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Linking the Growth of an Improvement Culture, Performance Management and Professional Development

Too often these are treated as separate things, to be carried out independently rather than as processes which are interrelated and should be viewed as one. The questions for schools are:

  • “What practices and processes can we put in place to make these integrated?” and
  • “What systems can support them?”

The other crucial question is:

  • “How can we develop a learning culture which will really move the school forward?”

The Education Endowment Foundation identifies the interventions and strategies which are the most effective in bringing about improvements in pupils’ learning and progress. They are:

  • Collaborative learning
  • Feedback
  • Meta cognition and self regulation
  • Peer tutoring
  • Social and emotional learning

The National College for School Leadership (in School Community Partnerships) also identified aspects that the most successful schools have in common:

  • Teachers talk about teaching
  • Teachers observe each others teaching
  • Teachers plan and evaluate teaching together
  • Teachers teach each other

It is possible to match these:

teachers talk about teaching meta cognition;
teachers observe each others teaching feedback;
teachers plan and evaluate teaching together collaborative learning;
teachers teach each other peer tutoring;

…with Social and Emotional Learning acting as a sort of “glue” across them all. This could also be defined as the culture of the school.

Ofsted also recognise the importance of each of the above. Within the latest Framework they focus on whether:

  • leaders and governors have created a culture that enables pupils and staff to excel;
  • leaders and governors use incisive performance management that leads to professional development that encourages, challenges and supports teachers’ improvement;
  • staff reflect on and debate the way they teach. They feel deeply involved in their own professional development.

How Lessons Learned Can Help

What does it help leaders to do?

  • Ensure that all staff have a consistent view about what constitutes all aspects of effective teaching.
  • Keep track of teaching and staff development over time using a simple online system.
  • Use all evidence sources for example, observations, work or planning scrutinies and learning walks to make overall judgements about the quality of teaching at individual, subject, year group, key stage or whole school level, providing a clear picture of areas of strength and development.
  • Manage the appraisal process and ensure that it is fully integrated with staff development.

What does it help teachers to do?

  • Evaluate their own or peer teaching and talk with colleagues about what works or doesn’t.
  • Develop their own teaching profile, including a range of evidence such as photographs, videos, planning, etc.

If you’re already using the system and would like to know more about any of the features mentioned here, please get in touch.

If you’re interested in using the system and would like a free, no obligations online demonstration, please contact us on 0800 788 0444 or alternatively email You can also read more about the system on our Lessons Learned website here:

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