Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Home Access: Latest Information 04

Statistical Update

By March 15th Redbridge has had 701 successful applications for the Home Access Grant. This means that about 1 out of every 6 eligible students has so far successfully applied. This is a really good start but it does show that much more work needs to be done. Nationally 28% of eligible families have successfully applied, whereas here in Redbridge that number is only 17%. Please keep getting the message out to ensure that the Redbridge community has the information to benefit from this grant. If you would like to know your own school's statistics please email me directly.

What's on the inside?

Logging into http://www.homeaccess.org.uk/ gives you access to a range of information sheets and presentations that you can use when raising awareness of this grant. If you are tasked with ensuring your students are not missing out then registering on this site is well worth it.

Case Study Request

The national Home Access team are looking to develop some more case studies of families enjoying the benefit of the Home Access project. If you know that some of the 299 successful applicants are within your school community why not invite them to be involved in a video case study? Contact me directly if you would like further details.

Web-strategy within your school

When students receive their Home Access computer or laptop one of the first things they do (according to the case studies) is go to the school's website. If your school is not yet making use of the web to support teaching and learning then this is an excellent time to start. Get in touch to discuss the different ways the web can support learning within your school community.

Translated literature for parents

We have been given a set of translated information letters for parents who would prefer to find out about the scheme in their own language. This work has been undertaken by the Bristol Extended Services team and they are happy for them to be used by other LAs as long as they are acknowledged.

If you are a Redbridge Fronter user and have access to the following virtual rooms then these letters are available in:

Redbridge Secondary ICT
> KS3 Resources

Redbridge Primary ICT
> Resources > Home Access translations

(You need to be logged into Fronter with pre-agreed access to these rooms for these links to work.)

If you don't have access please email Tina.Pennells@redbridge.gov.uk stating your school name, your role within the school and your Fronter username to gain access or to request specific files.

Any further information about the Home Access Grant please get in touch. There have been several previous entries on this blog which can be accessed by clicking on:


As before, the most important information to get out to parents is the telephone number 0333 200 1004 which should be copied onto school newsletters.

Alex Rees

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Redbridge schools get faster internet

The teachers and students using the Redbridge Schools network are looking forward to having the service upgraded over the next few months. Schools' Network Managers and Technicians who have attended the Redbridge Technicians' Forum have already been briefed as to the 3 stage approach that is being taken by council staff to ensure that by September 2010 schools will all be benefitting from a faster service, with increased reliability.

Phase 1 commences over the forthcoming Easter break by introducing the latest switch technology across the Redbridge wide-area network (WAN) to enable faster traffic throughput. This will necessarily involve an anticipated 30 minutes planned downtime on the 9th April while most school staff are on the Easter break. Phase 2 and 3 will take place over the next term with the next planned downtime occuring during the half term break in the first week of June (half term).

Schools' technical staff will be kept up to date directly by Gary Jelks and teaching staff can look forward to seeing the improvements over the next term. There will, of course, be a further briefing on this project by Gary at the Redbridge Technicians' Forum on the 27th May 2010. If you would like to book to attend the forum please go to http://www.redbridgepdc.org.uk/ to register.

Alex Rees

Saturday, 27 March 2010

RE: Redbridge Beijing Partnership Visit - 2010

Final greetings from Beijing - here's my last blog - it's 11.15 pm on Saturday 27 March. I'm packing, emailing, getting rid of bits of paper that one always collects in a hotel room and generally multi-tasking (love that word).

Today the atmosphere was distinctly different - a wave of relief and light-heartedness prevailed. Treat for all the hard work - trip to the Great Wall followed by the past-time that China is known for (apart from food) ie shopping.

Last group meal in a lovely restaurant near the hotel (our legs wouldn't allow us to go further afield having just been climbing) and then final uploading of diaries, images etc and packing.

Everyone has agreed that this trip has been life-changing and thought provoking - a great success. All we need to do now is catch the plane and have a good sleep. We'll have a meeting after Easter to action plan and discuss activities to sustain the links and ensure a legacy.

Best wishes from your blogger in Beijing.

