Fill/Mind The Gap

You may be aware that my relentless drive/focus and passion is about ensuring ALL students succeed in their education. You will (I hope), have noticed that I have written a lot about Pupil Premium/SEND students here on my blog; For example…

We all know one of the main factors that affects attainment for students is their attendance. If they are not in school, they can not learn.

We ALL ask them to catch up, to make sure they have caught up, (just like we promise colleagues if we remove a student from their lesson that we will ensure they catch up on missed work!? Yeah right?) SO… usually it is no more than that, no more than saying/uttering/repeating those words. It is is near enough impossible to provide the lesson again for the student so, what can we do?

This short post is about some ideas I have shared with my colleagues and some things I have been doing in my classes for a while now. So… give these a go, if students miss your lesson try one/all of these ideas?

A model/example book:
  1. Photocopy a page of completed class work from each lesson from a variety of students books.(I do this by taking a whole class load of books to the photocopier. I open each book and look for examples of excellent work; where students have put in a great deal of effort. Do not be influenced/swayed by work that is simply exceptionally presented!
  2. Then stick these photocopied examples into an blank book. (Ensure this book is the same type/size/colour as the books the students are working in. Make sure the work is stuck in, in the right order. In exactly the same way as the lessons have been taught. N.B- Make sure you stick in any examples of excellent cover work too!
  3. THEN, If a student misses a lesson, give them that book/page to catch up?
  4. If they lose their book, give them the example book to copy up? If their work isn’t to a high enough standard, ask them to start again?

If you truly want to save time with this, you could just add these examples to a folder/treasury tag them, or create booklets organised by short term?

Ensuring you photocopy a variety of students work doubles up in showing those students their work is excellent enough for others to learn from too. I have provided a small incentive if their work makes it in the class model/exemplar book! I also put a star on the top left corner of the students book to let them know this page has been photocopied for my expecting excellent book.

If their work is had truly an exception amount of effort put into it, I will display it in my Expecting Excellence display board. (All teachers can provide work for this display. Click here for more information!


When I photocopy the students work, I also scan the pages and email it to myself too. That way I can email the work home/send to tutors or mentors or upload it onto my class blog to show ‘this’ lesson, resulted in this completed work.

I write EE on the top right corner of their page so parents/carers are aware that their particular piece of work has been regarded as excellent!

Photo 25-09-2016.jpeg

Class Blogs:

I use and I repeatedly, rather frustratingly go on and on about how the class blog contains all the resources/video links/ and class PowerPoints within it. I have not stressed flipped learning for students, but rather an additional tool for students to supplement their learning.

For more information about Flipped Learning click here!

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 21.17.12


I think it is really powerful if a student misses a lesson that we ALL tell the students that it is great to see them, that they were missed. I link this back to my routines blog, where I stress the importance of treating the classroom like a family, therefore caring for one another is really important. I ask the class who is missing, I ask why they are not in school, whether they are OK, I ask them to tell them I missed them in lesson and hope they are OK. I ask them to text/facebook/snapchat them and let them know that we had a great lesson, learning about… etc!

It is important to note that all teachers should stress that coming to school is an expectation. It is what should happen, every day. If a student isn’t feeling too good, they should still try to come to school. We work on the principles of 5 Rs here in Cheney. We say, we need to all be responsible and resilient!

Attendance figures:

I give my students an attendance figure as a GCSE grade every short term. The reason for this is, students are confused by the fact that in an exam achieving 96% is EXCELLENT, but in attending lessons it is the bare minimum!

A*= 97% and above

A= 96%

B= 95%

C= 90-94%

D= 88-90%

We have many incentives in school to drive up attendance, but I think it is about ensuring the people the students see in their day in day out interactions contribute to that drive.

Fill in the gaps:

Occasionally, I give some students an image of bricks. They are to stick this into the back of their books. I tell them to colour in each brick; each lesson they are present. (Or write the title of the lesson)! When they are not present for a lesson/brick, I ask them to colour that brick black. Each brick represents 1 hour/1 lesson, therefore this helps students to visually see how many hours they must work for in order to achieve their potential! Shows them how many hours they have missed and what the gaps in their learning is.


Other strategies used in other schools:

  • Plan ahead and give all students their syllabus from the start and ensure they know without this lesson, they will not be able to learn the next?
  • Catch up cards- students must meet teacher fill in their catch up card and then tutor/head of year checks

How about this idea from Carmel Bones… create catch up buddies. If somebody is ill, they must share the information with their buddy?


I hope these ideas help?

Ultimately, these things take time. But, not that long to implement and create. The reality is, they take more time than doing NOTHING. I don’t want us to say we have tried, when all we did was say, please make sure you catch up?



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