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Four ways a school-wide approach can transform teaching in your setting

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Date published 11 July 2023

Insights from a school that has taken part in our Transforming Teaching programme provide four ways that school-wide professional development can create sustainable changes in your setting.

When it comes to improving the educational outcomes of pupils, school and trust leaders know that everyone is in it together.

Effective development doesn’t just help individuals. The research shows that whole schools, as well as trusts, stand to benefit from taking consistent and effective approaches to teaching and learning and staff development.

That’s why we designed the Transforming Teaching programme, to empower a whole school with the tools to drive measurable, sustainable and deliberate change. The programme brings together class teachers, middle leaders and senior leadership, in a whole-school initiative that is tailored to your setting.

Here’s how a whole-school approach to professional development can have impact:

1. Develop consistent teaching and learning

Through professional development, teachers and school leaders can build their skills and knowledge of the most up-to-date and research based practices. For some, this may include entirely new concepts and approaches to use in the classroom. It can also highlight and reinforce existing best practice, to build on what you already know.

"I think I was doing it already, but it made me even more conscious of the way that I was delivering or teaching or talking to the children." - Transforming Teaching participant, classroom teacher.

Working with staff at all levels, the programme can help to develop resources and implementation plans to embed best practice and develop expertise across a whole school. Building a consistent approach helps you create clear expectations and builds a shared language of principles and strategies to drive school improvement.


2. Build a culture of improvement

A school culture that supports and encourages continuous improvement can be key to creating and sustaining positive change. Culture can influence individual behaviours, helping to build systems and peer networks that drive continuous improvement.

For teacher educators, this means treating teachers as learners and delivering training that supports them to build positive habits and improve over time. For leaders, this means developing a consistent and measurable approach that builds on what has come before, aligning with wider school priorities.

"My delivery is clearer. I'm more prepared. I know what I want to get over to staff." - Transforming Teaching participant, middle leader.

One way to contribute to a culture of improvement, which is also part of the Transforming Teaching programme, is to establish and embed coaching practice. Coaching provides the time and space for teachers and school leaders to discuss, adjust and refine their practice.

Introducing coaching practice can demonstrate for all staff the value of developing themselves and their peers.

3. Take a deliberate approach

For school leaders and teacher educators, delivering professional development that supports staff to learn and change in the long term can be a challenge. But prioritising deliberate practice can help.

Deliberate practice involves giving teachers the opportunities to rehearse their practice outside of the classroom and improve through feedback. This means that staff can take incremental but meaningful steps in their development, and this improvement can be built on over time.

"You've got to be with the staff. You've got to learn to walk with them rather than just be ahead of them." - Transforming Teaching participant, senior leader.

Transforming Teaching supports this approach to change by helping leaders to identify specific and measurable changes that meet wider school priorities. Working with our experienced facilitators, senior leaders use data to identify their setting’s development needs, prioritise them and develop a sustainable implementation plan.

"Transforming Teaching has made us look in a granular way at what is the highest leverage thing we need to improve first." - Transforming Teaching participant, senior leader.


4. Create opportunities for wider impact

Co-ordinated development at every level comes together to sustain changes across a whole school:

  • For classroom teachers, new and reinforced approaches to teaching practice can lead to improved classroom conditions and learning outcomes.
  • For teacher educators, using evidence-informed tools to deliver high quality teacher training supports staff to keep getting better, in line with the school’s priorities for development.
  • For senior leaders, developing a deliberate and measurable approach to school improvement means supporting teacher educators and staff to make sustainable and impactful changes.

These three strands working together have the potential to improve outcomes for pupils across your setting at every stage.

To find out more about our Transforming Teaching programme, visit our programme page.
To speak to us about it could benefit your school, fill out our web form and our team will be in touch.

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