New to the Role of Subject Leader in General or Swapping Subjects?

It is now more than halfway though the summer holidays (sorry to remind you!) and inevitably for some people return-to-school thoughts will soon start infiltrating your dreams, if not your waking hours. Having, hopefully, spent the last few weeks relaxing and recharging your batteries you may be gearing up to preparing for the acadmic year ahead and for some this will involve additional roles and responsibilities.

A previous Headteacher of mine, once stated that you don’t necessarily have to be an expert in a subject in order to be a great subject leader of said subject!

Whilst I agree to some extent, I would definitely argue that if you want to be a great role model and champion a subject with your colleagues, it definitely helps to at least have some passion for the subject in question!

That said, you may recently have been asked/coerced/persuaded (*delete as appropriate) to take on the role of subject leader for a subject that is not your degree specialism and/or a subject that you either lack confidence in, or have very little prior interest. Regardless, it is now your role to actively promote and champion this subject and to encourage/support other teachers to deliver engaging lessons. You might also want to ensure that you are able to “talk the talk” through intent, implementation and impact with regards to your subject within the school’s curriculum should the “Big O” come visiting (but let’s not dwell on that ;-)). 

Here are some ways LGfL can help as you establish yourself within the role:

Firstly, take advantage of the free LGfL training you have access to as part of your “Let’s Get Digital” subscription to explore LGfL resources further and think about how they can be used to enhance your school’s curriculum.

During any of our training you will not only have the time to explore the wide range of resources available to support your subject but, and perhaps more valuable, you will be able to expand your PLN (Personal Learning Network) by talking to colleagues from other schools and Local Authorities/MATs about their experiences with leading a subject.

Visit training.lgfl.net for more information on what courses we offer. 

 

Book a school visit from an LGfL Learning Resource Consultant (LRC):

We offer a range of flexible sessions in your school at no extra cost (ie they come as part of LGfL subscription package, currently). These sessions are designed to ensure that you are maximising the use of the resources available on the LGfL grid. 

The sessions we can offer are as follows:

  • General introduction to LGfL for teachers: An insight to energising teaching and learning within your school using LGfL curriculum content, with guided supported time to explore LGfL curriculum content with some top tips and recommendations. (This can fit in to an hour but can be longer, during a twilight or an INSET session).
  • General introduction to LGfL for TAs/LSAs: A focused look at how to support teaching and learning within your school using LGfL curriculum content with guided supported time to explore LGfL curriculum content with some top tips and recommendations for Teaching Assistants, HLTAs and LSAs. (This can fit in to an hour but can be longer and can also be during school hours, a twilight or INSET session).
  • Focused training: This is normally booked in after the first school visit and is decided by the teachers’ needs and wants. (This can fit in to an hour but can be longer and can be during the school day or after).
  • Curriculum mapping (for Curriculum or Computing Leaders): This could be during the school day and involves one of our experienced Learning Resource Consultants helping the School Leaders to map LGfL content to your school’s existing curriculum map.

Subject and Topic Related Resources:

At LGfL, we host a wealth of online resources which may be relevant depending on the subject you are leading. Both Busy Things and J2eToolsuite have been the focus of many of our Curriculum blogs and are fantastic for delivering subject related content, but also as a tool for the pupils to present their work. Do remember to visit the ‘Special Events’ tab on BusyThings to check for resources for day/weeks such as National Poetry Day, World Space Week etc, should you be considering such an event across your school.

We also host many more subject specific resources for you and your colleagues to discover…

Our expanding LGfL 5 Ways Series  promotes a wide variety of LGfL materials to use for different subjects (and indeed within different school roles). Some of the 5 Ways Series documents are also supported with previously posted blogs: History, Computing, Science and English.

The EYFS Spotlight Series resource is ideal for use in primary schools and Early Years settings. Within each category you’ll find a variety of links to LGfL resources and suggested teaching ideas on how to use them within your Early Years setting. As some settings may have variations in naming of topics, please see the topic descriptions to help you search for the related content. [There are currently 8 typical topics with plans to add at least four more to be added early autumn]. 

