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Clacton County High, a secondary school with about 1500 pupils, has been a valuable customer of Lessons Learned for over a year. We spoke to Jonathan Norgate, assistant principal who has been with the school for over 12 years, to better understand his experience of using Lessons Learned so far.

How did you identify the need for a product like Lessons Learned? What were you using, if anything, before?

For five years prior to getting Lessons Learned we were using another system that did a lot of things (including improvement planning, surveys and self evaluation) but we started to use less of the system and wanted to strengthen our lesson observations. We first came across Lessons Learned via a leaflet, saw that it was good value and did the job that we wanted, so decided to make the switch.

How did you approach rolling it out to your school?

The system was initially rolled out to just the extended leadership team which was a very straight forward process as the system is simple to use. From there it just diffused out to the rest of the staff via departmental meetings and feedback. There was no real need for any training sessions once staff had been given time to get to know their way around the system, but twilight sessions were organised for anyone that felt they needed further support. We have had several update sessions at leadership team meetings.

How was it received by your staff and how is your school you using the system?

Staff really liked it because it was simple and easier to use than the previous system – there have been no negative reactions.

All staff have their own laptops (and senior staff have iPads as well). Staff are able to access Lessons Learned from both the school website and school intranet.

We’re currently using a version of the Lessons Learned framework that we tweaked in order to meet our school’s requirements.

How do you use the analysis data that you get out of the system?

We use it to support self-evaluation and school improvement – it’s useful for highlighting areas of concern. For example, it’s recently shown us that the second half of lessons don’t tend to be as strong as the first. The EBIs (Even Better Ifs, i.e. development points) are used to support and tailor a CPD program of twilight training courses. By looking for a commonality amongst the EBIs it’s possible for us to create courses that will serve more than one staff member at a time. It’s also used for Ofsted preparation!