Good night
Annette Carlon
Redbridge Secondary ICT Consultant

Friday, 26 March 2010

RE: Redbridge Beijing Partnership Visit - 2010

Hi everyone - it's very late - Friday 26 March. Today was the conference - teachers were all up very early having breakfast by 6.45 am having handed in their presentations for the translator to preview.
Definitely pretty tense for many as this was way out of people's comfort zone and the stress was tangible - teachers checking their notes for the umpteenth time and generally hanging around not really talking.
Four people to a taxi to the hotel hosting the event and into a room full of Chinese people eagerly awaiting to hear what we had to say - pens poised and video cameras ready.
Uploading the presentations onto the laptop took a while and although the Chinese teacher helping me didn't want me to rename the presentations with the appropriate school name I had to insist - the last thing I wanted was for a teacher to have to search for their one in front of a hushed audience! Of course using a laptop in China isn't straight forward as it's all in Chinese!!
Of course it all went brilliantly (I knew it would) and the Chinese professionals were hanging onto every word. Redbridge teachers did themselves proud and clearly demonstrated their expertise and abilities to deliver and make the curriculum accessible for the range of pupils that we cater for. Think at last they realise how highly skilled they are.
What a successful culmination to the week's activities - the relief was palpable - we then had lunch which was hosted by the Beijing District. Teachers were now free for a few hours to have a well earned break. Dinner this evening was great - very relaxed, lots of laughs but also lots of discussion about pedagogy and all the stories and happenings that had taken place throughout the week.
Good night
Annette Carlon
Redbridge Secondary ICT Consultant

Thursday, 25 March 2010

RE: Redbridge Beijing Partnership Visit - 2010

It's 11.45 pm on Thursday 25 March and we've another fulfilling and wonderful day. Teachers went off their respective schools this morning and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the largest vocational college in the world – very interesting and it gave me a further insight into what the ‘new’ China is about – the college develops courses to provide skills for current and future expanding industries whereas in the UK we seem to run courses as a reaction to past skills gaps. Proactive versus reactive!

The Chinese authorities are very keen to develop partnerships in schools and colleges and welcome opportunities to work globally for mutual benefit. This afternoon I visited Hong Miao School and watched teachers from Snaresbrook delivering their lesson about the parts of the body - great fun, a good example of student centred, interactive and inclusive teaching styles which we in the UK do so well - the lesson ended with us all singing and acting "head, shoulders, knees and toes". Our end of day debriefing session, which we have every evening, gave everyone the opportunity to share the highlights of their day, celebrate the achievements and plan for tomorrow.

Tomorrow (Friday) is the big day - a formal Good Practice Conference which will give the schools a platform to publically share and reflect on the week's activities and to make a commitment to continue the partnership with details of the practical arrangements and solutions. More about this in tomorrow's blog. The day finished with teachers doing a variety of things such as going out for a meal or a wander around the Food Street in Wangfujing (5 teachers, not mentioning any names, ate scorpions, centipedes and critckets on sticks but I declined) or strolling around Qian Men amongst other things as well as uploading today's diary and images for their Redbridge school communities. They also need to hand in their conference presentations at 7.00 am tomorrow morning so that out translator can look through in advance to ensure accurate translation. So much pressure - they're totally worn out but on a high!

Good night

Annette Carlon
Redbridge Secondary ICT Consultant

What training should be provided to non-ICT teaching staff?

This question was recently asked to me and the answer may well be helpful for others...

That is a really good question, but the trouble is a large staff team has such a wide range of ICT capability. The only way to meet the needs of all is to first survey your staff and then design a CPD programme that broadly meets the needs expressed. Staff ICT professional development broadly falls into 4 areas:

1. Personal ICT competence
(can take photos on digital camera and email them, can prepare worksheet using appropriate software, ...)

2. Generic teaching and learning
(can set work and manage class discussion with students using learning platform, can use interactive whiteboard to enrich learning, ...)

3. Subject specific teaching and learning
(a Science teacher can manage data logging equipment in class, PE teacher can take and edit video as part of a lesson, History teacher can approach web information sources forensically...)

4. Innovatory practice
(Where a teacher is developing new ways to stimulate and enrich learning using the latest technologies)

With the results of your survey you can then decide how to balance your CPD strategy between those areas. Of course you will have some teachers who are so competent that they can be involved in training colleagues. Whilst this is, in itself, professional development you may like to focus these 'trainer' teachers on section 4 - developing innovatory practice.

Becta have some ideas for surveys here...
...but I have to admit that both of these links do not answer the question exactly.

Most useful is the Professional Development element from the Self Review Framework. Becta have drawn up what a 'good' school looks like across 8 elements and they then encourage schools to fill in their online questionnaire as a school improvement tool - to compare themselves against Becta's 1-5 scale (1 being best). A school which is self-graded level 2 across all 8 elements can be externally verified as ICT mark standard. I do not recommend that schools rush through the elements, but instead use the elements as they align with school development priorities, perhaps working through all 8 over a 3 year period. You may like to use the Professional Development element at this point in your school's journey.

