Lessons Learned has been a key tool for improving teaching and learning in the secondary phase of the Hadley Learning Community since September 2012. With over 800 pupils, the school required a system that would allow them to manage CPD for a large team of teaching staff (60 teachers and 35 support staff). We asked Paul Roberts, who is head of the secondary phase, about his experience so far with Lessons Learned and how it helped to prepare the school for an Ofsted visit last year.
What led you to buy Lessons Learned?
We’d looked everywhere for a bespoke lesson observation software service and when we looked at all of the packages that were available at the time there didn’t seem to be any available that allowed us to make it bespoke to Hadley Learning Community. So when we found the Lessons Learned software it was something we were really positive about because straight away we could tell that the out of the box package could easily be adapted.
Were you actively using the system when Ofsted last visited your school? If so, what impact do you think it had?
Ofsted visited HLC in October and we had been using Lessons Learned since the start of that academic year so it was already embedded firmly within our practice here at the school. We were very pleased with the Ofsted judgements which were consistent with the data that we had from Lessons Learned and a key part of that was that it was live and it was inline with everything the Ofsted inspectors had said around each of our judgments. I think when you look at the impact that Lessons Learned has had and then relate it to the conversation I had with the lead inspector, I think for the cost of Lessons Learned, the evidence it provides makes it more than worthwhile.
How was it received by your staff and how is your school using the system?
We have a superb staff here who are all desperate to improve their standard of teaching and learning for the benefit of our children. Where we are at the moment with our staff is that they’re using Lessons Learned on a daily basis. We are using it for appraisal observations, learning walks, looking at book scrutinies and we also run a system of teaching and learning communities where they do peer assessments of each others teaching, all using Lessons Learned and using that software as a method for moving teaching and learning forward.
How do you use the analysis data that you get out of the system?
Lessons Learned provides us with an in-depth summary of all levels of data, the most important one being that of the individual teacher. What we have now is a breakdown by specific members of staff, their strengths, their areas in need of development and most importantly, then a development plan linked to that member of staff about how to move them forwards.