Humanities Subject Leaders:

LGfL has many resources written in-house, to support the teaching and learning of humanities. I have summarised a few of these below:

LGfL worked with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University in creating this comprehensive resource, which provides a unique insight into the ‘Polar Exploration in the Heroic Age of Scientific Discovery’. Featuring exclusive access to the historic archive of the most famous polar expeditions of the 20th Century, the resource includes:

  • Video footage of equipment and artefacts from the most famous expeditions, complete with text transcripts of the expert explanations
  • High-resolution photographs of objects featured in the video footage
  • Journal extracts read by a descendant of a member of Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition
  • Interactive map of the Polar Regions with plotted locations of the multimedia assets
  • The opportunity to meet a modern-day polar explorer and hear of his experiences living for extended periods of time in some of the world’s most extreme environments. A wide range of learning materials to support all images, video and audio recordings.

Refer back to a previous blog posted in January 2019, entitled ‘Take a Walk in the Footsteps of the Great Explorers of the Past’ for further insight in to this resource.

The Romans in London produced in association with the Museum of London, this resource features unique video explanations at locations around the City of London and of Roman objects used and found in London and a range of Roman images for you to use in your study of The Romans in London. The resource is divided into 6 thematic ‘lessons’, each one having a mix of filmed explanations of surviving remains and of objects, both real and replica. This offers a large amount of resource material to enable teachers to tell the story of Londinium without leaving the classroom and for students to access information to enable further research when learning from home. LGfL has worked with virtual and augmented-reality experts at Computeam Ltd to create a series of artefacts and experiences that complement this learning resource by bringing it to life in a way that is otherwise unimaginable.

Tudors in London also produced in association with the Museum of London, aims to develop an understanding of a historical context in which to appreciate how events of 500 Years ago still impact London life today.  featuring over 140 high-quality video clips and over 60 high resolution images from the Museum of London Archaeological Archive, Royal Collection Trust and key Tudor locations in London, the extensive digital collection is further enhanced by a framework of curriculum-linked materials.

Queen Victoria as you’ve never seen her before, this resource transports pupils into the regal world of Victoria the girl, the princess, the new queen and longest reigning monarch. What’s in a picture? Quite a lot in fact and thanks to this collection of paintings and photographs from Royal Collection Trust, you will find even more.  56 carefully collated images tell the story of one of Britain’s favourite monarchs, and is accompanied by lesson plans and curriculum notes to create memorable learning experiences for pupils. All the images are available as high-resolution downloads, ideal for studying details – even on a large screen and licensed for educational use. They are divided into four themes, each with lesson plans and general guidance to inspire teaching through images:

  • Palace in Waiting
  • Albert’s Arrival
  • All Change
  • Becoming Royal

The River Thames in London resource helps pupils to understand more about this iconic river and how it has influenced and continues to influence life in and far beyond London. The resource has lesson plans and stand alone assets for Key Stages 1-3, with high-quality materials provided by the Royal Collection Trust, Museum of London and the British Library helping to uncover the river’s secrets through paintings, maps and photographs.

Regardless of subject and age range, most teachers need to incorporate a sense of place relating to location in their everyday teaching. LGfL is working in partnership with ESRI to bring the ARC Geographical Information System to all LGfL schools to provide a comprehensive mapping tool and locational analysis. Keep an eye out for the new LGfL portal featuring the following:

  • USO log in sync to the ARC GiS system
  • Support for fieldwork through the Survey 1-2-3 tool.
  • Curriculum linked datasets to overlay on the Arc GiS system
  • Comprehensive video support for how to maximise the platform across the curriculum and age ranges

Also in development with ESRI and the Museum of London Archaeological Archive is a location based app that will allow LGfL schools to understand the history of the exact location they are in at any point in time. For further details about this new partnership contact content support@lgfl.net

Explore Geography aims to demonstrate geographical concepts that are studied at KS2, KS3 and KS4 in a visual and interactive way making use of the latest technology. The national curriculum for geography at all Key Stages states that: A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.  This statement is at the heart of this resource, Augmented Reality can help convey a complex concept like no other technology and Explore Geography does this with nine different concepts.  We believe in blending technology seamlessly into the learning experience, ensuring that when technology is used in the classroom, it enhances pupils’ learning whilst still providing the engagement and wow factor.

