Sharing joy and knowledge from an ordinary life

#LearningFirst How can the system develop assessment practice that supports principled leadership?

Carolyn Robson @CaroDunelm

We all work too much in isolation at present. Primary and secondary work in silos and they don’t need to- teachers are teachers and learners are learners.

Sean Harford @HarfordSean

Examine our own principles of assessment- we are the ones making the decisions. Why are we doing it and what are we doing it for? As long as we have our principles right then we should be in the right place.

Lucy Rimmington @Teacher_Ofqual

We are listening to teachers and using what they tell us to fix assessment. We have to do exams with our students but their use of them for accountability and seeing where teachers are can take teachers’ away from their focus on students in the classroom.

Jo Penn @JaPenn56

‘Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.’ Auto Gawande, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance.

Governors were wedded to levels- they made sense to us! Some LAs have now translated levels into steps: this is an opportunity utterly wasted. Governors should be asking questions of their schools about what assessment means. As governors, we do have to think about performance management- we need to develop principled systems to help this.

Alison asks, When you don’t have numbers next to a teacher telling you how successful they are, what can the scared leader do?


Schools should examine their assessment principles together- it makes them all more sure about them, they’ll feel confident then when faced with accountability from other parties. Some students are coming to her secondaries with dog levels. Yes, dog levels! We need to make it about the students rather than dogs and numbers.


Governors need to stand by the decisions of their leaders- if it’s evidenced and you can show us that this creates a better learning environment then we’ll go with you.


There are opportunities at KS3- what do you want them to do, know and understand- don’t just be getting them ready for their exams… There’s a freedom you’ve been given.

Alison Peacock @AlisonMPeacock

When making decisions about what teachers do- remind yourself of what it was like when you were a teacher and think about whether you would have wanted to do it- would you have felt it was important for students’ learning?


Exams are such a small part of what the students do. Focus on the other parts and they’ll end up doing well in their exams as a result.


Help governors to understand what they need to understand about children’s learning so that they can effectively support and challenge you to meet the needs of your students.


Your principles need to be applied to get your children where you want them to get- whatever that likes like for the students in your context.


How do students progress and learn around the world? New Zealand- the rest of the time- learning is flexible and free; the exams are only at the end.


There’s always an assumption that everyone, everywhere else, has got it right. Constant measuring means we become our own enemy.

Do we constantly measure things because our self-efficacy has been gradually eroded so that we don’t think we know how to assess students’ learning anymore. When actually, it’s what we do- day in and day out?

Why don’t we use this opportunity to make the curriculum irresistible?

Read my full reflections on the day here

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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