I recently spoke to members at Children’s Scrutiny about the summary results/outcomes from the summer tests and examinations, where I emphasised the importance of celebrating our wonderful Camden schools. The vast majority of schools have been judged good and outstanding; primary performance is 7th nationally (5th in London) for the combined measure. Secondary attainment eight (A8) improved by 2% and is in line with London and A levels improved by broadly 5 APS. We should be proud of our young people and schools, whilst always recognising there is more to do for those pupils who do not make the standard. Well done!

I read with interest this week that the proportion of Year 1 pupils meeting the government’s ‘expected standard’ in the phonics screening check has fallen for the first time. Furthermore, KS2 SATs reading results also recorded a fall nationally by 2%, which was mirrored here in Camden, although standards remain well above national and London. It is not lost on any of us the importance of reading; it is reflected strongly in the new Ofsted framework, where the scrutiny on phonics and early reading is clear, with an expectation that there is a coherent approach to reading across the secondary years. Ofsted training has emphasised the importance of phonics teaching which is, ‘Characterised by planned structure, fast pace, praise and reinforcement, perceptive responses, active participation by all children and evidence of progress’; they fell just about short of recommending a commercial package!

The Education Endowment Fund have produced a guidance report for secondary schools that aims to help secondary schools improve literacy in all subjects. The seven recommendations emphasise the importance of disciplinary literacy – an approach to improving literacy across the curriculum. It recognises that literacy skills are both general & subject specific, emphasising the value of supporting teachers in every subject to teach students how to read, write & communicate effectively (Improving Literacy in Secondary Schools). Important to note that in primary schools, transition arrangements do not apply to reading, writing & mathematics, transition arrangements only apply to science & the foundation curriculum.

On Wednesday 2nd October from 8am-9am, we are hosting an informal Ofsted briefing at 5PS in rooms 11.11 and 11.12, where Kate Frood will lead a session on the new framework, following her recent Ofsted training. Please do feel free to drop in, it is targeted for primary leaders, but secondary/ special colleagues are more than welcome to attend.

Next Friday 4th October Camden Learning is hosting a curriculum conference at 5PS, where we welcome Steve Rollett, who is a curriculum and inspection specialist at ASCL. Steve will be leading the morning session, considering the curriculum in light of the new framework, exploring how leaders lead on the curriculum and understanding what progression through the curriculum means. Please RSVP to Hana Emami at Hana.Emami@camden.gov.uk by Tuesday 1st October 2019.

Final shout out is the Deputy and Assistant Heads annual conference in Brighton on the 14th and 15th November at the splendid Harbour Inn hotel. Speakers include Dr Andy Cope, Sonia Blandford and Becky Allen. It would be tremendous if Deputies and Assistant Heads could prioritise this event, as it is a valuable opportunity to network and an opportunity for personal reflection.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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