The ‘Active Worksheets’ have the AR triggers embedded so they can be printed out and distributed to students to support group or individual investigations. They cover a range of topics and concepts within both KS2 and KS3 curriculum and are perfect for using to cover specifications of the GCSE curriculum with students.

‘Spinning Planet’ looks at the Coriolis Effect and is an interactive 3D model of the globe with students able to observe Hurricanes, Cyclones and Typhoons in action across the globe. With a ‘Divided Planet’, an interactive 3D model of the Earth enables pupils to examine lines of longitude and latitude alongside the Tropics and Equator; these can be switched on and off and highlighted, something you cannot do when using a physical globe or hard copy diagram.

Remember Explore Geography is only one of the many mixed reality resources to be found on LGfL; visit the portal or refer back to the blog posted in November 2018 entitled ‘Inspyro VR and AR Content on the Class VR LGfL Portal’ to discover more.

Computing Subject Leader:

The Computing Resource Centre is a showcase of all the computing resources that LGfL have to offer, alongside other (free) outside resources that can support the computing curriculum within your school. These have been grouped into the following categories:

  • Information Technology
  • Digital Literacy
  • Computing Science
  • External resources
  • Research

‘Computing in the national curriculum – A guide for primary teachers’ is a benchmark document produced by the Computing at School (CAS) Organisation for schools delivering the computing national curriculum. At LGfL we have created an enhanced, media-rich, interactive version that uses the power of the web to bring it to life with hyperlinks to definitions of key terms and other useful sites, plus videos deomonstrating key concepts and links to research and resources. 

Remember that LGfL is also part of the CAS Community; Bradley Dardis (one of LGfL’s LRCs) is running a Barefoot Programming Workshop on behalf of CAS – this would be a great event to meet colleagues in a similar situation. He also offers a ‘Creative Computing’ and Ipad training (all listed on the training portal previously mentioned).

Science Subject Leader:

Ensure your teachers know that Switched on Science offers full coverage across Key Stage 1 and 2. It is a flexible and creative investigation-based programme with a clear focus on working scientifically  a core assessable element of the science curriculum. It is packed with best-practice CPD videos and supportive lessons to ensure every teacher can deliver the programmes of study with confidence. The package comes with a video for each unit, teacher guide, interactive exercises, pupil workbooks, ideas for differentiation and much more.

 

 

Recently, I heard a Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) fellow talking about the support they offer to increase “science capital” within primary schools. The PSTT are a charitable trust and their ultimate aim is to see excellent teaching of science in every primary classroom across the UK. They have a network of outstanding and award-winning primary science teachers who are working to develop and disseminate excellence in primary science across the UK. They offer free advice and support to teachers wishing to improve primary science and many of their resources are free.

As a new Science Leader you may find The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) pyramid tool a supportive structure to evaluate and develop the science assessment processes further within your school (the section also contains a growing database of updated focused assessment plans and work samples).

They also encourage and support schools to join up into clusters so that staff across schools can support one another in the development of science teaching and learning.

In General:

Whatever subject you find yourself leading on within your school, please remember there are many teachers in the same position as you and Twitter can be a great place to find support and advice as you grow and evolve as a subject leader. 

The LGfL Community are also a very supportive bunch and you can view case studies from schools about how they have used LGfL resources as part of the daily diet they offer their pupils. The case studies  can be found on LGfL TV; additionally you can view the Keynote Speakers’ presentations from the many LGfL Annual Conferences included are the likes of Chris Dyson (@chrisdysonHT) and Ross McGill (@TeacherToolkit) from the Curriculum Conference 2019.

 

Please let us know the impact the resources have had on your pupils and colleagues or indeed suggestions for what else you would like to see from LGfL by posting on LGfL’s Twitter or Facebook. 

