Increasing the percentage of Good and Outstanding teaching
As a result of staff’s commitment to utilising IRIS Connect at Diamond Wood Community Academy, the percentage of children achieving age-related expectations or greater depth understanding has increased in all subjects. They’ve also experienced a significant rise in the percentage of good and outstanding teaching observed across the school, with children receiving 22% Outstanding lessons and 95% Good. In addition, Becki Price, Year 1 Curriculum & Achievement Leader, successfully completed her National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) based on her use of IRIS Connect and was awarded the Examiner Inspirational Teacher of the Year award 2018.
At Diamond Wood Community Academy, they have always understood the importance of ensuring that CPD is genuinely effective, and the vital role that sharing practice plays in this. “Our passionate and dedicated teachers do their utmost to ensure that our pupils have the best possible start to their school life, and this starts with CPD,” explains Becki Price.
But despite being able to offer several development opportunities for their staff each year, budget constraints had made it extremely difficult to cover lessons so that teachers could observe each others’ outstanding practice in person. It was clear that Diamond Wood needed to make peer-to-peer observations more efficient, and in September 2017 they turned to IRIS Connect to help them achieve this.
How IRIS Connect helped
“Our very first experiences of the platform were fantastic,” describes Becki. “The initial training opportunities IRIS Connect offered fitted perfectly around our schedule and made sure that our teachers got to grips with using the recording equipment and online platform in no time. I had initially planned to take the lead on this, purely as a project for my NPQML but, IRIS Connect has been so immediately effective that it is now an integral part of our school development plan and I am continuing to push the project forward.”
To begin with, the teachers worked in year groups to conduct ‘lesson study’ observations and build libraries of shared practice. Some staff had concerns at first about recording and sharing their lessons, but together with the community team at IRIS Connect, Becki and the other members of SLT assured them that this was strictly for their development and not for monitoring or performance management. “I knew that making sure staff felt at ease with the system would be crucial to its successful implementation across the school, so I sent them all some outtakes of my very first lesson recordings to help break the ice a little!”
Results, return on investment and future plans
“So far, we’ve found IRIS Connect to be just as, if not more, impactful on teaching and learning than we had hoped. Teachers have become more reflective practitioners and are making great use of the platform to share practice with colleagues and initiate discussions around teaching techniques and strategies.”
The editing tool is also saving them a huge amount of time, allowing teachers to trim their recordings down to short clips that are relevant to their specific focuses, which colleagues can quickly look over and feedback on.
As a result of everyone’s commitment to utilising IRIS Connect, the percentage of children achieving age-related expectations or greater depth of understanding has increased in all subjects. There has also been a significant rise in the percentage of good and outstanding teaching observed across the school, with children receiving 22% ‘outstanding’ lessons and 95% ‘good’.
In addition, Becki successfully completed her National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership (NPQML) based on her use of IRIS Connect and was awarded the Examiner Inspirational Teacher of the Year award 2018.
Moving forward, Becki’s hoping to expand their use of IRIS Connect to support subject leaders using the ‘Groups’ function. “This will allow, for instance, all of our maths teachers to use a shared space on the online platform to discuss practice and disseminate subject-specific expertise, so that teaching from one year group to another is consistent and complementary. Our next step is to connect with other schools using IRIS Connect, which should open up a whole world of collaborative and practice-sharing opportunities.”
On top of all this, because IRIS Connect is helping our staff identify their strengths and weaknesses through self-reflection, they now use it to create a personalised action plan for each academic year. “This gives us, as subject and school leaders, a better understanding of their individual aims for CPD and helps us establish how best to support them in achieving these. Given that IRIS Connect has enabled us to affect all of these positive changes in this one year alone, needless to say, we are incredibly optimistic and excited about the CPD and school improvement opportunities it will afford us in the years to come.”
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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.
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