Welcome to the Jo Richardson Community School website. JRCS, which opened in 2002, was the first new secondary school to be established in Barking and Dagenham for over 40 years.
Our motto “Success for All” underpins everything that we do at the school and puts the students’ achievements at the centre of our vision. We have a commitment to the highest academic standards combined with a wide range of curricular and extra-curricular activities aimed at enhancing the opportunities offered to all our students.
We pride ourselves on being a welcoming school which puts staff development at the heart of what we do. At the core of staff development is a focus on improving our teaching and learning. New members of staff will be invited to spend time at JRCS to learn about the school and how we strive to achieve ‘Success for All’. They will also be invited to our annual team building weekend at the Trewern Centre in the beautiful countryside near Hay-on-Wye. Below, explore how our current staff are ensuring that teaching and learning remains our top priority.
Underpinning all our work at JRCS is a relentless commitment to improving the quality of teaching and learning. We expect students at JRCS to commit to lifelong learning, to be reflective and to approach challenge with a growth mindset. We know that, to achieve this, we must also demonstrate these qualities as staff. Below is an introduction to how we strive for ever improving teaching and learning at JRCS.
Major developments have taken place at JRCS over the past three years in terms of teaching and learning. We are proud that we make decisions and policy based on research and evidence. We are willing to innovate and try new ideas. Below are some of the key aspects of teaching and learning at JRCS, with links to the appropriate pages.
RAISING THE PROFILE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING
A common feature of schools with outstanding teaching and learning is that that it is high profile. At JRCS we have achieved this through our CPD programme but also by running the popular JRCS Teaching and Learning Group, through our in-house teaching and learning magazine “Learning to Fly” and by encouraging an ongoing dialogue around teaching and learning at departmental meetings.
INNOVATION: BUILDING A GROWTH MINDSET, LIFE AFTER LEVELS AND “GIFTED” AND “TALENTED”
JRCS has long subscribed to the work of Carol Dweck (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Dweck) on developing a growth mindset. Initially the school encouraged staff to use language that praised effort rather than achievement – to emphasise the importance of failure and resilience. However, once the school realised the power of developing a growth mindset, we imbedded it into all our work. We have run countless assemblies and tutor time programmes articulating the idea. Display boards promote growth mindset around the school. We re-wrote our reporting criteria so that students are judged against a mindset framework. Then, we took the unusual step of asking staff at KS3 to no longer record grades or levels in students’ books, and to move to a purely formative form of assessment. This is because evidence suggests that when we receive grades, we focus on only whether we have done ‘well’ or not; when we receive feedback, we act on it and get better. We were delighted at JRCS that, soon after making our decision, the government announced that they no longer expected students to be judged against National Curriculum levels – a decision in line with our thinking.
Similarly, we do not label students as ‘gifted’ and ‘talented’ at JRCS. We believe that all students are capable of achieving excellence through hard work, commitment and resilience. We will resource and support students in any field they are committed to (we offer free instrumental lessons to all students and have financially supported our students competing in international sports tournaments abroad) but we want all students to know they can be world beaters, not just those who are labelled as having a ‘gift’ or a ‘talent’. Students who enter JRCS with above average academic performance from primary school are not ignored; we have three staff members dedicated to tracking their progress and offering them an enriched curriculum. We tell them in year 7 that they should be leaving this school with nothing less than the highest GCSE grades and should be aiming for only the best universities in the world and we do not lower those expectations over the seven years they will study with us.
HOW DO WE TEACH AT JRCS?
We don’t prescribe a particular style of teaching at JRCS but we do have some underlying principles that should be adhered to. You can get a sense of this by reading our teaching and learning policy, which is available on our policy page:
How do we mark work?
Apart from end of unit assessments and mock exams, large pieces of work will be task marked. You can read about task marking in the teaching and learning policy. Getting task marking right is not easy so we offer training and coaching to new staff to develop their task marking.
The vast majority of CPD at JRCS is focused on improving the quality of our teaching and learning, in line with whole school and departmental development priorities. CPD at JRCS comes in many forms: our programme of twilight CPD sessions, high quality external courses and the ongoing financial support we offer to staff who want to continue to study towards an MA in education.
Over the past two years our CPD programme has included:
At JRCS we are committed to support Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) in their continuing professional development (CPD). There are dozens of former NQTs still working at JRCS and we are proud that over 40% of the school’s middle leaders are former JRCS NQTs.
SUPPORT FOR NQTS
It is important that Newly Qualified Teachers are fully supported during their first year of teaching. The School provides an induction programme for all NQTs in conjunction with Heads of Department and the Senior Leadership Team.
This is organised by the Assistant Headteacher/Induction Coordinator who devises a programme of induction. This begins in the Summer Term when the NQT induction fortnight is held. We try to ensure that all NQTs receive an intensive programme, including meeting key staff and receiving information important for the start of term such as registration duties, etc. However, the majority of this time is spent within the structure of the individual departments. The Assistant Headteacher/Induction Coordinator will organise the termly reporting of the NQTs’ progress to the Approving Body. The Assistant Headteacher/Induction coordinator will also process the final report assessing the completion of the induction period.
Jo Richardson is a good school with outstanding leadership. In partnership with other local schools we offer you a fantastic school based opportunity to train in a supportive and aspirational environment. Our staff are excellent practitioners with outstanding behaviour management skills and eager to support and train the next generation of teachers.
The Partnership Learning Teaching School Alliance comprises a network of schools which serve the East London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham and Havering. Led by Sydney Russell, an Outstanding secondary school, Warren Junior, an Outstanding primary school and in partnership with leading London universities, the Partnership Learning Teaching School Alliance offers you a fantastic school based opportunity to train in a supportive and aspirational environment.
