Aim: To raise achievement further by delivering more outstanding teaching through peer coaching for staff and a focus on assessment and tracking of pupils.
Background: The Ofsted report in April 2013 had rated the overall effectiveness of the school as ‘Good’.
Year 1: Three voluntary Pathfinder groups of ambitious and enthusiastic staff conducted action research into New Technologies, Peer Coaching and Literacy. Subsequently these staff ran whole-school inset sessions based on their findings. These sessions were well attended and received excellent evaluations. 25 colleagues signed up for peer coaching and 48 iPads were purchased for new technologies and significant training embedded; every department subsequently used iPads in lessons. 300 new lessons using new technologies were networked with other schools.
To ensure that there was an improved level of understanding by staff of the new assessment and tracking systems, support was provided through mentoring and coaching. A pupil passport for Year 6 pupils was very effective in enabling new Year 7 pupils to hit the ground running.
Year 2: The whole-school target was to encourage students to read more often and across a range of genres. Initiatives included establishing a Reading Pathfinder group and launching a Reading for Pleasure scheme attended by a playwright and author. Students read for pleasure during registration on a set timetable and reading was recorded and monitored. A culture of recommended reading within the school was encouraged through the library, noticeboard displays, newsletters and teacher ‘Recommended Reading’ posters. An innovative CPD programme was developed which builds on the ideal of the ‘self-improving teacher’ using peer coaching and the enterprise network ‘Yammer’ for building teacher learning communities.
Year 3: The focus was on effective target setting across departments to reduce underachievement by students. A Writing Pathfinder group was established to focus on spelling, grammar and extended writing responses. The CPD programme was further developed, following whole-school evaluation of its first year and building on the key school priorities.
Evidence: Staff surveys, student voice feedback, attainment data.
Impact: In 2015, 42% of lessons observed were Outstanding (27% in 2013), 55% of lessons observed were Good (67% in 2013) and 3% Requires Improvement. Evaluations showed that staff greatly appreciated gaining the new support network of peer coaching; this was one of the primary vehicles for improving the training model for staff.
Reflections: By developing a culture of 'sharing the learning' and driving an innovative CPD model to support our colleagues we believe that we are preparing well for the new demands of the modern world. Our challenge is to continue with following our principles of a team approach, whereby there is distributed leadership throughout the school striving for excellence. Our project has been aided significantly by branching out and doing significant research which we have tailored and made bespoke for our school. We have benefited by being part of several networks such as The Prince’s Teaching Institute, Leading Edge – SSAT, ASCL and by being proactive in terms of facilitating collaboration between schools.
Contact: Jay Durham, Assistant Headteacher, firstname.lastname@example.org