Aim: To develop a supportive and effective learning environment that links the numerous teaching and learning initiatives into one coherent and mutually beneficial programme.
Background: The school was designated as Outstanding by Ofsted in January 2011. Within the report, the inspectors concluded that more needed to be done to ensure a higher percentage of Good and Outstanding lessons. The school’s comprehensive observation database found 84% of lessons to be Good or better at the start of the project.
Year 1: Staff at the school had for some time been engaging in learning walks, lesson observations with pre- and post-observation discussions, learning conversations with students and teacher learning communities. The Faculty Review model was introduced as a motor for linking all of these processes together so that teachers were consistently receiving high-quality formative feedback that they could use to refine and improve their performance. Towards the end of the first year, work scrutiny was included to further inform the process and a learning lunch introduced to share the learning from the review more widely across the school.
Year 2: Additional initiatives included: learning walks jointly run between the review team and faculty leaders, Pupil Perception Discussions led by students using data from online questionnaires, a letter written to all students to explain the findings and to outline what the faculty would be doing to improve.
Year 3: It became evident that sustained impact would only be achieved if the faculty had greater ownership of the process and was able to draw its own conclusions. So members of the faculty were provided with the outcomes of parent and student online questionnaires in order to allow them to draw initial conclusions, to spot trends and to identify a core focus for lesson observations which were then carried out with a member of the senior team. The Sixth Form also became a more prominent part of the process.
Evidence: Exam results, lesson observations,
Impact: Over the 3 year project the number of students achieving 5A* at GCSE increased from 58% to 73% and at Key Stage 5 the number achieving A*-B increased from 41% to 51%. Lesson observations showed that Good or better lessons increased from 84% to 89% with Outstanding lessons increasing from 40% to 49%.
100% of staff engaged in action research over the course of the project. In many cases the focus of research was a response to the Faculty Action Plan. 87.5% documented the research they carried out. More than 50% of staff attended at least one learning lunch during the project.
Reflections: We have consistently improved our outcomes and have crucially carried all our staff with us; they have confidence in the judgements and have developed the resilience to be able to respond positively to all feedback. There is a great honesty and drive to improve, and with that an acceptance that we have to listen to our customers. For this reason the devolution of leadership of the process to faculties has been integral.
Contact: David Kennedy, Headteacher: firstname.lastname@example.org; Jonathan Huddleston, Assistant Headteacher, Teaching and Learning, email@example.com