A science special with Learning Ladders’ partner Developing Experts

Developing Experts

As part of our ongoing Fireside Chat series we shine a light on the fantastic work happening in Education and who better to lead the way than our innovative curriculum partner, Developing Experts.

It was a pleasure to catch up with Developing Experts founder, Sarah Mintey, to hear how Developing Experts are breaking new ground in revolutionising the link between curriculum and industry pipelines.

Sarah explains her drive to make real the abstract skills taught in science classrooms in an age appropriate way and in the process present options for future education choices within the wider world of industry.  The focus on engaging all stakeholders in students’ education mirrors our own approach to teacher, parent and student involvement in learning.

And we’re extremely proud to have links to all of Developing Experts lesson plans and resources in our Curriculum Lab.  Schools can finally achieve impactful curriculum design with our flexible design tools coupled with engaging, real-world resources to bring the curriculum to life.

If you missed the live webinar, catch up with the recording to find out how this partnership is unfolding:

 

If you’d like to find out more about Learning Ladders’ curriculum design tools, get in touch with the team today.

For more information about Developing Experts, visit their website.
Developing Experts Fireside Chat Webinar Transcript

This is a computed-generated transcription of the webinar is below, for those who may find this useful. Please note these are automated and not checked, so we take no responsibility of errors, inaccuracies or oddities!

Matt (Learning Ladders): Welcome to this webinar from Learning Ladders and Developing Experts.  I’m really excited that we’ve got Sarah from developing expertise here. Sarah and I have known each other for several years and I’ve  always been super impressed by the work that they’re doing, and it goes from strength to strength, so it’ll be fantastic to hear all the latest from her and everything that they’ve been doing, so she’s coming up in a second.

For those of you who are not familiar with Learning Ladders, Learning Ladders is a system that I set up on the former teacher myself here in the UK, and it was a system that we built to try and help schools improve their tracking their data, but also their parental communication and their curriculum design. And that’s the link with Sarah and developing experts. So within the Learning Ladders platform, we’re super proud to have links to all of the Developing Experts resources so you can create your curriculum within Learning Ladders for every single subject and within your science subjects or indeed any other subjects. If you want to signpost your teaching staff to some fantastic resources which really, genuinely will help upskill both expert and non-expert science teachers, then you can embed the developing expertise resources into the Learning Ladders system into your own curriculum sequence. However, you choose to set up your curriculum across the whole primary, and you’ll be able to view those within the system and then track children’s progress in the normal way within Learning Ladders. So that’s that’s the connection between the two systems.

If you’re interested in understanding a little bit more about how that works, if you’re an existing customer and you want to switch on that feature, it’s called the Curriculum Lab within Learning Ladders. If you’re a customer already and you want to switch that on, just drop us a note support@learningladders.info And obviously, if you’re not an existing customer, contact hello@learningladders.info and we can get you set up very quickly as well. So that’s that’s the connection between the two systems.

This webinar and this sort of fireside chat is also part of an ongoing series that we’re really proud to do. So we’re passionate educators at Learning Ladders, like I said, former teacher here myself. So we’re really privileged that we connect with lots of amazing people across a huge spectrum, both in the UK and globally. And we really like to shine a light on some of the fantastic work that we think people are doing. So over the last few months, we’ve had fantastic sessions from a number of people covering everything from teaching, e-mail and linguistic diversity wellbeing in international schools, looking at data in a slightly different way in terms of thinking about children’s wellbeing as well. We’ve even covered classroom design and set up with Professor Stephen Heppell, as well other partners like High-Performance Learning. We’ve had Professor Deborah come on as well. So the recordings of all of those sessions are on on the Learning Ladders website, which is Learningladders.info/news.

But today, like I said, we’ve got Sarah to MBE no less. So congratulations on that as well who’s joining us and she’s going to give us a bit of a a tour through developing experts and a bit of a sort of introduction to to their journey and stuff. So without further ado, Sarah, hopefully you’re you’re online and I can get you to reveal yourself in a big reveal. Thank you for joining us. I don’t think I’ve actually congratulated you on your MBE as well. It’s nice to have somebody, (I don’t want to be too political), but it’s nice to have somebody get a get an award like that in education for something that’s deserved rather than some of the recent controversy. And I won’t drag you into that one, but congratulations for everything that you do and have done in education so overdue.

Maybe the first question is maybe just tell us a little bit about your your journey in education and how you arrived at founding and setting up developing experts.

Sarah (Developing Experts): Thanks, Matt, and thanks for having me on today. Really excited to be here and delighted to see how the partnership is unfolding as well with Learning Ladders. Yeah, I was a former head teacher when I decided I wanted to set this company up and I was researching as one of my jobs and the need for setting up a free school in Great Yarmouth. And when I was researching it, this is back. In 2015, I discovered that every hairdressing vacancy that existed, there were 10 kids qualified. And yet for every level two engineering posts, there wasn’t a single young person in the town that have the qualifications they needed to access this opportunity, and it made me realise that there was a real disconnect between what we are teaching, what I was teaching in the classroom and what my colleagues were teaching in the classroom and what the needs were of a local economy. And so I wanted to do is actually create a solution that joined together the silos that exist in society. And when I say silos, I mean pupils, students, parents, trying pathway providers, employers and governments in order to enable them to talk to each other in order to make the whole system join up. And I thought if I was designing a solution that really met the needs of everyone in society, what would that solution look like? And I came up with a science curriculum for children ages four to 16 years and a careers platform for the whole family.

And just to illustrate it and put an industry slant on it. There are currently seven nuclear power stations in the UK. six of which are open and operational, and one of those is currently under construction. And Hinkley Point C is the largest construction site in Europe, has over 25000 employees on that site presently. And if you look at the average age of the station managers for those plants that are open operational, we know that the next station manager is currently age seven and they’re in year four at school. So what we do is product place, the industry of nuclear or whatever the industry is in order to enable career choice to no longer be left to chance for young people and their families to make informed choices about their futures. Now we’re working with an assortment of different sector bodies now, so we’re working with nuclear, we’re working with rail, we’re working with offshore wind, we’re working with horticulture in order to actually just showcase those industries. And if we take rail, for instance, I didn’t know much about this before I started the business, but there are 15000 different job disciplines in the rail industry alone. The average worker currently is 54 years old, and so that means that around nine years time, because they’re having to maintain a digital system, analogue system, the infrastructure in the UK alone, there is going to be a real need to recruit staff, and they actually don’t know where they will get that future workforce from. Covid has put a spanner in the works because it’s actually changed what the workforce needs are in the immediate future. But in nine years time, that problem does not change. And so, you know, when they were 15000 different jobs in the rail industry alone, how could anyone outside of rail sell rail to a young person to an adult, so they are making a choice about that industry?

And you know, I speak to some teachers and they’re trained as maths teachers or trained geographers, whatever that discipline is. And all of a sudden at key stage three, they’re having to be judged on how good they are teaching careers and to sell any sector that is a huge burden on the teacher on top of the day job. And so what I wanted to do is just enable teachers not only to teach the subject with confidence and ease, but do it in a way that enabled them just to deliver careers in a way that is super engaging.

So if I just share my screen with you. So here this is just our home page. So if we go in now, Covid sort of held up some of the plans that we had for the site because we’ve struggled to access the workplaces. So, over the next month alone, we’ve got 12 filming days with industry partners, and those partners include brands like Rolls-Royce, Network Rail, Sellafield. There’s some big brands in there. We’re filming down the Jurrasic coast as well. It’s a really exciting road trip month, to be honest with you. But when we design a unit, what we’ll do is actually make it really clear how the unit complements the Gatsby benchmarks and how the teacher can deliver those gaps with confidence and ease. And what we’ll do is actually feature the actual experts that appear in the lesson or unit of lessons. So we do it in a way that shows intent and in a way that builds the lesson, so it’s sequenced and then you’ll see that we’ve got a series of questions that we build on that we revisit in a way that just makes it super clear, but it’s like going to one of the lessons that comes with everything.

If I go into one of the units and just scroll down a little bit, you’ve got talking heads embedded in the 360 and what these talking heads do is just answer six questions and they unpack what a typical day looks like in industry. And then the experts, what they’ll do in another following slide, they will talk about the applications of the concepts being taught in that lesson in the world of work. So if a child finds the topic of magnetism fascinating immediately, they can say what how it relates to the world of work. And if I come out of there, the bottom of each lesson what we’ve been done to make it really clear, we then actually signpost into our careers library. So we’ve got over a thousand different job career profiles featured in the careers library. And that’s what we do is basically enable a young person in a specific postcode to see what training pathway they need to take and what courses that are that are relevant to them in that area. What small/medium enterprises in the area have jobs that relate to that particular expert that features within that lesson. Now there is tons of stuff within the platform, and possibly I can look at that in other areas, but I hope that answers your question.

Matt: Thank you for that. I was reading this thing, I remember seeing early early doors when you launch and stuff and just falling in love with the name of Discovering Experts, I think it captures kind of a lot of a lot of what you guys do. I love the idea of being able to find an expert who can just really make real those somewhat slightly abstract skills.

How do you go about finding experts for such a broad curriculum?

Sarah: We we do it in two ways now. And so we were actually commissioned by the rail board, for example, and they’ve got around 20 table companies that work with them. And as part of the contract with that sector body, we are asked to showcase. So when we take on a new filming partner, what we do is we’re in the process of overhauling everything again. So we really want to keep content fresh to renew it frequently. And we write a series, our unit of lessons. We then script everything and say, we’re looking at how we can revisit the keywords, the specialist language through that, you know, and interweave it through that series of lessons within a writing with scripts to make sure it complements and uses that key language. And we’re making sure that the language used in the scripts for the lessons is age appropriate. So to actually prepare for a day of filming is is quite a big task for us because we actually do so much planning now to make sure everything is interwoven in a way to make sure that teachers, parents and pupils are learning alongside each other.

We have heads now come back to us and say it feels more like a CPD material because it’s upskilling teachers knowledge as much as pupils and parents knowledge. And and that’s what I want to do from the outset. I mean, when you look at some of the data, 25 percent of kids are actually making choices based on what the parents are advising them to do. So if a parent is a doctor, what are they going to do? They’re going to push what they’re familiar with. And it’s a bit like me as a former teacher, and I’m sure you are the same. I’m a graduate. I’m familiar with that whole graduate training pathway. And yet there are amazing apprenticeship pathways that I know nothing or knew nothing about before I started this industry in rail or any of these sectors that I’m working with there. You have an amazing process of training where you actually do a rotation around several industry partners somewhere abroad, somewhere in the UK. Had I seen what that training experience looked like, have I been able to listen to some of the experts? We’ve not got the privilege of of filming before I chose to be a teacher, even though I loved teaching. I probably would not be a teacher know because it was never explained to me what that pathway looked like. So we spend a lot of time now working out how to tell the story. And so and it’s all down to the planning to make sure that we make that system and make those links for the viewers.

We’ve also got a tagging system as well. So for any content that we’re producing on the platform, what we’re doing is tagging career profiles and then links to other 360s. And we’ve got a huge upgrade that we’re launching this summer. And as part of that, what teachers will be able to do is actually create their own content on the platform. But then tag it or we tag it (the system does it automatically for you), and it automates that Gatsby benchmark delivery. So it’s actually really focussing on how to make those connections with employees, how to link with the curriculum, how to showcase those training pathways. The system does it for the teacher, but does it with bells and whistles in a way that I could never have done as a teacher. Because when we when we speak to industry partners, we’re saying, right, we want you to give us, give us employees that are really good storytellers that know the industry insiders. But then we were also wanting that message of diversity to celebrate the breadth and depth and aspiration of the industry as well so that young people have the role models. They need to think, Oh, I can do this, you know, and some of the work we’re doing now, which has been contracted by Bose to deliver a piece of work that looks a hand to support adults and parents to transfer from one sector to another sector. So if their career starts his or career changes, there’s a whole range of things you know that we’re doing and upgrading this summer that will really make this a very powerful tool, not just the teacher, but also for a parent and and young person,

Matt: Me as the son of a university lecturer who went into education, I think if you do a teacher type survey, I’m sure they’ve done it before actually, how many serving teachers have at least one parent who is a serving teacher? The numbers are very, very high.

I can see some people starting to get involved in the chat. If you have a question for Sarah, then put it into the Q&A and I’ll cover those off live and weave them into the chat. One of the other things I wanted I noticed I can just see from recognising some of the names we’ve got people from from around the world so do add in the conversation because I know the materials are relevant.

The other thing, I suppose from my point of view and I just wanted to touch on is a lot of the schools that we were the Learning Ladders, as well as being in the sort of state sector in the maintained sector in both both sectors now have different challenges. One of the things I suppose touching on, possibly just after Women’s Day as well, which is always a good one in terms of showcasing diversity to different types of children within the schools. And I know that’s something that you’ve looked at before, just looking at some of these things and without sounding overly patronising, probably as a as a well known female founder, is that something that you guys try and weave in there as well? Because there’s always a constant sort of general simplistic conversation, not enough girls in stem type stuff, you know, is this going to help schools address that as well?

Sarah: It’s actually one of our limits. And so the offshore wind sector deal, they’ve actually got a target of creating two hundred seventy six thousand jobs by 2030 and 40 percent of those employees, the jobs they’re having to create need to be BAME female. And so what we do as part of our unit and showcase for that industry and what we do is make sure that it’s aligned to the aspirations of the industry and the targets.  So there are six industry experts positioned in the unit. What we’ll do is make sure at least two of the six are BAME female to make sure that the role model is there and if we can push them. So it’s even higher than that because you need to compensate to get to that target and we will do so. That is something that we always ask our partners because we’re very mindful that we need to just encourage school girls to show them what is possible and show them that this is the norm and this is OK for them. And so, yeah, it’s definitely one of my priorities.

Matt: That I know will be super important to our members as well, because whenever we do a webinar to do with the diversity or multi-lingual cultures, it’s always incredibly well attended. And another friend of ours, you may know Dr Ger Graus from KidZania, really interesting company of sort of activity centres in shopping malls, but they have an education department, which is what he runs, and he always says that they have flight simulators and all the boys always turn left to the cockpit, and all the girls always turn right to the to the body of the plane, if you like. And I think they have a phrase that children can’t aspire to be something unless they know it exists. So this kind of work, I think, is fantastic.

Sarah: One of the things that we’re doing because we’re using a product overseas now, we’ve got transcripts that we’re overlaying on all the films. And although the functions not there by April, it will be it’s going live shortly. You can actually just select the language that you want the transcript to appear in and then it will just, yeah, translate and convert. It’s the language of choice.

Matt: That’s fantastic. We have the same in Learning Ladders, but I it’s one of the most popular features, particularly for remote learning with parents. So if you know, if they’re accessing something like this in English is not their first language. They might have great conversational English, but the terminology may be quite specific and first time they’ve encountered in this stuff. So that’s fantastic.

Another thing I wanted to ask. I remember again being really impressed right in the early days is the very, very high production values. I remember your early promotional videos looked very much like a BBC sort of nature documentary, and you had your fantastic scientist guy at some of the exhibitions and stuff. Are you still managing to keep those values as high now? You’re growing, and there’s so many things going on?

Sarah: Our brand name really embodies the aspiration of the company as well developing experts and to develop those experts for the future you need to showcase the experts in the present. And so, Mike Lindley, you’re referring to? Yeah, he was one of the first scientific advisers, totally inspirational guy. And we still work with him. And he’s just a great storyteller because he used to work for the BBC and with the Muppets and all sorts. So this portfolio is amazing. But what we’re doing now is really, Professor Launa Dawson is one of the experts that appears in Soil Scientist in year 6, she is a forensic soil scientist for the Scottish Government. When you listen to her tell her story about how she became what she became you want to become a soil scientist. So we are very much about that because what we’re trying to do is just get some great sales people on the platform who are real experts in their industry that can sell the industry in a way that brings it to life.

