The Wavell School in Hampshire was visited by Ofsted on the 9th and 10th November 2021. They saw English on the first day and you can read the full report here.
Megan Hill is English KS3 Co-ordinator and Pastoral Assistant at Wavell School. She started teaching Let’s Think in English in 2015, is a regular attendee at the LTE Network meetings and is a member of the LTE Steering Group.
In the following blog post she reflects upon Ofsted feedback on Let’s Think in English, how LTE has supported students through post-Covid challenges and how student and teacher confidence were developed and sustained in the programme.
‘Let’s Think sessions help to develop pupils’ confidence to question, debate and reflect on the world around them’. (The Wavell Ofsted Report November 2021).
I can honestly say that this little gem was in the main, the result of our Ofsted Inspector’s discussions with students. I had talked about Let’s Think in my interview with her, amongst other areas such as curriculum intent and implementation, encouraging reading for pleasure and our Covid recovery programme, but she did not observe any Let’s Think lessons. She was very interested in our observation that our classes have not been afflicted with a common post-covid ailment – refusal to speak or participate in discussion in the classroom, and that we credit the students’ familiarity with Let’s Think and discussion-based learning as a reason for this. She was also interested in the wide range of texts used in Let’s Think and how these benefit students’ reading skills and their confidence with approaching unseen texts.
Students and the teachers that she spoke to must have confirmed what I told her as she saw fit to include this in her summing up. I credit their confidence and enthusiasm for Let’s Think as the result of the following factors:
• Metacognition of the ‘rules’ and ‘benefits’ of Let’s Think lessons as on-going each year i.e. what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how it will benefit the students themselves.
• Students like Let’s Think as they know the lesson is discussion based (they also like arguing and airing their opinions!).
• We run refresher training for staff and new staff every year, as well as monitoring the teaching of Let’s Think lessons across key stage 3 – this ensures equality of opportunity for all students (one Let’s Think lesson a fortnight) in terms of their Let’s Think lesson experience.
• We attend Let’s Think network events so we are up to speed with new lessons and pedagogy, which we disseminate across the Faculty via training sessions.
• We measure the impact of LTE through Student Questionnaires each year.
• SLT are very supportive of our LTE programme, and at their request we have also run a Let’s Think training session for staff during CPD sessions to allow staff to experience an LTE lesson for themselves and for us to explain the pedagogy and the pillars of LTE. This may have enabled staff to begin to use the open questioning style in other curriculum areas, so the style of Let’s Think teaching is familiar in areas across the school as well as being exemplified and led in English.