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Are all schools AF mad?

Discussion in 'English' started by jrdude, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. I'm 2 terms into induction, which is due to end at Easter as it's maternity cover. My school is great and I have lots of space to teach how I like. It is a small 600 on role rural (ish) scenario. I have been for a couple of interviews as I hope to complete at least my induction but the more urban schools in my area are so assessment driven and mechanical AF this and that, it appears to take the fun and creativity out of teaching.
    Perhaps this is the way schools are going, especially in the more deprived areas, and if that is the case maybe it's time for yet another early career change. I don't see the point in subscribing to a method of teaching that I find uncomfortable.
    My main question is really, are schools across the board heading this way or are there still some creative/relaxed school environments rather than 'exam factories' ?
  2. Joannanna

    Joannanna New commenter

    My school isn't AFdriven at all, for better or worse. We get very good results at GCSE but I do think we could be doing more. I think it is possible to be creative and teach with AFs in mind - just think of the task first and then slot the AFs in afterwards. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive at all.
  3. I think all schools are using AFs a lot more (and by that, I mean making the pupils aware of what they are) becuase we assess using APP now. I don't understand how you can assess a piece of work without using AFs.
    We give the pupils the reading and writing AFs in 'pupil speak' so they are aware of what skills they have achieved on their assessed work.
  4. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    We don't use the AFs in my school. We use the APP grids when levelling but that's it really - but only as a guide to teachers, rather than highlighting grids (i.e. one grid per pupil, several hundred highlighters etc.). APP is not compulsory so some schools don't use it, or have interpreted it as they see fit. I don't use the titles of the AFs but they are just enshrining what most English depts do at KS3 anyway. The only useful thing we use the AFs for is in structuring the curriculum across KS3. However, our dept. is in no way AF driven and I've never had an AF-related discussion with any of my colleagues (or pupils) in the sense of using APP terminology or, in fact, the abbreviation AF! Results are very good in our dept. and we were given an outstanding by Oftsed last year. You will find a school that doesn't worship the AF mantra BUT I would be very cautious about what you say when sounding out schools on their approach - perhaps be very subtle about it? AFs and exam factories don't necessarily go together so be careful to distinguish between the two. As to avoiding the constant pressure for results in English GCSE? Well, I don't think you will find a (state) school where this doesn't happen...but I am happy to be corrected. Perhaps you could try a Steiner school or find an educational outlet which is more to your taste?

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