Because parents will sell teachers, they will sell what they’re familiar with. And so what we’ve got to do is infiltrate that circle of influence in a way that enables parents and teachers and young people to see what’s possible beyond what they see around them and say for us, we’ve got to really make the facts that tell that story in a way that’s totally inspiring and engaging. And I know some of the people that we’re filming with this month, I’m looking forward to visiting the lessons

Matt: I think it’s so critical as well. You know, when you’re inspiring the next generation, you’ve got to you’ve got to showcase the best of the best. So that’s that’s always been an amazing thing. Probably what would be useful, I think maybe for the people on the on the session as well as let me just go back to being a classroom teacher and put my hat on here. I may feel slightly confident teaching certain elements of the curriculum, but if I’m what would be my journey if I’m if I’m looking at a curriculum topic, then I’m not quite so familiar with and I’m not quite so confident, sort of almost from from start to finish with the support of the developing expertise resources.

Sarah: I’ll log in and just show you how easy it is to set up a course because it’s it’s very simple as a teacher just to and the site’s intuitive as well. So what we’re looking to do is just make the whole look in and setup process super easy that we partner with Wand in order to enable schools to integrate their their data with the click of a button. So if you are using one, does the school already. You can simply click that button immediately. Your pupil info, teacher info and class info just imports a click of a button.

If you go into the units and you’ve then got all the groups there for science, so it’s really easy. And if you’re wanting a particular unit or group, you literally just press and it’s all sequence, all aligned to the national curriculum. And that will then basically bring up your class so you can actually select the class that you want to assign that course to and then it’s hooked into the class. Now, if I go into a class, here’s what I compared earlier. What you can then do is once you’ve set it up, you can actually change the dates. So if you don’t want if you want the pupils to access before or after, depending on whether you want to flip them or not, you can do. So it’s really easy to make sure you control when the content is released.

If you want to share via Google Classroom, you can do it just by clicking the button. But once you’ve taught the lesson, it’s then assigned into the pupil zone. And so it’s just all there and all of the previous lessons that have been assigned to the pupil. Immediately, they can see all the historical lessons and, you know, we’re just looking at how we can just gamify this more and more. So we’ve got a whole range of features going like this summer. But you know, why don’t you go into an area, then this is what the kids can access from home.  So it’s reallythe same, you know what you see in the classrooms, the teacher, it just makes it super easy if they want to go to the lesson plans that parents can see what’s been taught, how it’s been taught, it’s there. If they, you know, use the dog ate my homework, their excuse can’t be used because they can click the button and then download the feature. But then they can actually do the interactive quizzes. And the great thing about the quizzes is it immediately feeds into the teacher dashboard so you can see whether and who in the class is actually completed, the task and how they’ve done immediately.

Because we place a focus on literacy and one of the things that we do as part of science. If the question is answered incorrectly, it will take people back to the point in the story terms. Is it the answer in context? So you immediately have an idea of what their grasp is, how to spell the words. We’ve got games, we’re adding to that this summer, but you can actually take part in competitions across a whole class, across your school, across your country in order to gamified that whole experience. And from the area, they can go into the crazy science. Now we’re delighted to have formed a partnership with Microsoft Learning, who have given us access to our 11000 assets that are free via our platform that not we paid for and that linked in resources. So it’s just a great way to give your pupils access to a huge range of world leaders through that link. But then we’ve got the rail links as well showcased as well as the the grey zone. If I go into the grey zone from from this area again, they can dig and look at the database so they can actually see the files and different profiles that we’ve got and within. That’s what it will do is provide and showcase complementary careers as they’re scrolling through job vacancies, events they can attend. So there’s a whole range of ways that we just make it easy for the teacher. Once you’ve actually signed and hooked up that course, you’re good to go. It’s that’s easy and we actually have a man chat as well. So if you need support to talk through, if you’ve got questions, you’re not sure how to quite set. You just pop your question in the chats and someone’s there to answer.

Matt: For schools who are using that, who are looking at it within the Learning Ladders platform, that’s what you will get directed to. So you will put through the Curriculum Lab. You will be able to see all of the Developing Expert resources, which will be filtered by the various topics and various year groups. You can link them into your curriculum over your existing curriculum or a different sequence if you’re looking at it, and then it will pass you over to Developing Experts and you can do all this great stuff within developing experts. Still within whatever sequence, whatever curriculum and obviously all the resources are benchmarks against various different curricula.

Same as in Learning Ladders. If you’re a British curriculum, that’s fine. If your American curriculum, Indian curriculum, that’s that’s all fine. So we get asked quite often when we when we talk about the fact that you can do this with with developing experts. From our perspective, most of our schools want to create a curriculum framework, so they’re really interested in the science as an example. You know what? What’s the sequence of learning around the broad topics and the objectives that they have within the Learning Ladders system will be summary objectives around relatively be top line objectives that I know this particular thing or I can do this particular skill. But then in terms of actually bringing that to life, this is this is our sort of recommendation to really do have a look at the developing experts resources rather than ferreting around the internet, trying to reinvent the wheel or find something because all the work has been done for you to a very, very high quality and you can then link them back through. So that’s kind of how it works between the two platforms. That’s why we invited Sarah, and I think it’s really good for people to actually see because sometimes when we talk about it, I think people think the resources might be, on the on website or the odd quiz or something like that. I think it’s really good to show you quite the depth and breadth of and quality of stuff that’s available there.

Sarah: So I think it’s worth mentioning maths as well. But schools can actually subscribe annually to the service for £100. That’s the flat rate. And so what we’re trying to do is build the best curriculum product at the cheapest price in order just to support schools. So you can set up as many teacher accounts, parent accounts, pupil accounts as you want for out. So it’s yeah, it’s all about just making a commitment to using the resources rather than selling resources.

Matt: It’s a no brainer. As a former teacher who struggled with the odd science lesson here and there, it’s a no brainer. And it’d be really nice as well to to see different things in different ways of teaching different things. As I suspect as primary teachers, we tend to default to the same ways of teaching certain topics and stuff time and time again.  I’m going to give everybody a last chance to ask any questions. I know sometimes people are shy on asking questions, and once the first one comes in, then there will be inundated. So we’re going to probably close this off in a couple of minutes if nobody has any questions. How can people get hold of developing experts or yourself afterwards if they want to follow this up?

Sarah: I’ll put the web site address in the chat.

Matt: We’ll send it around. So afterwards, everybody who’s been on the webinar we’ll send it around as well. So if you’re watching a recording of this, if you scroll down to the bottom will put a link on there as well so you can get through to those people and teachers.

Sarah: Schools can set up free accounts, try before they buy. We want to make sure there’s a good fit for the school, so there is no hard sell at all. This is about making sure that this is a product of teachers who feel confident using.

Matt: I think I’ve done more of a hard sell than you ever do, so hopefully they will get some people over to you. And that was that’s that’s really useful. I’m going to draw that to a place that was really useful, and I can’t believe that there are fourteen thousand nine hundred ninety nine jobs, I should have trained as a driver in the rail industry.  Really, really interesting to chat. As always, thank you so much for giving up your time.

If you want to activate the Curriculum Lab or be shown how that Curriculum Lab works, which has resources from developing experts, also from BBC Bite-Size, from Oak National Academy in there as well.

 

 

Developing Experts: Curriculum design to empower teachers

Developing Experts

Every teacher has experienced the stress and time pressures of research and preparation for lessons in a subject that isn’t their specialist subject.

Join Learning Ladders CEO Matt Koster-Marcon and Developing Experts CEO Sarah Mintey to discover how Learning Ladders surfaces curriculum design materials from Developing Experts that enable all teachers to teach like an expert.

Find out how to design lessons that ‘wow’ by drawing on:

    • The expertise of global experts of industry and university
    • Guided and targeted feedback for students
    • Engagement boosting opportunities for discussion
    • Captivating imagery, video and fun science experiments
    • Opportunities to revisit learning content at home

Sign up here for this FREE webinar today!

How to support bilingual and multilingual learners

Eowyn Crisfield Languages across the curriculum

A huge thank you to Eowyn Crisfield for joining me for today’s ‘fireside chat’, all about improving the learning experiences of bilingual and multilingual learners.

We invited Eowyn to join us as a number of schools have recently approached us, drawn by Learning Ladders software enabling schools to very easily create their own bespoke curriculum for teaching any language, in any language to native and non-native speakers.  And because our remote learning platform – Ladders at Home – has a unique ‘Translation‘ function which means all home learning, be that tasks or tutorials, can be accessed by learners (and their parents) in any one of 100+ languages at the touch of a button.

If you are a school who has bilingual or multilingual learners, or needs to teach languages in multiple languages, then do reach out to arrange a free short demo of how the software works, and how we can help you.

Anyway, back to the chat with Eowyn Crisfield!

The recording of the session is below, and we’ll be adding to this blog post over the next few days with more information and resources as mentioned in the session, so do check back.

In the meantime do enjoy, and share with colleagues!

 

References:

Bilingual Families: A practical language planning guide’

Linguistic and Cultural Innovation in Schools: The Languages of Challenge’

 

Supporting Bilingual & Multilingual Learners webinar transcription.

This is a computed-generated transcription of the webinar is below, for those who may find this useful. Please note these are automated and not checked, so we take no responsibility of errors, inaccuracies or oddities!

Matt (Learning Ladders) Hello, everybody, and welcome to our webinar / fireside chat. This is very much an interactive session, so if you have any questions or comments, do type them into the Q&A section of Zoom. And if you want to introduce yourself in the chat, do that. It’s always nice to know where people are from, so just say hello in the chat and we can sort of share where everybody is from.

So in terms of the session for today, obviously we’re talking about bilingual and multilingual learners and how we can improve their learning in schools. I’m Matt Koster-Marcon, I’m a former teacher and the founder of Learning Ladders Education. We also have Eowyn Crisfield, who’s a senior lecturer, Oxford Brookes University and author of Linguistic and Cultural Innovation in Schools.

For those of you who are not familiar with Learning Ladders we have functionality within the system that enables any teacher, any school, to design, implement, track, record and share any curriculum for any language, in any language. So this issue can be planned for, managed and reported alongside every other subject, all in on system, giving a complete picture of every learner. Multicultural schools, multilingual learners is very much part of what we do here. Hence, this webinar.

If you go to our website, which is Learning Ladders.Info and you go to the news section, you’ll find all the blogs and all the information that we’re talking about today on here. We’ve done a whole range of these in the past, so hopefully they’re interesting and we’re going to focus on some particular things today.

I’m just going to give you a quick tour of Learning Ladders. For those of you who are not familiar with the Learning Ladders software so that you know exactly what we’re talking about, otherwise you might be in the dark. Learning Ladders is a software system that is used by lots of international schools around the world, and it’s used for curriculum design. It’s used for tracking, for parental engagement, for reporting, for data analytics and a whole load of things.

But one of the things that you can do very easily within the platform is create your own curriculum, and that’s particularly relevant for a lot of our schools because they will do that in any language. So, for example, we have content within here. This particular example is in in Arabic for a lot of our schools in the Middle East who need to teach Arabic as part of their teaching programme parts of their curriculum, either for native or non-native speakers. We have schools in China who will use this for Mandarin schools all around the world, as well as obviously European languages.

So when we’re talking later on about implementing language curricula within the system, we’re talking about this particular functionality within Learning Ladders, which enables you to set up and implement your curriculum for any language, in any language within the system.

We’ll probably also touch about how that looks for remote learning, how that looks for upskilling parents. And when we’re talking about that, what we’re talking about is the remote learning platform of Learning Ladders. So again, for those of you not familiar with that, what this looks like is me logging in here into the remote learning platform. This is the child that I’m looking at. These are all the goals that this child is currently working on based on every individual child’s individual objectives in the school’s curriculum. But. Each one of these then links to supporting tutorials and resources written by our team here. And each of those up skills, parents and the children about exactly what this particular learning objective is than the bit that’s relevant for today is all of these are available in over 100 languages at the click of a button.

So you literally go through the system, change the language to whatever you want, and it will make all of this accessible in any language for you. Now, that’s obviously extremely useful because as a school, what that means is you can create your curriculum in your home language. For most of our schools, that’s English. Publish it to parents, but then they can consume it in whatever language they want. So that’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about making stuff accessible later on, designing the curriculum, sharing it with children and sharing it with parents in this way.

So that’s my that’s my little bringing everybody up to speed in terms of the system and how that works and what we’re talking about here. Let’s get back to the main event of today, and I wonder if I can get you two to join us and say a quick hello, maybe do a quick introduction and then we’ll crack through with with some of the questions that we pre-prepared. And like I said, do. For those of you on the session, do adding questions into the into the Q&A as we go and we’ll cover those and pick them up.

 

Eowyn Crisfield Thanks very much. Thank you for having me today. I don’t have a fire beside me, so we’ll just have to be imagining the fire. So my name is Eowyn Critchfield. I’m a Canadian raised and educated language specialist mentioned on a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes. That is true, but I also spend the majority of my time working in and with international schools around the world on their languages provisions, whether that’s Yale, the host country, language, home languages or world languages.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) All right. So you’re very much the expert in the room, and I’m going to try and get you to do as much talking to me and do a little more talking as possible. We have an incredibly diverse audience. I’m just looking at where everybody is coming from here. So thank you for letting us know we’ve got the Netherlands, Kenya, Rwanda, Sweden, Qatar, Casablanca, Amsterdam, Korea, all sorts of places. So we have a truly international audience, which is fantastic. Let’s start with some of the questions that we talked about before. A couple of the things that we identified to start with were around, I guess, just understanding where you’re at from a school’s perspective and an initial audience. Maybe if you’d like to put some flesh on the bones for that one.

 

Eowyn Crisfield So schools can’t really dig into developing curriculum and pedagogy until they know who their students are on what they need. And and there’s there’s no kind of clear premade tool to do this, but it’s really important to have a clear understanding of your students language profiles because one language always influences another. And so we see an international education, a lot of highly mobile families and highly mobile children. And when they come in, we we often ask questions like Where is your, where’s the mother from? Where’s the father from? And we use those passports as kind of a proxy for the languages the children might speak, and it may be completely inaccurate representation. And so the three things that it’s really important to know about your students is what is the language that they are strongest in? What other languages are a part of their linguistic profile? And what is their level in the school language? And so when we look at provisioning for our multilingual learners, all of those different areas of language will interact with each other. And if we only know a part of the picture, we only know part of the learner. And so in particular, things like knowing how a child’s development is in their strongest language will give us information about how much support they may need in learning English. If their own language development is really strong, then probably their English development will happen more quickly and more easily. If they come from a complex language background, they don’t have an easily identifiable, dominant language or whatever we identify as the dominant language isn’t really where it needs to be. Then that’s a child who’s who’s who’s very likely to need additional support to learning English. And so without all those pieces of the puzzle, we often find these things out down the road. Three months and six months in. This child is struggling. They’re not doing what we think they should be doing, and then we have to go back and try and figure it out. So we do need to have a really robust process for finding out accurate language information, but also finding out what that means in terms of development. And so there’s, you know, there’s not an easy, easy suite of language assessments we can use. So we need to develop our own because how we would develop, how we would, how we would assess the Dutch of a child who’s never lived in the Netherlands but has a Dutch father is very different than how we assess the Dutch as a Dutch child living in the Netherlands, being educated in Dutch. So the kind of the tools we have that come from kind of a national base are not going to be adequate or appropriate in in assessing international children. So we need to really think carefully about what do we need to know and how do we need to find it out?

