Heathfield “Making Waves” in national assessment research.

wavesStaff at Heathfield Community College have been celebrated this week as part of the launch of a nationally recognised project reporting on innovation in education.

Internationally recognised educationalists Pearson have partnered with The Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY) a ‘think and action-tank’ to release the “Making Waves” study in which Heathfield staff are profiled.

By the project’s own description, the motivation and focus of the study was assessment linked to teacher workload: “Workload in schools has spiralled out of control and this is pushing teachers out of the profession at an unprecedented rate. Teachers do not feel confident about their assessment expertise and this can stand in the way of them exercising their professional autonomy”.

However, the project was designed to find pockets of innovation springing up in response to these two challenges. The research found professionals were developing new approaches that could give rise to a better future for assessment. As a result, as at Heathfield, they found practices that improve student outcomes and retain motivated teachers.

The practice at Heathfield profiled by the study was the now well-established framework of “Innovation Teams”; groups of cross-curricular staff of different ages and experience who come together to work autonomously to solve a problem. Supported but not confined by school leadership they are free to explore solutions and pilot research informed strategies.

Over the last year or so, one of these groups has been working on Assessment, improving staff confidence and understanding about what makes effective assessment and how to use it to improve student understanding and outcomes. The findings have been interesting to share with success both in the pre-determined outcomes but also in the learning through and around the exploration itself.

Members of the team led by Mr Flower include Miss Gillespie, Mr Causton, Mr Enser, Miss Smith and Mr Hatchard.

The outcomes can be read in more detail here: https://www.pearson.com/uk/about-us/news-and-policy/reports-and-campaigns/making-waves.html It is also particularly pleasing that the photography in the report was provided from work by Heathfield students.

The study continues this year as more staff continue to receive the training and guidance gleaned from the learning acquired. As always it is the students who benefit most as the use of assessment to understanding and shape learning becomes ever more effective.

Heathfield has a well-established reputation as leading in implementing and learning from educational research. Last year our Science department and recently History and Geography all had research projects published nationally. Apart from making this a vibrant and interesting place to work this also means our students benefit from teachers who are at the cutting edge of their profession, always willing to learn and be part of developing practice.