Curriculum leaders from across the White Rose Academies Trust reflect on our Core Subject CPD over the final half term of the 2020-21 academic year.
English – Jasmine Clarke
Reflecting on this year, my mind immediately jumps to the strength, unity, and dedication of the entire White Rose Academies Trust (WRAT) Team.
Whilst faced with the adversity of COVID, members of staff have done their upmost to deliver outstanding lessons - both online and in the classroom. Also, they have shared best practice with members of staff across the Trust, and have dedicated time to developing their subject knowledge and pedagogy through the WRAT English Curriculum CPD offer.
COVID has introduced us to the accessibility and convenience of online CPD sessions. This new way of accessing CPD has been revolutionary in terms of allowing so many people to meet, despite the pandemic.
It has been a pleasure to host a range of sessions throughout the year with consistently high attendance, thus demonstrating the enthusiasm and passion of our English Departments.
As I start to think about the year ahead, I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues from across the Trust to enhance the WRAT English Curriculum CPD offer and to launch an online book club for both Fiction and Non-Fiction texts.
I am keen to further strengthen the connections between our academies and to foster the collaboration that has already taken place so far.
Finally, despite the advantages that the online world brings, I am excited for the next in-person event with my colleagues from across the Trust.
This year has highlighted the exceptionalism of the people that I am lucky to work with and I can’t wait to develop this as we move into 2021/22 academic year.
Maths - Miranda Lala
In half term six, the WRAT Maths Team assembled in its entirety for the final CPD session of this year
The first half of the evening focused on engaging lower attaining learners, which was presented by Richard Jagger (Curriculum Leader of Maths at LWA) and Paul Scott (Maths Teacher at LWA). We explored some alternative strategies to engage learners through more visual and physical activities.
The second half of the session was led by myself and focussed on reflecting on our mutual scheme of learning. Colleagues were grouped into breakout rooms and assigned topics from our Year 7 and 8 schemes of learning.
Discussions were around scaffolding, extending learners and general reflections on what worked well this year, and what will be improved in the 2021/22 year. It was great to have everyone working together and sharing ideas!
As we bring the year to a close, it is worth remembering and celebrating everything we have achieved this year. Momentum has not been lost and all staff have learned to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances.
Looking into next year, we focus on recovery, achievement and consider what we can take with us into the future from this historic time.
Science – Helen Russell
This half term saw the third WRAT Science CPD of the year. The session took a different format with shorter presentations and a focus on providing science colleagues with quick, useable take-away ideas and resources.
Jade Wallis followed-up to her well received ‘Introduction to Microchemistry’ from March by illustrating best practice examples and revisiting top tips. Colleagues from across the Trust have been inspired by these sessions and have used microchemistry as a way of focusing students on key aspects of practical work; the method allows concept delivery whilst procedural load when appropriate.
The successful CPD on microchemistry has seen the techniques become an embedded part of schemes of learning and teacher practice for many members of the science team across the Trust.
Matthew Morgan from LEA provided excellent research-led ideas on how Microsoft Forms can be used effectively for intervention. Following lockdown teaching, teachers have been able to develop their skills with online technologies and his presentation provided new methods that can be used to ensure students' knowledge gaps are effectively dealt with.
The Frayer model was the focus of Lucy Bisset’s presentation: a really thought-provoking look at how literacy needs to be developed, drawing on a wealth of research and excellent examples of the model in practice. She provided useful resources showing how The Frayer model can help build connections within language and provide visual references to support literacy.
The Gradual Release model was showcased by Chloe Thompson from Leeds East Academy, also helping to develop the depth of skill with literacy in the science curriculum.
The Gradual Release Model can be used to encourage students to participate with scientific literacy and envelope all tiers of vocabulary in a way that engages students whilst engendering a culture of trust with the use of scientific language. The two complementary presentations highlighted the wealth of resources being utilised to engage students with the literacy concepts in science.
Noreen Mahmud and Amy Crow of Leeds West introduced many to the engaging assessment resource of ‘Plickers’: an innovative tool for in-class assessment for learning (AFL) that both engages students and provides quality tracking and feedback in the classroom.
Many teachers have subsequently started to use this resource and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
The impact of WRAT CPD can be seen across classrooms and online with colleagues from across the Trust working together and sharing best practice.
Looking ahead to next term, the CPD will have a metacognition focus and will continue to promote the sharing of resources.