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) I think personally, that’s I mean, I can add any questions. People in the United States in those three things, just those simple three things that question there about what level is the child proficient at in the schools language, I think is going to open up so much conversation because you’re right. I mean, as a company that specialises in data that is possibly not always asked. I guess the obvious question then is, you know, I’m putting myself in the position. You know, I’m back in the classroom and I have as you to use your example. I have a Dutch speaker who’s got a Dutch father but never been to the Netherlands. But I don’t speak any Dutch. Nobody in the school does. How do I go about assessing their proficiency in the various different languages in real terms? How would I do that?

 

Eowyn Crisfield So there are different ways you can do it the most straightforward way. Well, the first thing you need to know is you need to know the language resources of your entire school. So when we talk about knowing the students profiles, we also need to know our staff profiles because there may be somebody on staff who actually also has a Dutch father or mother and can speak Dutch. And you just don’t know it because they, you know, it doesn’t. It’s an obvious part of their profile for lack of anybody in the school who speaks that child’s language. You work with the parents and you know, you work with the parents in a collaborative way. We do this a lot for SDM assessments as well because the testing and assessment in a language the child doesn’t know is not going to be effective. So you may have the child and the parents sit in the room and say, Can you ask your child to write a paragraph about what they did on the weekend in Dutch? And then you watch and you watch the process and you can tell if a child is writing fluently. If a child is writing with complexity by the length of their sentences and how they use grammar. So you can, you know, an experienced teacher can tell by the product if the language shows an alphabet. If not, then you need to look at how how do we have additional language resources, you know, for school based in China? And we need to have assessments of the children’s Chinese that we need to train a Chinese teacher to do those assessments for us. So sometimes you can do it internally, sometimes collaboratively with parents. And sometimes you do need to build a relationship with an outside expert.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) That’s not going to make sense to us, so then we then we’re moving on to the next thing, so we’ve done our audit. We know that we have this incredibly diverse class in front of us, which is probably the situation faced by most people here. We’ve we’ve done as much information, as much digging as we can. We’ve done all that kind of work. What what then comes next?

 

Eowyn Crisfield I guess so that depends on your school. Ideally, what comes next is a language pathways document that will take the child from entry in your school until whatever the end of your school will be. They may not stay with you that long, but we have to think about the pathway all the way through. What languages do we offer? How do we offer them? What will be the best fit for this child given their profile? And if this isn’t working out, where will we sidestep? Where will we reassess and sidestep? And so, you know, if you have children coming in at age four, the language pathway will take you through early years junior school and secondary school all the way out to whatever they’re doing to begin with different pathways for different profiles of children. And then in an ideal world, the school would have a plan for how they’re supporting the home language development of all of their students and host country language development for all of their students. And that, again, it needs to be bespoke. You have children coming in who are internationally mobile children, but who speak French at home. You can’t just take resources from France and tests from France and use those with those children. So what happens most commonly? But that’s going to show them to be wanting or lacking in French because they don’t have the same experience. And so you absolutely need to step by step, build your own curriculum for each language that you teach. And you can have a framework so that if your school is dedicated or committed to teaching home languages, you shouldn’t have all the different teachers doing whatever they want, because then you get the Italians making pizza and the French doing dictation and and nobody’s happy. But you should have a framework that says, you know, in year one home language classes, these are the themes that we do. This is what we’re working on developing. And then that happens in different languages. And you’ll obviously have to have different levels because you may have children coming in with French declared as a home language who are very, very strong and French and others who have not so much. And so you, you need that differentiation. And then you do the same for host country language teaching and again, depending on your situation teaching of. For example, Arabic in the Middle East as a host country language, you’ll have to have different groupings either. Children who are transient globally mobile only going to be there for two or three years. What’s your framework for teaching Arabic that will be meaningful and useful to them at children from Arabic speaking backgrounds and children who are fluent in Arabic? And so you really need to think about the trajectory for those different groups and build the curriculum that fits your student population and your school.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) We’re talking about a lot of customisation, this is not an off the shelf solution. I can go to a particular website and download Dutch or Arabic or something and put it on my school is really, I guess, the message from that.

 

Eowyn Crisfield Absolutely. And I think, you know, one of the things that we know from second language acquisition research is that all of our research up to date has been about measuring the bilingual against how a monolingual uses that language. And actually, that’s a false measure. So I speak English and French, and my Dutch is reasonably good. When I’m speaking English, all of those languages are in there. So I sometimes say things in English that. Only English monolingual English people wouldn’t say it doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it just means it’s different. But when our measure is a particular variety of English and how a particular speaker uses it, our bilingual children are constantly found to be laughing. They’re not as good in English, they’re not as good in their home language. They’re not as good on the host country language. And that’s actually a deficit mentality. We should be looking at how we measure each child. Against what exposure they’ve had, what opportunities they’ve had and what other languages they speak, and so what we need is a picture this child speaks five languages. Here’s where they are in each of those languages. And as long as one of them is age appropriate, that child is OK. If you have a child who speaks five languages and none of them are at the right level, that’s a child who needs interventions. But we really need to step away from thinking that the monolingual native speaker is some kind of ideal because that sets our children up for failure. Because when you take that French curriculum from France for seven year old children and use it with seven year old French children living in Thailand, they will not do well. And it’s not because they’re not linguistically gifted, it’s because they are a kind of bedrock, a comprehensive of all of the things they know about language and all the languages they have, rather than being only one narrow thing.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) The presumably then the taking, the extrapolating that further than this, this must have an implication for your whole curriculum design, not just your sort of languages and stuff, you know, in terms of cultural references and appropriateness and accessibility to everybody this this then permeates through everything you’re doing if you know you’ve got this kind of multicultural community of children.

 

Eowyn Crisfield Absolutely, and I’ve been saying for years and years that international education needs to recognise that languages are our centre, languages are at the heart of everything we do, whether it’s children learning English as the school, as the language of instruction, whether it’s supporting home language, as host country languages, world language, you see how many languages are involved in international schools and at so many different levels. Every language teacher has kids coming in every year new to the language, and they’ve got to readjust and start again because they’re in year four French and they’ve got somebody brand new to your four never had French before. And so instead of thinking about language as something on the periphery which we often do, we need to think about languages in the centre and how do we connect across the rest of our curriculum to make sure that we’re supporting our students linguistic development in the round, rather than in these little boxes that end up on report cards?

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Really good advice there. I’m going to move on to the next bit in terms of advice for building this programme and how we might do that, but just again, a prompt if people want to add in questions and then just type them into the Q&A and we’ll pick those up as we go along. So the next steps in them that we were going to talk about is I’m an international student. You know, a lot of our customers, a huge international schools, 100 plus languages across the schools. So anyone, Cox can have easily 20 30 languages in it, even teaching in London. When I was teaching in London, my class, you know, you could easily have 10 languages. How do you go about building an in-house programme for this?

 

Eowyn Crisfield That depends on how dedicated you are there. You know, there there. So quite a few years ago, I wrote a framework of home language teaching in international schools and what I do, what I did was kind of classify different approaches. There’s the no approach approach, which is we don’t do anything for home languages. There’s the extracurricular approach, which is we’re going to give you a room. And you can find a Danish teacher and have your kids learn Danish, and that’s fine. The next is the parallel approach, which is we’re going to give you time in the school day, so everybody does their home language Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10 to 11. But somebody else has to find the teachers and figure out what they’re teaching. So it’s parallel minutes in the school day, but much. And then the final one is integrated. And that’s where the school takes full responsibility and says we have a home language block where all students are studying their home languages. We provide the teachers or the teaching staff. We provide the curriculum framework and it’s reported on report cards. So that’s obviously the nirvana, and not very many schools get there because it’s really hard. But there are lots of ways we can move within those frameworks to do a better job than we’re currently doing. So, for example, the International School of The Hague has a really innovative model where they have they use their their cars, which is like community service from the upper secondary school. Those kids get some tutor or some training, and they come down into the primary school several times a week or once or twice a week to spend time in a language group with children who speak their language working on something to do with the curriculum. So no cost organisationally needs needs attention. But every child to the best of their ability gets some opportunity to use their own language at school for learning. So that’s kind of a structural model. But there’s also a lot that we can do in classrooms when we know the profiles of our students. We can integrate multilingualism right into our classroom. A lot of times called trans language, but it’s about looking at meaningful ways to draw on children’s linguistic resources to enhance the learning of the whole class. So there’s everything from kind of a huge macro structure to just mini bits in classrooms that can happen where there, where the infrastructure isn’t there. There can still be good practise.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) You’ve touched on one of the first questions that we’ve got him, which is what is your opinion of using trans language and approach in a diverse classroom of land?

 

Eowyn Crisfield So my opinion is that trans language and can be really effective for different reasons. It can be useful for scaffolding content for learners who can’t access it to the school language. It can be useful for scaffolding language development. We know that one language can help build another, and it can be really useful for enriching the learning experiences of all children. Imagine if you have students who are all you can do on ecosystems and everybody goes away and research an ecosystem in one of their countries of origin and they come together and share. We want to get a lot of different kinds of ecosystems then, which is the content. That said, I think that we need to be measured and and careful about how we use other languages in the classroom that you can’t just say everybody, do whatever they want because we also need to make sure that the students are developing the matricula language. And so it takes quite a lot of professional development for teachers to really grasp. How do I use it in ways that are effective and meaningful and in ways that the teacher still has a grasp on the the outcomes of that learning. But but when it’s done well, I think it’s amazing.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Clearly, I should have had to step in before that question, which is just to explain for those people not familiar, like myself, Trina’s languaging approach, what is the trans languages approach?

 

Eowyn Crisfield So trans language and approach it, I mean, it’s many, many things to many people. But the iteration I use comes from research in Wales on bilingual programmes where you alternate and vary the language of input and output in the learning cycle. So in its early iterations, for example, the kids in a history class were reading English history textbook and then talking about it in Welsh and writing about it in Welsh. So it’s that moving across languages for particular practical purposes or ideological purposes. And so the way that I structure it in schools, as you think about input processing and output, what parts, what we do in English and what parts will students have the support to do in their other languages, either against a curriculum, access language, learning support or just for curriculum enrichment? And you know, one of the greatest uses of trans language is to diversify your curriculum. It’s an automatic tool to diversification of resources, perspectives, ways of thinking and ways of doing. But it’s not something that you can walk into a classroom and do the day you hear a day after you hear about it.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Or you can try to get slightly less field, but I suppose from a perspective, would you advocate interest? I mean, we work with lots of senior leadership teams on in schools and stuff, and it would probably be fair to say it would be unusual to have the language specialist on the senior leadership team. Is that something you think should be more generally thought about by school management teams to get that more from Thompson?

 

Eowyn Crisfield Absolutely. And I think when I work with schools, I always give them kind of a report of my findings and on every single one, it will say you need to have a head of languages and the head of languages needs to have oversight of e-mail and home languages of host country languages in world languages because they are all interconnected. If you’ve got those teams working off in boxes, if your e-mail teacher has a student who’s struggling, they need to know who the home country language person is that they can go to to put together the pieces of the puzzle. And so just because of how much place language is taken, international schools in particular, there should be a head of languages. They should be on the SLT. And you’re right, they rarely are. And they’re also rarely leadership. So I have met in all my years of doing this. It’s been a long time two heads of school who came from all languages. Background.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) OK, so for all of you who were on the call, who are ahead of languages and looking to get into senior leadership positions, will will clip that bit into a GIF that you can sort of you can play at your next senior leadership meeting. All right, fantastic. Another question that’s come in. In what ways, if any, students challenges connected to the program’s leadership and communication structure in international schools?

 

Eowyn Crisfield Can you run that one by me one more time?

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) What ways archaeal students challenges connected to the program’s leadership and communications stock sessions? Because I’m not sure I fully understand my question, but I wanted to follow up on that question and we’ll maybe colour it later. I’m not sure I quite get what you’re looking at now. I’m guessing this is to do with

 

Eowyn Crisfield so I get I mean, if I’ve interpreted the question properly, I would say that. If leadership doesn’t have a clear understanding about the challenges that learners with Val have an approach and some kind of process and framework in place for classroom teachers to know how to support them and understand them and how to provision for them effectively, then there would be a direct connexion between the leadership knowledge in approaches and how well students with IAO do. And again, Yale is often boxed off. You know, here’s a little room go do your thing without really understanding good practise. And without that, understanding good practise students with the eye won’t do as well.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) And do you think sometimes that it’s as he said, it’s a lot of the schools operate in very high pressure inspection driven sort of regulatory frameworks, fee paying parents who demand certain sort of outcomes and stuff like that. So there’s a huge amount of pressure on leadership teams in schools. So obviously, if you ask people in a conference that they’ll clearly say they want to do what’s right for the children, and yes, they completely buy into this. But playing devil’s advocate then in terms of the end, if anyone was to push back and say, I completely agree with the theory, but the reality is I’ve got to get these kids through the regulatory framework and inspections, I’m guessing the question is more, is there research and evidence to suggest that actually, if you do take a step back and do this in the long run, it sounds like it should have a much greater beneficial effect on all of that learning.

 

Eowyn Crisfield Well, so you know, the research shows quite clearly that the stronger a student’s home language, the better they’ll learn English, the more easily they’ll learn English. And that literacy in the home languages in the home language is linked to stronger literacy in English as well. And so there’s absolutely and that’s not only from English, that’s Turkish speaking news in the Netherlands. That’s for Spanish speaking youth. In the United States, there’s a very clear cognitive relationship between development in a child’s first or home language and development of the new language at school. And so there’s absolutely an evidence base to say this is the right thing to do. And schools do need to do teacher education. One of the things I hear quite a lot is well, but if we do that, the parents won’t like it and they’ll push back. But what do you let the parents determine your curriculum? No, you say this is the curriculum we offer because this is the school we are. And if you want an IB curriculum, you go to another school or if you want an SLT Curriculum Lab, go to another school. Parents choose the curriculum and then the school is liberated to deliver it. But yet we allow parents to have a lot of influence sometimes over our language provisions. And and there’s no more reason to think that parents understand language education any better than they understand regular education. So sometimes we need to kind of take a kind of a firm stance that this is what the evidence base shows. This is how we do this for the best of your children and then take a step back and let the parents live with that. But you do need clear documentation for parents. You do need clear strategies in place. You do need their documentation for new staff and you can do it. And I know that there’s actually there’s a head teacher on here that I worked with for many years. I won’t name her in case it embarrasses her, but she’s from the British School of Amsterdam and with their school. One of the things they did early on was to start explaining to parents, We’re going to put your children with other children who speak their language because that’s what’s right and good for them. You know, they’re they’re young, they don’t understand. They need to be able to talk to somebody and play with somebody who understands them. And you know, there’s definitely parent pushback because we don’t pay for an international private British school for our children to continue learning Japanese now. But taking the principled approach they just start about having that is part of the process. This is what we do because it’s right and now they don’t get parent pushback anymore. And so you can take a principled stance and say this is what’s right and good and parents will. If you’re, you know, firm in your own convictions, buy into that.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) With younger learners, for example, would you suggest that schools think about advising parents to read to, you know, I’m thinking primary and early is read to children in their home language rather than in English, particularly if they’re more fluent in their home language?

 

Eowyn Crisfield Absolutely. So the parent’s job is the development of the home language, the school job, the school’s job is the development of school language. And if everybody does their job right, there’s better outcomes for the children than if people are trying to do each other’s job or school. There’s any work in the home language development because the state has issues that come in when children are educated, another language will often mean they don’t value their own language, so the school valuing their own language is important. But the at home the parents should be doing homework in their language, reading in their language, playing games in their language.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Again, I mean, that touches on the Learning Ladders plug, I suppose, is the reason why we have that functionality that schools can create content, create remote learning, create homework, create remote learning tasks in English, but then it can be consumed by the children and the parents in their home languages. Precisely, I suppose, for that reason, so that it’s a lot more accessible so they can do that automatically. And you don’t have to be able to speak those hundred languages. You can, you know, do set your set your tasks and stuff, and it will do that for you. So so would then. I mean, as as the as the father of two very young children and I have an Italian wife, so we’re sort of in this zone as well, purely out of personal interest, then would they be with the advice to be possibly doing more of the kind of guided reading and word wall type tasks in Italian for us as well? That’s our home language.

