Fake Headteacher: Maths – Newsletter No. 8

Dear Staff,

Thank you for your recent letter regarding book scrutiny. I read it very carefully and disagreed with most of it. I am sorry. We will come back to it at some point in a future staff meeting.

As you know, I now have several maths systems in place for you to fully implement. I would like to reiterate how important it is to be very familiar with:

  1. Our new purchased scheme of work for maths
  2. Our new tracking system (that is not related to our new scheme of work)
  3. ‘What mastery looks like’ documents (that doesn’t match up either)
  4. Our formal written tests I found on Twinkl (that also don’t match up)

We are so lucky to be teaching in a climate where we can tap into so many super resources. Our new maths scheme is amazing. It cost over £5,000 so you definitely need to use it otherwise the governors will give me a hard time. I expect to see all of the new resources out on display because the governors will be doing a learning walk soon to witness how the children are now enthusiastically engaged in lessons. Perhaps they were before?

I know the scheme works because my last school used it ten years ago and my friend recommended it. You will need to follow the long and medium term plans for this scheme regardless of whether you think you could do a better job. You will be accountable for the data in any case so I can’t lose. If the data is good, it will be down to me and if it’s disappointing, I will put you on a coaching program and freeze your pay.

In addition, please make sure you update the children’s progress on our new tracking system written by people who are making a lot of money and seemingly, by looking at some of the statements, have never stepped foot in a classroom.

The tracking system doesn’t compliment our maths scheme so you may find it problematic matching objectives. You will probably spend two weeks teaching a unit from our new scheme only to find you can’t meet a particular objective on our new tracking program because they are different. Weird eh. That’s because it’s all down to interpretation of the new curriculum. Still, it’s nice to have the two side by side.

As well as your teacher assessments, please could your children complete a formal written maths test every half term. It doesn’t completely match up with the maths scheme of work or the tracking program but it will give us more data if we need it.

I realise you haven’t taught most of the content covered in the tests (because it doesn’t relate to our other systems) but I am sure the children will do great. I expect them to do well. If you could bring the test data to your next pupil progress meeting I would appreciate that. I might use it. I might not. I might just look in their books. Or I might look at the tracking data. Who knows.

Isn’t it great that our new tracking program has so many objectives.  It means the children will learn so much more. For example, in Year 4, there are 72 objectives to meet for maths. It will cleverly work out how many objectives a child has met or nearly met and tell you how each child is doing. I have no idea how this is calculated so you will have to guess which children will meet expectations at the end of the year.

If these predictions are wrong, I will conclude that you are incompetent and you don’t know your children. With 72 objectives to tick off red, orange, yellow, blue, purple, beige, black, yellow etc., you should find teaching maths mastery very easy.

Maths mastery is great because it means you can dive deeper and deeper into children’s understanding of maths. With 96 objectives to meet in Year 5 this should be easy. With two days to met each objective, this should be achievable even if they are already 1-2 years behind where they should be.

You must never say a child has met an objective unless they prove it several times over and in a problem solving situation. For example, our new tracking program for Year 3 says, “I can count in 4s and 8s.” If they can count in 4s and 8s, you must not tick it green to say they have met it. You will have to wait a few weeks so it is away from the point of teaching (even if they knew it already and you didn’t need to teach it) and then give them a ridiculous and weird problem to solve just to prove they can count in 4s and 8s – again. Mmm. I think that makes sense. I appreciate this is irratating because you know they have met the objective really.

Also, your colleagues will be suspicious that you have already met some objectives. Play the game. Slowly show progress over time. This way you won’t attract any unwanted attention. Try not to tick ‘exceeding’ for anything because your colleagues definitely won’t like it and your judgements will be secretly disputed. Play safe. As Goldilocks once said, “not too cold and not too hot.”

As well as implementing our new maths scheme, our new tracking system and our new testing regime, can you also teach from the ‘what mastery looks like’ documents because everyone seems to be using it. It has excellent examples of fluency, reasoning and problem solving. It’s a shame we have other systems in place now.

However, I am sure you can happily spend hours looking at our new planning and assessment resources and somehow merge the content to ensure the children can do all of it. I am not sure which of these resources are important yet and what data I will be judging you from so just do your best. You will be accountable for all of it.

Fake Headteacher

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