Challenge weeks encourage all staff to set exciting and interesting challenges to students. It links with the outstanding criteria and it links with PLTS. The aim is that much of the criteria for outstanding is covered in a series of challenges that are linked to the school calendar and to QA observations and book audits.
Challenge weeks are fun and both staff and students look forward to participating in them. They encourage independence and develop research skills.
Challenge weeks at Archbishop Sentamu Academy came about in response to the new Ofsted framework. As you will see from the Ofsted Criteria below for outstanding you can see there are four clear areas.
Challenge, independence, engagement and feedback.
These four areas form the basis of our challenge weeks.
Ofsted Criteria: Quality Of Teaching in School
Much of the teaching in all key stages and most subjects is outstanding and never less than consistently good. As a result, almost all pupils are making rapid and sustained progress. All teachers have consistently high expectations of all pupils. Drawing on excellent subject knowledge, teachers plan astutely and set challenging tasks based on systematic, accurate assessment of pupils’ prior skills, knowledge and understanding. They use well judged and often imaginative teaching strategies that, together with sharply focused and timely support and intervention, match individual needs accurately. Consequently, pupils learn exceptionally well across the curriculum. The teaching of reading, writing, communication and mathematics is highly effective. Teachers and other adults generate high levels of enthusiasm for, participation in and commitment to learning. Teaching promotes pupils’ high levels of resilience, confidence and independence when they tackle challenging activities.
Teachers systematically and effectively check pupils’ understanding throughout the lessons, anticipating where they may need to intervene and doing so with notable impact on the quality of learning. Time is used very well and every opportunity is taken to successfully develop crucial skills, including being able to use their literacy and numeracy skills in other subjects.
Appropriate and regular homework contributes very well to pupils’ learning.
Marking and constructive feedback from teachers and pupils are frequent and of a consistently high quality, leading to high levels of engagement and interest.
An outstanding series of lessons could look like this.
All students know the level of their learning and can clearly identify habits they need to make further progress. Students can plan their own tasks with little guidance from the teacher. Reflection is built into the process by the students themselves.
Assessment is always accurate and based on prior accurate data, self assessment and peer review. Students demonstrate an openness to feedback.
What are challenge weeks? Challenge weeks encourage all staff to set exciting and interesting challenges to students. It links with the outstanding criteria and it links with PLTS.The aim is that much of the criteria for outstanding is covered in a series of challenges that are linked to the school calendar and to QA observations and book audits. Challenges can be linked with CPD where staff create outstanding AFL resources to use in their challenge week lessons.
Suggested Challenge Weeks. Challenge weeks should be fun and both staff and students look forward to participating in them. Staff where possible should set challenges that enable our students to learn to be independent, to encourage research and thinking skills and to actively engage with their learning.
1. ‘Pupils are making rapid and sustained progress’
Faculties identify long term outcomes and demonstrate how these are presented in the work of the student, for example APP in English and D&T model at KS3. Challenge week – Students take over the delivery of plenaries. Staff can arrange to observe other classes plenaries and looking at independence, challenge, engagement and feedback as all are covered.
2.‘The teaching of reading, writing communication and mathematics is highly effective’Share basic skills audit with staff. Challenge week focuses on both Key Stages and is done as a return to basic skills with a series of literacy and numeracy challenges. Focus on Literacy – word challenges and language skills. This week focuses primarily on reading as extended writing has been focused in lessons. Students are set a series of reading challenges in lessons which ensure they read independently and respond to texts. Feedback/Independent learning/Engagement and Challenge are focused upon in this challenge week.
3. ‘Teachers and other adults generate high levels of enthusiasm for participation and commitment to learning.’
Links are made to enterprise and possibly set up an Academy charity week, or link with other key events in a school diary – National Science week,World Book Day and national and in house competitions.
They use well judged and imaginative teaching strategies. -Mystery week,these can be departmental mysteries or individual teachers. Examples : Geography mystery -which country is the murderer hiding in? developing independent research skills. Science link with forensic week. Maths mysteries where learners discover clues about speed/distance in order to identify who could have been at the murder scene.
4. ‘Teachers promotes pupils’ high levels of resilience, confidence and independence when they tackle challenging activities’
Challenge week – Thinking skills. Celebrate ‘Getting Stuck’ making mistakes and learning from them. Looking at practice makes perfect, how can I do this? How did it happen and C3B4ME. This week celebrates an opportunity for challenge and independent learning. Students should be encouraged to plan their own learning, set own objectives or plan the lesson they are to participate in.
5‘Teachers systematically and effectively check pupils’ understanding throughout the lesson’. Challenge week – AFL week students work with leveled placemats and level ladders. Self and peer assessments are used across the curriculum, set against a learning criteria. AFL is the main focus this week.
6. ‘Opportunity is taken to successfully develop crucial skills, including being able to use their literacy and numeracy skills in other subjects.
Maths week- as embedding numeracy across the curriculum is a difficult conundrum, students are set numeracy challenges that relate to each subject. Examples of these are time travel in history – calculating dates; measure and make week in D&T. Maths team games all creating challenge and developing skills needed across the curriculum.
This is a new and exciting initiative and will be reviewed over the next year.