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Michaela Community School, Wembley
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Latest News

Edu Dyertribe – Our Mistakes in Science

10 May 2017, Posted by admin in Latest News

OUR MISTAKES IN SCIENCE

As is the case in every school, the Michaela Science department has made its fair share of mistakes. After a few years of experimentation, trial and error, we have learned many lessons about what to do – and what not to do – in the science laboratory. Like all teachers, we want to provide our pupils with the best possible experience, and enable them to learn as much about the subject as possible. We also want to instil a lifelong love of science, and support lots of our pupils to use science in their future careers.

Fundamentally, our belief is that the best way to support pupils’ curiosity in science is through knowledge. By giving them the building blocks of scientific knowledge, and by supporting them to remember it throughout their time in school not only ensures they will have secure understanding of the world around them, but will provide them with the foundation for greater creativity in science.

But whilst our fundamental philosophy hasn’t changed over the last three years, we have of course reshaped and adjusted where necessary.

Booklet Annotation

Rather than using traditional textbooks or piecemeal worksheets as we did early on, we print each pupil a copy of our co-planned department textbook. Textbooks contain recap questions, explanations, diagrams and questions, and pupils can annotate examples with any further clarification given to them by the teacher.

Standard Lesson Format

In the first year, with only one year group, I was the only science teacher in the school. This had lots of benefits: I was able to spend my time focusing on the pupils and getting the curriculum ready for future year groups. In terms of lessons, I relished the flexibility. I was able to spend longer on certain topics, often blending from one lesson into the next. But as new staff joined the department, I realised that wasn’t helping them. To support them better, I had to decide on what to cover in each lesson, and make that clear to them in the textbooks.

Regular Exam Practice

It doesn’t matter how well taught pupils are in the fundamentals; if they don’t practice exam technique frequently enough, they will struggle in assessments. I have dedicated more time to this over the years, and now all of our pupils answer a 25 mark exam paper every week.

Practicals

Untangling practical skills from ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’ skills took a while. Now, before every practice, pupils are explicitly taught practical skills such as identifying variables, plotting graphs, choosing graph scales, completing risk assessments, writing conclusions and evaluations.

Drilling

We’ve switched from verbal to written drills over the last year, and I wouldn’t go back. This has really helped to increase the amount of practice each pupil gets, and gives me clear, instant feedback that I can focus on immediately as well as in subsequent lessons.

Quizzes

In the first year, we spent hours each week planning multiple choice quizzes. At one point, I was even differentiating these for each class, which was extremely time consuming, and didn’t seem to have much impact on learning. Now, we simply test content taught that week in a simple format. The quizzes increase in complexity each week, meaning that there is enough stretch built into the unit for the most able pupils.

We haven’t perfected it yet, but learning from our mistakes has helped to department to grow, supporting pupils and staff to achieve their very best.

Keen to learn more about Michaela? Read our book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers, available here.

If you’re keen to learn more about how we resource our lessons, why not join us for a Summer Project this year? More information here.

Come Lunch With Us!

26 Mar 2015, Posted by admin in Latest News

Come Lunch With Us!

Family lunch at Michaela is one of the ways we ensure pupils really bond with one another. It’s all about instilling good manners, helping one another and taking on responsibility. It’s a time when every single pupil has a role. Each pupil either lays the table, or serves food, or clears away at the end. It really is something to behold. The pupils really work together as a team. It’s quite heart-warming.

Here are some comments, very typical in fact, made by a mother who recently visited us for family lunch:

“Your charming pupils could not have been more polite, helpful and informative. Their enthusiasm, knowledge and pride was immense.”

“I have never, ever, been in a school where, without exception, every single pupil behaves in such a courteous and confident manner. They truly are a credit to the school and their families.”

Again, I would urge all parents to take the opportunity to visit the school, to observe lessons, to stay for family lunch and to see for yourselves how much pupils enjoy both lessons and lunch and how much they learn every single day at Michaela. I guarantee you’ll be immensely proud of your sons and daughters and their enormous maturity.

I recently read a rather worrying report on the BBC, where, according to research, more than half of children in the UK don’t eat a single portion of vegetables a day.

As you doubtless know, the government recommends that everyone should have at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. But the BBC survey showed that 52 in every 100 kids don’t have any veg, and 44 in 100 don’t have any fruit, on a daily basis.

What we eat is a big issue at the moment because one in three children in the UK is obese or overweight. That figure has trebled in the last 25 years.

So once again I’d urge parents to come to lunch, to eat with the kids, to witness their manners and maturity and see how much they enjoy their time at Michaela. Please find below our daily menus for the half term ahead.

Remember too that we are always ready to discuss your child’s academic progress over the phone, or in person, at a mutually convenient time. Just contact info@mcsbrent.co.uk and we can arrange a time and date.

Half of kids don’t eat veg each day

25 Mar 2015, Posted by admin in Latest News

More than half of kids don’t eat a single portion of vegetables a day, according to Newsround’s food survey.