Returning the the original question. What courses are available for non-specialist teaching staff? Actually there is no single solution that would meet all of the wide ranging needs within a school. http://www.vital.ac.uk/ are coming into the market to try and meet this need, but they are new and at the moment are developing their range. They intend to not only have their own courses on this site but also act as a portal for teachers to provide training for each other.

For the moment I suggest the following route forwards:

  1. Conduct an ICT audit for your staff EITHER based around the 4 aspects above OR using one of the Becta surveys.

  2. Consider whether a slight adjustment to the performance management interview would enable this audit information to be updated on a yearly basis.

  3. From the analysis of the audit results establish what ICT training you could include within your CPD programme next academic year to meet those needs. Where you have expertise within the school to deliver that training, use that. Perhaps use the Vital website to publish your training to support their project of providing relevant ICT CPD for schools, and to bank good training for use in future years.

  4. Review the Professional Development section of the Self-Review Framework and consider whether your school could become ICT Mark standard at managing professional development.

  5. Work to ensure that these actions are embedded into your annual practice to ensure that staff skills are regularly reviewed and developed according to your schools changing priorities.

If you have further questions about any of the points raised above please feel free to get in touch.

Alex Rees

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

RE: Redbridge Beijing Partnership Visit - 2010

Good evening all - decided 11.45 pm on 24 March might be easier than 6.00 am tomorrow morning.

This morning was taken up with various meetings which consist of protocols such as much tea drinking, exchange and scrutiny of business cards and polite exchanges of pleasantries before the real business begins.

Visited School No 14 to see teachers from Beal and Oaks Park. Had long and serious discussions with the Vice Principal with a translator including things such as different teaching pedagogies - moving towards active rather than passive learning, creativity and inclusivity, the notion of global citizenship and the challenges of keeping the partnership alive amongst other things. Observed an interesting lesson about global warming and the weather being delivered by an Oaks Park teacher before moving on to other items on the day's agenda.

The evening included a visit to Silk Street market where some serious lessons in bartering took place followed by another meal of banquet proportions for the price of a snack. Chopstick skills are improving and new targets need to be set so that no-one is under achieving or not fulfilling their potential.

Our journey home coincided with a serious sleet shower - the Beijing drainage system didn't cope very well so we tried with varying degrees of success to avoid the huge puddles that appeared very quickly.

Colleagues are busy now uploading to Fronter and putting the final touches to their lesson plans for tomorrow.

Good night

Annette Carlon
Redbridge Secondary ICT Consultant

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Redbridge Beijing Partnership Visit - 2010

Good morning all. It's 6.00 am on Wed 24 March. Yesterday, after a hearty breakfast - you can choose western or Chinese or both (no-one fancied noodles, soup, dumplings etc this morning but I bet tomorrow will be different), we had a brief meeting with the District Official and her team (whom I had last met on videoconference) and then the teachers were taken off to their respective schools by their partner teachers. I then had a variety of meetings with Won Way and various team members.
Visited the Wanstead and Mayfield teachers in School No 125 - they were watching an art lesson at the time and had had a wonderful day starting with watching the morning exercises. Had a meeting with the Head teacher who had visited Loxford School 3 years ago. I explained the progress of the school and their impending move into their new building - he was very interested in all that is going on - we then had the obligatory pictures taken which I will email to him.
Our debriefing meeting at 6.00 pm back in the hotel was very buzzy - everyone had had a great day and were all feeling pretty enthralled. The schools participating in this partnership are Beal, Wanstead, Oaks Park, Mayfield, Snaresbrook and Glade. Lots of lesson observations went on and teachers planned the lessons they will be teaching today and tomorrow.
Took some teachers to the Food Street - they didn't fancy trying scorpions on sticks or seahorses on sticks. Locasts looked juicy and there were also tiny birds with their beaks up in the air - roasted I think. We decided to eat in a conventional restaurant. Had a banquet and spent all of £6 each!
Must stop now - can't be late. Visiting School No 14 today to see Beal and Oaks Park.
Annette Carlon
Redbridge Secondary ICT Consultant

Receive some Vital training for FREE!

Vital is a new initiative from the Open University and E-skills providing a range of innovative ICT CPD for use across the curriculum.

