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Newsletter 5 - November 2020

Dear Colleagues
Here is our next newsletter which we hope your find useful.
Chrysta and I are mindful of the really challenging day to day leadership and management challenges you are juggling at the moment, whilst still finding time to engage in the commission and important school improvement support.

Recently, I visited a school where the teacher was teaching a socially distanced class, whilst live streaming to those students who were at home. In the same school, teachers that were shielding, were delivering lessons on-line from home into their classrooms. It is amazing that this is just standard practice now and will be in the future. An amazing job everyone and special congratulations to Devonport High School for Boys who are now an Ed Tech Demo School, supporting the development of remote learning locally.

Apologies for the technical glitch that meant we had to re arrange our first webinar with Sir David Carter! On the plus side over 100 had signed up which we were delighted about. The re arranged webinar will be on January 12th 2021. You can rebook here. There are still a few places left for Sir David’s next webinar on “Developing People” on November 24th 4.00 to 5.30pm. You can book here.

Finally, this week saw a meeting of the Plymouth Strategy Group answering the question “What does excellence in Plymouth look like in 3 years-time?” This is a question that Baroness Berridge has asked as she is becoming increasingly interested in a place-based approach to school improvement. Plymouth is in the spotlight! More news to follow on this subject.

For action – please can you complete for Richard Woodhouse

  1. Inclusion Leads at: 
  2. SENCOs at: 

Stay safe and well.

Collaboration Strategy:

At the heart of a self-improving school system is school-to-school collaboration. The Plymouth Secondary Strategy Portal provides a single collaborative citywide platform for secondary schools across Plymouth. From the Portal you can access System-led CPD, System Leader Support, Citywide Professional Learning Communities, News, Research and Resources.  

We continue to develop the Portal to support the needs of the Plymouth Secondary Strategy, over the next few weeks we will be releasing a number of exciting new features: 
  1. Dashboards: We are in the process of developing a series of themed dashboards. Users will be able to access a one stop shop view of activities around a given theme from one location, rather than accessing information from many different locations. Our first 'dashboard' focuses on the SW Edtech Demonstrator Programme, from the Edtech Dashboard you can view the latest Regional Edtech CPD Offer, News, Resources and Guidance.


    The next dashboard we have planned will focus on STEM. We will update you in the next newsletter on how this is progressing. 
  2. Citywide CPD Offer: Through the Portal you can now access a single citywide CPD offer, with and aggregated view professional development opportunities from a range of partner providers in and around the city.

    View the CPD Here

    Note: You can also access a regional and national view of CPD through the CPD Portal:
  3. Professional Learning Communities: The Plymouth Secondary Portal moves into an exciting new phase with the pilot of its community function. We will be testing the function through the establishment of a Maths Lead community network. More news to follow about this development and how your school can engage with the platform.

  4. Social Media Updates: Please follow the Plymouth Secondary Strategy on Twitter to keep abreast of our regular leadership and teaching and learning/CPD updates and to celebrate Plymouth secondary success stories: @PLSecondStrat. Please share this Twitter Stream.

The Plymouth Secondary Strategy update:

Strand 1: Individual School Support

Out virtual SIP meetings roll out continues with All Saints Academy and Devonport High School for Girls this week and next. Chrysta and I are busy ensuring the actions agreed with individual schools are implemented and followed up. Please keep in contact with us if a support or CPD need crops up. We want our support to be formative rather than just at summative intervals.
We appreciate that the pandemic continues to put pressure on school leaders, Headteachers and CEOs and want to remind you that there is provision out there to support your own wellbeing, including this new offer of support for CEOs and Heads from an organisation called Headrest: 

Headrest was co-founded in 2020 by Ros McMullen and Andrew Morrish, two former headteachers and Multi-Academy Trust CEOs. They offer a free ‘listening ear’ service for those who are exhausted and might just need to chat with someone who understands, in confidence:

Strand 2: CPD offer

Strand 2: An outstanding CPD offer in the city that builds leadership capacity to implement evidence-based school improvement strategies leading to sustainable school improvement.
Ambitions Institute and Sir David Carter Plymouth funded offer.  We are delighted to report that almost 100 delegates from across the city attended the first of 3 webinar sessions this week. Thank you for participating and for your contributions to the session.
Make a note in your diary of the upcoming sessions in the next 4 weeks and share with relevant colleagues:
Session 2. November 24th 4.00pm to 5.30pm (Webinar)
  • Developing People. Sir David Carter
  • You can sign up to this event here.
Session 4a. December 10th 4.00pm to 5.30pm (Webinar)
  • Holding Colleagues to Account. Sir David Carter
You can sign up to this event here.
REMINDER: Ensure that you and relevant SLT colleagues in school have signed up for the Plymouth Education Endowment Funded offer
Day 1 - Leading Evidence Informed School Improvement 
Event Date - 8th January
  • The role of evidence in understanding disadvantage.
  • Putting evidence to use: a guide to implementation.
  • Improving Literacy across the curriculum.
(Audience: Headteachers and Chairs of Governors) You can sign up to this event here.
Days 2,3,4 - Improving subject literacy: unlocking the curriculum for all.
Event Date(s) – 18th January, 23rd February, 26th March
  • A deep dive into the evidence around literacy.
  • Addressing the challenge of reading and writing across subjects.
  • Delivering and monitoring change.
(Audience: Headteachers and SLT with responsibility for Curriculum and CPD)
You can sign up to these events here.
Days 5,6 - Training and retaining great teachers
Event Date(s) – 30th April, 17th May
  • Developing vision
  • Principles of effective CPD and secondary pedagogy
  • Leading professional learning
(Audience: SLT Teaching and Learning leads and CPD Leads)
You can sign up to these events here.
Save the Date for our next ‘Ask Me Anything’ Webinar: Thursday 26th November 4 – 4.45 pm.  Implementing New Approaches to Teaching and Learning

