered half-term holiday, however, it has been agreed that the next meeting will be held at Bradford Grammar School on the 6th June 2018. The meeting agenda and booking tool to book you place is here.