The government recommends that everyone should have at least five portions of fruit and veg a day.

But the survey shows 52 in every 100 kids don’t have any veg, and 44 in 100 have no fruit on a daily basis.

What we’re eating is a big issue at the moment because one in three kids in the UK is obese or overweight.

That figure has trebled in the last 25 years. Read more about it by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Michaela’s First Newspaper

04 Feb 2015, Posted by admin in Latest News

Michaela Matters – Our first school newspaper is out!

Our pupils have worked extremely hard to publish our newspaper ‘Michaela Matters’. Have a look and find out what we have been doing during our first term. Our aim is to give the children at Michaela a voice and at the same time provide exciting articles of interest to everyone! There’s plenty for everyone to enjoy – download our free newspaper here.​

Visit us any time

21 Oct 2014, Posted by Becci Roach in Latest News

Missed our Open Events?

Visit us any time and discover why you should make Michaela your first choice for 2015!

Call us on 020 8795 3183 

 

High challenge, appropriate support and precision teaching

14 Jul 2014, Posted by website administrator in Latest News

Click on the image to read the article.

Michaela is staffed by highly motivated teachers, true experts in their field, passionate about their subjects and 100% committed to really challenging every single pupil. Too often labels limit pupils, give them an excuse to give up when the going gets tough. Not at Michaela. High challenge, appropriate support and precision teaching ensure that pupils are pushed not pandered to. In the words of Sir Michael Wilshaw, Head of Ofsted, ‘we give them love but it’s tough love.’ Ask yourself this, if a child can complete a task easily whilst half concentrating and absent-mindedly chatting to a friend, was the task worth doing at all? At Michaela pupils learn the power of focus, concentration and sustained effort every lesson. They learn that persevering and eventually succeeding feels amazing and is the foundation for all of life’s successes.

Click on this image to read the article.

This is yet another example of how online bullying can seriously impact upon our children. At Michaela we’re not anti-technology, but we are very much pro sitting around a table, talking at length to our children, teaching them the right values and protecting them from harmful outside influences.

So, as ever, our message remains: let’s talk more, read more, discuss current affairs more, let’s help our children develop empowering habits, let’s actively teach them to manage their time and avoid procrastination.

Michaela pupils have long school days. They work hard every day and in every lesson. When they come home from school they’ll be brimming with all of the knowledge they’ve encountered across the curriculum. That’s why we urge every parent to talk at length with their children about what they’re learning, how they’re feeling and, maybe, where they could do with some extra support and help from you, their family.

And please, never accept just a shrug or a one word answer. We’ll never accept that in lessons and we need families to support our high standards by insisting upon courtesy at all times, full sentence responses and correct grammar.

Remember, we are preparing your children to compete with the very best of their generation. We need you to model the courtesy, the full articulate responses and the attention to detail that we will be modeling every single day in school.

A zero tolerance approach to bullying

03 Jul 2014, Posted by website administrator in Latest News

Cyber-bullying: Horror in the home

Every parent needs to read this very harrowing article. Every family needs to sit down and seriously discuss the issues of cyber-bullying with their children. You can’t ignore the potential of cyber-bullying. Cyber-bulling comes into your home – but only if you invite it.

At Michaela we have a zero tolerance approach to bullying, whether it be physical, verbal or on-line. We teach pupils to work hard and be kind. That’s what being at Michaela is all about. But we, as teachers, can only do so much. We need every single parent to be vigilant, we need every single parent to take their responsibility, in terms of preventing cyber-bullying, very seriously indeed.

Social networking can be addictive, massively time-consuming and, quite frankly, vicious. That’s why we insist that every single Michaela parent monitors their child’s use of the Internet very closely. No Michaela pupil should ever have more than two hours per day of screen time, be that TV, Internet, games consoles, texting or any form of social networking. It’s simply too easy to send a message or a photo in the heat of the moment that one might later regret.

By far the easiest way to keep your child safe, happy and free from bullying, is to restrict and monitor their screen time and to simply ban them from social networking sites. Rather than fritter time away on social networking, or playing computer games, encourage your child to take up a sport or other character-building pastime. And remember too our message at Michaela – ‘the more we read, the more we know.’

Through firm but fair discipline and a 100% ban on mobile phones we will keep your child safe at school but, to keep your child safe when s/he is not at school, every single parent must monitor their child’s Internet usage and texting. As the adults in their lives we need to protect them through clear parameters consistently applied – there is no other way. One day they’ll thank you for it.

Our advice is:

  • No child should have access to a Facebook account
  • Families must discuss, be vigilant, and if necessary, ban their children from using, social network sites.
  • Let’s encourage our children to have healthy hobbies, to read, to sit with us around the dinner table in discussion and to watch the news with us –  together as a family.
  • Let’s not allow our children to become isolated, obsessed by social networking, texting, computer games – activities that isolate and break the family connection.

Click here to view a short video that demonstrates what cyber-bullying is, and how you can deal with it.

As teachers, we’ll do our bit, but pupils, parents, teachers, we must work as a team.