We have been really impressed with the number of secondary colleagues signing up to our fortnightly agile webinars. Thus far 16 out of 19 schools have engaged with one or more of these sessions. We will continue to offer them as long as there is a demand. You can sign up to this webinar here.

If you have any suggestions for upcoming webinar themes please drop Chrysta an email. 

Science CPD:

We are delighted to report that 18 Plymouth Secondaries have now signed up to take advantage of the bespoke secondary city-wide offer from STEM and the following dates should be in your Science Team’s diaries. Booking is available on the new STEM Science CPD dashboard on your Plymouth portal and by using the links below:
Supporting disadvantaged learners in science:

First remote session: November 23rd 4.00 - 5.00 pm
Second remote session: December 3rd 4.00 - 5.00pm
Supporting working memory: Strategies to improve recall and understanding in science:
First remote session: December 15th 4.00 - 5.00pm
Second remote session: January 19th 4.00 - 5.00pm
Science Leaders Network meeting:
December 7th 4.00 5.30pm
Science technicians Network meeting:
23rd November 3.00 - 4.00 pm

NQT/RQT/ITT Network meeting:
November 24th 4.00 - 5.00pm                                       

The offer allows come with a free offer of coaching and mentoring for all Plymouth Secondary Science Leads or aspiring Science Leads. Please contact Phoebe Davies if you like to take this up.
Please join us in congratulating Devonport High School for Boys in becoming the region’s latest school to join the EdTech Demonstrator school community.

Please see below about the first bookable webinar being offered by DHSB and share the link with your remote learning leads and teachers:

Assessment and Feedback in the Covid-Secure Classroom

Want to find a safe and effective way to assess your students and provide feedback online? Sign up for a free webinar showcasing using Google tools (G-Suite for Education) hosted by Devonport High School for Boys. This CPD webinar is suitable for primary and secondary teachers. The session will cover Google Classroom Rubrics for easy marking, Electronic Exercise Books for online Covid-safe progress tracking and the use of visualisers and verbal feedback.

When? Tuesday 24th November 2020 4pm - 5pm

To register for this free CPD event sign up here
In the meantime check out our free ‘how to’ guides to help you make a success of remote learning:
Subsidised training for Plymouth Chairs and Clerks: a reminder that your Chairs and Clerks can access this offer here:
Actions for Heads:
  • Ensure colleagues are booked onto the Sir David Carter sessions and the EEF CPD
  • Discuss the STEM CPD Science offer with your Science Leads and ensure they have reserved their places on the various webinars and networks
Ensure your Literacy Leads have completed the needs analysis by Monday 16th  November.
  • Ensure Remote Learning Leads are aware of the DHSB support for Edtech and have access to their booking link
  • Book onto the Chairs/Clerks training if appropriate

Strand 3: Reducing Student Mobility

Replacing the current PDF of the vision document on the portal with the updated version.
  1. Reminder to colleagues to ensure schools complete the AP survey: 
    1. Inclusion Leads at: 
    2. SENCOs at:
Literacy Needs Analysis:

In the week that Daisy Christodoulou and the team at No More Marking released the results of their year 7 Baseline Secondary Writing assessment showing current Year 7 pupils are 22 months behind where we would expect them to be at the start of Year 7 (that is, they are working at almost exactly the same standard as Year 5s in November) we are undertaking a Plymouth Literacy Needs analysis. The aim is to create a mechanism for enabling systematic professional dialogue about the implementation of various approaches to literacy in Plymouth schools involving literacy leads from all secondaries in the city.
This will enable us to generate a city baseline around current Literacy practice which will then enable us to access support from both within and beyond the region to continue to support your improvement work.

Please ensure your school Literacy Lead has contributed to this survey by Monday 17th November.


This week’s Interesting read:

What works and which research can help you in developing a systematic process of curriculum reflection and review? Curriculum Matters:

Excellent resource kit available here to support your work in promoting Anti bullying Week.
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