Cyril Jackson Primary School has been using the Lessons Learned Teaching and Learning Development Module since 2013. They originally recorded lesson observations with judgements but have since moved away Ofsted-based judgements towards a focus on strengths and development areas. They also use the system to record subject reviews, learning walks and book looks.
What led you to buy Lessons Learned?
As a school we have always been rigorous in the way we have evaluated T&L at an individual teacher level and at school level. Lessons Learned offered the opportunity for us to record the evidence in a structured form that would allow quick analysis and reporting.
What impact has Lessons Learned had on teaching and learning in your school?
The system has enabled the school to identify whole school teaching and learning issues as well as those for individual groups such as NQTs and TAs and individuals. With this knowledge we are able to map training to meet the needs of all staff which has obvious benefits.
Lessons Learned can be easily manipulated to ensure targets personal to the school are monitored and reviewed to ensure progression.
Staff at the school have the confidence to know their monitoring is retrievable and stored in one accessible place. They are able to access the programme at any-time to review and reflect. Self-reflection and analysis is key to development within their own teaching practice.
What types of evidence do you use Lessons Learned for?
We use the system to record all the evidence we collect about T&L in our school for all classroom based staff. This includes details of development points and individuals’ strengths. Where appropriate we attach files and links to the evidence and staff comments are fully recorded.
Can you talk us through the process of using Lessons Learned in your school?
A senior member of the SLT team has overall responsibility for the programme and associated liaison with ‘For Schools Education Services’ and the school team. This involves programme development discussions and training for school staff. Allocated professional development time is given to staff to evaluate their own performance and review their targets. This system of review ensures progress is made against targets and this can be quantified within the LL programme during personal and group opportunities for a professional dialogue.
How easy was it to customise for your school?
Although initially we followed the “common language” of teaching and learning provided by the system we soon decided we wanted to use our own forms and to develop our evaluation process in our own way. Helen, our Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning, has recently developed a new set of evaluation forms that reflect our evaluation structure including the use of judgements around Developing, Secure and Mastery. She has worked closely with Rob at Lessons Learned to ensure these can be accommodated by the system.
What do find most frustrating about the system and how have the Lessons Learned team helped to address this?
The ability to export the data out of Lessons Learned into a user friendly format for all users including governors, has been difficult and is still a work in progress. The latest update on the program has helped address this area and we are hopeful that this will solve our problems.
What do you think is the most useful feature of Lessons Learned?
- The ability to store professional development of staff on a web-based system.
- All key staff have access to the information generated in order to drive teaching and learning.
- Teaching and support staff have all records of professional development available to them as required.
Is Lessons Learned good value for money and would you recommend the system to other schools?
I would recommend the software to other colleagues and schools. I have spent years keeping paper copies of observations, book looks and other monitoring within the school. Access for other members of the SLT was limited and trends were not easily identified. The programme has enabled the sharing of collectable information, driving forward teaching and learning within the school.