In Redbridge we have been offered free involvement in 2 online tutor led courses:

- Sharing ideas (using a wiki) Primary (V01a-PW)
- Sharing ideas (using a wiki) Secondary (V01b-PW)

We are looking for 30 teachers to trial this new way of taking part in CPD…

All you need to do is register on the website www.vital.ac.uk and email London@vital.ac.uk to let them know which course you would like to attend remembering to name the school where you work. You will also need to email Tina.Pennells@redbridge.gov.uk so that we may confirm to Vital that you work in a Redbridge school and that you are eligible for this free trial.

The commitment Vital need is 20 hours over 8 weeks (and access to an internet based computer for at least 13 of those hours) to participate from 29th March. We will require that you complete a borough CPD feedback form at the end of the period to review the project.

If you would like to take part, or have colleagues who might, please contact me to find out more or register directly on the Vital site.

Alex Rees

Monday, 22 March 2010

Redbridge Beijing Partnership Visit - 2010

Good morning all.  It's 6.30 am on Tue 23 March and I can see a lovely sun coming up through the buildings so sand storm over!!
Last night we went out to a restaurant which was lovely - lots of different dishes - some like Chinese at home but other dishes that you would only get here - including a hugh fish which everyone prods with their chopsticks. 
Our chopstick skills are advancing - attainment target is to eat peas one at a time without landing onto lap or floor.  Some of us are obviously in the G&T group and might even exceed all expectations but others really do need some support and maybe even differentiated materials although they might get hungry.
We then went for a walk in Tiananmen Square - saw the entrance to the Forbidden City with its hugh picture of Chairman Mao.  Also lots of soldiers either running in unison or marching or just walking up and down.  Of course Tiananmen Square is a sensitive area so there is always a high military presence - totally non-threatening but just there.
Then back to hotel but before falling into bed in almost a coma due to a complete lack of anything resembling sleep since Sunday 6.00 am we were all uploading images and text onto Fronter.
Must stop now as breakfast at 7.00 am - meeting at 8.00 am - this is hard work!!!
Annette Carlon
Redbridge Secondary ICT Consultant

Redbridge Beijing Partnership Visit - 2010

Greetings from Beijing.  I'm here with 19 Redbridge primary and secondary teachers.  We arrived this morning to a smog filled capital.  There have been sand storms - not unusual at this time of year - apparently they will go by tomorrow!
We're all feeling very tired and jet lagged but have had a couple of hours to get ourselves together.  Out for dinner this evening and a walk around Tiananmen Square. 
Tomorrow up bright and early to meet the teachers from the partner schools at 8.00 am at our hotel.  Teachers will then be taken to their schools for their first day.
Excellent broadband connection so will keep you posted.
Annette Carlon
Redbridge Secondary ICT Consultant

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Virtual Teaching and Learning for 2 Weeks!

Press release:
Can a Managed Learning Environment (MLE)really create an online learning environment that both teachers and students can call their “Virtual School”? Loxford School of Science and Technology in Ilford, Essex are about to find out at the end of March 2010.

The Virtual School

Loxford School is part of a major building project funded by the Partnership for Schools building programme B.S.F (Building Schools for the Future).

Students will be given access to lessons via Fronter MLE whilst the school is moving to its new building. Students can continue their school work and learning whilst at home. They will collaboratively do work, take part in discussions, and complete tasks as they would do in the classroom. Teachers will be able to give them feedback and monitor the students activity and progress. Hopefully it will be school as normal for the students without a teacher in sight. You can see more about the new Loxford School by visiting http://www.loxford.net/ and clicking on ‘Our New School’.

About Loxford School

Loxford School of Science and Technology in Ilford, Redbridge have 1624 pupils. Loxford achieved a 5+ A*-C pass rate at GCSE of 79% in 2009 (with 54% of students gaining 5+ A*-C grades including English and Maths). Maintaining a record of 100% of the GCSE cohort gaining 5or more A*-G grades. These are the school's best ever GCSE results. This has been accomplished while facilitating an £44 million rebuilding programme at the Loxford site as part of BSF project.

The school was judged to be "outstanding" in an OFSTED good practice survey inspection of literacy and numeracy at the school in December 2008. They have also just been redesignated a DCSF Training School (Nov 2009) and become a regional hub for the Schools Specialist and Academies Trust, with a responsibility to develop future school leaders. Loxford has been presented with the Investors in People Award, the International Schools Bronze Award, the Investors in Careers Bronze Award, the Healthy Schools Award and the Quality in Study Support Award. The school has also become the lead centre for Fronter (Managed Learning Environment) for the borough of Redbridge.

About the LMLE ( London Managed Learning Environment)

The London MLE is an integrated learning management system powered by the Fronter Platform. Offering a range of tools for learning and collaboration online, the London MLE was selected in 2007 by London’s local authorities, working collectively as The London Grid for Learning, as the preferred platform for London schools.

