News from the Market Place- A Level Feedback

A level feedback- not to be ignored!

Due to timetabling, it is often easy to mark an AS/A2 essay and never to refer to it again. The pace at A Level is fast, modules need to be completed in good time and so there aren’t always opportunities for in depth discussion about a piece of home learning. Sophie Minchell introduces a way to feedback to her students, both on a class and a more personal level.

Firstly, the students complete the work e.g. an essay. When marking the home learning, Sophie has a document entitled ‘class feedback’, which is dated and titled subject to the home learning. Using the assessment objectives (AOs) as her guide, Sophie writes out the particular, general strengths of this selection of home learning and of course, the common mistakes made, complete with quotations from the students’ work. At a more personal level, Sophie marks each individual piece of work, annotates it and selects a paragraph that the student can improve.

When students then have time to look at the feedback, included at the beginning of the lesson, or perhaps as the review, they are asked to start a new page, entitled progress task, ensure that they date it and using the Class Feedback Sheet, improve the suggested paragraph mentioned in their personalised feedback.

The students are then provided with a ‘progress sheet’ which is, of course, yellow. They are expected to use the language of the AOs to explain what they have improved on in their paragraph.


  • students get in depth feedback
  • students make similar errors and so once a document is created, it is quite easy to make a copy and keep some of the mistakes from the last round of marking
  • students are able to say that they are aware of the AOs, in their own words
  • more feedback at AS/A2 level, which needs to improve
  • the filing, when chronological, works to show progress


  • to create one of the documents takes time
  • not all students write the date/title- folders can get messy (but this is nothing that a folder sorting session after school can’t fix!)


Another leap back in time to Muse Issue 6, the June 2009 Conference edition! The Editorial from this edition (below) gives a flavour of the articles to be uploaded in the coming weeks. Enjoy! – Ed.

Editorial (Issue 6, Conference June 2009)

Welcome to the new Cramlington Learning Village, and to our 2009 conference on next generation learning. After a rollercoaster of a year in which we admitted years 7 and 8 for the first time and over 1000 new students including the year 9 cohort, we are settling in well to the two tier system and enjoying developing an enquiry led curriculum for the whole school. The new cohorts came in to a superb new building informed by much research, with learning spaces designed by teachers in concert with the architects and many other agencies including the BSF Faraday project, and the Eden Project.

Welcome also to this special conference edition of The Muse, our in-house teaching and learning bulletin. Now in its third year, The Muse was started as a vehicle in which teachers could reflect on their classroom practice and share ideas. It started on a trial basis – would busy people in our profession really want to invest their precious time committing thoughts to paper? Well, with 24 contributors so far, many who are now established authors within these pages, I would say the staff have given the green light to continue. Spending time reflecting, whether in discussion or writing is an invaluable experience for moving forward our own professional learning.

We continue to share ideas with, and get much inspiration from PEEL, the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning and many staff continue to look far and wide to seek out best practise to inform our teaching. Much of our CPD centres on aspects of the Cramlington framework and it is with a focus on effective learner behaviours, and input from PEEL, that the article on page 32 [Coming soon on the blog! -Ed] explores ways in which to develop independence in the classroom.

The Muse has also proved to be an excellent way of cascading to staff information from training courses that have been attended. A superb example is provided here by Karen Blackburn (pg 29) who has distilled the thinking around gifted and talented provision and has opened the debate in school as to whether we should maintain the G&T register at all!

Throughout the course of the day you will no doubt have been introduced to the Cramlington model for teaching and learning. The final article in these pages focuses on one of the key elements that underpin this framework, assessment for learning. This has been produced in association with one of the Gatsby Foundation’s technical education projects TEEP, Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Programme, and provides many ideas and devices that can be employed right away as well as thoughts to promote discussion or perhaps professional learning conversations. Within these pages you will also find a pair of articles in Silent Teaching (pg 20) showing how teachers have piggybacked ideas to enhance lessons, as well as many other great ideas offered by various members of Cramlington’s staff.

As you peruse these pages, bear in mind that there are articles written by, and aimed at, teachers at all stages of their professional careers, from NQTs, to heads of faculty and senior management. So you will find, as do our own staff, that some articles will be more pertinent to your situation than others. And frequently what is read here, as with good ideas anywhere else might simply provide the seed for further inspiration, just as any good muse should do. The articles we have included represent a typical spread from the short life of The Muse which is published termly.

Have a safe trip home.

Fergus Hegarty

Editorial (Issue 7, Conference June 2010)

Welcome to Cramlington Learning Village and to our 2010 Refresh your Thinking conference edition of The Muse, our teaching and learning bulletin. The Muse was started as a vehicle in which teachers could reflect on their classroom practice and share ideas. As well as excellent timetabled opportunities for staff development and training, every Wednesday afternoon and our own annual two day T&L conference for example, staff (teachers and support) can further share ideas, innovation and good practice in this forum. In a large school such as ours this provides everyone with the opportunity to contribute to professional development.