 

Eowyn Crisfield Yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t say you need to set up a word wall in your home. It’s a bit hard core. Your children are going to feel like they’re at school all the time, but absolutely drawing on what they’re doing in school and talking about it in Italian and, you know, reading about it in Italian. So you’re supporting the content and supporting language acquisition in Italian based on what they’re learning at school. I don’t know how your Italian is, but I

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) mean, they’re so unnaturally bad at me, which is

 

Eowyn Crisfield one of the one of the best things you can do is to start interacting with your kids in Italian, even if it’s just on a, you know, can you can you help daddy learn how to say that in Italian? Because in a in a such a predominantly English environment, the message that they’re getting is actually English is all we need. Only mum does Italian. So your support, even if it’s not going to help them develop their Italian explicitly, will support their continued valuing of Italian as a language. Because you value it even though you live here and are, as you said, not very good at languages,

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) it is an English thing, you know, we have to be like that. I mean, taking side note social event, but I mean, it’s interesting, though, in that whole area that there’s a lot of there’s been a lot of talk recently here in England about the power of adding subtitles to TV for kids when they’re doing that. So a lot of the time, I’m sure, in home in multicultural settings, they’re going to be watching TV in different languages nowadays on Netflix and Prime and Disney and all that stuff. It’s perfectly possible we do it. So those subtitles in Italian, in Dutch, in whatever it else, presumably a just as valid and valuable as doing it in any other language.

 

Eowyn Crisfield Absolutely. Yeah. And it depends on what the kids are paying attention to. If they understand the English, they’re probably not going to be reading Italian subtitles. But it can work as a scaffold towards the other language if they’re listening to the Italian and the Italian is as strong, the subtitles in English can help them.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) And we got a couple more questions come in say, sorry, I’m going to stop dominating is my own personal personal consultation here. So just an observation, I think from Tarik, which is thank you. Many world languages are far more aurally dominant than written or read Arabic as a suggestion as maybe one of those. Another question here What recommendations can you get the native Arabic teachers who are required to teach in English to a large number of students whose mother language is Arabic? It’s an interesting one. So the challenge, the challenge of being an Arabic native speaker, speaking to other Arabic native speakers, but having to teach English so.

 

Eowyn Crisfield So this is this is a situation in which trans language can be immensely beneficial, but also quite difficult to sell and to manage. So it’s it’s both sides, the pool. I mean, when you’re working with Arabic speaking children. With the goal of them learning English, there is always a tendency for them to speak Arabic together and to want to speak Arabic to the teacher. We all do that. I mean, know if you go to the Costa del Sol in Spain, it’s all English people speaking Spanish together. If you go to South Florida, it’s all English people speaking English together and Spanish speaking areas. We tend to. And naturally, you normally want to use our own language with people who share a dominant language with. And so it’s how you create space and opportunities for kids to use it effectively for learning rather than for it to overcome the English. So, for example, you may have them read a poem in Arabic. Or write a poem in Arabic and then work together in groups to translate that poem into English. And while they’re talking about the translation, it’s OK for them to speak in Arabic because they’re going to have really good discussions about. You think that’s the right word? I don’t think that’s the right word. I think we need to use a different verb tense. So they’re refining their understanding of how the transfer from Arabic to English happens. And then you have them share their English poems together and publish them. And so the output is English poem. But the process you use to get there means that they’re English. Poems are probably going to be a lot better than if you just have a whole class and say, write a poem in English and all, and you’ll get really basic, uninteresting poems. So it’s understanding the technique behind how do we move from prior knowledge to new and English? How do we move from known language to new language in English with a really keen eye on teacher task design to make sure that what we’re paying attention to is the development of English at the end of the day?

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) That’s pretty good advice. I hope that’s really useful for a lot of questions come in. Do you think collaboration is the key to support multilingual learners? What strategies do you use to share with schools? That’s a contemporary question. It’s quite a big, big area. I’m guessing there’s lots of different collaboration between lots of people.

 

Eowyn Crisfield So, I mean, yes, absolutely. Collaboration is important because what one teacher knows, so what the Yale teacher knows about a child is needs to be put together with what the parents know about the child’s development in their own language and how they’re doing their maths class and how they’re doing in their host country language. Plus, all those pieces of the puzzle come together to give you a clear picture of how child is doing. That said, collaboration is that, you know, the most difficult thing to manage effectively in schools because time is always an issue. And so online collaboration where you have kind of folders of the child’s progress and development and you know what they’re working on a different language is really the best way for. So if I as a teacher, I’m concerned about a child, I can go in and say, How are they doing? So say that Arabic is their home language. Wow. Excuse me. How are they doing in their Abbott class? I’m just going to see, Oh, they’re getting A’s in Arabic. So obviously this is just an English language development process they’re still going through, or actually they’re really struggling in their Arabic literacy, too. So maybe we need to red flag. This is we need to do some investigation. And so there needs to be some kind of transparent system where everybody knows where to find the information about what they’re doing and how they’re doing across the different languages.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) And that makes sense. I mean, again, I guess that’s the plug for the way that we try to do everything in one system so you can see everything very, very easily. All question from Jackie and I. This is for me. And with Learning Ladders Termly student work in their own language, the teachers can read the homework in the school’s language of instruction. Yeah, absolutely. A teacher can set the homework in the school’s language and then they teach the student can, can consume it, can reply, can do everything in whatever language they like. So it’s it works. It works in any combination, in any way. And Jackie, if you want a demo, we can arrange that afterwards. It’s not themselves. But is there another question come in? How can we support children of linguistic minorities, feel pride in their home languages in a predominantly anglophile or monolingual school environment? We have children who will deny being bilingual because of their peers. Wow. OK, that’s from Emily.

 

Eowyn Crisfield We experienced this when we moved from the Netherlands, from a European school. It was super diverse to the UK, to the kids what state schools and my older daughter came home after about a month and said, These people are relentlessly monolingual. OK, so picturesque. But actually, as she got to know her peers better, she came home one day. He’s got someone, so speaks French. She’s got a French father, or so-and-so actually has two Polish speaking parents, and she’s fluent in Polish. But all of this is kind of hidden because it isn’t celebrated by the school. Our kids can consider it to be anything good. And so it’s about making other languages visible in the social and physical environment of the school by making sure that you have displays in other languages by making sure you have in your assemblies. We’re going to focus in this month’s assembly on Urdu, and we’ve got seventy three Urdu speakers and they’re going to do a poem. You know, you’ve got to live with the languages of your students for them to feel like they have value. And so there are lots of great activities online that you can find, but it’s really about thinking about those two aspects of the physical environment and the social environment. How do we make language is something that is something interesting, something that kids have curiosity about. You know, one of the perpetual problems I find here is that all the little kids are trying to learn French. The vast majority of them have never been to France. They probably a lot of them never want to go to France because it’s the land of stinky cheese or snails or whatever. So why not teach them the language as their peers? If you, you know, if your schools in an area with a really large Polish population, why not be teaching the kids polish so that they can play football and Polish and Polish games and take the language needs to be used for communication? And if children don’t see how it’s going to fulfil a communicative need, then they are not motivated or interested and curious. And so it’s about digging down and showing that schools value what they have already, rather than some external idea of what language has value.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Yeah, I mean, I’m guessing I’m not sure aware where where he’s from. I mean, obviously we have a particular challenge here, I suppose in the UK at the moment with the political situation of what’s going on at the moment. So I imagine that’s kind of, yeah, that’s tough. So it’s got to come from the school culture. I guess it’s got to come from some

 

Eowyn Crisfield of

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) the schools that we worked with for what it’s worth to do that really well. Yeah, it’s a celebration of that diversity and stuff. It’s it’s an opportunity to simple things. You know, parents coming in are getting younger children and parents coming in and showing things from their culture and stuff, sporting events, you know, opportunities to do that.

 

Eowyn Crisfield I believe stories, story, reading, stories. Yeah. Other times story time organised for a festival in the Netherlands and multilingual reading of Of a very hungry caterpillar. And we would have readers come in and do it in 11, 12, 13 languages and the best one I ever saw. The kids were enraptured was a South African author who read it in his invented language. Right? So obviously it was an invented language nobody had ever been exposed to hip to it. But he was such a good reader that the kids were completely following along and they were learning words in his invented language. And so, you know, it doesn’t take much to create an environment where language has become something interesting rather than something that is detrimental to a child.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Let’s carry on into the other question. Thank you. For letting the questions in, by the way, I’m just going to rattle through these because they’re really interesting. So another question come in, how effective do you believe reading and simultaneously listening? The use of audio books with text is for developing English skills, for example, phonics, spelling and grammar.

 

Eowyn Crisfield Question from short answer For those I don’t know, I’m not actually literacy specialist. I know for some children who struggle with reading what audiobooks can be access into the world of stories, that’s really, really useful. But I don’t know of any particular research about phonics, spelling and grammar and audiobooks.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Yeah, I don’t actually, I’m afraid so. I’m sorry, and we can’t give you a specific answer on that one. I will see if anybody in the office does anything about that afterwards, and we’ll put it on the blog. All right, another question coming in here. This is the issue, and I always love questions about librarians and libraries. Had librarians and libraries contribute to the learning process of bilingual and multilingual learners?

 

Eowyn Crisfield Librarians can have such a huge impact on how kids feel about languages, how they feel about their own languages, how they feel about languages in general. And there’s kind of there’s the educational side and more the, you know, the kind of reading for pleasure side. But having books available in many different languages and not not making students make certain language choices. When my kids were at a European school library was hugely monolingual or hugely multilingual, and one day my son brought home a book in Finnish, he was seven. So from this book of Finnish and so we waited our way through when we looked up Finnish online, where’s it from and what made it sound like? And obviously, I’m sure I absolutely butchered it. But it didn’t Matt (Learning Ladders)er because he became quite interested in Finnish because they use dots and things. That was interesting. And so just forget that kind of sensitisation to multilingualism. But again, in parallel, if the librarian goes to find out what key texts are being used in different classes and sources, those in other languages in, say, secondary school, everybody’s doing Jekyll and Hyde, and you’ve got a student who’s new to English. They’re not going to read Jekyll and Hyde in English, but if you source it for them in Lithuanian, they can follow along with the story and then follow along with the discussion. So just having those mirroring key texts in other languages really is really useful for new new arrivals or students who are still in the the earlier phases of the English acquisition.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Point probably circles around with what you were talking about before that you need the language specialist on the SLT leadership team, you need that communication, that visibility, the Curriculum Lab bespoke, so that everybody knows this is what’s going on in our sort of community. It’s no good for the poor librarian to suddenly just have a child walk up one day and and ask for a particular textbook. I don’t know. Absolutely. So, OK, that makes sense. That poses the question. And we’ve got probably about 10 minutes left, so chance to answer a few more questions. We’ve been firing questions at you for a long time. You must be getting exhausted. Is there any other points coming out of things? I mean, if, if, if you had to give delegates on the call and stuff who were clearly from a whole range of different schools? Any sort of headline advice that they could go and action over the next few weeks? Is there anything that would sort of spring to mind? What would you ask? People suggest people focus on. Well, that’s a really difficult question, isn’t it?

 

Eowyn Crisfield Would I guess it really depends on where their school is on their journey. So some schools already have quite good processes in place for doing student language profiling when they arrive and for knowing the linguistic profiles of their students. So if that’s where that school is already, it’s about pushing forward to thinking about what is our responsibility to our students home language just to make sure that they’re not losing their own language in the quest of English. What are we doing currently to support home language development? And if we are not doing anything or we’re not doing enough, how do we shift that? And so just to start those conversations to learn a little bit about it, I mean, it’s going in with some research knowledge is really helpful. When I work with parents, I always tell parents, you have to understand the research around raising bilingual children because along the way, somebody is going to give you bad advice and you need to be able to say, actually, research shows that you can put anything. You want that to that and it shuts people up. But for teachers, it’s the same. If you yourself are passionate about children’s languages, do some learning so that you can go to your SLT and say, Did you know that the stronger a child’s home language development, the more easily they learn English? Oh, you did. Well, here are some things that we could do as a school to start promoting this. And so maybe starting small. You may already have started small and we want to level it up and say, how can we develop a curriculum framework for the 17 languages spoken by our students? How can we develop a framework that will allow kids to work in their own languages across the curriculum? How will we communicate with parents? Know we’re doing this unit to go back to ecosystems that talk about ecosystems all the time? I don’t know what a lot of science is, but we’re going to be doing a unit on ecosystems. Here are some key vocabulary your children need to know. Can you help them research an ecosystem in your country of origin and pay attention to what this vocabulary connects to and have them complete this drawing so that your scaffolding, the children’s content learning you’re helping develop their own language because we don’t talk about ecosystems sitting around the dinner table with our children. And so if somebody doesn’t help the parents dig into some higher level content, children’s home languages will stagnate as the school language continues to grow. And then we end up with children who don’t want to use our language anymore because they can’t use it for anything particularly meaningful. And so really, where you go next depends on where you are now.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) We can probably help there. How about this as we take this as an action, by way, I mean, sort of Learning Ladders team and I’ll do this. I think we’ve we’ve covered some really good specific advice. So maybe, maybe this is something we can do that’s quite useful for people who who are on the call is we’ve you’ve already mentioned some specific examples will transcribe those and get those written off. You’ve mentioned that the research shows maybe let’s we’ll give some links to the research that we’re talking about that people can put in front of that. There are SLT and stuff as an action. And you’ve obviously got a couple of books. I’ll give a quick plug to those. But I mean, today they cover this sort of stuff. I’m presuming it’s a

 

Eowyn Crisfield linguistic and cultural innovation in schools is much more about the school context, and it’s actually case studies of lots of different schools in terms of how they’ve gone about shifting their practise. So it’s more for schools. The other one is for parents, but it’s also got a lot of the kind of foundational understandings around bilingualism. So it depends on if you want to commit to reading research or just commit to reading something that’s written in a much more accessible way.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) But we’ll put them both on there. So we have we have a blog from you on our website already. We can do the recording of this. We’ll do some top tips. We’ll we’ll link to some of the research, we’ll link to the books and stuff that people can do as well. If you are a I know a lot of people on the call will be will be our customers will be Learning Ladders schools who subscribe. We can we have a chat room for various different things on our on our platform as well as maybe we can do things like that. If people have particular questions and want to amplify questions or ask for help for social media and stuff, then just tweet us and then I guess, add us in at Learning Ladders five is our hashtag Barzagli and we can maybe amplify those. Those are quite useful. Final, final point. I guess for me, I’ll just have a quick look. See if there’s any more questions that have come in. A couple of comments. So what would the steps be to developing a building, a home language programme for parents to support their children at home?

 

Eowyn Crisfield So it’s about making Connexions to your curriculum. So I mean, that kind of the easiest strategy would be for every unit of learning. You would touch a home learning strand. That you ask parents to do in their own languages, that’s complimentary, that’s not necessarily repeating, we don’t want to kill kids with homework, but they you just connect to and say as a part of the home learning. Instead of reading this book to your child in English, we’re going to ask you to find something to read to your child about chickens in your own language or whatever it is. And so just like thinking of it as a strand that goes home and then comes back. So everybody read about a book about chickens with your parents. What kinds of things did you learn about chickens from those books so that you’re making sure that you’re bringing it back in a meaningful ways that you’re not just saying, go do this at home, because then it doesn’t happen or it doesn’t happen in ways that are meaningful.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Yeah, I think that’s a fantastic idea. Final question. And then we’ll probably need to wrap up. This is close to my heart, obviously. So from Linda, Linda Joviality, I hope I’m pronouncing that right because my daughter’s school, Giovanna, so I teach Italian and I’m trying to use and find language strategies in my class grade nine multilingual, advanced Italian, I found out that they prefer to use English rather than their home language. And I think this is a shame. Do you have any experience in mother tongue programme in international schools?

