‘Supporting children with SEND – Strategies to develop early learning and communication.’

‘Supporting children with SEND –  Strategies to develop early learning and communication.’


This term STSA ran a session on ‘Supporting children with SEND –  Strategies to develop early learning and communication.’  The session was run by Shona Morgan and covered the following:

Early learning – overview of EYFS and small steps to learning.

Developing an understanding of target setting and appropriate strategies .

Use of signs and symbols to support language development – including an introduction to Makaton.

A practical session about how to apply the above learning to a mainstream setting including the opportunity to plan for any SEND children in the class you are currently working with.

The course had excellent feedback and we look forward to repeating this course next year.

Day Two of Outstanding Maths course – Differentiation and Planning

Maths course photoDay two of the STSA Outstanding Maths beyond the NQT year course was again packed with learning.  Students reflected on their gap tasks and discussed the impact that the course had had on their teaching so far.  As well as looking closely at differentiation and planning, the topics covered were:

  • Challenge & Engagement – instilling a sense of awe and wonder in mathematics
  • Teaching Calculation
  • Assessment and Feedback – marking for personalised progress.

Feedback from the course was again very positive.   Here are just a few of the quotes:

“I found the differentiation for high attainers very very useful”

“Questioning ideas – great! Especially pose, pause, pounce,bounce.”

“I enjoyed seeing the practical maths in KS1 with lots of focus on vocab.”


Journal Club

Journal club

Journal Club!

This week we hosted our first journal club at Charles Dickens Primary School.  We looked at ‘The Relationship Between Student Engagement and Academic Performance: Is it Myth or Reality?’ by Jung-Sook Lee.  The session sparked lots of lively debate as Jemima Rhys Evans (Lead Practitioner at Charles Dickens Primary School) guided us in groups to reflect on the paper and it’s relevance to our current teaching practices.

We are excited to be now be opening journal club up to all schools in the alliance.  If you would like to join us in journal club, please let us know by email enquiriesstsa@gmail.com

STSA launch peer review project

STSA peer review

STSA have embarked on an exciting Schools Partnership Programme working with CfBT. The aim of the programme is to support partnerships, high quality self evaluation, peer review and school-led support and challenge, both between and within schools. At the heart of the process is peer review and four schools have now begun collabourating together to support each other in this process.

The four schools who are involved in the current project are:

St John’s Walworth C of E Primary School

Charles Dickens Primary School

Surrey Square Primary School

John Donne Primary School

So far the headteachers of all the schools have received training from CfBT and are about to embark on the first round of peer review shortly. In preparation for the project, the senior leadership teams from all four schools me. Through discussion and collabouration the wider group have begun establishing open, supportive and honest relationships between the schools. We are excited to see how the project develops.

If you are interested in further information on peer review or how to become involved in a project like this, please email enquiriesstsa@gmail.com

Outstanding Mathematics Course gets everyone talking about Maths!


Making Every Lesson Count

Outstanding Mathematics – Beyond the NQT Year (Key Stage 1 and 2)


“I have learnt lots of practical ideas that I can use in class. Also really interesting talking to other teachers in Year 1. Lesson observation was most useful.” (Course participant)

On 6th October Charles Dickens Primary School hosted the first day of a the STSA course : Outstanding Mathematics – Beyond the NQT Year (Key Stage 1 and 2).

This is an exciting three day course for teachers at the start of their career focusing on effective teaching and learning with a Mathematics focus. Each day consists of a whole lesson observation, taught subject knowledge, practical activities, quick wins and reflection time with colleagues.

The facilitators of the course are Dan Huxley (Head of Maths at Charles Dickens Primary School) and Jemima Rhys Evans (Lead Practitioner at Charles Dickens Primary School)- both are outstanding experienced teachers with significant experience of mentoring new teachers to outstanding levels of teaching and learning.

Day 1 was packed with learning and covered the following key areas along with a lesson observation:

  • Talk for maths and collaborative learning
  • Rigour in mathematical vocabulary
  • Effective starters and developing outstanding mental maths
  • Identifying areas for further reading and experimentation.

Here are just a selection of quotes we got during feedback after day 1

“I have learnt lots of practical ideas that I can use in class. Also really interesting talking to other teachers in Year 1. Lesson observation was most useful.”

“Observing the lesson was GREAT! Theory in action.”

“Really useful to see the AfL techniques in the lesson I watched as I never know how to use AfL on the hoof.”

“I now have lots of really good ideas for starters and mains”

“Very insightful and interesting to see how other schools work. Thank you.”

What makes this course different?

The success of this course is down to a number of factors including the opportunity for participants to observe real lessons by real teachers. The course is also facilitated by two, highly experienced trainers.   These trainers are also class teachers, and so participants can trust that their suggestions have been tried and tested in the classroom.  The course also engages participants in action research through gap tasks which are set after each session.

Alongside all of this, the course is linked to the effective coaching and mentoring course as part of the Making Every Lesson Count programme. Schools can opt to send teachers on both courses so that those on the coaching course can coach those on the Maths course. (We are very grateful to the Local Authority for subsidising both of these courses.)

For now, we are really excited to see what day 2 brings and to hear how all the participants have got on with their gap tasks!




STSA and IOE team up for an innovative new lesson study project

lesson study

Lesson Study Project – STSA and the IOE

On 12th October a group of six schools came together to begin an exciting research project. The project involved taking the lesson study approach to CPD and educational research (which originated in Japan) and applying this in six different schools.

What is lesson study?

Lesson study is a research and development process led by a research theme. Through repeated cycles of research, planning, teaching, observation and discussion, it focuses on improving teacher ability to anticipate students’ learning approaches, problems and solutions.

What does the research tell us about the likely benefits of lesson study?

  • Increased knowledge of subject matter
  • Increased knowledge of instruction;
  • Increased ability to observe students;
  • Stronger collegial networks;
  • Stronger connection of daily practice to long term goals;
  • Stronger motivation and sense of efficacy;
  • Improved quality of available lesson plans.

Lewis C (1995) Educating hearts and minds

The current STSA project involves a range of types of Southwark schools including a special school and both primary and secondary. So far we have had our initial meeting and will be meeting in late November to receive training and confirm our research themes for the project. At the end of the academic year we will be sharing our findings.

If you would like to know more about our project, or to get involved in lesson study yourself, please email enquiriesstsa@gmail.com

The schools involved in the project are:

Dulwich College Junior School,

Dulwich College

Cherry Garden School

Charles Dickens Primary School

Crampton Primary School

Cathedral Primary School


STSA Schools Direct Students receive excellent phonics training


Full on phonics!

As part of our provision for Schools Direct Students in the Southwark Teaching School Alliance, we offer a supplementary programme of courses. The first of these courses was an introduction to teaching phonics for students.

The course focused on developing students’ phonics subject knowledge and explored a range of activities to support the teaching of phonics throughout Key Stage 1.

Students were also taught how to plan for, and assess, progression through the phonics phases.

This course was led by Ruth Dollner who was Regional Adviser for London on the Communication Language and Literacy Programme which launched ‘Letters and Sounds’.

Feedback from the students:

“I am currently two weeks into my schools direct course and I think this has been an excellent introduction to phonics. I feel much more comfortable surrounding phonics and how / why they’re used.”

“Excellent practical ideas for lessons, clear overview of expectations (progress and assessment).”