Harris Academies
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Working at HAMD

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for expressing an interest in joining Harris Academy Morden.

This page will hopefully provide you with some insight as to what it is like to be a teacher at our Academy.

I hope that once you have read this information and taken a look around the website, you are interested in applying for any posts we are advertising or you may wish to submit your CV for potential posts in the future.

Alternatively, if you would like to visit the Academy or have a confidential conversation, please contact the Principal’s PA Mrs Francis m.francis@harrismorden.org.uk .


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Working at Harris Academy Morden

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At Harris Academy Morden, we continuously look at how the Senior Staff can support teachers and support staff to have a better work life balance and at the same time be the most effective teachers for our students.

We all understand that teaching is a wonderful profession; however, it is very demanding!

Over the last 18 months we have explored CPD models, approaches to homework, style and quantity of marking and teacher feedback.

We feel we have developed our processes to provide the best education for students whilst at the same time giving staff time. Time is the most precious commodity to a teacher. Time is what produces the best lessons and the most effective marking dialogue.

What does this mean in practice?

 

A two week October Half term

We have adjusted our school day by 10 minutes. The additional 10 minutes per day will be utilised at Form time. During Form time all student learn to play chess, attend assembly or complete the PSHE activity. The extra 10 minutes taking it from 20 minutes per day to 30 minutes means this can be enhanced further.

Staff and families can therefore have an additional week of holiday that will sit outside of peak times. This will benefit our students, families and staff.
 

CPD

We have moved our Monday evening CPD programme to Monday morning briefing sessions. This way we provide short ‘best practice’ exemplar sessions at the start of each week. Monday evenings are then used for department meetings or staff marking evenings.

Marking Evenings

Each half term we provide two Monday marking evenings. This is dedicated time to sit in the main hall and mark books with your colleagues without being disturbed.

Marking Twilights

Each term we use one INSET Twilight for marking books. This is dedicated time to sit in the main hall and mark books with your colleagues without being disturbed between 2.40pm – 6pm.

Framed Marking

There is nothing worse than spending hours marking page after page for no one to look at this or take any action. At HAMD we use framed marking. Teachers select the piece of work to mark. They frame this using a Pink highlighter and mark it extensively for literacy and subject content. Students are then provided with a ‘What Went Well’ (WWW) comment and an ‘Even Better If’ (EBI) question or action. Students then spend the next lesson re-writing the section and making the necessary changes and improvements to respond to the teachers marking.

Teachers therefore see their marking been acted upon thus the impact of their work.

The volume or marking has significantly decreased but the impact has significantly increased.

Teachers were a little sceptical about this approach at first, however seeing the impact upon their work load and the students’ progress has made this a very well received strategy.

Extract from one of our teachers emails after the change in policy:

I know I and other members of the English department have already mentioned this, but I just wanted to say again what an improvement the new marking policy has made to both my teaching and learning and wellbeing.  

For the first time I am prepared for a book look (other than one set of year 7 books).  As well as that, I have enjoyed my half term and taken genuine time off whilst still managing to mark four sets of books, three sets of coursework and plan and resource two units of work. I have actually enjoyed marking because instead of feeling like I am desperately trying to cut corners in order to meet the marking policy and play catch up, marking has informed my teaching and learning rather than hindering it.  I am able to plan EBI lessons that plug gaps in students' knowledge, clarify misconceptions and build important essay writing skills, as well as continue to revise key content that they will be assessed on for their GCSEs/ end of term/year assessments because marking takes less time and is therefore more timely and relevant.

I genuinely feel in a position to manage my own workload and support the department in a way that I simply didn't when we spoke last term.  Thank you for helping to bring about this change in policy.

Emma Sheppard – Lead Practitioner for English
 

Half Termly Staff Breakfast

At the end of each half term we host a breakfast staff briefing. This is as time for the Principal to address the staff and then spend 10 minutes relaxing with colleagues before the start of the last week of term.

Breakfast is provided for all staff.

Termly Staff Questionnaire

Each term we present the staff with a questionnaire to gather feedback for SLT to consider.

The questionnaire was tabulated and the areas with the most common answer were then discussed in great detail at an SLT meeting. The Principal discussed his thoughts and actions with the staff at the next ‘Breakfast Briefing’.

Below you will see the questions staff put forward and the response from the Principal

1.    Staff would like to see a reduction in duplication of data i.e. transferring data from CMIS into seating plans and department trackers etc.

Response from the Principal – We have purchased Mint Class. This will automatically pull the data from CMIS so you only have to select the child’s name when creating your seating plans.

Staff will be asked to attend a data meeting with the Vice Principal to discuss data entry to see if there is any other area that we have not thought of that could be eradicated without losing valuable data.

2.     One staff room instead of Facility staff rooms

Response from the Principal -  We do not have a large enough space for one staff room; however we are very happy to stop calling them Faculty staff rooms i.e. anyone can go into them. From September 2016 we will create two staff rooms. They will not be faculty driven but location driven i.e. one in each of the main buildings. Staff can then use the nearest one to their department or travel over to the other one if they wish. We have identified two rooms that will accommodate more staff so there will be ample space to work or socialise. We will review how this works over the first term then discuss more with staff via the questionnaire.

3.     Staff Voice

Response from the Principal - 68% of staff indicated they would be prepared to engage more in Staff voice. We will continue to use the questionnaire each term, however SLT would like more staff to attend the Staff Voice meetings or other meetings the Principal calls in relation to policy etc.

4.     Feeling more valued

Response from the Principal – some staff indicated they would like more food before an evening event. At present I provide every member of staff who is attending the event with a free hot meal at lunch time and unlimited biscuits and drinks during the event. If we have the hot meal at the end of the day instead of lunchtime it would mean we have to start the evening event later i.e. Parents evenings could not start at 4pm but probably at 5pm so that we can clean the dining hall and then set it up for parents evening. I therefore propose we continue with the free meal at lunchtime and I provide additional snacks before the event starts and through it i.e. we will include fruit, crisps, finger food and drinks to keep you going!

5.     Longer lunch time

Response from the Principal – some staff raised the point of a longer lunchtime. I do not agree with this as it would mean longer duties and a longer day. Sorry but I believe our day is the best for students and staff.

6.     Return of four faculties

Response from the Principal - Agreed and actioned. As we all know this was a short term action until our student number grew. We are now a very popular school and each Year 7 is full. The forth faculty will return in September 2016 and an additional FCO post has been created and advertised.

7.     Student Runners

Response from the Principal – (I think this one came from my SLT team who have to do it!) Staff indicated student runners would be a good idea. Students are used to work with the main reception to meet, greet and provide message etc. around the Academy. Each child would do this once per year. I agree it is good experience for the student therefore it has been implemented from after February half term.

 

Staff Training Opportunities

Each year we offer training opportunities. We have one training slot for an Associate Assistant Principal. This post enables strong middle leaders to apply for secondment to SLT whilst retaining their current post. A timetable reduction is provided to undertake the training and to take on a whole Academy responsibility to gain Academy wide experience. There are two associate places at any one time; one person in Year 1 of the course and another in their final year.

Staff are also offered opportunities to attend training sessions in things such as timetabling; curriculum, middle leaders programme etc.
 

We hope that the information above demonstrates why we have an extremely high retention rate and a happy staff body - we look forward to welcoming you to our Academy.