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An extra hour - for quality first teaching?

20th April 2021

Welcome back from the Easter holidays – I do hope you and your loved ones managed a break of some sorts. It is fair to say the spring term was like no other, and I am sure the summer term holds challenges and opportunities ahead of us. The joy of seeing young people back in face-to-face school settings is still profound. While the uniforms might be a little more grown out of than usual at this time of year, the sight of these crisp morning on sunny spring days with the bright eyes and bushy tailed learners arriving for school is a pleasure like nothing else.

During the Easter break the clocks sprung forward to give us an extra hour of daylight and the clarity over funds for catch-up premium (2020-21), recovery premium (2021-22) and pupil premium (2020-23) all provide us with an opportunity to make a difference to the children who need it most. All those in our profession hold this as our guiding light. Education makes a difference. It should make the greatest difference to those who need this most.

While announcements regarding specific formats to account for these endeavours may chime with a little too much over regulation - our ability to consider new opportunities to support children learn are welcomed, as is the acknowledgement that EEF research is being utilised. The balance between whole school approaches and targeted support is a delicate balance that we need to get right. While I think there is much we could and should do regarding one-to-one tuition, small group work or intervention programmes after school, it is also imperative to not forget that it is quality first teaching that always makes the biggest difference.

Supporting great teaching through high quality assessment and feedback is vital as we support all our children in their learning over the next few months and years. Classroom teaching quality is where we need to continue to focus our efforts. As a trust we will continue to focus on supporting the work of schools in making teaching of the highest quality.

As we use our extra hour, let it be an extra hour of high-quality teaching. This makes the biggest difference to those who need it most. Let us welcome those bright eyes of learning enthusiasm with the same drive and optimism … quality teaching for all.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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