Dear Staff,

I am extremely sorry that I had to shut the school today. But don’t worry, lesson observations and pupil progress meetings have been postponed until next week. I have emailed you some spreadsheets to complete as the snow shouldn’t stop you from working at home.

I have heard rumours that many of you are not enjoying your job as much as you used to. In fact, many of you have expressed your desire to go part time or even leave teaching altogether. Some have already gone on supply. I don’t understand.

Since arriving at the school, I have worked so hard to ensure consistency and to raise the standard of teaching and learning. I want to move up the academy ladder and I am doing it in record time too.

For example, I have instructed everyone they need to print off learning objective slips for every lesson. They must include a success criteria and some form of self assessment (traffic lights) that the children can tick. After lessons, the slips must be highlighted green, orange or pink to prove the level of learning that took place in the lesson. I regularly look for these during book scrutinies. I am trying to help you.I tell you exactly how to mark your books. You must use a black pen, use a range of coloured highlighters and two stars and a wish must be written daily. I even bought you all some lovely stampers in order to place a whole range of feedback on their work. I will check you are using them.

Work must be deep marked every three and a half lessons and it should always be initialed so I know who taught the lesson. I have given you a long list of suggested feedback comments that I will check you are using. Next steps must be recorded daily using a hand drawn ladder or steps and children must always use a purple pen to prove they are editing. Please see the updated symbols to use when marking below. I am trying to help you improve your marking.codes

I tell you the schemes of work and text books you must use for reading, writing and maths. I have now introduced a spelling scheme that I expect everyone to use even if you don’t like it. I tell you how long each unit of work should last and advise you on the best way to deliver it. I have made it clear how often work should be published and what colour pen they must use. Before a unit of work is taught, I ask you to carry out cold tasks and hot tasks after the unit is taught (but many weeks away from the point of teaching).

I insist every lesson must be mastery, concrete, pictorial and abstract. Children should demonstrate fluency and be able to work in random pairs all the time. I tell you what resources to use because they accompany the schemes of work. Children must be able to reason and I expect to see bar models everywhere. One staff meeting was allocated last year for training on this so I expect to see it competently embedded into your lessons. Can’t you see how I am trying to help you?

I have shown you how to set targets for all the children, for all of the core subjects and how and when to review these. This is in addition to the online assessments you carry out and the paper tests I make you administer. None of them really match up so I appreciate it’s hard to get a true picture of their abilities as the data is inconsistent.

Online tracking assessment must be updated all the time to show progress. I will use this data for pupil progress meetings. I appreciate there’s barely enough time to teach and embed all of the objectives for your year group, but I insist that children are only meeting expected standards if they do some work that is away form the point of teaching and you have seen evidence of it seven times. I am sure this is easily managed?

You must upload photos and videos to prove progress. They are stored on the online tracking program for no one to look at. Ofsted will spend hours looking through your photos and videos? In fact, when you bring your moderated work to staff meetings, you bring their books. We never sit in front of the online tracking program and look at your photos and videos. However, please still do it. I am trying to help you improve.

I even tell you what your planning should look like and what to include. I tell you where to save it and how to annotate your plans to prove you are assessing on a daily basis. You must use the school’s long term, medium term and short term planning formats and I will ask to see them regularly. I am trying to help you.

I also tell you exactly what to put up on your displays. I have told you several times what needs to be seen on the display boards. I even have checklists that I use when I am on learning walks. You must follow my display policy.

You must have working walls for spelling, maths and writing. I need to see a growth mindset display and a learning journey display that is often more empty than full. I do not want to see static displays in your classroom. Displays must be regularly updated; daily if possible. Any text on display must be 50% handwritten and 50% typed but make sure it is the agreed school font. Work must be mounted following the school’s policy and the agreed backing paper must be used. I am trying to help you.

Please see my latest policy on

2017-19 Full blogs are now archived in the book ‘How Do You Think the Lesson Went?’