 

Eowyn Crisfield So I don’t want to say as a hard line, year nine is too late. But what happens in international schools is if children have been educated into a system where their own languages aren’t used are particularly valued for that long. And then in year nine, their teacher says, Now I want to use these Italian, they kind of look around and think, Is this a trap? Is she trying to trick us? Or actually at that point, their English is more developed than their Italian, so to do it in Italian is more difficult or feels like twice the work. And so it’s not to say that you can’t start that late, but you need to start with the the agreement in discussion with your students about why you’re doing it. And let’s give it a try. So you need to have those conversations. I think it’s really a shame that you’re Italian. Your English is so great now, but you’re not so comfortable in Italian. Let’s try this thing together and then reflect on what it felt like and how we can integrate it as a part of a practise. And so it is hard for children to overcome what we call the monolingual habits that environment where everybody is multilingual but are all pretending that we only speak English and it feels like that’s the right way to continue. So it actually can feel quite countercultural to them. I’ve had that experience with the school I worked with in Kenya, where we’re trying to build trans language in Kiswahili and English across it and English international curriculum. They’re all like, why? Why do you want us to do that? And so they’re kind of there’s inbuilt ideas about the value of certain languages in education that we need to overcome. And so it’s not a shortcut.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) I’m just going to share this screen here for those of you, because I’m getting a few questions come in. So these are our contact details. Questions have come in. Will the recording be shared yet? Absolutely. And we’ll share those things. It will probably take us a day or two to just put it up on the website. So bear with us and you’ll get an email saying that it’s live on the website or you can go to the blog. A couple of people have asked about demos, which is lovely. Obviously, we’d be delighted to do that if you contact Stellar and so we can sort those out as well. And we have one final question which is sneak down. I promise this will be the final one. And then we probably had better wrap up because we said about an hour and we’re getting there now. A question from CAT4 How can the home language be strong when it’s only spoken and read and not written, especially for young children exposed to another language at a very young age in a local school, not an international school?

 

Eowyn Crisfield And it is difficult because we know that contrary to popular belief, young children learn new languages very slowly and lose languages quite quickly. And so the language attrition that happens when children are put into a new language at school can be quite alarming. And so it’s really about the messaging to parents early on and consistently. Please keep using your language with your children. Please keep reading in your language, having it in the classroom, having it present to try and make sure that children stay in tune with that language until such time as they’re able to to learn to read in it. And once reading is solid, then it’s a language that they can continue to take with them. But we do see absolutely higher levels of attrition, of the whole language in children who start in international education at very young ages, and that’s something that we need to do a better job of it. And a lot of times if the school has an homogenous population, so if it’s all, I don’t know if it’s all Chinese speaking children in an English speaking school in China, the obvious solution is a bilingual programme instead of an English only, which will give you a better academic results and better results across those languages.

 

Matt (Learning Ladders) Fantastic. I think that’s been really, really useful. And thank you so much for that imparting so much, so much knowledge and wisdom in such a short space of time. I hope that’s been useful to everybody. Thank you, everybody as well for participating these fireside chats. Always fascinating and obviously only really work if everybody participates and throws in questions. So I hope we’ve been able to get to everybody’s question and answer everybody’s question. What we’ll do is, like I said, we’ll put it up on the website. The website will have the recording, but we also do have an auto transcribe, so you’ll get the full text. That’s that’s a computerised thing, I’m afraid. So apologies in advance for any typos on that. It’s an automated thing. But yeah, just wanted to wrap up and thank everybody for coming and participating. I hope that was useful. Good luck. Good luck having those meetings with the SLT trying to make this much more sort of front and centre. And yeah, maybe we should do a follow up in a few months time or something and get into it in a bit more detail. That’s it from us. I think I’m going to bid farewell and thank you again for that fantastic session. And everybody, thanks for having me. Have a wonderful rest of the day.

Leadership approaches to linguistic diversity in schools

Eowyn Crisfield, specialist in languages across the curriculum, including EAL, home languages, bilingual and immersion education, takes a look at how school leaders can address the linguistic diversity in their school.

One of the most challenging areas in international education is languages. While we can find and use curricula for any other area of learning from national and international options, the unique situation of languages and language learners in international schools means there are no ‘one size fits all’ solution, and therefore no ‘one size fits all’ curriculum. The three language areas that are affected are English as an Additional Language (EAL), home languages, and host country languages. For all of these language areas, understanding student development and developing responsive programmes requires understanding how languages interact and influence each other, and having accurate data about language development across a student’s language profile.

English as Additional Language as a category and programme is not unique to international schools, but the development, implementation, and tracking of an EAL programme needs to be created based on the school profile (curriculum, students, language profiles). There is a draw towards using English Language Teaching (ELT/EFL) materials and assessment, but these are not a good fit for students learning through English, and will not provide the type of language development they need, or any reasonable data on how their level of English corresponds with access to the curriculum. There are fit for purpose tracking systems (Bell Assessment Framework and WIDA, for example) but these do not have accompanying curricula and materials, as they need to be aligned with the school curriculum and not stand-alone.

The profile of home languages is increasing in international schools, in part based on better understanding of the nature of bi/multilingual development, and also, one would hope, as a key area of development for diversity, equity, and inclusion approaches. There is a unique link between the development of a child’s home language and their progress in the development of English through school, which has been attested through decades of research in different contexts. Given this, it is always in the best interests of the child (and school) to promote continued development of both language and literacy in the home language/s. This strong link also means that when we are concerned about school language development, understanding development in the home/dominant language is key to differentiating between a potential language delay/SEN or just the effect of language acquisition.

For schools with a linguistically homogenous population, the benefits of promoting equal development in the home and school language can be addressed by moving from an English-only model to a bilingual model. For schools with a linguistically diverse population, a creative approach to supporting home languages is needed, whether that be through a combination of extra-curricular and in-school offerings, or through the development of multilingual approaches in the classroom (translanguaging). In either case, each school will need to develop a bespoke model, curriculum, and tracking system to best support and understand student development in the home language/s.

The final area of language teaching and learning that needs attention is the host country language. Many schools are obliged to teach the host country language, and most would do so by choice anyway. In some cases there is a curriculum available that fits the school’s needs, but in most cases development will again need to be in-house. The three areas that make host country language curriculum development challenging are: varying proficiency levels; incoming students at different times in the year/cycle; varying parental aspirations for the host country language. It is entirely normal for a school to need to provide tuition for the host country language for every level from beginner to fluent, for students arriving in Year 1 and in Year 7, and for students who are on a short stay (2-3 years) and students whose families have recently settled in the country permanently. With all this variation in proficiency and perspectives on learning the language, there is again no ready-made curriculum that will serve the needs of this wide variety of students and families.

It becomes clear, therefore, that languages is an area where schools will need to invest time and effort, first carrying out a clear audit of the school population in terms of languages, and then to carry out a subsequent audit of provisions. The gaps between the need and current provision will give the school a road map to follow, as they turn to the task of building an in-house programme for EAL, home languages, and host country language that will be the ‘best fit’ for their students and families. It’s no small task, but if we recognise that languages and language development are central to the social, cultural, linguistic, and academic development of our students, then surely we have no other choice!

Join the upcoming webinar with Eowyn and Learning Ladders CEO, Matt here

Bio:

Eowyn Crisfield is a Canadian-educated specialist in languages across the curriculum, including EAL, home languages, bilingual and immersion education, super-diverse schools and translanguaging. Her focus is on equal access to learning and language development for all students and on enhancing approaches to linguistic diversity in schools.  She is author of the recent book ‘Bilingual Families: A practical language planning guide (2021) and co-author of “Linguistic and Cultural Innovation in Schools: The Languages Challenge” (2018 with Jane Spiro).  She is also a Senior Lecturer in English Language and TESOL at Oxford Brookes University.

Crisfield Educational Consulting

Fireside Chat: Headteacher Chat & Learning Ladders

Headteacher Chat

We’ve teamed up with Headteacher Chat to provide you with a free, high quality, learning opportunity.

Join us in this ‘fireside chat’ with founder and CEO Matt Koster-Marcon where we discuss in depth how to create better learning conversations, use assessments to inform teaching, and working effectively with pupil data.

Ask questions, engage and learn how to get the most out of your curriculum’s assessments.

If you missed this event don’t worry- grab a cup of coffee and watch the recording here:

Webinar Transcription:

Jonathon Welcome to the third episode of our Teacher Chat webinar and I’ve got Matt here. We’re going to be talking a lot about assessments this morning.

Put it into of context of where we are, this whole year has been very different for schools around the world and actually there’s the standardised test unit here in the U.K. We have not got the SATs tests. And it means that everyone has to try and get a new approach to what their assessments are in school. There are no year six assessments going on this year. So, what we’re going to discuss is how we can view summative assessment and actually how we can get the information from that summative assessment and make an impact on children’s learning and what Learning Ladders do is actually really do that really well. And with the GL assessment, it actually pinpoint where the improvement may be happening in schools and it’s very easy to use and easy to set up.

So, I would like to introduce Matt Koster Marcon, the founder of Learning Ladders. We’ve been working quite closely with them for the last year and it’s such an important platform, teaching, learning that is really focused on the children and they’re learning there.

Matt Hello. Thank you for having me.

Jonathon Can you tell us a little bit about how Learning Ladders was set up?

Matt The story of Learning Ladders? I used to be a primary school teacher in London. It was a sort of career change for me, actually. I came from a background in sort of commercial world marketing.  And essentially, I suppose Learning Ladders started off actually as a parental engagement tool, because in my schools, the real challenge that we had with trying to improve children’s learning was actually getting the adults at home involved in that learning, because as everybody knows, if you can unlock adults at home and parent power, then that that will have more impact on progress than anything you can do in school.

So, the starting point was parental engagement long before coronavirus, long before lockdown, long before remote learning. We were sort of banging that particular drum. And then it seemed to make sense to connect formative assessment and curriculum design because we wanted to start a conversation. So, what we wanted to do was not just completely just have one way communications with parents. We wanted to upskill parents, so they knew exactly what their child was working on, but also so they knew exactly how to help at home. And as part of that process, it clearly made sense to have a single platform which enabled the school to design any curriculum, implement any curriculum, evaluate it, but also share it and discuss it to the whole starting point for us was with starting conversations that we endlessly talk about better conversations, about learning.

And fundamentally, that’s what assessment is, it’s identifying the starting points for children’s learning, sharing it with children, explicitly sharing it with any other adults that are relevant and moving on from there. So, yeah, that’s how we started it. We started here in the UK where we’re based and increasingly in the last few years, we’ve worked with lots of international schools. So, we now have schools in about 25, 30 countries around the world and a whole range of different schools.

And you touched on G.L. assessments. We’ve recently built a whole load of dashboards to help people interpret their GL data, no particular promotion of their company we work with closely. We know and respect them. And that is a good product. We’re not we’re not selling GL above any other system, particularly. It just happens to be a very popular one. So, it’s part of the picture for us.

So, we did formative assessment. We do lots of conversations. You can do homework quizzes, you can do a more formal formative assessment, and then you triangulate that against your summative assessments as well as to try and get a full picture of the child. So that’s the Learning Ladders sort of history, if you like, in a couple of seconds.

Jonathon Do you want to go into a little bit more about the GL assessment, because I had a look at the report you provided and it looked really, really good. You know, as a school leader in that school, you’ll be able to pick it up and identify key areas in the school that you need to be where you want to go and look a bit more correct.

Matt We’ve focused historically on the formative assessment side of things, and that’s about identifying where you can improve, its identifying centres of excellence for individual children, for classes, for groups, for teachers. And the way we approach that has proved extremely popular because it’s a scenario based approach to data. So, most people historically have confused school data with tracking and confused assessment and tracking. And they’re obviously very different things. We were asked to look at summative data and we built these dashboards.

So, the GL data is great. It’s very, very detailed. They have a whole suite of CAT4 programmes, Progress tests and PASS tests, looking at attitudes to learning, lots and lots of data. And they provide their own reports, which are very detailed and should really be the fundamental basis for what most people are doing. But again, in terms of correlating that in an easy way with the class teachers, we felt that there was a way of doing this.

So, some of the things that we do, for example, in terms of the dashboard and one of the challenges is comparing different sets of data. So, this here is looking at your current year data. So, CAT4 data and your various different parts of CAT4 against your progress test for English, maths and science. And just seeing broadly speaking, and this is in a very deliberate over simplistic way of looking at this, but a child’s progress test score compared to their CAT4 plan. What does that tell you? What conversations might that spark? Looking at trends in time in terms of their CAT4 results are there for an individual child or for a group of children?

So, looking at trends in time for Progress test results in terms of children where they’re at, trends in time and particular areas on their PASS survey. So, their attitudes to learning, comparing that to formative data. And we obviously have side by side data comparison for the two areas as well on an individual pupil basis. And all of this is really just designed to show and start conversations around, if I go here, this is what it looks like on a sort of live version, if you like, so do all sorts of different analysis and you can change your scores and view your data in various different ways.

But all of this is designed to start conversations. So, what is this telling me? What is this telling me here at the moment that this particular group of children on average are scoring at these values compared to their CAT4 test? What questions might I ask? Because I can see there are some dips in their PASS survey attitudes to learning. So, this is about starting those conversations. This is about moving beyond just a child is struggling with maths. So, I’m going to give them more maths. So, I’m going to give them different maths. This is looking more broadly and saying, well, is the problem actually a broader challenge for them? Is it something that’s happened? Is it to do with their attitudes to learning it? Should we be tackling that as part of our overall strategy for that child? Then sharing that with parents, you know, the ability to have a really detailed conversation with the adults at home and the child themselves when they’re old enough, is obviously hugely positive, that’s the purpose of all of this. And that’s how we do it.

Jonathon For school leaders, you have an overview of the school and looking at HPL assessment as well.

Matt The way the dashboard works is you select anything you like. So you can select an individual child and have a look at the dashboard for them, or you can select a group of children. Obviously, the bigger that group, the broader it gets. But, yeah, absolutely. You could choose the entire school or possibly I think more schools might focus on possibly a cohort or a peer group, particularly because the way the GL tests are designed, they have a slightly different emphasis on different year groups.

Jonathon So shall we open up the floor and see if there’s any questions from the people attending the webinar, have they got any other questions they would like to ask you about?

Matt If there are any detailed questions about G.L., then I’ll need to take them away and get back to you. So, leave your email address. I actually have a meeting with them tomorrow so I can raise it fairly promptly for you and get back to you. Or drop us an email, or Twitter. The feedback that we’ve had on it so far, it’s been great. This particular aspect of it, because, again, it’s not designed to replace the reports themselves. So, the GL reports themselves are far more detailed, but they take a bit of wading through. They’ll have the real detail behind every single child. This is designed to be a deliberate simplification of that, to give you sort of really accessible information for everyone, for class teachers, for senior leaders, for your assessment leaders, whoever it may be. So that’s where this is pitched. And it shouldn’t replace those GL reports, because we don’t attempt to visualise on a dashboard things like confidence levels or range of potential scores. So, you know, just again, use it for what it’s intended, I would say.

Jonathon There we go, questions so far. Can I compare my school with another school in the same country, an international school?