 

 

 

Anti-Bullying week 12th- 16th November 2018

Anti-bullying week takes place from the 12th November to 16th November – the theme this year is ‘We choose respect’.

The aims of this week are to support schools and other settings to help children and young people, school staff, parents and other professionals who work with children to understand:

  • The definition of respect

  • That bullying is a behaviour choice

  • That we can respectfully disagree with each other i.e. we don’t have to be best friends or always agree with each other but we do have to respect each other

  • That we all need to choose to respect each other both face to face and online

There are resources for both Primary and Secondary schools, these include assembly plans, lesson ideas and cross curricular ideas.

On Monday 12th November, the Anti-Bullying alliance is encouraging schools to have an odd socks day, an opportunity for children to express themselves and appreciate individuality.  They have produced a school pack around the song below.

Children could use a range of tools within j2e tool suite to say why they choose respect, either using one of the animation tools or the write packages to show what respect means to them and how we can show it.

This Anti-Bullying Week, the alliance are also holding their first ever Stop Speak Support Day on Thursday 15th November to highlight the issue of cyberbullying. The day is supported by the Royal Foundation and the Royal Cyberbullying Taskforce set up by the Duke of Cambridge. They have developed a poster and a school pack for Key stage 3 and 4.

There are also a wide range of resources from DigiSafe to support schools in delivering lessons and messages around cyber bullying and bullying in schools.  bullying.lgfl.net.  is a collation on LGfL of a range of resources to support schools including online bullying, it really is a one stop place to find resources to share with children, parents and staff in school.

40,000 pupils took part in this year’s LGfL DigiSafe pupil online safety survey about their online lives.  We found out what they love and what they hate, what really goes on behind closed  screens, and who they trust when things go wrong. You can discover what we learned and what it means for schools, parents, industry and government in our new report “Hopes & Streams”.

You can watch the video below which highlights the main themes of the report:

As a result of the survey, they have added the first two of a series of presentations for schools to use as all-staff CPD sessions on the issues raised by the survey.  They are ready to use but can be edited to suit individual school needs.  You can now download a powerpoint for a designated safeguarding or mental health lead to deliver to all staff on Livestreaming and Self Harm Bullying, both are available at safecpd.lgfl.net now. As well as the CPD for staff they have also produced a range of awareness posters for both Primary and Secondary schools to be displayed and to use as a starting point for discussions.

Bullying UK also have a fantastic range of resources to support Cyber Bullying day, including advice on what to do if you have been bullied and how to stay safe on social media sites.

Although the video below is an advertisement for a phone, I think it is brilliant to show to children to discuss the power of technology that we have in our hands and how our actions can have an impact once we decide to share things online.

Another amazing resource is Own it from the BBC, dedicated to help you be the boss of your on line life, from support and guidance to developing skills and inspiration it has a range of short videos that are great to share in class and with parents.

Be Internet awesome from Google, teaches children the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence. Why not travel to Kind Kingdom where it’s cool to be kind. The Internet is a powerful amplifier that can be used to spread positivity or negativity. Kids can take the high road by applying the concept of “treat others as you would like to be treated” to their actions online, creating positive impact for others and disempowering bullying behaviour.

There are lots of resources to support this week within schools, we have selected a few below:

Bullying UK has a range of resources, which include downloadable posters, flash cards, debate activity, comic strips and problem pages to use in the classroom. They also have presentations, interactive anti-bullying videos, posters and more.

Everyone Matters from LGfL has been produced to raise awareness of the problems of homophobic bullying in schools. Developed in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and Wandsworth and Waltham Forest local authorities, these resources feature role play scenarios to challenge both students and teachers to reflect on their own attitudes to this form of bullying.

Why not listen to a book during this week, Bullies, big mouth and so called friends by Alexander J is available to listen to via Listening Books. You know the types. Bullies push you around, bigmouths make sarcastic comments about you. So-called friends turn their backs on you without saying why. You can end up feeling like a loser. But you don’t have to. You just need to build up your defences, so the bullies can’t get to you. This audiobook shows you how.

