Outstanding teaching and learning at A Level

This conference will be online:-

  • Presenters are presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides and activities
  • Opportunities for delegate questions and comments
  • A short task between the two sessions
  • A copy of the slides will be made available after the course, along with further materials

This is a one day course split over Wednesday 17th and Wednesday 24th November, sessions will be 4pm to 6:30pm on both days.

Some teachers find teaching A level intimidating. Some want to approach teaching A level like teaching students lower down the school. Others assume a level of ability in their students they simply have not yet developed. As has often been observed by teachers, there is little specific training to teach A Level. As a teacher writing in the TES commented:

“There is very little guidance given on teacher training courses for A Level teaching. This can result, understandably, in teachers playing it safe by keeping rigorously to the textbook and ensuring that all the content is covered.” (Dan Kneller is second in department and subject lead for A-level history)

Ofsted has regularly condemned the quality of teaching and learning in the 6th form. Numerous thematic and school inspections have criticised the quality of teaching for being “overly didactic” and “uninspiring”. Under the Ofsted 2019 Framework schools are given a separate judgement for their 6th forms. Moreover, with the content of new A level specifications being increased, it essential that lessons are effective and have impact.

Ofsted Inspections

To achieve Outstanding, inspectors will assess that the “impact of the taught curriculum is strong” in the 6th form. They will want to see that students “…acquire and develop high-quality skills and produce work of a consistently high standard.” In order to do this inspectors will consider, “…how leaders and teachers develop a curriculum that provides progression. This means that the curriculum and how it is taught will be the key focus of any 6th form inspection.

  • But how do we achieve differentiation in an A level class, where ability can vary widely?
  • How do we ensure that strategies stretch students but also engage?
  • How do we ensure students have the skills required to achieve the highest grades?
  • How should assessment be effectively used as a teaching strategy?
  • What makes an A level lesson different from a lesson lower down the school?
  • How is it possible to use engaging strategies while ensuring all the content is being covered?
  • How do we prepare students for examinations?

Course Outcomes:

You will:

  • Apply a range of teaching strategies that can be used in the 6th form.
  • Consider the importance of assessment and types of feedback and how it can be effectively managed.
  • Ensure lessons are differentiated, to ensure progression of all students.
  • Review research into what students say makes an outstanding post 16 lesson.
  • Analyse the range of sources teachers need to use to improve the quality of their A Level teaching.
  • Consider the range of skills students will require to become successful at A level.

Clear Approaches and Strategies

This course is highly practical and interactive. Teachers will leave with a clear set of strategies and interventions which they can adopt in their teaching.

Course outline

What makes an outstanding A level lesson?

  • What do students say? Consideration of research from a student perspective
  • What does Ofsted say?
  • What is effective?
  • How do I cover the larger content in the curriculum time?
  • Why are skills so important in the 6th form?
  • Creating a learning community? What is it and how is it achieved?

Effective strategies?

  • Consider some effective generic strategies to be used.
  • Seeing those strategies in practice?

Developing an independent learner

  • The key skills student will need support developing
  • The role of assessment and feedback
  • Assessment strategies
  • Being clear about expectations
  • Giving effective support

Improving 6th form performance

  • Considering school based approaches to improving attainment in the 6th form

Preparing students for the exam

  • Why is this important?
  • Revision strategies to use and teach
  • How do we improve examination technique.

Presenter Profile

Presenter John Medlicott

John Medlicott (@johnmedlicott) is the Director of JMC Education (www.jmcinset.com), having held a number of key academic and pastoral leadership roles in schools and colleges. John still teaches in an Ofsted Outstanding School and has taught for over 20 years. As a teacher trainer & school improvement consultant he works with schools across the UK and internationally. He is regularly graded as “outstanding” by delegates on their evaluation forms. John has spoken recently on challenge and differentiation at a National Conference for Deputy Head teachers and is a regular Keynote speaker and workshop provider in School Leadership and Teaching and Learning.

Cost: £250 per delegate; £299 for 2 teachers from the same school booking on this course

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