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Whole School Improvement


As a result of their investment in IRIS Connect, Ainslie Wood Primary School have cultivated a culture of sharing, reflection, and continuous in-school development. They have increased the percentage of pupils achieving level 4 or above in reading, writing, and maths from 43% to 79%; moved 95% of teachers from Inadequate or Requires Improvement to Good and Outstanding, and dramatically reduced CPD spend by 47%.

Ainslie Wood School


In 2013 the percentage of pupils achieving Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths at Ainslie Wood Primary School was well below the 75% local average. At just 43%, drastic changes were needed to improve pupil progress.

The 2014-2015 budget outlay for CPD was £20,555 and predominantly spent on external courses, that were both expensive and demonstrating little, or no impact beyond the attendee – 60% of teachers were rated as inadequate and 35% required improvement.

A change of approach was required. A key move in bringing about the change was joining the Whole Education Network where Ainslie Wood were introduced to IRIS Connect and the Film Club programme.


How IRIS Connect helped

The school made a lot of effort to make sure that videoing practice was phased in positively. They made it part of their whole school CPD strategy and let people know that it was all about moving them forward as a teacher. They spent time building trust and gave people the option to be videoed and didn’t make any of it compulsory.

They knew they wanted to get teachers talking to each other more and sharing their expertise, and IRIS Connect Film Club was a great opportunity to do this. “There is a danger that teaching can become an isolated activity. Teachers tend to go into their classroom on their own, teach and plan on their own and then reflect in order to make improvements on their own. Feedback can be minimal and hard to gather.” describes Claire Phillips, Deputy Headteacher

“IRIS Connect’s Film Club has been a fantastic reflective tool. It’s such a simple idea; getting teachers together to watch clips and then talk about what they see. It’s got our teachers talking about teaching and learning – exchanging ideas and strategies as well as trialing new methods and ways of teaching. It’s made professional learning fun and easy and, as a result, our culture has become more collaborative and open.”


Results, return on investment and future plans

By 2016, there had been a dramatic turnaround: 95% of teaching was rated good or better, 30% of which was considered outstanding.

In addition, the percentage of pupils progressing to Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths rose to 79%, 4% above the Local Average. This phenomenal rise from 43% to 79% meant that Ainslie Wood were the third most improved 2-form entry school in the country.

‘Staff are taking responsibility for its [the school’s] improvement… middle leaders feel empowered to make change… and evaluate the impact of their work by checking that it is helping to improve the quality of teaching, learning and pupil outcomes.’  – Ofsted Report

“We currently sit in the top 1% nationally for the progress our children make. Outstanding is our next goal and IRIS Connect is pivotal in helping us to achieve it,” says Claire. “We’ve also dramatically reduced our CPD spend to £10,923.” A saving of 47%.

Teachers at Ainslie Wood plan to personalise their professional learning even further by using clips of their own lessons to discuss in Film Clubs and integrating them into Lesson Study cycles. Helping to create a sustainable framework for professional learning across the school.

“Film Club’s adaptability has meant that we have been able to work it into existing professional learning structures, which for us, are highly personalised,” says Claire.“This year our focus is to move more teaching to outstanding. We are really honing in on elements of practice with the identified teachers through our professional development work which is being driven using IRIS Connect and regular Film Clubs.”

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