Matt You can I mean, you’d have to do it probably slightly manually at the moment, unless you’re both Learning Ladders schools. It would depend. So obviously, G.L. will provide both schools with the same comparable results and then you can compare, irrelevant of whether you do it through Learning Ladders. If you were both Learning Ladders schools, you could run the same search and compare your results. Is there the option within Learning Ladders to compare your school results with, for example, an average in your country? No, because we don’t have access to the full GL data, so we have access to each individual.

Jonathon And next one from John Roberts, we currently use PowerBi to track G.L. assessments. How does Learning Ladders intergrate?

Matt Apparently you can integrate with Learning Ladders as well, and it’s a great tool for data visualisation, it tends to be a pro tool, so it tends to be used by schools who have someone on the payroll who’s been trained on Bi. If you’re lucky enough to have that person, then that’s great. They’ll do a lot of similar things. I mean, if you look at our dashboards and Power Bi the functionality is broadly the same. I suppose the big difference is with Learning Ladders, it’s designed to be accessible based on your school’s data, your formative data and everything else. Very easy to share. And it’s part of the platform. So why would you go to the extra trouble of linking something else and creating another dashboard? To be completely fair, the flip side of that is a lot of the schools that we work with, one of the reasons why we integrate with B.I is you may choose to include other information in your B.I dashboard, which we just don’t have access to. So, some schools will link it in in that way. So, there’s no blanket Learning Ladders is better than Bi or Bi is better than Learning Ladders for doing that because it will depend on exactly what you’re trying to do. The headline I would say is though typically power Bi is very much a pro tool the only way of inputting data into power BI is through a spreadsheet obviously, or through an API link. So that’s beyond a lot of schools. And we’re pitching for the everyday use for the everyday teacher being able to use.

Jonathon OK, the next question, I work as an analyst, do you feel that GL data aligns more or less with a particular type of teaching framework.

Matt That’s a very detailed question. I mean, in our experience, most of our experience working with GL has been in the Middle East region, mainly in sort of British Curriculum International schools, because obviously it’s mandated in that part of the world in terms of our overlapping different regions. And it’s a relatively new function. So personally, I don’t feel I’m necessarily qualified to answer that one. I’m afraid I would probably direct you in in sort of GL’s direction to answer that one. That’s not really fair for me to say something on their behalf.

Jonathon Next question. I was interested in what you said about assessment being different to tracking. And could you go into more detail about this and how we could look at this as assessments as well as using them to support?

Matt Yeah, this is a soapbox moment for me, so depending on the school, a lot of the time when we go into a school and they’re using Learning Ladders for a first timer, we asked them to describe their previous practice for what does assessment look like in their school and why are they doing it? The key driver behind the process that they are describing is to audit teaching for somebody who wasn’t there at the time, normally an inspector. So, what tends to drive academic data is having to build a picture to evidence that you’re doing your job well. So that should you be inspected, you get a favourable result. That tends to be the overlying thing. And most territories work in a high account of high stakes accountability systems. That’s incredibly important. But clearly what that does is that distorts the data usage. So, one of the things that we’ve worked very hard to do is to try and separate different types of data for different purposes.

And one of the reasons why the combination of your formative internal assessment data and the aggregation of that, to give you pictures of what’s going on in your school and the ability to use third party commercial universal summative data, which is the same for every school in the world, is to build up different datasets for different purposes. So, what I mean by that is your formative data, your internal data should really be about painting a picture that’s specific to you as a school. So, it should really be about how is it going to help your teachers deliver the curriculum that you’ve decided is important for your school community to the best of their ability and provide them with all the information they need to make sure that the year group, the cohort and an individual pupil is, for want of a better phrase, kind of on track.

So, the kind of thing that we focus on, is curriculum design, sensible assessment milestones, but also then things like, what are you going to do with that assessment information? So, we have linked resources. You know, we have a Curriculum Lab so you can identify this particular group of children in year for a struggling with quadratic equations, here are a load of fantastic resources from various different providers that work for this particular challenge. So, it’s moving assessment beyond just a long tick list, which gives you a very big graph into something which is a useful tool for teaching and learning, because assessment is something that should be done with children, not something that’s done to them after the event, and they have no impact on it. If your assessment waits until you get an email from senior leadership seeing it, saying, I need your data and you spend two days at the weekend or in the evenings filling in data on a spreadsheet or some sort of commercial system to produce lots of graphs which sit on a shelf, and nothing happens with that information, that’s clearly a waste of time and much, much better to use a mechanism and a process to start structured conversations. Use assessment for what it’s meant to record.

That information, aggregated by all means, that’s internal data. So, when you’re inspected, it’s perfectly reasonable to say we have set out this as our curriculum and this is how we’re implementing it, and this is how we’re making sure that that implementation is successful and comprehensive and we’re not missing anybody out. And we benchmarking ourselves against other schools and nationally by using the summative tests. So, we do a combination of the two. So even if your internal data paints a particular picture, it should be about starting that conversation. So, it’s an important difference because if all you’re doing is entering tracking information onto a system, a point in time assessment of where a child is and that doesn’t feed back into responsive teaching, doesn’t feed back into better teaching and learning, more personalised teaching and learning. What’s the point?

Certainly, here in the UK, Ofsted are very specific now. They don’t want to see internal data anymore because they recognise if they do, then it’s likely to provide an incentive to manipulate that data. But they’re not saying you shouldn’t do internal data. This has been a big misconception in the UK. There is very much an understanding that you need to be on top of what’s going on in your school. So, there is an expectation that you have mechanisms in place for doing that, but they’re not looking to see if they’re looking to have that conversation. And that’s beginning to be the case in lots of the other schools that we work with around the world. So, it’s a sort of subtle difference. But if all of your assessment practice boils down to an excel sheet that just produces graphs at the end of every period of time, that sit on someone’s shelf, that’s clearly not an assessment because assessment is identifying the starting points for children. It changes teaching practice, and you share it with the children, and you share it with other adults, and you get everybody involved and you review it. So very long answer. But this is sort of what we do I suppose.

Jonathon In some ways, we need to pave the way further because the summative assessment is so important, especially in UK schools this year, because we rely so much on all the external testing. What is summative assessment speaking, in your opinion, where does summative assessment fit in to the whole school assessment process and how could it be done?

Matt, I think it’s part of it, part of the overall picture. It has no more significance than formative assessment. It’s just different and it needs to be presented in that way. And to be clear, one of the things, again, when we talk about summative assessment, what we’re talking about here, you know, rightly or wrongly, but just to be clear, is commercially available assessment. So, people like GL data, you, whoever it might be, who do all these assessments, not necessarily an in-house end of topic quiz. So those assessments are also incredibly valuable, but they’re not norm referenced. They’re not tested. They’re not executed in appropriate conditions and all that kind of stuff. So that’s not what we’re talking about here.  If the underlying reason for asking the question, is you want to find out as much as possible about a child’s starting points and the things that might influence their learning success, then things like your summative data gives you more information so you can understand how is a child performing under classroom conditions and how are they performing under summative assessment conditions? And it may well be that when you get into the detail, that prompts some conversations. This child is demonstrating a skill in this particular area, but they clearly are in summative tests. So that’s a good thing. I need to spend some time trying to observe that and make sure that I understand that they do know that. Or do they just get lucky in the test, Unlikelier, if it’s a well-designed test compared to your formative assessment and if your teachers are saying these children are absolutely flying and they’re way above expectations, but the summative assessment data is saying something completely different, is your benchmarking of your assessments right? Have you got that challenge level, right?

If so, that one conversation, particularly things like the Pass data and the attitudes to learning data will be quite interesting in that, particularly at the moment after lockdown is going to be interesting to see how that changes and a lot of schools. So that would be the starting point. If your starting point, is I’m interested in, how do I improve teaching and learning if I’m realistic here? Because we go through this with lots of schools. Every school we’ve ever worked with anywhere in the world has touchwood, have never had a school go down in their local inspection ratings. So, I know this works. So, if you’re looking at it from an inspection point of view, it gives you a different angle. It gives you another thing to talk about. So, it’s particularly useful, for example, children who are on the extremes of formative assessment, those children who are perennially, significantly below age related expectations or significantly above age related expectations. You can look at their results and see, well, they are significantly above their expectations, but they’re less significantly above this year than they were last year. So actually, although they’re doing well, that’s a cause for concern because they’re going backwards.

Likewise, children who are outside age related expectations are making rapid progress on their tests can be a really good thing. And we find again and if inspection is your is your driver for this, that complete picture for an inspector is incredibly valuable and incredibly positive because they see the children in the classroom involved in their assessments, articulating their learning. They can see that you’re sharing it with parents. They can see that you’re having proper, meaningful conversations about learning that you’re completely on top of the teaching and learning process and that you’re benchmarking it against a robust external system as well and triangulating that information. So, you know, it’s for those purposes, I would say.

Jonathon  Can we merge internal data, Excel sheet on Learning Ladders platform and can we then triangulate internal and GL?

Matt So without seeing it, it’s difficult to commit to exactly what that data is from a Learning Ladders perspective. You can have your internal data, you can compare it to GL data. There’s a whole other section without going into a product demo or a sales pitch, which I promised that I wouldn’t do then. Yes. So, what I would suggest is get in touch with the office and I’ll get more details at the end of the Learningladders.info is the website. There’s a contact button there. And let’s have a look at your specific information. And we can answer that, particularly for your school. I would say, broadly speaking, the answer is yes.

Jonathon  I love talking about assessment, one of my favourite things, even as a class teacher, it makes such a difference and makes it easier to be a good teacher because you know precisely where children are and what the children need to make them improve. And then we talked about last week about cutting down on workload, because actually, if you get the assessment right, it makes it so much easier in the classroom.

Matt Yeah, I mean, funnily enough, even as somebody who runs a company that’s best known for assessments and stuff, I’m not a particular assessment nerd. I think it’s really about those beautiful moments, which is why we all go into teaching. You know, what people sort of colloquially call the light bulb moments. You have a far better chance of having more of those and more meaningful moments. If you know what children’s starting points are and you have a clear plan for where they’re going to go. Otherwise, it’s just luck. It’s just random. So, it’s about being specific and rigorous and having those structured conversations to generate that. That process and assessment obviously underpins that. I think maybe as a as a company that occupies this space and speaks at events and stuff about assessment, and sometimes we can get too carried away with pretty graphs, we can get too carried away with the data. I think we always have to pull it back, too. So, what am I going to do with this and actually put it in the context of in the whole picture of how I’m going to improve a child’s learning? Where does this fit? Is this the best use of my time really getting into this granular detail? Or do I need a system that’s just going to do it for me really quickly and easily? That’s going to give me the information I need and then I can get on with it. So, yes, I agree.

Obviously, it can be incredibly powerful, but I think it’s, again, which one of the things that always worries me when you look at things like social media platforms and stuff is you have sort of you know, you have very popular accounts on there, you know, talking about particular data visualisations, all this and the other. And it’s the wrong conversation for me. You know, it should be about how is this improving a teacher’s life, it’s making life easier for teachers so they can spend more time teaching the children regardless.

Jonathon CAT4 data, we got one more question should pupil’s targets be shared with primary school children or people?

Matt Wow, that’s a big one, and that’s probably a conference in itself, should pupil’s targets be shared with children? So, it depends on what person. This is a pure personal view now. And I’m not saying this based on any particular sort of wisdom in the area. It’s quite a specific one. But let me go slightly outside my line. In my experience, working with schools, explicitly sharing the granular objective a child is currently working on and how that fits into a learning sequence absolutely, 100 percent tailored to the individual child.

So, what we do at Learning Ladders is we create very structured conversations by sharing very explicitly with the children. This is what you’re working on right now. This is what you need to do to achieve it. And this is what comes next. But the critical thing about that is, is although it’s part of the school’s curriculum and its consistent across the year group in the school, it’s individualised to every child. So, every child is working on something that’s appropriate for them rather than for them. And they’re all making progress. So, if you’re sharing targets with children in terms of that granular, very specific objective level, which probably in our system you’d have you’d have your overall sort of structure of Learning Ladders objectives. And then within those you’d break those down into success criteria or whatever in individual lessons. That’s that’s where we picture that one hundred percent. Yes.

And all the research shows that that’s useful to do, starting conversations, being explicit with children, giving them ownership of their learning, giving them the responsibility for it. It’s the first step of proper parental engagement, because if you’re not having conversations with children about learning in class, they’re not going to magically be able to talk about their learning when they do remote learning or when they’re at home. You have to start that process. If you’re talking about things to a child, you’re currently b and we really want to be in a at the end of the year. No, I personally would say absolutely not. I think that’s a total waste of time and incredibly self-defeating because it creates pressure, it creates classroom competition, and it creates playground chatter amongst parents. It’s totally unhelpful and it won’t improve the learning in my particular experience. And you need to be challenged on that.

Jonathon, I think I would agree with that on main one.  That child has that feedback or their work or whatever that is, and that should link with the target. So, it should be that granular work with that individual child.

I really love talking about assessment.  So, we would highly recommend you look at Learning Ladders and see how it works and have a conversation with Matt to be saving work in your school. I know I’d like to say is thanks everyone for coming today and I really appreciate you joining us and hopefully see you next time in a couple of weeks’ time. Thank you very much.

Matt No problem. Thank you, everybody, and thank you for the questions.

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Designing and Managing your Curriculum

How many times have you felt like your curriculum is not entirely your own? Tailored to fit with a scheme? Tailored to a certain legacy idea of an assessment system? Still tied into resources you have had for years as you cannot afford new books?

We take a look at the ways in which schools can realistically, and effectively design and manage their curriculum whilst taking back full control. Make your curriculum your own.

Curricula are never fixed in stone and may adapt around your resources, current cohort needs, and specialisms of the school. Making changes meaningful and manageable is the key.

Our discussion will look at how to design a curriculum for your school including all the practical ways to make sure it works for your whole community as well as every individual in it.

If you missed out on the live webinar, find the webinar recording below:

Webinar Transcription:

Melanie: Welcome, everybody, to today’s webinar about designing and managing your curriculum.

My name is Melanie Evans. I’m a former primary teacher, worked across all of the phases from early years through to his stage two in senior leadership positions as well as a class teacher. And at Learning Ladders, my role is all things education. So talking to schools, product development and developing the tools and really receiving that feedback from schools to move the product forward as well as running these webinar sessions. So my perspective today is coming from an experienced practitioner as well as from a Learning Ladders perspective.

So why have we chosen the curriculum at this time of year? Well, it seems that at the moment when we’re talking to our schools, what we’re hearing is that teams are coming together. I remember from my own experience towards the end of term, you’re looking at the curriculum, beginning to start the reviewing process and the development of how we’re going to make changes. Now, we are coming from a implementation point of view, so although there’s lots of webinars out there about curriculum development itself, today we’re going to be focussing on the implementation of the curriculum because we know as former teachers that it’s not always the teachers themselves that are involved in the higher level curriculum developments that occur.

Quite often from senior leadership teams, it can be Phase leader but as a class teacher, not always involved in the actual development changes itself. So what are the challenges in that? So one of the challenges when we have this curriculum development is curriculums are created and printed then sometimes put in folders on the top of a shelf. We can also have them on shared drives. It’s really looking at that visibility of the curriculum. There are challenges around multiple revisions of curriculums, for example, where different teachers across the school are using different versions and revisions of that. Have we got the up to date curriculum? Is everybody on the same page? So when we’re making those developments, it’s really that communication and visibility that is the key and can be a challenge for our schools.

Typically, there is also a lack of development around the changes. So when our schools were making these developments to the curriculum, it’s the class teachers and the other teachers around school who are actually implementing those changes. Are they up to date? Have they had a session to discuss what the changes are, what the pedagogy and approach to teaching those objectives will be, and a shared understanding of what those changes actually mean and how you’re going to measure that impact once we’ve taught it.

