Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen is an 11 to 18 mixed English medium comprehensive school that is maintained by Bridgend local authority.
“The Lessons Learned (formerly XLence) system allowed us to familiarise and develop knowledge of the Professional Standards in an informative, evaluative and meaningful manner putting the teacher, as the professional, at the centre of their own evaluation. The system has identified how the standards can inform and extend professional learning, support with the establishment of the new curriculum within CCYD and contribute to whole school improvement.”
Aims of Undertaking the Programme
- To familiarise and develop knowledge of the Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership and allow staff to evaluate their teaching practices against the elements of the Professional Standards.
- To identify how the standards can extend and inform professional learning and support successful implementation of the new curriculum and contribute to whole school improvement.
Involvement of Staff
Recruitment was voluntary and offered as a professional learning opportunity to the teaching staff. 4 staff were recruited to trial the teaching standards and 4 for the leadership.
Leaders were TLR holders ranging from Pastoral leads to team leaders, teachers were classroom practitioners.
Launching the Programme
The whole SLT team was involved early through a two-hour introductory session, with follow up time to complete the leadership review.
The leader and teacher groups had a three-hour training session. This allowed time for completion of the self-evaluation form and the 360 review. From this they identified main strengths and where they could benefit from more learning in each element of the standard. The strategy was for this group to support the roll-out with the whole school and become the trainers.
Knowledge and Understanding of the Professional Standards
Each teacher and leader reported much clearer understanding of the Professional Standards.
“To have a concrete exemplification of each standard leads to a more accurate self-review…”
Use of the Framework and Online System
All participants found the online system to be intuitive and user friendly. It was easy to navigate between each element and revisit them if needed. The radar diagram provided a visual illustration of the overall picture and clearly identified strengths and areas to develop. They also reported it was easy to train others.
“The framework has helped me in mentoring NQTs, as I have been able to give concrete examples about what practice within a standard actually looks like…”
The prompts were very helpful, and the learner perspective added another dimension in identifying the impact of teacher behaviours.
Impact on Practice Within the School (Schools as Learning Organisations)
It has given us an holistic view of how the standards align with our school SIP and also identified that elements of the new curriculum are a key feature of the standards. We currently have an extensive whole school focus on developing the curriculum, and the benchmark results will allow us to map progress using the framework and online system.
Link to Whole School Improvement
By cross referencing the outcomes of self-review against our priorities it showed our SIP is robust and aligns appropriately with the Professional Standards. Future involvement of all staff will allow us to further develop our SIP process to ensure that improvement priorities are firmly drawn from robust whole school evaluation.
Link to Monitoring of Teaching and Learning or Performance Management
We would like to use the 360 Review to inform individual professional learning and also performance management. Once all staff have been trained to carry out their self-reviews using the system this will be a focus area over the next six months.
A two-hour twilight session will be held where all teaching staff will be divided into 5 groups and will be trained in how to use the system and complete the 360 review. The 10 trial group staff will facilitate the sessions, and this will provide them with a great professional learning and leadership opportunity themselves. Experience so far has found that groups carrying out the review process is of real benefit in confidence building.
Justine James and Claire West