Shireland Collegiate Academy has made remarkable strides in enhancing teaching and learning through its participation in the SSAT’s Embedding Formative Assessment Programme. This transformative initiative, spanning two years, has left both educators and students enthused about its benefits.
The Embedding Formative Assessment Programme, championed by the SSAT (The Schools, Students, and Teachers Network), was introduced at Shireland Collegiate Academy as part of a broader Teaching and Learning focus. The program’s overarching aim was to cultivate an environment where teachers and students alike could concentrate on formative assessment strategies as a means to elevate the quality of learning within the classroom.
At the conclusion of the first year, Shireland Collegiate Academy’s staff and students resoundingly endorsed the positive impact of the programme. Among those who expressed their enthusiasm was Rachel Fitzpatrick, Head of Science, who shared, “I thoroughly enjoy getting the opportunity to work with members of staff from different departments, and the fact that TLCs (Teaching and Learning Communities) are in mixed groups rather than departments is probably one of my favourite things about the sessions as I love to hear how other departments tackle teaching practices like AFL (Assessment for Learning) and feedback.”
Fitzpatrick also highlighted the rejuvenating effect of the programme on teaching practices: “As teachers, we often get overwhelmed by the vast amount of work we have to do, and, as a result, our teaching practices can sometimes become a little stale and repetitive for the students. After our TLC sessions, I find myself excited to adopt the newly discussed techniques within my lessons, and I have found student engagement in my lessons increase as a result.”
Abbey Sheffield, Head of Year 10, echoed these sentiments, stating, “TLCs have given me the opportunity to explore different techniques and strategies used throughout a variety of academic and practical subjects. It is great to have the community to discuss our success and our failures and learn from one another. I have really enjoyed mixing up the strategies with some new ideas which are now successfully embedded into my teaching.”
The students, too, appreciated the Assessment for Learning (AfL) strategies introduced through the programme. Surafel, a Year 10 student, commented, “I think it’s really effective when the class and the teacher build up a good answer on the spot rather than having one prepared earlier – then they can talk through the thinking step by step, and it helps us all, and then we can create a good list of success criteria.”
As a testament to its outstanding progress in the Embedding Formative Assessment Programme, Shireland Collegiate Academy has been invited to be an Ambassador School by the SSAT. This recognition not only underscores the institution’s commitment to educational excellence but also positions it as a beacon for others to emulate.
In the coming months, Shireland Collegiate Academy will further solidify its role as an Ambassador School by hosting training sessions for SSAT mentors in November. Additionally, the academy will open its doors to other educational institutions in January, showcasing its innovative teaching and learning strategies during an Open Day, thereby contributing to the broader mission of enhancing education across the region.
Shireland Collegiate Academy’s dedication to formative assessment and its achievements in the SSAT’s Embedding Formative Assessment Programme reaffirm its status as a trailblazer in education, committed to nurturing young minds and shaping a brighter future.