There’s a pressure around teacher workloads. Another challenge that we hear quite a lot is you can make curriculum changes, but then that opens up looking for resources to bring that curriculum to life. And we’ve already strained teacher workloads. Those changes can cause extra stress. Having to try and find new resources to bring that to life can be challenging for schools and as well, with schools using systems where there’s no personalisation of the curriculum, for example, the challenges can be when there’s no contextualisation of the curriculum that reflects local needs and wider aims makes it very difficult for the class. Teachers actually implement those new objectives and curriculum when they are struggling to see how they relate to the people in their class. So it’s really looking at those challenges around the implementation and how we approach it within system such as Learning Ladders and how we can overcome some of those challenges.

So at Learning Ladders we’re about finding solutions to engage all of the partners in learning collectively. So it’s a process of continual improvement and involves not just the teachers in school, as I spoke about, with the development of teachers being upskilled when this change is made, but also how parents and teachers and children are involved collectively in those changes and how the curriculum is implemented and brought to life for all of those people and partners.

So we have the child in the centre at Learning Ladders. We need the child to know exactly what they’re working on, what they need to do and what comes next. And then the parents as well, who are very active in the role of improving learning outcomes within primary. They need to understand what their children are learning and be shown exactly how they can help, as well as well as the teachers knowing exactly what every child needs and having those tools to implement that curriculum. So it really is looking at the three perspectives as well as the SLT, as well (I refer to those as teachers today), looking at all those partnerships to bring that curriculum to life when we’re implementing it within school.

It starts with that shared vision and the visibility that I was talking about, about what we want children to achieve by the time they leave school. So that top level detail. Have we had those conversations so that everybody right from early years all the way to year six are working on that shared understanding. And this is really brought to home with the Early Years changes that are taking place in the framework and this real emphasis on creating your own curriculum that reflects the context and needs of the children in your local area. And that really is looking at the top down of what do we want the children to achieve by the time they leave us? And then looking at their shared vision of in year six, we want them to leave with these skills that are appropriate to our context. And that starts from early years. So it’s really important that any system that we’re using gives us the visibility to be able to see the progression of that curriculum and how it starts from the foundation stage all the way through. So that’s one conversation and one joined up system, which is why Learning Ladders you can see your live curriculum.

Any teacher can go in and access that live curriculum, so. I’ve shown here, for example, the multiple subjects that schools may add to their curriculum here, I may go into writing and I’m able to see that progression right from early years. I can see all the objectives up to year six. It’s a shared curriculum is not sitting on a shelf somewhere. We’re all working on the same revised, most up to date curriculum, and it’s not in pockets of shared drives and it’s offering consistency in what we believe impact is going to look like and how we know that we’ve made impact. So really at Learning Ladders talking about those conversations that take place, that wider decision making and consistency as a team of what our shared vision is as a whole school. And that really is brought to life when you have your curriculum in one place so that everybody can access the same documents.

So I talked about opportunity to communicate changes to the teachers, so we need to be able to find a way when we’re making these changes, if it’s the teachers who are implementing this curriculum, how will we upskilling the teachers? How are we informing them about the best practise and pedagogy in the way that we want to implement the curriculum statements that we’ve decided upon? So that’s supporting NQT’s, it could be supply teachers, maybe even teachers that are just new to that year group. How are you using your curriculum in order to upskill those teachers of the developments that have been made in Learning Ladders? One of the ways that we use this and we found very successfully, is to embed URL links within the curriculum. So, for example, if I’m a subject leader and I’ve spent a really long time creating a policy, maybe it’s the maths policy or it could be physical development policy about health and safety for each area of physical development. And I’ve created that policy. It’s taken me lots of time and it’s a very informed document. How are you serving the right exact information that the teachers need for that objective that they’re working on at the time, thinking about rather than having to read through a whole policy when we know that teachers already have extremely busy workloads, is is there a way that we could serve them, that exact part of the policy for that objective? And that’s how we found on Learning Ladders by adding new school resources, teachers can upload those policies to the exact parts. And in the notes they can refer to the parts of the policy that is relevant to that objective. So already we have skilled specialist teachers, Upskill and other teachers on areas of the curriculum. And that’s not something that needs to be said again and again. We don’t need to say that to all 30 staff that come and ask us about that area in our subject, for example, on the physical development subject lead. And I’ve got a health and safety policy for gymnastics, for example. Do I need to say it 30 times and explain to lots of different people or embedding it in one place where year after year it can become a working document where we’re adding these notes and policies and that any teacher, regardless of whether they’re a supply teacher or a new teacher, an experienced teacher, feel that they are being supported and can access that policy, is not on a shared drive somewhere. And we’ve got the exact part that we need. So really saving time overall.

The notes we’re looking at, the pedagogy, perhaps resources, referring to schemes that we use in school, those specific notes that are going to support teachers in implementing and and the pedagogy behind delivering that objective is really easy to add in Learning Ladders. So when the teachers access the curriculum, they can see that there is a note against the objective when it might pop out like this and also have a useful resource that is added to it as well. Thinking about like this example down here, the addition, those bilingual curriculums, dual language curriculums, how can we upskill other staff who do not have the language skills or understanding of that to be able to support the other teachers in the school in delivering that bilingual curriculum? And just like here, you can add other language for statements. You can edit the wordings of statements. You can put notes against that objective that will support other teachers as well, and also parallel curriculums that you may have in the system. So thinking about the other professionals that are involved in your child’s learning. So speech and language therapist, whether you have SENCOs working in schools, being able to create these curriculums for speech and language or children with additional needs, and as the SENCO being able to go in and upload any policies around special educational needs, policies relating to speech and language, and how we’re developing that with children in school. And the notes that are going to support those practitioners. So even in our mainstream schools, we know that there’s varying needs and being able to have professionals who are involved in children’s learning contributing to one document, that’s a really useful way to be able to implement that curriculum that we put in place.

So also we have that feeling of contribution from lots of different people who are involved in implementing that curriculum. So as the maths later I’m able to access the curriculum, make the changes in the creation zone, add my resources and my notes to support for my subject across the school, and then equally, we may have the SENCO accessing the curriculum. So it really moves away from this top level senior leadership team making the changes and then the teachers implementing them. If we can have this curriculum that is built up over time by lots of different professionals and teachers involved with the specialist skills that we have, then we’re going to have a curriculum that is building skills and developing understanding in our teachers, and that’s continuous, it’s not just once at the beginning of a year, in an inset day, for example.

And then thinking about how are we going to bring that curriculum to life. So when changes are made to curriculums, teachers already experience stretched workloads. We now need to be able to bring that to life and find the resources to be able to implement that curriculum and to teach the children and to engage the children in understanding the objective. And that takes time. So Learning Ladders have found a way around that with the Curriculum Lab. If you haven’t heard about Curriculum Lab before, what it is, is it’s a curated search engine that is specifically for education. Now I know as a former teacher, my Sunday evenings were filled with searching for that exact right resource that was of quality, that was specific to the objective that I needed. And I wished I had the Curriculum Lab when I was in that position. So if I talk you through how that could work with a keyword focus. So, for example, I’m looking at animals, including humans, for the science. Year three, it already pulls in from my curriculum. The exact area that I’m looking at. It knows that it’s science I’ve set it that I’m looking for and then I’m offered with our quality partners. So we have partnerships with the BBC Bitesize, Developing Experts, Oak Academy. I’m given the exact right resources for that particular objective. So when I’m in the curriculum and we’re developing this to support teachers in the implementation, why not as the Science Lead or as a class teacher, I can search for a great resource for that objective and then I can add the URL into the curriculum and embed it in there. So that year after year that resource is available for people at the end of the year, we may review that resource and decide actually we’re going to look for another resource that we really like. That one, we’re going to do another objective now and adds more resources than I can flag resources as favourites. It doesn’t download the resource to the computer. It takes you to the website and as a professional, you’re able to then review that resource first and say, actually, yes, this is appropriate. These are the terms that reflectwhat we’re using. That vocabulary is meeting the objective and it’s going to support the children. I’m going to copy the URL and put it in to my curriculum development. And that’s how the Curriculum Lab really takes the time out of searching of those resources and can bring that curriculum to life in a way that everybody can access resources.

Quite often, reflecting my own experiences we have pockets of excellence, of resources where people have built up over time on a shared drive. But trying to make that universally accessible is the difficulty, being able to share that so that everybody can see that resource and support and upskill each other.

So pupils is the next part to look at. We talked about wanting to engage all the partners in learning and one of the partners in the centre of everything we do is the pupils or the students. How are we enabling pupils to be taking ownership and co-ownership of that learning? How would they gain an understanding of what their curriculum is? So we thinking about ways to make children independent. We want children to be resilient learners, particularly as we hear some schools going back into home learning situations and remote learning in this very uncertain time.

We need to prepare pupils to be able to talk about their learning. And one way that we find to support our schools is through our pupil statements. There is a concern that you can create a curriculum in a system if you’re lucky, like Learning Ladders, which is very rare. You can bespoke your curriculum in the ways that we’ve talked about. But how do you pull that back out of a system then, without generating lots of work so that Learning Ladders teachers can select any people they can select any year group objectives? So that’s really useful if you have a child perhaps in year four who’s working on year to year three objectives. So you’re able to select whichever group objective that unique child with a specific learning needs are working on. And it’s going to pull out that curriculum that is bespoke to your school on a really simple pupil statement document like this. What it enables us to do as teachers is to be able to sit with the pupil and to talk about the learning that’s to come to be able to share that curriculum, talk about where we’ve already started that learning. And you can see here with the tick that’s being pulled through from the formative assessment we’ve been adding to the system. And because I’m including multiple year groups, for example, objectives, if we’ve just started year for for example, I could include year three and four statements and say this is where the learning is really improving that transition. This is what we’ve already learnt. And here’s the objectives to come. How can I support you as the teacher to be able to support you in your learning? How can you support yourself to become more independent in the learning?

I’m really opening up those conversations, articulating the learning, because at Learning Ladders we know that the first step of parental engagement takes place in the classroom. So in order for the parents to be able to support their child at home, at the learning, pupils need to be able to articulate their learning and practise that with adults in school. So that would involve these conversations about learning and particular learning objectives they’re going to be working on so that when they go home and the parent says, what have you been learning at school? They’re able to share that and articulate the learning that goes on to have that conversation at home about the learning. So these pupil statements are really useful for that. And similarly, trying to update parents at Parents Evening, for example, being able to pull out the pupils statements, just a click of a button. There’s no limit to how many you can use or how many children you can do it for, how often you do that. These are really useful just to be able to have those conversations and to make sure it’s an informed conversation about the exact learning that that pupil is doing for them. So these pupil statements are a great way to do that. So just thinking about whatever system you’re using, how are you sharing the curriculum with pupils?

Another way that we do this in Learning Ladders, and this has been a very successful way for schools that have chosen to do this, is the option to have booklets with your bespoke curriculum in. So you’ve gone through the process of making curriculum changes. How are you going to bring that to life in an engaging way for pupils? In a way that they’re going to take ownership of that learning and these booklets are a great way to do that. I know children love to take ownership of things like booklets where their learning journey, they’re taking responsibility for being able to say, yes, I’ve met that objective. I’m going to tell the teacher I feel like I actually understand that now. I think I’m ready for the next level of understanding and moving on to the challenge with that objective. So if they can’t see and have visibility around that curriculum and what’s to come, then then unable to take that ownership and journey with the teacher to be able to become independent and resilient learners. So, again, these can be ordered for any of the subjects you have in Learning Ladders that printed that can be colourful and colour coded as the way you see. And then we’ve got the pupils really becoming active in that process of discussing their learning and taking part in that learning journey.

So then we have the parents, engaging all of the partnership between the teachers, we’ve got the pupils and the parents as well. So when we’re implementing that curriculum, how are we enabling parents? So typically at the end of the year, traditionally there’s a parents evening or a report. The parents even can be quite rushed. You get five, 10 minutes at different points throughout the year. And quite often you’re trying to cover the emotional and well-being, social friendships. Learning definitely takes place within that that five to ten minute time. Is it really feasible that we can bring the parents along with us in the journey and have that continual understanding about where that child is, what they’re learning on specifically, and looking at those end of year reports as well? So reporting on objectives that they can or cannot do by the end of the year. The parents know what the child’s been working on. But actually, if we can get that partnership in learning throughout the whole year, the parents are on board with this is what my child’s learning, then we’re going to have all the adults in a child’s life saying the same thing at the same time, in the same way.

So the one way you could do that in systems such as ours is through sharing the learning objectives. So in Learning Ladders, schools are able to create that bespoke curriculum. But when we implement it, as we’re going along with the children and we’re introducing these and these objectives, we are then allowing the parents to be able to see each learning goal as the child is working on them. They’re told which subject that given the year group, which you can turn off and you can choose to share, then it will tell you what the objectives of that child’s working on. And that way, when their child comes home and they want to be involved in the child’s learning, they can say, I can say that you’ve been learning how to use different text types to make reasoned predictions. What have you been predicting about what type of text did you read today? I’m really engaged in that conversation about the learning that’s taking place, which is better than what did you do today? Nothing. Which is a parent and as a teacher, I’ve witnessed more times. So we really do need explicit ways to be able to share each learning goal so that the curriculum is also shared with the parents who need to be involved in that learning. We know that activating parent power works.

So research is consistently telling us that parental engagement is one of the key factors in securing higher student achievement in primary education. And we know that can be the equivalent, adding two or three years to the education when we have the parents engaged and involved in the actual learning. So although it’s very useful parents listening to readers, getting children to submit homework on time, we’re really thinking about the involvement with learning itself when we’re talking about the parental engagement at Learning Ladders, because we’re looking at research, we have an issue. We can share the learning with the parents. But in order for that to have impact, when we’re thinking about implementing that curriculum, we need to think about some of the barriers that parents might face in then being able to do something with that information that you’ve given them. One in four adults having maths skills below the expected age of a nine year old, for example. So as well as upskilling the understanding of teachers with new developments in the curriculum and what objectives mean, the best pedagogy to support and to explain the objective, we have parents not feeling confident enough in their own understanding to understand what that means. We’ve got 18 percent of children in primary education where English is not the first language, and then in our international school that can be even higher. So it’s proven to be as high as ninety five per cent. How we overcoming those language barriers that we have. And then there’s the statistics and the research that Learning Ladders is undertaken where 80 percent of parents not getting the help they need to support their child and they’re looking online to help and they’re getting a wealth of information that may not be specific to that objective. They’re trying to help. It’s burning up the time that they set aside to support their child, because we know that parents have busy schedules themselves. So when they’re setting aside this time, they need to be informed about what the learning is and most importantly, how they can help. So we’re looking at ways that systems can upskill parents on demand at scale and remotely whenever they need that support.

One way to do this is through help articles. So as I showed you earlier, with the learning goals, we’ve shared each learning goal. You’re able to click on articles as a parent. So, for example, if your child’s coming home and the learning goals been shared, that working on split digraphs as a as a parent who’s not involved in an education, you have no concept of what a split digraph is. You can ask your child what a split digraph is, but actually, isn’t it better if the parent understands what the split digraph means, how it’s taught in school, why it’s important and typical tasks that they can support their child with tips and activities to be able to allow that parent to be involved with the learning and to implement that curriculum at home. And as I say, more so with the children going back into remote learning. That was one of the findings. The parents didn’t have the knowledge and the understanding of some of the key vocabulary about how to break down the development at the early stages and later stages. As we saw with many parents not understanding some of the maths concepts up to a nine year old level. So upskilling those parents is going to be the key to generating that learning outcomes that we’re looking for.

