HOD wish list.

If I was to run a department (which I hope to one day)…

  1. Excellent behaviour. The students should know where they stand when they come to Maths. They are here to learn. Learn lots.
  2. No need for show-y lessons. I don’t mind boring. We are there to teach, not entertain (this does not however mean teachers should not put personality into the classroom, just no need for a sing and dance each lesson. Students like routine.)
  3. Department meetings to be only subject based. Discuss ways of teaching topics coming up in the curriculum. No admin to be discussed in these meetings – that can be done over an email.
  4. Ensure staff have enough CPD – department book club? Regular podcasts? Blogs? Research journals/articles? Attend conferences together?
  5. No exercise book marking or no homework marking – only a check every term to ensure work is generally ‘neat’. Homework is not a reliable way of knowing what the students know. Weekly quizzing can be more reliable.
  6. Not to be over reliant on technology – a simple whiteboard does a grand job.
  7. Mini whiteboards to be used by all teachers and all students.
  8. Booklets could be a way of delivering lessons. 1-2 pages per lesson, heavy use of mini-whiteboards.
  9. Evidence of planning can be notes in student booklets. No need for teachers to write pages on pages or create endless slides on power point.
  10. Open-door policy for all staff in department – a culture of constant feedback and coaching.
  11. No requesting to staff about creating documents just for the sake of it.
  12. No marking of homework – the understanding to be assessed in a weekly quiz. Students set homework twice a week minimum in which one day will be to revise for the quiz.
  13. No need to record data (test scores) that is not useful – this should all be formative – delivered feedback to whole class – when you see the student quizzes, this shows “progress”.
  14. No need to record effort for book/effort for homework/ blah blah on a dept spreadsheet – only to input into termly/ end of year school data drops or what has value and will affect student outcomes.
  15. No need to whizz through curriculum. Year 7s do not need to know how to factorise quadratics. Let them build and master key skills that will get them there slowly.
  16. Use every minute of the lesson to teach.
  17. Limited group work – how much are students really learning in groups? Not much is the answer in my experience.
  18. 3 part lesson structure not required each lesson. Sometimes we just need to pick off where we left off yesterday.
  19. ‘Intervene’ from year 7. Close the gaps as soon as we can. The children that have been let down til now rely on us to get them up to speed. If this is done then no need to fight fires in year 11, especially with basic numeracy.
  20. Never to ask my teachers if the students made progress in 20 mins/hour.


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