Our alliance includes Primary, Secondary 11-18 and a Special School. They are conveniently located and you will have the unique opportunity to experience more than one school, age range and sector. We have successfully worked with trainee teachers for many years and offer you outstanding practical teacher training leading to QTS with the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). This is truly an exceptional opportunity.
Our Higher Education partners, Goldsmiths, Institute of Education, Kings College London and University of East London, are renowned as leaders in the field of teacher training. We have worked hard to build strong links with our university partners so that, together, we can ensure our trainees are supported and successful throughout the course.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A SCHOOL CENTRED COURSE?
You will be joining an Outstanding school and its partners and from the outset you will be working with staff who have a proven record of training and professional development. Life in schools is busy and you will be given the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the teacher’s role. You will develop the rigour, professional knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to become a skilful, innovative and reflective teacher. We will provide practical training underpinned by theoretical research.
ABOUT THIS COURSE
Core Philosophy of the Programme
Our core philosophy is to train the next generation of teachers to inspire, motivate and challenge our students. We will work with you to build a solid foundation from which you can embark upon a rewarding career. We work to create an environment in which teachers and students thrive and feel valued and supported. Parents, teachers and children need excellent teachers in schools and our purpose is to provide them!
The Teaching Experience
Our trainees will engage with a range of schools of varying contexts to develop their practice. There will be a wealth of opportunities available. You will engage in focused observations, professional study, subject workshops and importantly, time will be made available for reflection and planning. You will also work closely with your Subject Mentor, an Outstanding practitioner, to develop pedagogy and subject knowledge.
The Lesson Model
Our trainees join us from day one of the academic year and from the very beginning are treated as part of a team and attend staff meetings and training days. Our staff are our most valuable asset and we work hard to create an environment in which they feel supported and valued.
You will spend most of your time in schools, working alongside your Subject Mentor and other appropriate staff. During the autumn and summer term you will be based at one of the schools in our partnership but during the spring term you will complete a placement in another of our partner schools. Through a process of joint preparation, observation and reflection you will develop your subject knowledge and pedagogy across KS3 and KS4 with exposure to KS5.
The programme will be enhanced by study modules pursued at University.
Feedback from a School Direct students,
“One of the main advantages of Schools Direct was that I made part of the school from day one in September. The maths department has made me feel very welcome, which has allowed me to settle in comfortably and focus on my teaching practice. Additionally the professional studies the partnership provides every week, has definitely helped to make me aware and boost my wider pedagogy!”
“I feel I have grown hugely as a teacher and learner during my time training. JRCS and the partnership have been constant in their support of me as an individual and the training programme as a whole.”
Professional Study Lessons
To consolidate and deepen the classroom experience our trainees regularly receive a formal school based training programme delivered by experts in each field, from across the schools within our Partnership. The training sessions take into consideration and build upon prior experiences and learning.
How to Apply
Please contact us to find out further details. You can also visit the Partnership London SCITT website where you can find out more about applying through UCAS.
Teaching and Learning is at the heart of what we do at JRCS and we want to share the innovative and exciting work our staff do with colleagues, students, parents and visitors to JRCS. To do this we launched ‘Learning to Fly’, our in house teaching and learning magazine, in March 2015.
Researching best practice in teaching and learning we saw that the most successful schools use in-house publications to promote and share best practice. As we strive to become a school recognised for the innovative and rigorous approach we take to teaching and learning our staff jumped at the chance to become involved in our own teaching and learning magazine, “Learning to Fly”.
Our first issue included articles on our hugely successful teaching squares programme, which saw over 70% of teaching staff volunteer to give up their own free time to watch each other teach, it also featured whole school literacy and the new “Progress 8” performance measure. Issue 2 featured feedback from our school-wide Student Voice on teaching and learning as well as an introduction from Sid in Year 8, who leads our Teaching and Learning Student Action Team! Both issues include articles, ‘from the Teaching and Learning Group’.
One of the barriers to improving the quality of teaching and learning is a lack of time to share good practice, develop ideas and reflect on our teaching. One of the ways we have overcome this at JRCS is through our very successful JRCS Teaching and Learning Group. We meet every half term and typically spend half the session sharing good practice and the other half looking at an area of whole school development around teaching and learning. Recently T&L Group members led very successful whole school CPD workshops. All staff are welcome – come along!
IMPACT OF THE T&L GROUP
Group members led workshops over two whole school CPD twilight sessions. Workshops included planning differentiated SOW, questioning, blogs and task-marking. The first workshop introduced the principles and the second was a follow and assess impact. A survey we carried out following the sessions showed that 95% of staff sad they learned something new in the sessions and that they had found it useful.
Out of the T&L Group came the JRCS ‘Teaching Squares’ programme, which ran twice in the academic year 2014-15. 80% of teaching staff volunteered to join in the programme, which ran over a half term. Over the two rounds of teaching squares colleagues was over 500 hours of teaching, in the spirit of developmental and sharing good practice. Feedback was enormously positive and we hope to run the programme again soon.
Sharing Good Practice
Since its inception there have been lots of examples of colleagues sharing new resources or ideas with the T&L Group and then other colleagues taking them back to their departments and using them. These include: literacy mats; ‘Plickers’ (a real time formative assessment tool); blogs; challenge boards.
Lots of the feedback we get from staff who attend the T&L Group is that it’s great to gather with colleagues from around the school and spend time talking about improving our teaching practice in a relaxing environment. It’s something we too rarely get the chance to do day to day in school!