Video Coaching at Foxford School and Community Arts College
Welcoming around 1,000 students from all backgrounds, Foxford School and Community Arts College in north-east Coventry centres teaching and learning around three core values:
- Success is realised in a variety of ways
- People can and do change
- Growth is achieved through learning and partnership
With these values in mind, they were looking to increase the impact of their already embedded programme to develop a stronger coaching culture. Foxford heard about St Augustine Academy in Kent, who were using IRIS Connect alongside a unique coaching project called inspire2teach and seeing some significant results.
“Inspire2teach was born out of our use of IRIS Connect,” says Paul Collin, Senior Lead Practitioner of Teaching and Learning at St Augustine Academy. “We’d had it for about 2 years, but were concerned about it falling by the wayside if I, the main driver for it in the school, was to leave. So we decided to develop a self-sustaining system that would prevent that happening.”
Having only used the programme in-house so far, St Augustine’s were keen to trial it in another school. Foxford agreed to be the pilot school and began the inspire2teach coaching programme in October 2015.
“I don’t personally feel that at the moment there is another tool as effective or that gives you as much return on investment as IRIS Connect does. It’s a truly powerful tool for professional learning.”
Developing a coaching culture
“We initially identify with the school a willing group of 12 delegates. At Foxford, that included a wide variety of people from NQTs to heads of departments.” explains Paul. “We coach all 12 people but in addition, two of them will also train to become coaches themselves. We call them Coaching Improvement Partners (CIPs) and they become the legacy vehicle to carry on the programme once we’ve left,”
Paul and his team set the scene for the programme over a 2 day INSET. The first is an interactive fun day where delegates learn all about the programme and IRIS Connect, whilst the second day is for starting the IRIS Connect reflections. Every other week from there on, Paul and his coaches visit the school and on the weeks in between, they communicate with delegates via the online inspire2teach and IRIS Connect platforms.
After the sixth week, live in-ear coaching sessions are introduced using a five stage coaching sequence originally developed by Education Consultant and Trainer, Mike Fleetham. “We use in-ear coaching as part of the programme because of the rapid results it produces. Receiving feedback in the moment means that new approaches and techniques are embedded far more quickly. It’s also comforting to know that someone has your back if you are struggling with a class. It’s collaboration at its best point,” says Paul.
“What it’s done for a few colleagues in particular, in moving their practice forward and increasing their confidence and self esteem, has just been fantastic. Compared to the old coaching programme, this one is far more effective.”
The impact of coaching with video
Deputy Headteacher, Marie Szyndler shares the impact they have experienced across the school so far as a result of the inspire2teach programme and IRIS Connect:
“The programme’s been successful beyond anything that I had imagined, both in terms of the impact of IRIS Connect and the coaching”. “What it’s done for a few colleagues in particular, in moving their practice forward and increasing their confidence and self esteem, has just been fantastic. Compared to the old coaching programme, this one is far more effective.”
“We’ve seen improvements in teaching across the school and in students progress. We’ve had children and teachers come and ask: ‘when’s it my turn?’ and because they have gone through the process themselves, TLR post holders now feel they are better equipped to help move colleagues on in ways they hadn’t thought of before”.
The school’s focus this year has been questioning and oracy, which Marie feels, IRIS Connect has been particularly effective at supporting so far: “You can do things as straightforward as count your wait time or count students words. Then, you can look back at your questioning when you started and see how you have improved over time; it’s brilliant.”
“Something I hadn’t necessarily considered is that we could use both the inspire2teach coaching programme and IRIS Connect for wider CPD. So things like filming meetings, getting clips of lessons to create examples of good practice and building up a bank of videos about key issues like questioning, oracy and differentiation. I want to make sure that by the end of the year, all the faculties have been involved so we can learn what works, what doesn’t and then plan for next year.”
The Future – sustaining coaching as part of the school culture
“I don’t personally feel that at the moment there is another tool as effective or that gives you as much return on investment as IRIS Connect does. It’s a truly powerful tool for professional learning,” says Paul.
“My hope is that, like Foxford, we can use the inspire2teach programme to help other schools get to grips with IRIS Connect and embed a self-sustaining coaching culture that lasts. Ultimately I’d like to build a network of schools who, beyond the 12 week programme, can continue to collaborate and share their experiences for the benefit of everyone.”
To find out more about inspire2teach please visit their website, take a look at this presentation outlining their journey of inspire2teach from school to project pilot, view this flyer or contact Paul Collin: [email protected]
Learn more about IRIS Connect: