Queen Elizabeth High School
Queen Elizabeth High School in South Wales are using IRIS Connect to help large numbers of staff share resources, ideas and strategies, collaborate with local feeder schools and ensure consistency as well as improve behaviour management.
It’s been a very worthwhile investment for me in supporting staff’s professional development and their drive and commitment to achieve excellence.
I think using IRIS Connect is a much more effective use of professionals’ time. It’s been a really positive addition to the school and I’m delighted with the impact it’s having.
Peter Spencer, Headteacher
“I’ll award 6 marbles to the person who can tell me what we call dirty air,” says Rebecca Williams to her year 7 History class. Several moments later, the marbles are awarded to a smiling student who has given the correct answer.
The marbles are part of a behaviour strategy that Rebecca has implemented in her classroom. “When students do something particularly well I give them a marble and they put them in a jar on my desk, if they get 20 or more by the end of the lesson they receive achievement points,” she explains. The strategy works so well that it’s now being rolled out across the school as a whole school initiative for behaviour management.
When chatting to Rebecca later, we learn that this is just one of the small ways that IRIS Connect is having an impact on sharing and collaboration. “There’s quite a few of us taking part in the lead practitioner project, which has pushed me to see that IRIS Connect is not a one dimensional tool. I’ve not only had to use it for self-reflection but also to inform other people’s practice in the school and outside community.
For instance, we’ve started a Teaching and Learning group for the Maths department to share resources. One teacher will film themselves using one of a standardised set of resources, so that if another teacher doesn’t know how to use the resource they can watch the video back and learn.”
Rebecca also uses IRIS Connect to support students with special educational needs: “Some of my SEN pupils can only come in to school for a certain number of days, so I film the lessons that they’re missing and then send them to their support workers to ensure they don’t miss out on a whole education and have some consistency.”
IRIS Connect is helping with consistency in other areas of school life too. “As a senior leadership team, it’s hard to make sure that we all know and understand what a good lesson looks like for our school so we can be consistent in the grades we give,” describes Deputy Headteacher, Paul Edwards. “So a colleague volunteered to record their lesson using IRIS Connect and share it with us. We all went away separately and watched it, then came together to discuss what we thought the strengths and weaknesses were, ensuring that we are all on the same page.”
Sharing and collaborating
Keeping up with the ever-changing world of education has also been made easier according to Rebecca,
With IRIS Connect you’re not just in your classroom in your own little world, it creates a whole community in your school where you can share and become a better practitioner. Education’s changing: ways of teaching are changing, methods are changing. IRIS Connect is the perfect way to be able to share ideas with the new people joining the profession and for them to share theirs. I’ve learnt so much from my PGCE student; from using quizzes to introduce literacy to boys because it appeals to their competitive spirit, to what resources work well and how they can be improved.
Headteacher, Peter Spencer says,
It’s been a very worthwhile investment for me in supporting staff’s professional development and their drive and commitment to achieve excellence. As a headteacher I often find myself saying: ‘I’d like you to go and see so and so teach because they do this really well.’ What’s better and more cost effective is for people to do that in the comfort of their own home and to know that what they’re seeing is in fact a good example of what they need to do to develop. When they go and watch a teacher live, you can’t be sure what they’ll see. So I think using IRIS Connect is a much more effective use of professionals’ time. It’s been a really positive addition to the school and I’m delighted with the impact it’s having.
Plans for the Future
“Another strand of development I’m keen to explore,” says Peter, “is with our partner primary schools, and making the transition from primary to secondary school for year 7 pupils smoother.
So we’ve started to build a library of filmed lessons of the children who are going to be joining us, being taught in the primary environment, to get a good understanding of the style of learning they have been used to etc. It’s in its early stages right now but I think that would be a good next development for us.”
What is IRIS Connect?
Teachers can take control and arrange their own professional learning experiences and resources. As well as share easily with each other to make collaboration simple, organised and effective.