Getting Ready for a New School Year

When getting ready for a new school year I have a list of priorities to work through. Knowing my team have all the information and resources they need to teach their students gives me confidence we will start the term in the best possible way. 

Mathematics Teaching and Learning Folder

All teachers receive a folder containing the following:

  • Long term plan that provides an overview of the topics we are teaching this year.
  • Schemes of work that are specific to the teacher’s classes.
  • Class lists that include the base line data, targets and pupil learning profiles.  (Download a class list template)

Exam Results Analysis

Part of the faculty time during the start of term INSET is used to review the recent summer exam results.  I make a PowerPoint presentation for my team to summarise three key areas.

  1. Overview of achievement across the three ability ranges.  This is measured by the percentage of students attaining Grade 4 and above, Grade 5 and above and Grade 7 and above. The trend is compared to the national average, so any improvement or decline is placed in context.
  2. The trend of attainment based on the last three years results by tier of entry and class.  This helps us review our current setting arrangements while considering next year’s tiers of entry.
  3. Topics we have taught well and not as well in comparison to other schools using the same exam board.  This is identified by the residual percentage score provided by the exam board post results service.  Topics we have not taught as well as other schools are discussed in future departmental development meetings as they come up in the schemes of work.

The aim of the presentation is to provide a forum where we can be constructively critical of our performance as a team.  I ask every member of staff to contribute to the discussion while leaving my own thoughts until last.  This helps to create focus the team’s direction this school year. 

Here is a template of the presentation to download and edit.

Open Evening

In most schools open evening normally takes place late September or early October.  Given most teachers are very busy at this time getting to know their new classes it is important to organise open evening as early as possible. I ask teachers to look for opportunities for their students to produce some display work.  The topics are arranged within the long term plan so that each year group has an opportunity to produce display work in the first few weeks.

Teachers who teach Year 7 are asked to nominate students who could help support and showcase the faculty.    For ideas about the types of activities you could run check out this blog on Preparing your mathematics department for open evening.

Getting Ready for a New School Year

Before the students arrive I talk with each member of staff to address any concerns they have. The two most common concerns are learning student’s names and managing instances of poor behaviour.

Learning student’s names

The quickest way to learn the student names is to do a seating plan that you are confortable with. Print it out on A4 and have a copy to hand whenever you address the students. I have written more about this in my blog Setting Up your Maths Classroom.

Another way is to look at where the student is sitting when you call the attendance register at the start of a lesson.

Behaviour Management

Try not to get too worried about this and focus on delivering engaging lessons. I like to use mini-whiteboards for formative assessments throughout the lesson. This way I get to know who can and cannot access the work before they become off task.

When poor behaviour does occur deal with it on a case by case basis at as lower level as possible. Be firm with your expectations and have clear consequences that are consistently applied. Take the time to follow up any consequence you have given the student. This may be time consuming but it will pay off in the long run. I have written more about this in my blog Behaviour Management in a Mathematics Lesson.

About Mr Mathematics

My name is Jonathan Robinson and I passionate about teaching mathematics. I am currently Head of Maths in the South East of England and have been teaching for over 15 years. I am proud to have helped teachers all over the world to continue to engage and inspire their students with my lessons.

Literacy in Mathematics – Creating Problem Solvers

By developing student’s literacy in mathematics we give all students the communication skills they need to become excellent problem solvers. To me, literacy in mathematics means to develop a student’s structured speaking, vocabulary, writing and reading with the intention of helping them to solve mathematical problems.

2 thoughts on “Getting Ready for a New School Year

  1. Deborah Vollborth says:

    Hello, some interesting reading. I like the idea of the % residual to assess poor topics but where exactly can I find this? – I can log on to the site but can’t find it.

    • Hello Deborah

      Thank you for leaving a comment. The residual refers to the performance of students at my school on a particular topic compare that of other students across the exam board. This information is available from the exam board examination analysis tools. I currently use Edexcel but I know AQA have something similar which I have used in the past.
      I hope this helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mr Mathematics Blog

Trigonometric Identities Sin, Cos and Tan

How to introduce the sin, cos and tan trigonometric identities.

Calculating a Reverse Percentage

How to teach calculating the original amount after a percentage change.

Comparing Datasets using the Mean and Range

The importance of the range when comparing comparing datasets.