Burger king launched the video below last year but the message is still important and a really good one to show as part of an assembly or PSHE lesson

When I worry about things from the BBC  is a collection of animated films that use personal testimony to explore mental health issues from the perspective of children, including the effect of Bullying. Alongside each, there is more information about the content of the film, and suggestions of how it could be used in the classroom. These resources are suitable for use with pupils aged 8-13. Araina’s story below is one of the films that looks at Bullying.

Say Bye Bye to Bullying with CBBC! Is a collection from CBBC that includes  anti-bullying clips, guides and advice.

64% of young people across the UK have experienced and been affected by bullying whilst at school. The average young person spends 11,000 hours in school. The Diana Award is on a mission to make those hours as happy and safe as possible. They have a schools pack and an assembly template that schools can use during the week.

Films are a great tool to use to provide a framework for discussion and to look at issues and Into film have a wide range of lessons plans and films that can be used in the classroom to discuss the theme of Bullying for both primary and secondary schools.

Ditch the label has put together a range of Anti-bullying activities for KS3 and KS4 students and teachers, these include lesson plans, and assemblies looking at challenging attitudes and debunking the myths.

Please let us know what you are doing for the week, you can share via our Twitter and Facebook pages, using the hashtags #AntiBullyingWeek #ChooseRespect

How to be a champion of your subject and introduce LGfL content to your school.

Finding the time to get your subject a staff meeting can be near impossible when many staff meetings are set aside for School Priorities and Moderation. So how do you do it? How can you highlight and show your staff the key updates and content for your subject?

My idea is to use flexible CPD, don’t think about training as solid one hour blocks where all staff take part at the same time, think about your day and were you can pop in small bite sized training sessions that staff can access in easier less time-consuming sessions.

Over my years of teaching I have been a subject leader for various subjects and as a leader, my aim was always the same,  to help promote my subject and give teachers the key knowledge and skills to help push children forward. It can be hard to do at the best of times, but with many schools having less time and funds to let staff go off site and pay for CCPD, in-house staff training can be vital.

The idea of offering staff a different model of CPD was introduced to me by an amazing Apple Distinguished Educator named Aaron Webb, who at the time introduced the concept of ‘Techie Brekkie’ to my school.

Techie Brekkie has been around for many years and is a short (15mins) session which can be organised on a given morning every week to highlight a resource that can be used to enhance learning within the classroom, you didn’t need to go every week or even stay for the whole session, staff can dip in and out as they wish.

I adapted this idea and used it to highlight different resources within my school setting at the time, creating lots of easy to digest CPD sessions, such as “Google Docs and Danish” and “Clips and Cold Brew”, Giving staff a great start to the day by giving them much needed training and a snack!

Why not try this idea with LGfL content you know staff are interested in but lack training in? Perhaps “j2e and Juice” or “Widgit and waffles”.

 

Introduce the content by first going to the information page where you can get a short overview of the content and then model to your staff how to use the resource, remember to allow time for your staff to use the resource themselves and for them to enjoy their Brekkie!

I adapted this idea of flexible CPD to also help promote LGfL content within my school, as many staff within my own school lacked time to dive deep into the amazing content LGfL provides, I am very proud to announce that we are bringing this idea back in an ongoing way. introducing LGfL spotlight

LGfL Spotlight, will focus (or spotlight!) on one key curriculum resource per week, allowing you and your staff to see some amazing resources that you may not have seen before, where possible we will attempt to tie the content with relevant events happening in the Education calendar.

Every week we will adding posts to our social media channels (Follow us on twitter here and Facebook) highlighting one resource per week, the idea is to take this post and find a 5-minute moment during your school week where all staff are together, this could be a morning briefing or at the very beginning of a staff meeting, in this time you can introduce the content via LGfL’s very handy information pages, which offer key information about the resource as well as screen shots and videos to help. During the week, we will also offer more gems of information about our spotlighted resource.

LGfL Spotlight will be supported by the hashtag #LGfLspotlight, if you have organised a whole school session take a photo of it or if you have used the Spotlight resources in school that week we would love to see the results! Post them on twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #LGfLspotlight