Today is our third INSET day of the year. For most parents, INSET means ‘teacher training day’, shrouded in mystery, and often leaving parents unsure of what is happening, or what teachers are doing on these days. Well, let me share some of the ideas and concepts we whave been sharing..

Firstly, every school wishes to develop and progress towards outstanding educational practice. We write detailed plans to assist us in getting there. We implement new ideas, evaluate their effectiveness, plan new ways of working, improve our practice, watch each other work; the list is endless. Teacher training days are often days in which teachers get to either stop and take stock of what has been achieved, or plan steps towards achieving the next goal!

Why can’t they do this during the normal week? Well, teaching is a rather exhausting job – teachers arrive in school at 8.00, having worked the night before on either planning or marking, plan and prepare their day, teach all morning, perhaps with a short break for coffee (often not!) hurry a quick lunch down while getting ready for the afternoon, teach in the afternoon, mark books after school or have meetings (Our meetings are at least once a week, often two nights are taken up with meetings), go home, complete marking and finish other jobs which need doing for the next day with 30 children! So you can see, there isn’t always time in a school day to do this!

So, what are we working towards this year? What are we planning for?

This year we are moving towards making our learning and teaching throughout the school Outstanding – by delivering the best possible teaching coupled with the best possible learning opportunities which challenge and inspire children in their learning.

We’ve been looking at how we develop lesson structures within lessons, so that they don’t always begin with the teacher delivering from the front of the class. Sometimes they begin with pupil led discussion, sometimes with group tasks, sometimes with quick games to allow children to develop their thinking skills – the list is long and varied. We always aim to challenge every child to learn, no matter what their level of ability – we want them to move forward as quickly as possible from the level they are at.

We’ve also been working on our school curriculum in writing  – we wish to develop the best possible writing opportunities for our children; immerse them in real books, develop their ability to think critically about Literature and utilise those skills in all their work.

We are looking to incorporate writing and presentation into more areas of our work. Presenting to a variety of audiences helps children get a wider range of feedback – blogging is one example of how we are doing this!

Today we are exploring how we can use ICT in many and varied ways in school. We are  developing our understanding of iPads, iPods, blogging, and the many ways we can put these ideas into use to enhance the learning of of our children in the classroom.

We are engaging in these activities with six other schools – these schools form part of a Network called the Kaizen Network.

The Kaizen Network is a group of schools who have come together with the aim of developing the latest thinking in education throughout our schools. The schools are:-

Layton Primary School

Hawes Side Primary School Blackpool

St Nicholas C of E Primary School Blackpool

St Thomas C of E Primary School Garstang

Lever House Primary School Leyland

Robin Hood Primary School Birmingham

Sharing the best practice across a range of schools enables teachers to share, develop and try out the best ideas in the classroom – and from our INSET today, we will be looking at ways in which we can develop our ICT in order to achieve the best possible learning outcomes for our children here at Layton. Please keep checking the blogs for more details.

I wonder if parents and children have some ideas on how we could use iPods and iPads in their education and would like to let us know. If so, please use the comment feature to let us know your thoughts. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!