And we talked about one of the barriers being the language. So with all our schools, you’re able to translate those articles into over 100 hundred languages. And that enables the parents to consume the support in the language that they need it at the time that they need it. And it doesn’t matter if dad or mum or whoever the carers are at home speak different languages that can be translated so that each parent is consuming that information when removing those barriers to learning. And that goes for the whole of parental engagement system that we have all Ladders at Home the entire site. So there’s learning goals can be translated as well, so that we’re making sure that all parents are activated and involved in that learning, as well as our schools that are prewritten by qualified teachers that we have in the system. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could support your parents with that specific bespoke curriculum goals that you work on as a school? So what I mean by this is if you’re a school that perhaps uses a specific resource that perhaps Numicon, and that’s something that you use throughout key stage one to develop the mathematical mathematical concepts, why not create your own articles? And we don’t need to do that year after year with a system like Learning Ladders, for example, it’s looking at ways to save teachers time, looking at more efficient processes, create the article once this is what new action is. This is how the child in year one or from Reception will be using that Numicon. We can use it for number bonds to 10, subtraction and you can write articles that support the way that your specific school are implementing that curriculum, the resources that you use, perhaps the way that you’ve chosen to do your phonics programme, for example. So if you’re going to use jolly phonics and you’ve embedded that curriculum into your bespoke curriuclum, why not create articles that support the parents at home to understand what jolly phonics is, what the sounds sound like, embed some of the links to helpful resources for them to be able to access to the sounds to see how it’s being taught in school. And then you can share that year after year. So thinking about ways to automate and to be able to efficiently upskill parents in a system that builds over time that continuous improvement cycle of creating the curriculum, making changes and then backing it up with support for the parents that they are informed. And they also understand how to deliver those learning objectives with their children at home to support that learning.

Once we’ve made those curriculum changes and we’re thinking about implementing them, we’re on the other end of that, the end of the year right now where we’re thinking about that, reviewing the impact of what we’ve been doing over the last year. And John Hattie talks a lot about a shared understanding of impact and and what that impact looks like at a school. So, for example, looking at reports in systems, we have a Gap Analysis report that teachers can look at. This is a really great way as a class teacher to do that. What’s our shared understanding of what impact looks like in this subject? Is it greater depth in specific areas based on the local needs and context that we’re in? Are we looking for greater depth in certain areas? We can identify patterns. So, for example, looking at this Gap Analysis, I can say we’ve got lots of children working at the first milestone within the comprehension aspects, so participating in discussions about books. So perhaps if I’m looking at those patterns and I’m reviewing that curriculum, if at the end of the year I’ve got lots of children only working on the introduction and beginning stages of that, how is that impacted our children that we have in our school? What do we know about the children that start school? Do they come with wide levels of language, do parents read and typically have time to read with children? Do we know that that’s an area that we need to improve on? What can we do in our curriculum to make changes so that we know that next year we’re going to change the way that that objective is approached? Perhaps as a resourcing, we can do some CPD and get some training in. But equally as well, looking for those patterns and misconceptions, we can also look at what is going well. It’s really important as well. And this is something else that John Hattie really touches on is about considering what’s working and making sure we’re not changing that. So if we’ve got lots of children with a three, so that’s greater depth of understanding in a particular area, making sure that we’re not making changes to things that are going well and equally looking at how can we replicate that in other areas of the curriculum. Why is that going really well, that aspect of what can we replicate in other areas of the curriculum where we’re not seeing that greater depth level of understanding? Is it the resources, is it the way the pedagogy we used to deliver that particular objective? So it really creates a springboard for conversations when you can see your data over time and this kind of data.

If we’re not recording this granular level of formative assessment as we go along, although we have it in our heads, it’s so useful for this review process, because if teachers are leaving school, for example, and that rich data is going with them, we have teachers sometimes, for whatever reason, have an absences from the school, unable to share that understanding of what learning has come before. And when we recording the data like this and we’re taking the formative assessment that we already know as teachers and simply recording on a system is giving us back that ability to be able to review the impact that we’re having with our curriculums. And there’s a few other reports I’m going to talk through. We’re really scenario based at Learning Ladders. So it’s going to take a scenario approach of different types of roles within school and how we can review the impact of the curriculum at the end of the year.

It could be doing so as a subject lead. For example, on a subject leader, for example, my subject may be maths and I have half a day out of classroom for my subject at a time. It’s coming to the end of the year. I have options. I could go and speak to the 15 different teachers across all the different year groups and classes throughout school, and we can talk about the successes and what’s gone well, areas of development where I could look at. The formative data that the teachers have already been putting on the system is a very time efficient way to be able to get an overview of what’s been happening in my subject across all the different year groups that we have in the system and in the school. So at the top here, this is a typical report you can have. So for attainment, I’d be looking at different year groups and actually saying, in year seven at the beginning of the year, these are the different half terms, each of the bars on here. We had lots of children working at expected in year seven. But actually as the year went on and we were teaching within that subject, we can say that by the end of the year we had more children and the percentage working significantly below. What is it about the curriculum and the way that we delivered those objectives that caused the attainment to drop by the end of the summer? Is that we need to look at our curriculum and when we’re introducing particular objectives or the the skills needed to be able to achieve those harder end of year objectives. I can look at progress equally as well. I could change this to progress and I could look for particular year groups where the progress was really strong and then I can ask them about their successes. Perhaps we can replicate that in team meetings with some of the year groups where the progress wasn’t so good in my subjects. Or perhaps I can look for year groups that need particular support, for example, in the progress. So we will make some really great progress at the end of the year. But what was happening in the autumn transition part, we can’t see the progress from autumn one to autumn to how can I support you in year four, for example, in being able to make sure right from autumn one we are in that transition period, we are able to continue children’s progress at that level, we would expect.

Is it training? Do I need to book CPD? I have my budgets and my resourcing that I can look at as well. And one really great way to look at this is to break down per half term each of the aspects within my subject I have. So as a subject leader, I’m really getting that rich information. I need to be able to make my planning for the next year within maths, for example, effective so I can look at each year group with an addition. For example, now year five, we’ve got lots of children working significantly below with in addition. We’ve got more children in year one, with addition working where we would expect them to be. Is it that year five need to look at their curriculum objectives in the way that that is set up? Is it something that we can replicate from year one in the year five? Is it resources, all the concepts becoming too abstract in year five? And actually we can look to see how practical resources can support those children. And is it that we’ve got new teachers, for example? It could be a level of understanding that we need to look at.

So really unpicking that data within each aspect of your subject enables that subject lead to be able to plan for the year to come. It would also tell me if I was looking at this report and I could see a high volume of children not meeting the expected level for Addition for example, I’m going to go back to the curriculum design process, look at the object objectives for year five and I’m going to add notes as a subjects leader who has got specific knowledge. Maybe I’m going to put the link to the Addition policy, the calculation policy and that exact part so that year five can view how addition should be taught in year five. They can also look at then they can go back a year and have a look in year four. Where are the children coming from? How were they taught last year so that we can prepare better for children’s prior learning and where they’re coming from? We can look at that Gap Analysis as well and actually look for gaps in year four. If I’m going to inherit the fifth class, why not look at the Gap Analysis for addition. How did the children achieve against those objectives last year? And that prior learning is going to support me in next year. So as a subject later, it’s really directing these different groups to supporting and looking and reviewing the impact of the curriculum that’s in place for their year so that we’re not replicating mistakes year after year where we’re not quite getting the results we’re expecting. But we’re also replicating great practise where we can see lots of children are working at above expected levels. Let’s keep that up. Let’s get more children working expected towards greater depth and build on that success that we’re having in that particular area. So that’s how reports can support subject leaders in reviewing the impact of the curriculum.

We’ve also got Phase leader reports as well. And so it can be really difficult. And as a Phase leader myself in my experiences I remember trying to have that overview of the subjects. So we look at the core maths, reading, writing, being able to collate all that information and easy to consume way without again having to spend lots of time digging into each year group of in my phase to find out what’s happening. Why not look at the data that’s in the system. So what the Phase leader report enables you to do is to select the subjects you’d like to see. So we have selected maths, reading, writing and combined here. But it could be that you’re looking at different subjects for your phase and it enables me to see the children working significantly below in the areas where we’ve got lots of children working at greater depth. So in reading we can see that we’re getting there. I’d like to see more children working at greater depth. So how can we look at moving some of those children working expected next year and provide that challenge and support as well so that we’ve got more children moving towards that greater depth of level experience? And it might pick out a particular subject. And actually, I can say that maths, we’ve got too many children working significantly below. Maybe I need the maths subject leader to come to my Phase leader meeting leader team meeting and we can talk about that. We can upskill teachers so that we have more understanding. We can review those resources that we’re using and the pedagogy that we’re using. So it really is giving me that top level view of everything that’s happening within my phase.

And another really important aspect to being the Phase leader is to be able to drill down into looking at specific groups to make sure that every single child is having their needs met by the curriculum that we have in place. So whatever the customer attributes are in the system, it may be boys, girls, SEN, it will show you each of the subjects that you’ve included in the reports in your phase. These are the children that have English as an additional language. And actually this is the percentage when I hover over it that are working significantly below. What are you going to do as a Phase leader so that next year we’re looking at the curriculum in the way we’re delivering and implementing that curriculum to be able to support more children to work towards the expected level? Is it resourcing? Is it training? What do I need to do as a Phase leader to ensure that those children’s needs are being met and. Open up conversations with your team within your team based team meetings. Then an aspect break down as well, so you can see then within the different year groups for each year that’s in your phase, able to then look at it at an aspect level too.

So for Senior leaders looking at a particular subject, we’re going to look over time. We’re adding to a system like Learning Ladders. It’s a continual process of improvement over years. So we’ve got our schools using the system from when children are in early years all the way through these children and now in year five or six. So if they’re in year six now for the last few years, how have children, when they’re in year six, achieved against the maths curriculum that we have in place? So the last three years cohort’s. We can see actually each year of year five, we’ve got children not making the expected progress within addition for example. So are we going to just continually see that same pattern or within our comprehension? For example, children are not meeting the expected level of comprehension, and that’s happened for the last three years cohorts of year six. Is it that we need to look at how we’re approaching comprehension as a year group? What can we do as to upskill the training for the teachers? Perhaps that’s the area that needs development, perhaps, is that we don’t have the right resources. Or perhaps we need to upskill teachers with the right policies and understanding about how we’re going to deliver those objectives. Or maybe we need to look at the curriculum altogether and look at those objective statements. Are they supporting children’s learning in the context of the children we have in school? So being able to look at year over time and see the last three years cohort’s, you’re really starting to see the impact over time and the patterns that’s occurring. So if for the last three years, year three children are not learning the times tables that we would expect and we’re not seeing that expected attainment will progress, what are we going to do to change the curriculum so that this year we don’t repeat that again? And equally looking at the things that go well as well. As I say, we don’t want to be changing everything. We want to look at areas for improvement, but also areas of successes and make sure that we’re continuing that success as well. If the last three years have done really well in a specific area, for example, how we replicating and continuing that into the next year. So having that top level view at what’s going on over time is why it’s really useful to be able to use systems that give you that information and that build continually over time.

And then looking at summative assessments as well, how are you looking at the curriculum and measuring the impact? You can look at the formative assessment like I’ve shown you in those reports, but you can also look at summative assessments as well. What’s that telling you? So those of you who’ve been following Learning Ladders will see the exciting development that was created alongside the partnerships we have with our existing schools. They told us we’d love to see our GL data on a dashboard. Not only do we want to see GL data, we’d love to be able to compare it to the formative assessment that we had in your system. So that’s where Matt our CEO and former teacher as well, worked alongside those schools to be able to create a dashboard like this for GL. That’s just one specific brand of assessments that people use type of assessments and our international schools. It could be that you can have other assessments in the system. So whether it’s SATs results or other summative assessments that you use when they have standardised scores, you can you can put the summative assessment in.

This is the GL one, the dashboard. Looking at the CAT4 results, we can also see the progress test and pass surveys, if that’s what you do in your school. And it’s a really interesting exercise to also review the summative assessment. And actually, if we can see in the formative assessment that we’ve got lots of children working significantly below in the maths, but also the survey results are showing we have low confidence. Is it just the academic side of the curriculum that we need to think about, or is it the implementation of that curriculum and the ways that we are looking at wellbeing and supporting those kind of interventions as well that will unlock the academic progress that we’re looking for. So this will enable us to unpick the summative assessment, how our children are doing in their progress tests, the. Is it in line with the formative assessment that we were expecting? If it’s not, why not? Can we open up this conversation at school? What can we do next year? Is it a curriculum change? Is it resourcing? Is it something else that we need to consider as well? So we’re looking at dashboards and looking at your summative assessment is another way to be able to measure the impact of how you’ve implemented that curriculum over that year.

So in summary, it really needs to be a continual process when you’re making curriculum changes, we don’t want that curriculum to be printed on a shelf or put in a shared drive where people can’t access it. We’re really looking to see that it’s built upon time after time and that actually the implementation is involving the teachers, the students and the parents. We need teachers to know exactly what the children are going to learn, what the impact looks like when children have achieved what we set out for them to learn.

We need the students being co-owners of their learning so that they know what learnings to come and that they can become independent learners, whether that be in the classroom or in these circumstances, whether doing home learning and the parents as well. We need the parents to have the understanding of that curriculum. They need to understand not only what a child is working on, but how they’re going to support their child at home. And by doing that, we need to upskill that understanding, just like the upskill and teachers understanding with notes and resources in the curriculum, but also upskilling the parents so that they can be involved because the impact is huge on outcomes within primary education.

Realistic teacher workloads throughout all of this process, everything we do at Learning Ladders and it’s worth considering your systems as well, that making curriculum changes can have pressures on teacher workloads that are already at the beginning of a year having to consider the social and emotional well-being of the new children coming to their class. There are new parents to get to know, new classrooms, names of thirty children. But we also have some curriculum changes that we’re supposed to be implementing. So it means that teachers need to be updated in a realistic way. Can they access the curriculum in one place, the up to date curriculum? Can they see all of the objectives of the prior learning, the learning that’s to come so that they can access the exact part of policies exactly when they need it? The objective, can they find resources, a click of a button to save there some days of trawling through the Internet to find these resources to bring the learning to life? How can they engage parents without having to talk to 30 parents at the door of what’s my child learning and how can I support them if this is there a way to automate some of those challenges that the teachers are facing when we’re trying to implement that curriculum and being realistic about those? And then also looking at the impact on students learning once we’ve made these changes, what processes do we have in place to be able to really measure that impact and review continually how that is affecting the children’s learning in our school?

And that’s really what I’ve included this cycle that we have at Learning Ladders because we have a school improvement approach throughout the year, right from Autumn one to summer the the curriculum development should be feeding through. We’ve got curriculum at the top measured with an assessment policy that’s bespoke to schools. And then we’re supporting teachers, senior leaders, Phase leader subject leaders through the reporting that we have to and support the parents and then feed back into that curriculum as well. And it’s that cycle of improvement. And when schools do this, our research shows that they typically are seeing 11 percent increase in outcomes over two years. So it’s well worth looking at the systems that you’re using and considering whether or not you’re seeing the impact of that improvement process.

Now, it’s as a lot of information today that I’ve told you and sometimes sharing it from another teacher who’s actually using systems like ours can be useful. So if you’re interested in finding out a little bit more, we have EdTech impact. It’s kind of like a trip advisor for education. The schools that are using this school improvement, where they’re implementing their curriculum in this way are leading reviews on that about how they found the process of creating this bespoke curriculum with the notes and the resources, how they’ve seen the impact over time of taking part in this school improvement approach. So if you wanted to check out what the other schools are saying, I think that’s a great place to start.

And then if you have specific questions, Stella is in office at StellaJ@learningladders.info, and we also have the Hello@learningladders.info. If you’d like to put any questions in now, I’ll just hang around for a few minutes and answer those. And if not, thank you so much for joining us. I hope that has been useful.