Never has it been more important to keep a clear record evidencing improvements in teaching and learning. This is the bread and butter of all inspections.
Inspection aside, we know that the best school leaders are unrelenting in getting the best teaching and provision for all the children in their school.
Most leaders are now well aware of the hugely influential working of John Hattie. Hattie’s accessible work on ‘Visible Learning’ helps the education community understand what makes a difference in the classroom. Hattie’s well know mantra is, ‘Know thy impact’. Whilst knowing impact and understanding what makes a difference is central to every classroom, it is also central to pedagogical or instructional leadership. Leaders need to be able to demonstrate that their actions have made a significant difference to the outcomes of their children.
Monitoring & Evaluation
In years gone by, monitoring and evaluation tended to rely on a few well-timed lesson observations during the year. These observations undertaken by school leaders largely mirrored the way that Ofsted made judgments of teachers. We have all been there – knowing that some teachers can ‘pull it out of the bag’ but are bone idle the rest of the time whilst others got nervous but are fantastic teachers day in, day out. Thankfully we have moved beyond this crude and ineffective way of judging teachers. The best schools now use far more intelligent monitoring and evaluation strategies. Intelligent monitoring and evaluation relies on leaders collating evidence over a period of time and in a range of ways. The culmination of this approach leads to a triangulated or best-fit judgement. So the years have passed and we have realised that one-off lesson observations don’t tell us much!
Without a doubt, lesson observations or drop ins ought to still be part of a healthy monitoring schedule as they are the main way to judge classroom climate and relationships. But they need keeping in their place.
Teacher on a Page
Many schools leaders have found it useful to make use of the notion of a ‘Teacher on a Page’ (TOAP). This simple idea helps leaders gather information about one teacher and bring a range of types of evidence together in one place. The TOAP format means that evidence can be collated and shared with the individual class teacher.
The impact of this was seen recently when a Year 2 teacher told her headteacher,
“I get it now. It isn’t about what I do in lesson observations. It is what I do everyday that makes a difference.”
The Teacher on a Page format means that all types of evidence can be collated and triangulated to reach a best for judgement.
Many school are now integrating the use of the Teachers’ Standards into their monitoring and evaluation toolkit. This is a useful exercise and can help teachers ‘join the dots’ so that the Standards are not seen as a bolt on. For leaders, this can be a challenge as there are you own in-school criteria, Ofsted criteria and the Teachers’ Standards.
In order to help schools make sense of these criteria, the document here might be useful for correlating the Standards with the current Ofsted inspection criteria.
A challenge for school leaders is finding a way to efficiently collate and store this monitoring and evaluation evidence. This can be especially challenging when there are a range of leaders contributing to the exercise of gathering information.
In essence, whatever system you use in school should be simple and easy to use for all concerned.
Your current arrangements
A few key questions which might help you check out whether your current arrangements are fit for purpose:
- Is all your monitoring and evaluation evidence in one place, regardless of who undertook it?
- Is all evidence correlated around each teacher?
- Can you show improvement over time?
- Is there a correlation between monitoring and evaluation evidence and the Teachers’ Standards?
- Is your monitoring and evaluation evidence used to link to an end of year evaluation and next steps for improvement?
- Is there a link between your monitoring and evaluation and your appraisal cycle and objectives?
There is no one single right or wrong way to deal with this and each school leader will find their own preference. Many leaders are currently seeking non paper based ways to store monitoring and evaluation evidence so that information can be accessed by all leaders.
Many school leaders have found Teacher Profile a useful tool for helping with this task.
Feedback from one primary headteacher in Yorkshire noted,
“This will save me hours of time and mean everything is in once place. I can enter information once and use it for lots of things.”
Teacher Profile allows school leaders to enter information an automatically profile all information against individual teachers in your school. This in turn builds a picture of each teacher, effectively building the Teacher on a Page Record as you go.
All information in Teacher Profile is stored virtually on the Cloud so can be accessed anywhere you have web access.
Teacher Profile allows you to enter any type of monitoring information.
It comes ready populated with templates for lesson observation, work scrutiny etc but you can easily design you own data entry forms. In addition to basic monitoring information, you can identify where teachers meet or do not meet the Teachers’ Standards and note any pay progression. The latest developments to Teacher Profile allow leaders to record complete appraisal records so that it really is a one stop shop for all information about each teacher.
So… How are you keeping track of great teaching?
Continue the Conversation
To find out more information on Teacher Profile, visit the website or call Laura Slater on 01457 821 818 today to arrange your free online demo and in-school trial of the software.
Simon has a well-established track record in education, which includes work as a headteacher in several schools, senior Local Authority adviser, lead Ofsted inspector, and CEO/Director of Academies for the Focus Trust. He is also an accredited Myers Briggs (MBTI) practitioner.