Deputy Headteacher comment

We are dedicated to helping our students to achieve to their highest potential. The new building will offer an exceptional learning environment. Moving over the Easter holidays has presented many challenges, especially as this means an extended break for some students in the run up to their final examinations. The Virtual School will reduce the effect of this break, enabling all students to continue with learning activities. Teachers have developed tasks which students complete alone or collaboratively with forums to support progress. Our use of Fronter has evolved greatly over the last 2 years and we are grateful for their support in enabling us to realise our vision of a virtual school. This will continue and be built upon as we take advantage of our new ICT equipment.

For further information contact:

The London Grid for Learning is a consortium of the 33 London Local Authorities which provides a filtered broadband connection, network services, a common learning platform, online content and support communities for all schools across London.

Mina Patel - mina.patel@lgfl.org.uk
Curriculum Consultant
London Grid for Learning Trust

Tanya Hurst - tanhurs@loxford.net
Director of E-learning
Loxford School of Science and Technology

Monday, 15 March 2010

Redbridge@ Games Based Learning 2010 conference

Good to see Redbridge ICT teachers maintaining a presence on the national stage. Coming up soon on the 29th and 30th March is the Games Based Learning conference held in central London. On the Tuesday programme is the following listing:

10:00 - Dawn Hallybone (bio), Senior Teacher, ICT Co-ordinator, Oakdale Junior School & Nicholas Hughes (bio), ICT Co-ordinator and Advisory Teacher, Nightingale Primary School

They will be talking about the Redbridge games network which has an informative blog to follow, and you can also follow individually the work of Nick and Dawn on their individual blogs. Go along to find out more, or get in touch with them directly.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

AfL in Mathematics Staff INSET - Video Conference

Monday, 21st June 2010 – Inspirational Assessment For Learning in Mathematics CPD - Video Conference

Time - 3.45 pm to 4.45 pm

For both primary and secondary school teachers. Alison Clark Wilson from the Maths Association (MA) in partnership with the NE London Maths Association and LGfL will be hosting a live STAFF INSET from Waltham Forest CLC . If you wish to take part, please fill in the
registration form before 12pm June 1st.

Schools without VC equipment can still participate using their LGfL internet connection, via the live stream; all schools must complete the online registration form here.

For more information about the event contact mina.patel@lgfl.org.uk

Mina Patel (LGfL)

Friday, 12 March 2010

School Leaders' Course for Next Generation Learning

Next Generation Learning: Digital Technology and Institutional Change
An essential two-day programme from the LGFL for school senior leaders

Are you ready for.....?

  • Parental Engagement and On-Line Reporting...
  • The new Ofsted Framework....
  • …and Ofsted Report February 2010.....
  • Building Schools for the Future and the Primary Capital Programme...
  • Safeguarding pupils, staff and data...

This programme will address these issues by allowing you to explore the development of ICT strategy and your leadership of change. You will leave the programme having identified appropriate next steps for your school. This is a well established two-day support programme aimed at head teachers and members of the senior leadership team. It provides opportunities for the school team to work together and collaboratively with other schools.

To maximise the impact on school improvement it is essential that a member of the school’s senior leadership team attend together with one other who has strategic responsibility for ICT.

Courses running on:

  • NGL 11 - 18th/19th May
  • NGL 12 - 21st/24th May
  • NGL 13 - 27th/28th May
  • NGL 14 - 7th/9th June
  • NGL 15 - 8th/11th June
  • NGL 16 - 14th/17th June
  • NGL 17 - 6th/9th July
  • NGL 18 - 2nd/3rd November
  • NGL 19 - 8th/10th November
  • NGL 20 - 30th November /2nd December

Cost: £150 per delegate (heavily subsidised by LGfL). Lunch, refreshments and course materials are included. To book places please email julie.walker@lgfl.org.uk and provide the following information: Full name, job title, School, LA, email address.

Further details available directly from LGFL here.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Primary ICT Subject Leaders' Meeting

Where and when:
9:00am to 12:15pm (coffee from 8:40am)
Redbridge Teacher Centre – 11th March 2010

Agenda for the day:
  1. Welcome & news
  2. Key theme: Assessment
  3. Project feedback: Race to Learn
  4. Improving your school: The Learning Platform Implementation Model
  5. Training: New ideas that can be used in your school
  6. News from the floor: What’s the latest greatest thing
Please remember:
Three examples of work that you have or can assess during session 2.
A laptop or equivalent

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Nick Hughes