Aim: To encourage teachers to deepen their subject knowledge and thus improve the engagement of students with greater pace and challenge in the classroom. All students to gain a minimum of Level 4 by the end of Year 7.
Background: Historically there was poor attainment at KS2. A lack of ambition in students and poor progress meant students failed to reach their potential. Staff were not developing creative solutions to the problem, resulting in a lack of support for students.
An audit of staff skills and qualifications was conducted and action taken, e.g. the Head of English initiated partnership work with Winchester University to improve the creative writing skills of his department. Four departments attended PTI workshops and one (English) submitted a project. Teacher recruitment focused on evidence of commitment to subject-based CPD. Year 7 tracking was introduced to give students a better understanding of their progress. The KS3 curriculum was amended to include more opportunities for students to develop their learning skills and cognitive development alongside subject knowledge.
Year 2 :
A further four departments began PTI projects. Schemes of work were reviewed to inject pace and rigour. Department meeting agendas focussed on academic and pedagogical research with careful scrutiny of the impact on students’ outcomes. A group of staff, identified as expert practitioners, used a coaching strategy to share their research findings and resultant pedagogical approaches with others.
Many staff became engaged in research projects and worked regularly with the universities of Exeter, Southampton and Winchester. Some staff engaged in international research projects. One member of staff began her MA in subject-based research and the findings were communicated to all staff at a whole-staff training event.
Evidence: Student and staff surveys, attendance figures, exam results in core subjects, staff engagement with action research.
Impact: Success was predominately measured through student progress outcomes which continue to be high. After Year 2, The EBACC qualification (all subjects in this were involved in PTI projects) was well above the national average both in participation rates and outcomes (30%).
By the end of Year 3, there were centres of excellence in each faculty. As a result the number of Good and Outstanding lessons increased to 89% and over 80% of staff could deliver CPD in their subject. More students than ever progressed to sixth form with approximate 50% increases year-on-year. The Sixth Form became oversubscribed and results for the Sixth Form increased with 71% achieving grades A*-B.
There is now a culture of pedagogical research amongst staff. They look to their own degree disciplines and to education in general for their research projects. They are actively engaged in whole-school improvement and share best practice on a regular basis through structured and unstructured forums.
Reflections: Educational organisations need to value and exploit the immense amount of intellectual capital within their institutions to enhance the life chances of our students.
Contact: Debbie Godfrey-Phaure , firstname.lastname@example.org