Harrow College is a successful college with highly effective skills in teaching, learning and assessment. It has invested heavily in continuing professional development (CPD) and there is a strong commitment to ongoing improvement. The challenge for the college is to ensure that the investment in CPD has real impact on teachers’ practice and learners’ experience and outcomes.
How ESIS responded to the challenge
ESIS matched the skills and expertise of its improvement advisers to the curriculum structure of the college – and they undertook a series of learning walks, the purposes of which were two-fold.
Firstly, the curriculum managers were shadowed by the improvement advisers, receiving ‘on-the-job’ coaching to endorse their ability to make accurate judgements. They also accurately identified areas where development would bring about improvement – with a clear emphasis on how to do as well as what to do.
Secondly, the improvement advisers evaluated the impact of current CPD.
A summary report was provided for each curriculum area, identifying both strengths and elements for development – as well as making recommendations for improvement. From the reports, ESIS worked in partnership with curriculum managers to collate a summary of training requirements, by curriculum area – bespoke and relevant to each group of teachers.
The advisers returned to the college to deliver the identified training. In addition to the bespoke learning content, our approach to the training was also tailored to each curriculum area.
In a high-performing area, the improvement adviser led a workshop – facilitating the sharing of best practice – and also held one-to-one coaching sessions on specific areas. In areas where there was a more defined training need, a more formal approach was taken – supported by a range of highly practical activities.
Outcomes and benefits
- Staff valued the feedback that was provided during the learning walks – and appreciated the time dedicated to the bespoke CPD, as they left the session with new and practical strategies to put into practice immediately.
- The college benefited from an external perspective, which added rigour to its judgement on teaching, learning and assessment.
- The programme focused on improvement, development and capacity-building of managers’ skills, leading to sustainable change.
- The college now has a more refined CPD programme, building on previous strengths and focusing on the final few areas for improvement.
“Thank you for organising our required programme so efficiently. The observations undertaken with the feedback, and the subsequent bespoke training that our teachers received from your advisers, have been well received. All our teaching staff have been very complimentary about their training day, finding the information valuable and very useful in developing and improving their practice.” – Dylan McTaggart, Vice Principal Curriculum and Quality