How does your school diagnose individual staff needs?
15 or 16 months ago, we moved away from lesson gradings and are still developing our ‘over-time’ methodology. There is also a sense of a ‘3-observations-per-year’ culture which still remains and is slowly dissipating. The remnants of a grading-methodology gone by, based on a outdated union-informed process evident in schools (and ours); arguably justified at the time considering the impact one-off gradings has had on school inspection outcomes and on teachers’ careers.
Is it time to bin the three-lessons-observation (see no. 1) culture once and for all?
We now know that one-off gradings have an unreliable status, yet given that we are all, or at least 50% of schools across England are now no longer grading teachers and individual lessons, I would imagine that many schools like ourselves are in a transition and still moving towards a method of coaching and mentoring teachers. This may be in teams, professional development sessions, or identified and supported in small groups and/or in triads to help pinpoint teaching needs.
This is a working document and will evolve throughout the year; it offers no silver bullet and is shared here for feedback.
In our school, we will establish a coaching and mentoring model over the next 6 months-to-2 years with frequent observations taking place by all staff every other week. Of course, the immediate challenge with this is time, but we hope – whatever and however this model evolves from coaching and mentoring influences – to establish a little and often frequency with very precise and pinpointed feedback to help develop all teachers new and old. Feedback that is not over complicated, and is regularly reviewed until the teacher has acted on feedback given. This will also require some training and transformation.
This is not a numbers game. Nor is it an evidence gathering exercise which has been evident in many aspects of leading teaching and learning (including mine) for the past decade or so. This is a genuine attempt to communicate between individual, teams and whole school; to gather an overview of what is typically going on in classrooms over time. And most importantly, to give staff the opportunity to be developed without fear or repercussion; to share best practice across the school, compliment needs and be given the support and opportunity to develop and thrive.
In the remainder of this post, I explain how a new and evolving document is laid out and how it aims to capture what is known and what needs to be done.
There are 6 pages to this document, below you can see 4 of these pages which have been anonymised. On the right-hand side of the images, you can see comments I have added purely to assist with explanations in the blogpost.
Page 1 provides the overview. What is the purpose of this document? What information is being collated and why?
Every department will own one of these diagnostic reports, tailored to suit their own teaching staff; a document which is designed and collated by myself and @SuperAsmy.
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Page 2 provides a needs analysis of every teacher in one department, matched against sub-headings defined by the Teachers’ Standards. The document image below is hyperlinked and provides deeper analysis by standard and by teacher, providing an overview of expertise and areas for development. This is central to live CPD feeds and will be used to offer differentiated training.
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Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment:
Page 3 offers an overview of observations term by term. As we are using Google, we can now live hyperlinked documents to various sources of information to help provide further analysis to assist with development. Perhaps this may also offer a stream of hyperlinked IRIS video clips for the department to watch.
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Page 4 aims to bring everything together by asking the department to self-identify their greatest CPD need for the term ahead. I see this document evolving to have more details and options offered under the headings, Mark-Plan-Teach. The overview may also provide areas of expertise so that teachers opt in to lead CPD sessions for other staff.
When collated by department across the school, the whole-school overview will provide any school with a significant perspective of strengths and needs; all achieved without any lesson grade …
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What do you think? How do you collate an overview of teaching and learning by department and maintain this information centrally, without databases, gradings or percentage figures? And most importantly, what do you do with this information to help teachers and departments become better at what they are doing to help students make progress?
This document is a first draft and will evolve.
Do leave your thoughts in the comments below.