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This term the AMSP South West regional team have hosted Teacher Network meetings to reflect on teachers’ concerns and the positive aspects resulting from lockdowns. Teachers from across the region have attended the meetings and similar issues were raised across the South West.

There were several positive, and possibly unforeseen, outcomes which include the following:

  • high achievers bounced back quickly
  • maturity of Year 11 and Year 13 is impressive, with very positive and serious attitudes to all internal assessments
  • use of technology has been good; teachers have had an incredibly steep learning curve in all the different systems
  • online parents’ meetings are positive, with many teachers wishing to keep this system
  • use of Desmos/GeoGebra classroom activities; some of the quieter students very engaged and communicating more with teachers
  • use of OneNote for homework
  • flipped learning (particularly early Year 12), and something that may have previously been viewed as a fad turned out to be very positive and teachers will try to keep aspects of it
  • TAG process:
    • greater collaboration in the marking process
    • greater confidence in the grades being predicted, although to continue this process teachers need to be given time and recognition from SLT that it’s a bigger job than just putting a grade on a form
  • marking more consistent.

Concerns raised included the following:

  • the polarising effect of students: students with good independent learning skills have continued to make good progress and develop their skills but those students who need support have found it harder, so potentially the gap has widened
  • student confidence: struggling students and feeling they can’t do maths; girls who are good at maths but need the reassurance of a good exam result (particularly at GCSE) to prove to themselves that they are good
  • concentration and application: particularly with Year 7 and Year 12 (study skills)
  • the vacuum of examinations: experience of not taking GCSEs has made a difference to Year 12 attitudes to study
  • increase in mental health issues
  • ability to write fluent and elegant solutions on paper.

Several questions cropped up during the conversations and some of these included:

  • How do we close the gap between those students who have struggled and those who have embraced the opportunities of independent learning?
  • How do we support those students in Year 10 to help with maturity, positive study skills and confidence?
  • How do we try to develop better independent study skills for Year 12 as well as their ability to write maths well?
  • Where do we put in our intervention and what should it look like?

These may be the questions that you and your departments are also asking and, although the answers to these questions will be as individual as each school or college, the AMSP has a number of resources that you may find helpful…

For helping to inspire your students:

For helping to support your incoming and new Year 12 students:

Teacher Network meetings are being planned for the autumn term so if there are any specific topics that you would like to discuss, please contact your local Area Coordinator.

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