The articles in this special edition have been written by staff across the school; deputy head, one-to-one support staff, ASTs and heads of department, training teachers and NQTs, teachers with many years of experience and there are even a couple of crosscurricular pieces. These last examples highlight the importance of teachers reflecting on and sharing their work – many of the ideas found within these pages, though often subject specific, can provide inspiration for all teachers in school to try something new. And because a successful approach has at its heart good pedagogy, we have attempted to distil the essence of each article so that it can be adapted to many situations.

This year we continue to develop the Cramlington model of teaching and learning. Cramlington Learning Village has, in recent years, achieved consistently outstanding Ofsted reports through use of the teaching & learning model. This issue kicks off with a summary of the model by Mark Lovatt including our touchstones of pedagogy and a split view lesson planning framework. We also have a focus on the Thinking touchstone in this issue, produced in association with TEEP, the Teacher Effectiveness Enhancement Programme.

As ever PEEL, the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning, provides more inspiration for great teaching ideas and Sarah Shepherd reveals her darker side by turning ‘dirty tricks’ with her year 10s! PEEL in Practice is an excellent resource that focuses on developing learner skills and gives teachers hundreds ideas, explanations of why they work and of peer-reviewed commentary (details on access can be found in the article).

Increasingly students need to become independent and, continuing in the PEEL tradition, I have been trying to remove the feeding spoon from my sixth formers by helping them to plan for a modules’ learning, providing them with everything they need to plan for an entire module. They had to decide what, where and when they would learn! This was an attempt to really personalise their experiences and included seminar type inputs.

Other articles in this issue explore many and varied issues including enthusing students in ICT with a Dragons Den challenge, using stop motion animation to visualise abstract concepts, using a scientific approach to teaching music, some powerful ideas for lesson starters (informed by recent research by Geoff Petty and John Hattie), intervention strategies, time reviews and the enquiry cycle, sequential questioning and selfcorrecting worksheets and the largest knitting needles you will ever have seen!

You will see, as you peruse these pages, that articles are written by, and aimed at, teachers and education professionals at all stages of their professional careers, from NQTs, to heads of faculty and senior management. So you will find, as do our own staff, that some articles will be more pertinent to your situation than others. And frequently what is read here, as with good ideas anywhere else, often simply provides the seed for further inspiration, just as any good muse should do!

Have a safe trip home.

Fergus Hegarty

Editorial (Issue 8, January 2011)

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. 

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Welcome to 2011, a new year, a new term and a new Muse. Once again you we have put together a veritable feast of wisdom, extolled and shared through this the 7th edition of our teaching and learning bulletin. With resolutions already well on the wane (my abstemiousness didn’t make it much past the afternoon of the 2nd January), now could be the time to focus on something more attainable! Why not grab a new idea by the horns and unleash it on an unsuspecting class, just to see what happens?

With this in mind there are plenty of ideas within these pages, this time written by 16 members of staff from Cramlington.

Soon we will be meeting with our chosen Professional Enquiry Groups for the first time. As we aim to personalise learning for our students so we have attempted to tailor CPD time to individual interests. With a dozen PEGS to choose from we have given a taster of what’s on offer on pages 15 and 16.

As usual the articles in this edition, though written largely within subject contexts are relevant across phase and curriculum. For example the maths department serves us up a multi-portion feast with ideas we can all benefit from. Ruth Christopher has trialled our 3d projection facility with year 8s to great effect, Andy Sargeson explains how intervention is working in sixth form for maths and David Gray looks at cooperatve learning with a couple for Kagan structures.

There has been some very close collaboration with a young SCITT student and Chris Horner in the PE department! Together they have co-penned a great piece on various roles in the world of professional sport, again with obvious benefits to other subjects.

The traditional parlour game makes a comeback this year. In Proper Scrabble, a far superior and not very related game to the classic Scrabble, students can steal, argue and justify to their hearts content whilst developing essential skills. Proper Scrabble is a great review tool as well as a useful device for developing turn taking, literacy and lateral thinking.

ICT gets a look in too with Graham Quince launching his new Frog Pad page, whilst from the English department Laura Couch and Zoe Bell use examples of social networking and independent enquiry to argue the merits of Edmodo and Real Smart.

And if that wasn’t enough Darren Mead and Jen Hill discuss some great ideas for review learning and Joe Spoor uses visual anchors to focus on learner attributes

Finally, what links Albert Einstein, Mariella Frostrup, Leslie Crowther and a muppet? No? It is of course the Demonstrate New Understanding part of the CLV cycle. Here you will find a discussion of the fifth stage of our learning model and many ideas for activities that might be employed here too.

All the best for the New Year. And a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this edition! If you would like to get involved in the next edition of the Muse there are some tips at the back to get you started. Please feel free to contact me to discuss ideas.

Fergus Hegarty